I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's almost September already! Do you know what that means??
Last year my husband and I challenged ourselves not to spend money on "wants" in the month of September.
So here we are, a year later. Not only have we accomplished all of the financial goals that I set for us last year, but we did it early and have now raised the bar. During this month of No Spendtember, our goal is savings. Last year we focused on budgeting and learned a lot. We still don't actually keep a budget, but we're more aware of spending habits.
How to prepare for No Spendtember:
1. Go to Costco. Stock up on everything you know you will need for the next month. It may cost a bit more now, but it will be really rewarding during the month when you see your bills drop dramatically. Plus, it's the end of the month so you probably just got a paycheck.
2. Plan your meals. One of the biggest mistakes we make is not planning meals ahead of time. There are some weeks where we go to the store every single night to purchase groceries for individual meals. Do you know how inefficient that is? Plan ahead! Prepare meals that will produce leftovers.
3. Set Goals. Decide what your goals are now while you're all gung ho and idealistic. For example, can you avoid going to a restaurant for the next 30 days? Can you avoid spending money on frivolous items? Can you save more than you spend?
4. Budget. This will be your key to success. For example, set a daily food budget. Can your family eat on $20 a day? $10? Challenge yourself! We have a budgeting tool in our Bank of America online account that allows us to set goals. Check with your bank to see if you have that option as well. If not, simply write down a budget yourself. Look back at your past spending habits to see what a realistic budget would be for different categories. Categories that you'll be able to budget for include: food, restaurants & dining, gas, entertainment, personal expenses, hobbies, home improvement, etc.
5. Stay Entertained. I don't know about you, but when I'm bored, I spend money. Whether it is going to the movies, walking around Target or shopping online. Plan some free activities that will keep you busy over the next month. Avoid the movie theatre by having your friends over for a movie night instead. Want to go out to dinner? How about a stay-in make your own pizza night instead?
Don't forget to share this with your friends and family. The more people involved, the easier this will be for you!