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Day 23) The Magic of No-Spend Days

Welcome to Day 23 of Where’s My Money Going? Month! This February 2009, I’m challenging readers (and myself) to track spending manually for 28 days. Don’t worry if you’re late to the party, you’re still welcome to join. Consider tracking your spending into March.

This isn’t the first month I’ve had no-spend days, or even no-spend days in a row. But normally I don’t notice, they just pass me by. Now, around 9pm, I’m at the computer asking Micah “Did you spend anything today?” (though normally he leaves the receipts in one place)

Because I’m paying attention, I’ve noticed how often the answer is “nope.” I’ve also noticed how often I haven’t spent anything either. Several days ago, there was a great conversation on this post about no-spend days and how they limit impulse purchases. Diane compared spending after a no-spend day to “breaking the spell.”

I agree, at least on purchases I hadn’t been planning. Weekly groceries don’t break the spell for me, but the thought that today could be a no-spend day if I held back on an impulse item. I suppose that’s because no-spend days are fun when you’re trying to save your money, they’re good for the self-esteem. They make you feel like “Yes, I am succeeding at my goals!”

If one of your goals is to cut down on spending, spend more carefully, or something similar, then I suggest you take a quick scan over whatever you’ve been using for a spending log this month. How many no-spend days do you see? I’ve had 8 so far.

This post was part of Where’s My Money Going? Month.

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Financial Tracking Takeaways
February 26, 2009 at 7:04 am


Kristi February 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm

I am loving this manual posting (almost) everyday. If we haven’t spent, I post NO SPENDING for that day. I have four for the month with a good chance at one today. Thanks for sponsoring this month of tracking. I have really learned a lot and enjoyed it.

Stephanie PTY February 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

17 no-spend days in February.

But I’m a broke college student (for the rest of this week, anyway… then I become a broke unemployed college graduate), so, uh, don’t anyone use me as a basis of comparison, please!

DIY Joe February 23, 2009 at 3:18 pm

5 NSD’s so far and maybe up to 5 more through the end of the month. I have enough leftovers in the fridge for work lunches this week, so that is a major hurdle cleared for me.

Jamie loves February 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I’m counting 5 ‘no spend’ days thus far. I will have maybe 2 this week.

I’ve been putting ‘absolutely nothing’ on my blog, as my spending record for that day, and that feels really really good for some odd reason.

Diane February 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm

So far this month I’ve had 11 ‘no spend’ days! And 3 of the days I did spend were only prescriptions. That’s more than usual because my son had the flu early in the month & I had to get meds 2 days in a row.

Keep in mind I don’t leave the house every day, because I work at home, so my ‘spend’ days are always grouped around errands.

I agree that necessary spending (like groceries or meds) doesn’t feel like de-railing the NSD process. But I DO think twice before spending without real need, if it will make an NSD into a spend day!

“Magic” is the word for the NSDs! I’ve never counted them up before, and it really is motivating to see the number going up… I’m loving it! 🙂

Think I’ll start a new page in my excel workbook to track NSDs each month – LOL!

Laura in Atlanta February 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm

i love love love tracking NSDs . . . such fun and yes, they really do stop you from a lot of impulse spending!!!!

The longest I went was 28 NSDs in a row. And that was of ANY KIND spending. I’d love to do that again!

Diane February 23, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Laura – 28 Days in a row? Wow! I’m not sure how you did that. It would definitely take some planning ahead for me! Surely something unexpected would come up in 28 days…

I’m happy with 11 in a month so far and planning on a few more by the end of the month.

Ron February 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

I’ve gone as much as six weeks without spending anything but that was in college, in a dorm, with a meal card!

I regularly can go without spending today but that’s mostly because I have a company car and a company credit card. We’ve hit three no spending days so far this month personally though!

Laura in Atlanta February 24, 2009 at 8:27 pm

My 28 days . . . was a result of a challenge from a friend who had gone 31 days and bought ONLY gasoline (once) and cat food.

She said her cat was not subject to the challenge, so buying cat food was okay.

But yah. My 28 days was HARD. I got down to nothing to eat. Seriously, my fridge had mustard and pickles and olives.

Roger February 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm

It is a great feeling. I remember, when I kept a log of all my credit card purchases (which I’ll have to start doing again), it was always fun to see how long it was since I last spent any money, and to see if I could break that streak next time. Something to look forward to when I try this.

Diane February 25, 2009 at 12:56 am

LOL Laura – well, that explains it! That would be quite a challenge

Since I have 2 sons – 1 in high school & 1 in college – I would have to exempt them, as well as the dog and the cat… When it comes to kids, even older ones, something unexpected always comes up.

As for the animals, I could be sure to stock up on supplies in advance, but what would that prove?

I guess I would consider groceries, medicine, gas & pet food to be necessities.

At some point I might consider trying to do a month with no “unplanned” spending for anything optional.

Laura in Atlanta February 25, 2009 at 8:50 am

Challenges are fun, Diane . . . so good luck! I’m currently challenging myself to go one month drinking water only. Period. No coffee, no tea . . . water only. After a few days of caffenine withdrawal ;-), I’ve been doing good!

With my No Spending Challenge, it wasnt to ‘prove’ anything, it was more of a ‘why did I buy this taco today, when I have perfectly good food at home to eat’ . . . it was more of a challenge to ‘use up’ what I already had. So, I actually didn’t prepare for the challenge, I just started one day with no spending, and kept it up until I was down to Pickles, mustard and olives. 😉

My recent challenge? . . . and this is tough for me – buying NO books in 2009. Period. I am an extremely avid reader and I read upwards of 100 books a year, mostly nonfiction and history. So, i would on average buy 2 new books a month and even more in used book stores. This year? 2009? Nope, baby! Library and borrowing from friends, familty is the way to go! Not sure how long I will last (it’s only February ;-)) but so far, so good!

Diane February 25, 2009 at 11:51 am

Laura – no tea and no books for a whole year? This is sounding rough…

I’ve been working at drinking more water for some time. Soft drinks are a special treat on pizza night or with a burger – once a week or so. BUT I love my hot tea with milk & sugar in the morning. I don’t think I would give that up.

I love books too, & have tried to use the library more. However, certain special-interest books are not available & I use them for reference & to re-read, so I buy those (mostly on dog behavior & training).

Good luck with your 2009 challenges – you’re certainly a determined woman!

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