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What is a No Spend Challenge?

Maybe you have heard all of these finance gurus talking about "No Spend Months," but you have NO clue what they mean. Here are a few starting points..

  I have been talking a ton about No Spend Challenges lately, but I have received a TON of questions about them! I have done a few No Spend Months during my debt free journey that have allowed me to get ahead on paying on my student loans. To me, a No Spend Month is like a diet “cleanse” or detox. When you do a body detox, you are attempting to feel better by cleaning out the toxins and excess weight that your body is holding onto. When I do a No Spend Month, I cut out any “fun spending” and look at the fun things to do for free instead. I am cutting out excess spending to see what is more important. During October 2017, I was able to put my whole full time paycheck towards debt and just live off of my waitressing money because I barely had any expenses. In January 2018, I was able to put over $2,500 towards my student loans right after I lost my full time temporary job. These challenges have played an essential role in my debt free journey at a few of the most challenging points since I started. Maybe you have heard people say things like “No Spend Month.” Or, this month I had “15 No Spend Days!” Well here is where it finally all gets explained if you are feeling in the dark! Here are a few of the frequently asked questions to help clear up any confusion! What is a No Spend Challenge? Like I said above, a no spend challenge is kind of like a detox. It is a period of time that you allow yourself to say no and cut out any excess spending. I cut out EVERYTHING. No Restaurants. No extra coffee stops. Not ordering pizza when you don’t feel like cooking. This challenge is designed to get you to think about where your money is going. This challenge does not include bills. When I say that I didn’t spend any money all month, guys. My bills are still getting paid. Money is still going…

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Budget Tips, Food, No Spend Month Tips

How This Single, Millennial Spends Less than $200 a Month on Groceries!

Saving money on food can be one of the hardest things sometimes! I mean, you need it to survive, right? I have done good about keeping my grocery budget under $150 a month! Here are a few of my tips on how to keep your grocery budget low!

I recently posted a picture of my budget on Instagram and I have been talking about my No Spend Month Budget a lot lately. My grocery budget for the month is usually about $150-200 a month! A ton of people have asked me how it is possible. During my No Spend Months, I often cut it down to $100. I will start by saying that I do not fall into “organic” traps. I don’t have any special dietary needs and I haven’t cut any major food groups out of my diet. While I think there is a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, I also think that life is far too short to deny yourself of anything you want. Your body is also designed to run off of all three macros. That being said, I am not a nutritionist, so you don’t have to listen to what I am saying about food! People are asking, so I am sharing the raw truth of how I eat so cheap so I can pay off more debt. In 2017, I paid of more than $15,000 in 12 months and I have continued to pick up the momentum with every month so far in 2018. Here is how I keep my grocery budget under $200. I work in a restaurant I could write a whole post about how working in a restaurant has cut my grocery budget! This is probably my number one reason my budget is so incredibly low. I spend 40+ hours in the restaurant most weeks. At least one day a week, I am there from open to close, which usually means that I eat 2-3 “meals” at the restaurant. If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know there is usually “dead”/extra or messed up food that is up for grabs. There are nights of eating wings that were tossed in the wrong sauce or extra fried chicken that was never used. I am definitely not saying it is the healthiest, but it works and it’s free. I always make sure that the food is extra before…

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Budget Tips, Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Things To Prepare for a No Spend Challenge

Preparing for a no spend challenge is extremely important.

I have been on my debt free journey for almost exactly a year now! One thing that has helped me tremendously with paying off $15,000 on a $30,000 income was No Spend Months! They may seem a little crazy, but you can accomplish anything in 30 days if you set your mind to it! No Spend Months are great for resetting your finances after a splurge or really just focusing in on what you already have. The last year of 2017 has been a bit of a cheat week for me because my roommate came home from her military training for Christmas break. I haven’t exactly stuck to my budget, but I also budgeted to splurge (All in cash). Does that mean I’m not breaking the budget? I am making January a no spend month for me, but you can definitely do it any month out of the year. I will probably have multiple throughout 2018 and beyond. Whether your goal is to not spend for one week, a month, or even a whole year, you have to be realistic about your goals. Everyone has to set their own rules for a no spend month. The best thing you can do for your goals is to prepare for obstacles that might come up throughout your no spend time. Here are 5 things to do to prepare for a No Spend Challenge: 1. Set your goal. When setting your goal, really think about why you want to do this challenge. Is it because you know you have been spending too much? Or maybe you have too much stuff in the house already and you are going to focus on getting rid of stuff and not bringing more in. Another great goal is to pay off the rest of a debt. If you are super close on one of your snowball accounts, maybe the whole point is to really focus on getting that student loan/credit card/car loan gone! When preparing for your no spend month, make a list of the things that you hope to get out of this month. I don’t recommend your…

