Budgeting, Goal Setting

No Spend Year: Cancelled

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As a reader so aptly pointed out, trying to have a No Spend Year when I’m clearly not ready to stop spending money is setting myself up for failure.  On the surface, she was right.   Setting unrealistic goals is never a good thing.  It leads to guilt, self deprecation and the all around feeling of failure.   And, if you take the words ‘no spend’ literally, you don’t buy anything.  However, my “No Spend Year” wasn’t literal.  It was supposed to be a  “….no spend on mindless stuff that doesn’t matter and doesn’t help me meet my goal year“.   But if this reader thought this, there may be others who feel the same way.  I don’t want to come off as inauthentic, so I decided to clear this up for everyone.

My original post about a No Spend Year included this paragraph:

To be clear, this challenge isn’t about deprivation. It’s not about sucking the joy out of every day. It’s the opposite. It’s about spending money on what matters most – my health and wellbeing, my husband, my family, my friends. In fact you may be surprised as to what I actually am able to spend money on with this challenge, which makes it very different from what a typical ‘no spend’ has been.

As long as I continue to be mindful of my purchases (and not have to declutter them in six months), I will be keeping my goals intact.  Simply put, I will not feel guilty for buying a purse or anything else that makes me happy and doesn’t take away from goals that I have set.   As long as it meets my criteria of an intentional purchase, I can pay for it, and not have to borrow money, it will be acceptable.  The purse was somewhat of an impulse purchase, I’ll admit, but I never said this year was going to be perfect.  Baby steps.   It did stay in my cart on the Fossil Website for a week.  I still wanted it, so I purchased it.  Next time I’ll wait 30 days. 😉

Going forward, I’ve decided it’s best not to use the term ‘No Spend’.  I agree that it’s too confusing, and doesn’t convey what I intend.  So it’s out.  (In fact, I went ahead and corrected all of my other posts).

I hope this helps.

Happy March everyone!




15 thoughts on “No Spend Year: Cancelled”

  1. I decided to have no spend weekends and I think scheduling those every now and again can be powerful in themselves! It’s more of a Mindful Spending Year than anything!

  2. I think mindful spending is a good goal, along with potentially having a budget for categories. I find that to be a helpful exercise in prioritization. For us, for example, that would be to set a goal to pay down $100k of mortgage & save $10K for college, or whatever. In order to hit those goals, I have to lower my budget categories in other places (dining out, groceries, travel, whatever) to hit the priorities that are at the top of my list.

    If you’re doing both of the above, & still comfortable with your spending, I see no issues. In my case, I typically find excess spending means I didn’t do one of the two above (mindful spending along with clear priorities/budget categories).

    1. I have tried no spend weeks, months and years – doesn’t work. Instead I now work toward yearly goals – more flexibility – and I seem to have no trouble achieving them plus enjoy life at the same time.

      1. Hi Mary Ellen,
        Yes, goals work much better, especially weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Let’s hear it for enjoying life! 🙂

    2. Yes, mindful spending is what I have to work on most. Accomplishing my goals is just as important. So far we are doing great living off of our future retirement income and am able to save from that (except in February when all of the expenses came due). I’m happy with that accomplishment.

  3. I dunno, im.on a forum where we do no spend months. The first day of the month, we each say what will be allowed..like I had three birthdays this month so I mentioned that. And if someone was, say, buying a side of beef every six mo ths…you get the idea. Could you do something like that?

    1. Thanks Barb. I’m going to center more around intentional expenses vs. impulse, and list out my entire retirement budget categories and how I’m staying within that budget. It’s important for me to track impulse purchases, because that’s what I have to work on the most. I used to do no spend months as well, but not a lot was accomplished with impulse purchases the rest of the time.

  4. I’m sorry if I torpedoed your plan by leaving that comment….didn’t mean to do that.
    I did an actual No Spend Year back in 2008 when I was part of The Compact group. They had specific rules and you got 1 exception during the year. The only reason I signed up for that was that it was ONLY a year and I figured I had a good shot at achieving it.
    My only spending(outside of the bills, food, etc.)was to buy a photo album(after failing to find one through barter or second hand means)because I needed it for a project I was doing that year. A stupid photo album. lolz
    Maybe what you need to call what you are doing something else. The Year of Intentional Spending? I don’t know.
    I am interested to see if you can stay on the $7K a month “retirement” budget you talked about at the beginning of the year. How close were you to it in Jan. and Feb.(because you didn’t show what was spent overall each month, just certain categories)? Are you tweaking the amount or how you allocate the $7K in funds?

    1. Hi Sluggy,
      I’m glad you left that comment, because I was having a problem with calling it a “no spend”. I’m mostly working on intentional spending. The answer to your question? YES! We are staying within the $7000 budget (which is why I was able to handle the home maintenance projects and emergencies). I probably should blog about all of my every day expenses instead of just focusing on the intentional vs. impulse purchases. Now that college tuition is out of the way (Thank the Lord), $7000 is doable which includes a vacation budget (important to us). I do tweak the categories, as food and eating out, gas, and household continues to stay below budget. I will share all of the categories in my March budget.

      1. Sounds good! I wish everyone tried a pre-retirement budget(living on what you’ll have in retirement). I think it would wake a lot of folks up to whether the lifestyle they are planning on is going to be sustainable. And doing it before retiring might give them a chance to tinker with how much they are putting away and get closer to what they envision retirement will be like.

        Leaving that mortgage amount to cover the health insurance/medical stuff later on is important too(if you don’t have Medicare yet or medical covered from military service). We pay over $1800 a month in premiums(medical and dental plus vision for Hubs)for private insurance now. It’s gone up about $35 a mo. from last year’s rates. And that doesn’t count the high deductible we pay($3K)before we see any savings on services..$24,600 per year+reduced costs on services we use after that. Depending on how frequently you see drs., need services/treatments it’s a big chunk of your pre-Medicare age retirement.

      2. Thank you for sharing the medical amount. We figured it would be high. The only pre-existing conditions we have are my hypothyroidism — not a major moment. Actually we have a $3000 deductible now with our present insurance, and for family coverage (because we still cover our younger two) it is almost 1200 a month out of pocket. Honestly, it will not feel any different, most likely. I just paid $2300 out of pocket for an MRI of my back — that one hurt literally and figuratively. We are maxing out our HSA account for just such things every year and taking the tax break. It truly helps. We also switched to 401K Roth to have it tax free growth. 7 more years……

  5. I was going to suggest Mindful Spending but I see others were on the same brainwave path as me. Makes perfect logical sense.
    Like right now “I don’t mind spending another $10 on another pina colada”
    Priorities, my dear.

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