January budget challenge: complete!

Spending challenge success checkboxKJ: We started this month with a post from Mr. & Mrs. H as they were about to lead into an entire “no-spend” month of January, and then just a couple weeks later they provided a mid-month update. Fast forward 31 days, and let’s see how they did!

Guest: Hi – Mrs. H here again, and boy – am I glad January is almost over! Just kidding…as much as it was hard to resist shopping impulses and food cravings to achieve this financial fast challenge, I’m actually appreciative of the peace of mind that it gave us. The goal was to simplify life and become intentional in consuming and buying resources, while getting a good handle on our budget.

For me, this meant:
1) sticking to a list when going grocery shopping (or any shopping),
2) reducing expenses that made sense (i.e. lowered auto insurance by $25/month by cutting out certain fringes and increasing our deductible),
3) cleaning out areas of the house (pantry, freezer, closets, attic, garage) – and use things up, donate, or throw away, and
4) be INTENTIONAL with any spending.

I think we did a pretty good job…I’d give us a B+, in fact! SOME things that were purchased we probably could have done without…but we intentionally made the plunge to make life easier (replacing the garage door, for example). However, the peace of mind this gave me in having a better organized house and using resources we already had, in welcoming friends into our home more than going out, and knowing that we CAN cut expenses – made this all worth it. I hereby declare January our official financial fasting month. I believe this will also increase our awareness to be intentional in everyday life throughout the year.

Mr H: Yes, dear.

KJ: We appreciate the “H” couple for undergoing this challenge and for sharing that with our readers! It can be budget-altering to change your perspective for a full month, and it can teach you how to differentiate between those “wants” and “needs” in your life – whatever they may be. I think we can all learn to live on just a little bit less. Every budget can stand to be a little more targeted in expenses, and putting the microscope over each item for a period of time can help you be even smarter about how you spend your hard-earned dollars!

    Did you try the no-spend month?
    Would you do this again?
    Share with us your experience!

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2 thoughts on “January budget challenge: complete!

  1. I did end up doing the “no spend” month of January, although not totally by choice. I discovered after accepting my new job (which was a great decision btw) that I would not have a mid-month paycheck. The old job ended 1/3. So I got paid for 3 days. The new job pays semi-monthly, but requires a “time reporting period” which means there is a 10 day or so delay from when you turn in your hours (even if you are salaried) to when you get that first paycheck. For me that meant that on 1/30, I was paid for time on the job from 1/6 through 1/19. But it also meant that I didn’t have that 1/15 paycheck I was accustomed to. We stayed home and raided the freezer and fridge. My wonderful husband picked up the tab for some shopping and dining out. We made it to 1/31!! I have enjoyed several beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the way home from my new work place. I see it as a good sign for 2014. We can do with some budget tightening. And we sure can get by with a couple less trips to the grocery store.

    • Thanks for sharing! Whether out of necessity (due to a job disruption for a period of time) or by choice, it can be an eye-opening experience to really look at each expense closely. Amazing what you can creatively come up with to really utilize what you already have in the house to stretch that budget and food just a little bit further.

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