August 31, 2020

My No-Spend Month of August

I've discovered 3 things while doing a no-spend month. I hadn't done one in years. 

1. Pick a month toward the end of the season. August, February, May...A month where you won't need a whole lot because you're already set in your routines for the season. Like, you don't need to buy sandals in August because you already bought them in June.

2. I think, for validity's sake, you shouldn't declare it to be NO SPENDING AT ALL because you still have needs and because it's very easy to fall into the mindset of Well I'm going to buy everything I need and want by January 31st because the no-spending phase starts February 1st. That defeats the purpose. Also defeating the purpose: I found myself keeping a list of everything I needed to buy come September 1st. Like more essential oils and random things I don't need for survival but I've run out of. This isn't actually saving money, it's just delaying. And what if something needs to be replaced? Should I just wait til the next month? That doesn't make a lot of sense. For example, Jett and Wells got a little carried away one day this month and Jett busted my Pilates ball and I had to throw it away because it had a big tooth-shaped hole in it. I still haven't ordered a new one. 

3. Sometimes things come up. You'll see my examples of these indiscretions below. And goodness knows I haven't exactly been hauling in clothing/shoe/book/etc purchases in the last few years. I did a lot more random spending for myself Before Kid. Speaking of Wells, sometimes he needs things. So...see below.

Things I bought for me that I didn't "need":

The literal second I started this self-imposed challenge, my monthly Patreon subscription to Crime Junkie went through. $5

On my to-pick-up-soon list for awhile has been a new blush brush. Wells, I kid you not, took mine one day, dipped it in the toilet, and painted the bathroom wall with the water. This was back in June, before we left Pittsburgh. That brush did not make the trip to Kansas with us. $4

I got a new phone so I needed to order a case and screen protector. I absolutely LOVE this case from Amazon so I just got it in the iPhone 11 version. $18 total. 

I was out of essential oils. I absolutely love this set. They're already blended and don't smell chemical-like. They smell spa-like. $13.

I got a haircut. $24, including tip.

My monthly The Balanced Life subscription. $9

I realized I hated the diffuser I bought as a placeholder when our regular one broke this spring. So I bought a replacement. This was definitely a "want" but if I'm home all day and I want to use the essential oils, it's something I value.* $25

We needed new pillowcases for our guest beds. Meh. Could've put this off. But having a put-together guest room makes me RIDICULOUSLY happy after our experience with no real guest room in Pittsburgh. $20

*I don't think oils have magical healing powers or anything. I just like the fresh, clean smell they add. It's not artificial like a candle might be and candles scare me with Wells around. 

Things Wells needed:

New shoes (2 pairs). $60

and...a Nugget. $246.18

This took a heckuva lot of mental gymnastics to justify this month. I tried to get one in June, after being on the notification list for 6 months or something.
They sold out in 3 minutes then, and it was one of the greater disappointments of the last few months for me. 
I was "surprise notified" and given a few days notice that they were rolling out more stock in August so I set my phone alarm, got my credit card ready, and prepped to order one. Scott watched in amusement. 

Anyway. I got one. Should be shipped this fall. My plan is to hide it for Christmas but we'll see. I think you have to take them out of the boxes pretty quickly? 

So it was not a cheap month for Wells. 

Everything else: 

I was keeping track of groceries for a bit there but we had a friend help move us to Kansas and he stayed here for several days, and we had friends over for dinner last week, so we actually spent a lot on grilling and alcohol and did a stock-up at Costco and all of the food budget was out of its normal proportion. 

And cleaning products, generally bath/toiletries, and paper products are rolled into the grocery trips so separating them out seemed like it'd be overkill. 

How I benefited from doing a self-imposed challenge like this:

I didn't throw random things in the shopping cart. 

1. I caught myself looking at nail polish more than once. I didn't need it at the end of summer. I can get a fall color in a few weeks, you know? (and the money we're all saving on pedicures? whoa, right? I used to get 3-4 a year)

2. No ebooks. I rarely buy books but I do occasionally grab a daily deal on Amazon. I didn't even look this month. I currently have like 4-5 library books borrowed anyway.

3. No clothes or shoes. I went to Target, I think, only once this month for diapers and I didn't throw an $8 t-shirt in the cart.

4. No random paper/pens. I'm generally not one to buy random be honest, if you want to stress me out, give me a pretty notebook for a gift. I will fret over what I'm supposed to be doing with it. 
But sometimes I think I should buy new pens. Truthfully, I don't need new pens until I use up the last round of pens I bought (a year ago?) and I've been through enough pens in my time to know which ones I like and which ones I don't. I don't feel the need to try out fancy ones. Still, the allure of the school supply aisles is always there this time of year. 

Have you done a spending challenge lately? I like that it keeps me honest and gives me a chance to reflect. 

*This post felt ridiculously materialistic to write but it's always interesting to me when I see these on other blogs so that's why I feel it's probably worthwhile to do every once in awhile.*


  1. I'm going to really try & watch teh funds for September but october is a HUGe spending month for us - A TON of birthdays & anniversary... then we're in the Holidays. So I need to save where I can this month

  2. I haven't done a specific challenge but with this pandemic I feel I'm not shopping as much so that's good!

  3. Way to go with the no-spend month. I like how you were realistic with your expectations. It's more about bringing down the impulse buying rather than not spending any money at all. I had never heard of a "Nugget" so I learned about something new in this post. That phone case was one of my favorite Prime Purchases this month, so thanks for the recommendation.

  4. You did such a good job! I am trying this for September, though I already realized I was almost out of shampoo-- which is obviously more of a need, but then adding other things to my cart for free shipping could be the problem. Wells is going to be so excited about the Nugget-- they look so awesome!


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