This last month (March) my husband and I did a No Spending Challenge. For the whole month we didn't spend any extra money than we absolutely had to. Well we did very good with it, I think. We only bought one thing for our son that we didn't HAVE to have. It was just a few dollars so we gave in. But it was the only thing we bought that we didn't need. So in my book, we did great! :) We didn't eat out, which wasn't too hard since we didn't really do that before. We didn't go shopping for anything but diapers, wipes, baby food and food for us. We also only drove around when we needed to so as to save gas. We even turned of as many lights and electronics as possible to save on our power bill. (We wont know how much till later this month.)
Okay, so you are probably wondering what exactly we got out of this? Well I can tell you, we didn't save a ton of money, or even any money. We had just enough to pay bills, gas, tithing and baby stuff. It was crazy to us that even with not spending, we still had no money left. But then I thought about it. I discovered that because of our faith in paying our tithing we were able to survive the last few months without extra income. I don't know how it happens, not exactly, but I know that by paying our tithing we were blessed and taken care of. I love that our Lord will do that for us! Yes, we go through hard times, but sometimes it's just a matter of having faith that we can get through it, knowing and seeing the little things in our lives that are blessings from God.
We also have a realization that we need to be better with our budget. We are trying, and struggling, with it. I am still keeping track of our budget by a system introduced to us by our friends. It is still the best way for us so far. I think our biggest problem is that we have a hard time checking it diligently and making sure we are on track. So while we work on that, we will continue to not spend more money than absolutely necessary. We will do this until it is habit. I think everyone should. Here are some reasons why I think it is good for everyone:
- Savings: you learn to save up your money and ultimately have that fall back/emergency fund for when you desperately need it.
- Smarts: along with saving money you learn the value of a dollar and know how to save for purchases rather than charge a credit card and go in debt.
- Freedom: you gain freedom from debt. Instead of spending money on things you don't need you end up saving for and paying off your debt. You also get freedom from guilt, no more buyers guilt on big ticket items that you knew you didn't need but wanted. When you have the money to pay for it and it is set apart for that purpose, there is no guilt in buying that wanted item. It also gives you the financial freedom to save up and go on trips with your family. When you are broke or in debt you cant really have the fun of going places with your family.
- Confidence: you can gain confidence in yourself and your abilities.
I have already seen these and more ways that doing this is going to help me and my family. My husband and I are having fun finding ways to not spend money but still have family fun.