What Happens When You Fail In Your No Spend Month

It’s never fun when you set out on a challenge, only to recognize that you couldn’t meet the goal. I feel as if Week 3 was a bit of a failure in our home and, while I’d rather be sharing with you all of the ways we saved, I have to admit: we spent money that wasn’t part of the challenge. Read on to find out why.

Tip: Want to have your own No Spend Month? Grab this FREE resource to help you find success! Get it HERE.

What We Did Well This Week

Of course, we did do a few things right this week. Once again, we were able to stay below our limit on groceries, although we got a little closer to the $100 budgeted amount, due to needing peanut butter and a couple of other staples. I still count that as a great success, though, because $125 is usually our budgeted amount so that extra $25 remains in savings.

I didn’t share our meal plan, because it included meals from both of the other meal plans I’ve already shared this month (you can find them HERE and HERE). In fact, our meal plans have been so successful this month that Justin, the main cook in our home, mentioned that he’d like to put together a weekly plan that we can repeat for the next month and continue saving money that way. I, for one, am super excited about that!

What We Spent Money On

Wednesday of last week the handle on our barbecue grill exploded. I had no idea that grill handles had sand and gravel inside of them, but we found that out as a shower of both landed on our back deck. It wasn’t a pretty scene.

For many, that wouldn’t be a big issue, I mean, it’s almost November, and we are heading into the chillier winter months soon, but for our family: our barbecue grill is similar to a major appliance. We use it year-round and almost every night of the week so, having it out of commission meant that…well, we really didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

Recognizing that we were participating in a No Spend Challenge, we took a couple of days to consider the options. Justin cooked a whole batch of chicken on the broken grill, using a potholder to try to catch the dust and dirt before it hit the chicken and, while it was successful for that meal, we couldn’t imagine doing that each and every night, even for the two weeks left in the challenge. So, Saturday morning we went down to Home Depot and bought a new grill.

You know when I said that everyone is putting their grills away for the winter? Well, the cool thing is that we got an excellent deal on a six-burner grill. It made a great replacement for the one we had before, and Justin cooked some amazing steaks to christen it that night.

What Feels Like Failure Actually Points to Success

Of course, I could choose to look at this major purchase as a failure for our No Spend Challenge and, in reality, it is…but I have to remember that the purchase of this barbecue actually points to so many successes:

Success #1: We are participating in this No Spend Challenge and attempting to make it work for our family. I know I wouldn’t have even considered it a year ago so that is a huge success. Additionally, we’ve still managed to save money to meet our original “No Spend” goal, and that’s exciting to see!

Success #2: We have such a carefully designed budget, specific to our needs, so our Household Fund (which I put money into each and every month) was fully funded and ready to handle the expense of the new barbecue grill. It might mean that we wait a little longer to do things such as painting the interior of our home, but it isn’t something we have to pay back, and that single purchase won’t get us off track in meeting our other goals.

Success #3: We didn’t even consider using our credit cards. Like, it didn’t even cross our minds that they were an option. Eighteen months ago, they would have been our go-to…so that is a major success and something to celebrate.

What the No Spend Challenge is Teaching Us

While a No Spend Challenge is supposed to be for the purpose of saving money, I believe it’s offered my family much more than that. We have learned that we can live on a lot less than we typically budget in several categories of our budget. While we could spend $100 on Miscellaneous expenses each and every month, we zeroed that category out this month and haven’t missed it yet. Additionally, we’ve found that we can live on a lot less in the food category and, do it in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

The entire family, kids included, are starting to recognize the value of a single dollar and consider that a few of those dollars add up quickly. We are making smarter choices with those small purchases and are actually excited to do so. Justin and I have also started discussing ways we can cut further, including possibly letting go of the cable for the winter (I’ll keep you updated on that). It’s a big step for us, and I know we wouldn’t even be considering it if we hadn’t embarked on this challenge.

The Week 4 Plan

And so, the Brumley family is heading into Week 4 with gusto, ready to successfully complete this No Spend Challenge that has taught us so much already. We spent $92.48 on food this week (saving an additional $7.52) and plan to refrain from any additional expenses.

I’d love to know what you are learning in your own No Spend Challenge this month. Leave a comment below and let us know! Also – have you checked out Andrea’s No Spend Update? If not, you should definitely do so! You can find it HERE.

Tip: Want to have your own No Spend Month? Grab this FREE resource to help you find success! Get it HERE.