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No-spend February, Week 1: How’s it going?

Last week I proposed a no-spend February. The idea appealed to some readers, for very different reasons

First – and worst! – was Yvonne Wilder’s situation. “We just went through a no-spend month in January, with the government shutdown,” she says.

All discretionary spending was cut, to the dismay of the three children in the household. (Not that what it was much fun for the adults, either.)

However, the stressful situation wound up becoming a teachable moment: “We talked quite a lot about the shutdown and budgets and they were definitely on board.”

Although the family is generally thrifty, Yvonne thinks they could stand to step up their game. January’s crash course “made us all aware of spending on wants instead of needs.”

Which of course is the point of the no-spend February: not that you can’t spend money, but rather that you become super-mindful about how and why you spend.


Diane, a solo-living senior, admits to spending at least $600 a month at the supermarket. She’s hoping to learn “to spend more consciously,” and looks forward to encouragement from fellow non-spenders.

She’s not the only one who has trouble reining in the purchases. A reader named Marie likes to buy decorative items at the dollar store. “I spent over a hundred dollars there last month! For stuff!”

She’s joining the no-spend February with friends – and with a great twist. Not only are they challenging supporting one another, they’ve each tossed $5 into a kitty. The champion non-spender gets to choose the charity that will get the cash.

I love that.


The no-spend life: Different for everyone


Kate lives this way pretty much all the time, because it helps her get the things she wants. Right now she’s “saving everywhere I can” to stash some cash for a trip to Ireland.

(Me, too, also. Not the going-to-Ireland part, but the part about saving where I can so I can spend where I want.)

Janey, on the other hand, walks the frugal talk because she must. She lives on a fixed income that’s “way below” the federal poverty line. Although she’s probably got mad frugal skillz already, Janey looks forward to hearing from others: “Tips and encouragement are always appreciated!”

So how about it, readers: Care to share how your first week went? I’ll start:

My friend Linda B. and I are ladies who lunch just about every week, taking turns buying. She had read my original post and offered to pay for all February meals, bless her heart. I’ll pay for next month’s.

However, I did opt to head to her house afterward for some recorded television rather than go to a movie even though it was pay-one-price Tuesday. That would have cost me $5.75 vs. the usual $7.25. But watching stuff like “The Good Place” cost us nothing.

(I wasn’t crying at the mid-season finale. There was something in my eye. Both eyes.)

On the way to Linda’s house I stopped at Walgreens to take advantage of a coupon special for her favorite pretzel M&Ms. Some would say chocolate could be considered essential, and I would not disagree. But since I used some of my Walgreens Balance Rewards, the M&Ms didn’t cost me anything – which makes it a no-spend day, right?

On Sunday I’d planned to hit the library to do some work. But I was feeling cranky, and when I’m a little out of sorts I want to drown my sorrows in McDonald’s fries. Did I mention there’s a McDonald’s right down the street from the city’s main library?

Yes, I should be able to control my behavior. But did I also mention I was feeling a bit fragile, and that it was snowing, and that I didn’t even want to be working on a Sunday but had to because I’d sloughed off on Friday and Saturday? Thus I was fairly certain that I would succumb to the blandishments of those salty little spud strips.

Know yourself. I stayed home.

Tomorrow I have a previously scheduled hair appointment. That, to me, is essential: When my hair is freshly cut (and, yeah, when it’s freshly dyed) I feel better about myself. On the bright side, I have a coupon for $20 off the cut and color. It’s also an early-afternoon appointment so I will have just had lunch. This is important because there’s a McDonald’s not far away from the beauty salon, too.

Okay, everybody: How has your week gone?

The post No-spend February, Week 1: How’s it going? appeared first on Surviving and Thriving.

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