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For the month of January we have decided to take a No Spend Challenge. We’ve tossed this idea back and forth a few times over the last year because we recognize the value of getting out of the spend spend spend mode. However we’ve not bit the bullet till now. I saw this site posted somewhere on Facebook and it had like some helpful tips to get us started. January seems like a good time for new habits, experiments and beginnings!! And when it comes to money and spending habits it’s a great time after the Christmas splurge to reevaluate things and make changes for the new year. Plus we would like to aggressively start saving for some upcoming trips and such as well.

With all that in mind we’ve set up some parameters for our January (and maybe February) spending. Since we know there’s no way for us to not spend ANYTHING we are going to seriously do our best not to spend much. Here’s what we’ve come up with for our own circumstances.

1. NO Amazon. 😉 This one is mostly for Stuart who is our resident deal finder. Amazon lightning deals are great, but when you’re trying to not spend we need to just not look!

2. Pay Bills. This is kind of a given, but we will be spending money to pay our rent, electric and whatever other bills are our responsibility.

3. Feed animals. We have a lot of dependents on our Ranch. We will not be letting the critters starve while we are on our no spend challenge. However I plan to pick up some dog and chicken food this week and hopefully that will get us through the month without having to buy more. The goats, thankfully, have plenty of hay!

4. Gas. We live in the middle of nowhere (for real!) and if we plan on getting to and from church or work we will need to buy gas. I read of others doing the challenge and deciding not to buy gas but rather ride bikes and so on. That would be awesome if we could do that, but it’s not practical in our situation.

5. Groceries. We will only purchase our bi-weekly Bountiful Basket and a couple gallons of milk for the kids (since our goats are dry). So a weekly grocery budget of $20. This will force us to eat out of what we have already in the pantry and freezers. I’m looking forward to this aspect of the challenge!

6. Sell on craigslist. We have a few things lying around taking up space and cluttering our lives that we need to pass along. Any extra money we get from selling thing we can use to buy extras that may come up.

So those are the basic rules that we’ve set up for our personal challenge. If you decide to do it with us, you’re welcome to use the same rules or tweak them as needed for your situation. Just make sure they are a real “challenge” and that you will be reeling in those spending habits! I’m interested to see how this challenge changes our perspective on the things we need and the things we can do without. I plan to designate a couple big containers in the garage to add to our “get rid of” pile. I think as we learn to live with less spending we’ll find we also need less “stuff.” And a little purging is a great co-challenge to no spending!!

Let us know how you’re going to cut back on spending!