Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No Spend Month: Begins February 10th

I've managed to live on cash in envelopes before. It isn't something that I haven't tried-that I don't know if it does. It works, and it works really well! We have more income than we did when I tried it before, but our living expenses have actually decreased. This should give us a bigger surplus you would think. It hasn't. We have just increased our spending because we could. That stops today.

Friday begins the NO SPEND Month. (technically I am preparing for it today)

Preparation and Planning begins with a savvy shopping trip to the grocery store. I want to get the most food and supplies that are possible for the least amount of money. I will shop at the local ALDI store, The local Crash and Dent store, and every purchase every grocery stores' loss leaders that we use. (Those items that are marked waaaayy down in the flyers just to get you into the store.)

Once the food is purchased we will bring it home and write out menus for the week. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks. (Hoping to spend under $200- this is to stock the pantry, fridge, and cupboards for the Month! Feb 10th - March 10th) Remember to buy in bulk: Eggs, Flour, Maple Syrup, Corn Meal....pantry staples. So that items can be made from scratch.

On Friday both vehichles will be topped off with gas-filled. Miles will have to be watched, because the $15 a day includes putting gas in the car.

Next, on Friday we will fill 7 envelopes with $15 in each one. This = $105 Total for the week. $105...that is plenty. Every day you have a new $15 to spend on anything that is important. Or you can save it as surplus. I have an envelope in the back called : Fun Money. I put the extra from the week in that envelope. If there is a surplus, say $20, then the Mr. and I can go out to dinner at our local diner for the early bird special ;) No, I don't add the extra from the week to my savings account, because it is my fun money--and I believe in being rewarded for a job well done.

The money is replenished $15 in each of the 7 envelopes the next week, and every subsequent week.

There may be a week that something comes up, and you have to borrow from the next day. It happens sometimes that you are borrowing from yourself. (At least it isn't a credit card that you are borrowing from :) Things like kids sports fees, school pictures, Doctor co-pays, medicine....these are necessities and we take them out of the checkbook, not the $15 a day. The $15 a day is there to fill in any food staples that you run out of, add gas to the car, and incidentals that come up. The whole goal is to have something left from the surplus in the bank account (from your source of income), after the $105 cash has been taken out,  at the end of the pay period to put in savings.

So if for example (this is not our income, and may not be yours, so please adjust it accordingly :) you make $505 a week. Take out the $105 = $400 - $200 bills= $200 left for the week in surplus. Let it sit and plan to save it at the end of the week. Grow the emergency fund and/or the vacation fund with the surplus.

One benefit from doing the no spend month is creativity in cooking and reinventing leftovers, healthier eating from scratch, the satisfaction of making it through a week with an envelope surplus.

We are starting this Friday February 10th. Join us, or follow along if you'd like. Frugality Posts Galore this next 4 weeks...

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