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Is it just me or is September the new January? I get that back to school feeling even though I’m far from school age these days! It makes me want for a new uniform and stationery and a fresh start with new teachers. So when I was invited to take part in a no spend September, that just felt right too. A fresh approach to our finances will fit nicely for this next month as we look ahead to the months which are consumed by all our birthdays and Christmas.
Time for reflection…
Much like at the end of the calendar year when everyone starts to reflect on how it has gone so far and what changes they wish to make, I’ve been quite reflective recently too. In fact just the other day I saw a post by a friend commenting on the people queuing for that cheap Prosecco at Lidl.
She was saying about people wanting to consume more for less rather than just consuming less. It really struck a chord with me. My own blog began with wanting to quash my consumer driven lifestyle but then quickly moved into the realms of “Luxury Lifestyle on a Family Budget” i.e. more for less.
And this really is a problem: “treat” items do and should cost more to ensure they remain only occasional purchases but with the increase in cash back and voucher code sites, luxury purchases are now the norm and so having a treat is like a drug user’s next hit that never seems to quite reach the spot. Plus I rarely hand over cash so there’s no sense of exchange.
So here’s the plan for my no spend September…
Nicola from the personal finance blog thefrugalcottage.com is running a Facebook group which you can access here. There you will find a small community of likeminded folk who want to rein in their spending habits and gain more control of their finances. She’s even written a blog post specifically to support the no spend month.
Nicola says, basically for your chosen month, in this case my next September, only spend money on the absolute necessities. This is hard for me as I am a planner and a just-in-case kind of person. That means I stockhold for most eventualities! However, I’ve tried to see this as a positive on this occasion.
How to prepare for a no spend month…
So far I have:
- Filled up my car with fuel
- Got new printer ink (ready for vouchers for freebies)
- Meal planned based on what we have in (which is quite a lot as we have an additional chest freezer)
- Picked up some cheap craft supplies
- “shopped” from my gift cupboard and cards for September birthdays
- Booked my hair appointment (as pre-planned events can be exempt from the no spend as the expense is mindful)
- Checked which annual passes are still in date and planned our days out around these.
- Put on the calendar free events which our local council are running
- Let my friends and family know what I’m doing so they don’t try tempting me with expensive trips and meals out
How extreme can you go?
As I look around where I’m typing, I have so many candles. Some have never even been lit once! So I’m already thinking about how we can cut down our costs on utilities too. Unfortunately the weather is becoming more autumnal so there will be fewer chances to hang washing out to dry. I do have (somewhere!) an electric clothes horse though so I can use that and plan to sit by candle light most evenings.
Are you going to join in?
Let me know if you’re going to join in too. It would be lovely to see some of my readers in the Facebook group as well. Then we can all encourage one another to keep going. I can’t wait to see all the photos of home baking and Christmas gift making!