Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. But I'm afraid God might ask me the same question.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Low Down on Februray No Spend Month

My February No Spend Month starts next week. 
I'm nervous excited.  I love how when I posted about it a few weeks back everyone was asking me the "rules".  Basically, last year I was winging it and trying to save money so my man and I could go on a trip-a.l.o.n.e.-somewhere with sunshine.  

  But I really enjoyed appreciated the challenge.  We live on a rather tight budget but it was amazing to see how all the little things add up when you take them all away.   This year I want to add in a "Simply my Life" factor, which is really more like an escape from consumerism.  After reading the book "7"  which I talked about HERE, I realize that there is always room to cut out the excesses.  I really want to stay away from the vicious consumer cycle as much as I can and February is my chance to put things in perspective.  So here is what I am doing this month and a few of my lessons learned or cheat strategies I learned from last year.  

Every penny of our spendable cash for the month of February will be monitored very closely.  So we will still be paying our mortgage, electric bill and all that jazz.   I will only spend money on MUST haves like milk, fresh produce, gas and doctor visits...but those purchases will be tracked. 
  What I learned from last year is to plan for the expected.  Last year I got caught off guard by Valentine's Day.  I don't know why but I didn't even think about it and I ended up resenting having to spend $60 on trashy candy and valentines for the kids to take to their school and little gifts for my kids that day.  This year I am proclaiming myself a planner and picking those things up this week so I don't have to use my February budget money.   So think of birthdays or other times you may know of in advance and take care of them this week. 
  Also, I know I will have a few more days of down time since I will be slashing a lot of my errands... I want to paint one of my bathrooms so I bought paint yesterday and I will paint in February.  I guess you could call that cheating but I'm not using February money to do it, so I am just calling myself a planner. 
 If you want to stop here, I get it...but this year I am taking it a step further

Now for the Simply my Life (Escape from Consumerism) factor: 
 I know this will put me in a whole new league of crazy for a lot of people but I am up for the challenge.  Especially because I am an all or nothing kind of girl.  
I am going to use my time away from consumerism to PURGE!  I want/need to have less stuff to have to keep track of.  We do NOT need 1700 different clothing options in this house when there are so many people in this world who have so little.  We will be purging everything that we do not absolutely LOVE!  And to make this hit home a little better...we are all going to pick out our 7 favorite outfits and wear them once a week for 4 weeks.  I am not a clothes loving girly girl so this will probably be very easy and actually refreshing to me.  It will also cut out a lot of stress with the kids getting ready in the morning.  I doubt my husband will join in on this part of the crazy, as he actually has to look presentable everyday... I ,on the other hand do not, and it won't be a stretch for me to be wearing my favorite jeans or yoga pants nearly every day.  And maybe I will actually learn to appreciate my closet full of clothes :) 
I am also planning on making the same 7 dinners for the month... so the same 7 meals for 4 weeks.  This will REALLY simplify things around here.  I surely won't be stressing what to make for dinner every night.  And maybe, just maybe we will learn to appreciate that we have so many options and luxuries when so many do not.  Another benefit to this one is that I can go shopping now for the basic items so my February grocery bill will be much lower and I will only have to purchase the fresh necessities!  Score.  So far my menu is spaghetti, stir fry, chicken tacos, breakfast for dinner, and soup..  I still have a day or two to come up with the last two :) Any ideas on budget friendly meals is appreciated.  

So if you didn't think I was crazy before I surely just sealed the deal.  Is anyone still with me?  Is anyone intrigued?  Anyone? 

  All in all there are no "rules"... you can do it however you would like...or not at all.   I decided to start a F@cebook page for anyone who wants to join in and add to the conversation.  I would be so fun to commiserate, share tips, goals and the ups and downs of it all.  The FB link is up at the top of my blog for the month... come join in :)   


16 comments:

Amy said...

I really like this idea! I thought about it last year when I read about your adventures. And I thought about it again this year... I'm just making excuses about why we "can't." I hope you don't mind my lurking, though. And I've thought about maybe trying this a different month (since I"m totally not prepared to do it in February!). I really hope you don't mind my being a "lurker" on your FB board- I'm really intrigued by it! :)

Megan said...

UGGGGG! Darn you, Amy. Not sure I want to do this or not. I would for sure stock up on a million DIY supplies on the last day of January. The problem is something always goes wrong with my projects so a run to the store is always needed. I'm not that organized to plan ahead. I will think on it...I'd need a goal for the extra savings.

Jen Barbee said...

Call me crazy too, but I LOVE all these ideas! Headed to China on Friday - so I cannot even fathom joining in this year, but count me in next February!

Our family: said...

I love the whole idea and I can't wait to read the 7 book! Our society is so consumed with materialism it's very hard not to get trapped into all the consumerism. I find myself asking "does this item I want going to matter in 1 or 10 years?" Definitely not. "In 100?"No way. In the light of eternity, we have to keep our focus. Thank you for the challenge!!

The Beckman Compound said...

Send me your email address and I have some recipes you might like.

usamedtran@aol.com

Elizabeth said...

ok...i'm going to say 'yes' right now before i can think about it and change my mind : ) been wanting to do something like this and i'd much rather have the accountability and camaraderie of doing it together : ) i'll share it on my blog next week too. already got my valentine's goods so at least i am semi-prepared...here goes...

Sharon Ankerich said...

I LOVE all you are sharing too~ LOVE the 7 meal plan for sure and I think I could whittle my clothes choices down to 7 outfits too. Reading Organized Simplicity and this challenge goes right along with what I've read there so far. Thank you for the encouragement!!! Blessings!

Jen said...

was going to e mail you and ask about the rules. have been prepping the family for our trial run this february. We are right there with you. Keep us informed on progress. we have our valentines done so hoping for no more surpirise exprenses.

Jen

Gretchen Hill said...

We are in! My sweet Viv is in China for the month of February so I feel like I'm cheating but it will make it a ton easier:) Just me and my husband but I know I can get him to agree to the spending part...maybe not the clothes part since he, like your husband actually sees important people. Love love love the book, its not only thought provoking and challenging, it is absolutely hilarious!

Melissa said...

I'm in too! The only thing that may throw me is school stuff because my kids always have something going on that appears so last minute. I'm also looking forward in planning our dinners ahead. I'm so bad about going to the grocery store a few times a week to get what we need. We are also doing a variation of "7" as well. Read the book and loved it. We have sectioned our house into 7 areas and the plan is to reduce, reduce, reduce!

Kathleen said...

Hey girl! How about chicken pot pie for your other dinner? Stock up on the roll your own crust, only need one for the bottom - top w/cheese instead of a second crust - can used canned chicken, frozen veggies, cream of anything soup - SO cheap at Aldi! Seasoning it to your liking will totally make it taste yummy, and you've got to love meat/veggies all in one. Meatloaf and baked or roasted potatoes? Crazy cheap potatoes in bulk at Aldi, too. Black bean burgers from allrecipes.com rock...I'm not a good enough person to tackle the cut-back as extremely as you are, but I may start small and use your crew as a stepping stone for mine! : )

Laura said...

My friend Robin just introduced me to your blog. Great idea. I feel like I needed a bit more prep time so I won't be totally jumping in, just a "lite" version this year. Looking forward to being inspired!

Jocelyn said...

My husband and I have followed your adoption stories. We are in the process of adopting an 11 year old boy from Beijing, through WACAP. We have started the no spending Feb/March, to help us gather the funds we need for the Chinese government... Thanks for the idea! Let the savings begin!

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