Thoughts on Starting a No-Spend Challenge

Thoughts on Doing a No-Spend Challenge | Freckled Italian

I know it can be kind of weird to talk about money, but I’ve always been so interested in budgeting and saving and how people handle finances in their families/relationships; and every time I hear about someone doing a “No Spend” month I’m always really intrigued.

As you may know, I make money from this blog and my cookbooks, and I also work part-time as a Pure Barre instructor. When we moved to California we decided to budget out what it would be like living just on Rob’s income, and then any bonuses he makes and all of my writing and teaching income go straight into savings. We moved in 2016 and managed to pay off the remainder of our student loans in 2017 (just in time to add a baby to the mix), then our car a few months ago, which I’m really proud of since living in the Bay Area is not cheap. I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when our kids are young, so it’s been really nice to have the flexibility of blogging and teaching to allow me to still contribute to our savings while staying at home with Sophie since November.

We don’t buy a lot of “little stuff” most of the time but we do spend quite a bit of money on food, coffee, tech, and travel.

Anyway, that’s a lot of information but I feel like it’s applicable to this post! Moving on:

We’ve been traveling a lot the past few weeks and also just made a few purchases that were on the larger side, so Rob and I thought it might be a good time to experiment with our own saving challenge. Instead of going all-out for one month, though, we’re going to pace ourselves with a few exceptions and otherwise not buy anything but groceries and essentials for the rest of the year (!!!). I’m calling it No Spend Q4 2018!

We made a list of things we had planned to spend money on before deciding to do the challenge, so those are our exceptions. This is what that looks like:

  • Anything Sophie autumn/holiday experience related

  • Piece of furniture for living room/TV area ($200 or less)

  • Christmas gifts and new baby gifts for family and friends ($250ish)

  • Megan tattoo ($200-300)

  • Rob AirPods ($160)

  • In N Out dinner on Sunday nights ($100ish)

Beyond that, we’re writing down anything we see that we might have otherwise bought. I don’t usually impulse purchase things, but even for me this has been kind of a fun exercise. Anytime I want to buy something I usually try to wait at least a week, and if I’m still thinking about it then I’ll maybe get it. It’s only been a couple days but I’ve already added a couple things to the list and also decided not to tag along with Rob on a work trip later this month, which would have ended up costing us hundreds of dollars between flights, food, dog sitter, Ubers to and from the airport, etc.

Have you ever done a spending freeze challenge? I’m going to keep up with my list and also check in with another post if you guys are interested in how it’s going. I’d love to hear about your experiences and also if you have any tips!