Amy Clark

The MomAdvice No Spend Challenge

Our family is planning to take an adventure for the month of February into the world of no spending. We have sat down as a family and discussed the benefits of doing this and what we hope to get out of this challenge.

What can be gained though from a no-spend month can prove to be of great value for families. When you are not able to spend, you suddenly see how plentiful your life already is. The richness of what is around you and how little you truly do need to be happy quickly comes into focus.

As a consumer, we become conditioned to spend so I imagine that first initial week will prove challenging. I know the rewards are great though for families who can overcome that hump and break the cycle of spending. A no-spend month does come with challenges, but it also comes with the gratification of knowing that you have let your bank account grow!

When we say no spending, we mean no spending outside of our normal daily living expenses. Some things will still need to be purchased in order to keep the lights lit, food on our table, and diapers on our baby. This is what we have set aside for the month:

Clark Family February Spending Plan:

$250 for the month for groceries (including diapers)
Normal utility payments
Gas for cars

We will be doing our best to not spend on anything else for the month and share our experience with you.

I really wanted to come up with a creative way that people could share about their No Spend Challenge that would be fun and also insightful into what people do when they aren’t out spending money. My brilliant idea was to document it by creating a Flickr group where people could pick up a No Spend Challenge any day, week, month, or year that they would like to document their adventure.

To join the MomAdvice No Spend Challenge group, you simply need to make a commitment towards not spending for a set amount of time. It could be a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Make that commitment to your family and share a picture of what you do each day when you are not spending money. Get your finances back on track and have fun documenting the creative ways you spend your time together.

Would you like to take a no-spend adventure with me? Just think of all of the free time you will have if you are not out shopping and spending for a month.

Here are a few ideas for how you could spend all of that free time!

  • Get your finances back on track by trying out a free program like Mint.com and get in better touch with your past spending.
  • Dust off those old board games and spend an evening playing them together.
  • Watch free movies on Hulu.com or take out the DVD collection and watch your favorite movies again. If you are really craving a new release, sign up on Redbox.com to get a free movie code every Monday and use that to get your movie fix for the month.
  • Break out that really old game system and relive those games again with your kids.
  • Dig through your old cookbooks and try out recipes using some of the ingredients in your pantry.
  • Play a game of Iron Chef with your spouse and let your children be the judge of the best dish by having your very own cooking contest. You might be surprised that even dad’s toasted Pop-Tart might be the judge’s favorite in this contest.
  • Actually use the craft supplies that you have bought and start tackling some of your crafty ideas for the holidays.
  • Find the floor in your laundry room.
  • Look for free community activities that you could do as a family.
  • Volunteer or find things in your home that you could donate to those less fortunate.
  • Visit the library and actually read the books.
  • Clip coupons and plan your grocery shopping in advance for next month.
  • Take a wonderful and delicious nap.
  • Learn a new skill set or check out books on self-improvement to help make your life better or easier.
  • Get free museum passes from the library or check the local museum’s websites for information on their free admittance days. Don’t forget to pack a lunch!
  • Have a potluck-style swap night with your friends and exchange three of your things for three of theirs.
  • Read that pile of magazines or newspapers that never gets read.
  • Exercise.
  • Listen to free music on Last.fm and make a fun mix of songs you listened to when you were dating your spouse.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Play on the floor with your children.
  • Organize your closet and take inventory of your wardrobe.
  • Put batteries in the children’s toys to make them “new” again.
  • Tackle a home improvement project that you bought supplies for, but still haven’t finished.

However you decide to spend your no-spend day, weekend, week, month, or year, I hope that it brings into focus how great it can truly be to not spend and that it gives you the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with those around you.

The group will always be open so if February is not a month you can commit to, feel free to commit at any time.

Next week (starting on 1/29), we will be sharing on The MotherLoot an adventure that we got to take with Mercedes. The company is coming out with a more budget-friendly car and we will be giving away $50 Visa Gift Cards for each day that the campaign will run. In total, $250 of gift cards will be given away and I hope I can give these to a no-spend participant to give you a night out on us! I will be sure to let you guys know when these posts start running so you can enter to win!

Would you like to join a no-spend challenge with me? How long will you be committing to? (Feel free to grab our banner and share about your adventure on your own blogs!)

Published January 26, 2009 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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