So, we made it. Tomorrow, No-Spend month is over, and September begins. Throughout this month, we had guests over, gave gifts, spent time (and money) celebrating birthdays, avoided shopping, and, early in the month, spent a little on non-necessities. I was proud to stick to a meal plan all month (for the most part) and eat at home.
Did we have a literal month of no spending? No- there were necessities and things deemed necessities that we spent a total of about $200 on. I'll have more of a recap in a couple days as we process what we learned this month and take stock of our single month of cutting back.
In the meantime, check out Millionaire Mommy Next Door's post today about Wants vs Needs. She uses a baseline of "needs" as absolutely bare-bone bills. For us, this month was our baseline. We talked about it this weekend and looked at our spending this month, and finally found a realistic number on which we could say, if we were living solely off our emergency fund because we were both out of work, what would we need to get by? We now know how much we spend in a month when we're "not spending" (plus a realistic grocery budget, because I couldn't cook out of our pantry & freezer indefinitely!) This helps us set a goal of a 6-month emergency fund, of which we already have 4 months in the bank. How exciting is that?
Having a clearer picture of What We Want vs What We Need has given me insight into how blessed we really are, and how Lifestyle and Culture and Expectations fill the gap between Needs and Wants such that I forget how much extra we do have.
How did your No-Spend or Low-Spend month go? What did you learn?