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Debt Free Journey Reports, Money

October’s Debt Free Journey Report

October is so great for fall activities and some of the best foods on the planet. It was also a FANTASTIC month for my debt free journey. I did a NO Spend Month and made sure that I was only spending money on groceries, gas, and prebudgeted things. See here how I paid off $2000+ in one month on a SINGLE income.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! If you would like to read more about how this works, check out my Disclosure Policy! My Story If you have been following my story at all, you probably know that I tell my story at the beginning of every monthly report for those who just stumbled upon my blog. I gain different followers every month and I don’t want anyone to feel blind as they find my posts! If you have read my story, feel free to skip ahead to my monthly report. I tell this story so I am not just some stranger, but instead someone who just might inspire each and every reader to follow the same journey! My name is Elyse. I am 22, single with no kids and I am proudly on my way to being completely debt freeeee. I never really thought of myself as someone who was in debt. With no credit cards and no car payment, I was not the average American.  All I had was a few student loans. It wasn’t until a few weeks before my 22nd birthday that I got a loan for a Jeep and my very first credit card. I should say credit card(S). For the month of December, I thought it was so cool that I finally had a credit card. I was excited over it actually. I was learning about all the different rewards I could cash in and it was fantastic. Towards the end of the month, I was cleaning off a bookshelf, getting ready to move (again), and found The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. This $15 book completely changed my life path at the time. Dave describes being debt free as such a rewarding and achievable thing. In his book, he says it will take work and it will be hard, but it will be worth it. He has been right.…

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Debt Free Journey Reports

September’s Debt Free Journey Report

I know October is going to be a great month of paying debts off. This month I will pay off my smallest student loan! Find out how September went!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! If you would like to read more about how this works, check out my Disclosure Policy! My Story If you have been following my story at all, you probably know that I tell my story at the beginning of every monthly report for those who just stumbled upon my blog. I gain different followers every month and I don’t want anyone to feel blind as they find my posts! If you have read my story, feel free to skip ahead to my monthly report. I tell this story so I am not just some stranger, but instead someone who just might inspire each and every reader to follow the same journey! My name is Elyse. I am 22, single with no kids and I am proudly on my way to being completely debt freeeee. I never really thought of myself as someone who was in debt. With no credit cards and no car payment, I was not the average American.  All I had was a few student loans. It wasn’t until a few weeks before my 22nd birthday that I got a loan for a Jeep and my very first credit card. I should say credit card(S). For the month of December, I thought it was so cool that I finally had a credit card. I was excited over it actually. I was learning about all the different rewards I could cash in and it was fantastic. Towards the end of the month, I was cleaning off a bookshelf, getting ready to move (again), and found The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. This $15 book completely changed my life path at the time. Dave describes being debt free as such a rewarding and achievable thing. In his book, he says it will take work and it will be hard, but it will be worth it. He has been right.…

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Money

8 Things I Learned From NOT Spending Money

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! Thank you! You can read more about it in my Disclosure Policy.  During the Month of April, I spent almost no money. I feel like I did great on my no spend month compared to what I expected. I didn’t pay off as much as I hoped I would have, but it was still super exciting to push myself to get creative. The whole debt free journey has taught me a lot about what is important to me and what I can live without. I think the thing it has taught me the most is that no great journey is ever as easy as “just the numbers.” I can make my spreadsheet with my budget look fantastic, but it is all about when that paycheck comes in and how I handle it. 8 Things I have Learned by Not Spending Money 1) I don’t eat out nearly as much as I thought During my no spend month, it wasn’t actually that hard to not eat out, but now that I am out of it, I have eaten out more in May than I would have all month if I would have just done it in moderation during April. It seems to go in spurts. Some weeks I am on top of planning and others I am not as good about it. Right now I am trying to get back off my binge from eating out because I have probably eaten out six times since the beginning of May! Eeek. I need to get back into the swing of things. My biggest struggle was probably planning breakfast. When I am on the go, I have very little time for breakfast in the morning, but it is a meal that I will not skip. I found myself giving in to breakfast on the way to work a few times during the month. Lack of planning really…

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Debt Free Journey Reports

April Debt Free Journey Report

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! Thank you! My Story If you have been following my story at all, you probably know that I tell my story at the beginning of every monthly report for those who just stumbled upon my blog. If you have read my story, feel free to skip ahead to my monthly report. I tell this story so I am not just some stranger, but instead someone who just might inspire each and every reader to follow the same journey! My name is Elyse. I am 22, single with no kids and I am proudly on my way to being completely debt freeeee. I never really thought of myself as someone who was in debt. With no credit cards and no car payment, I was not the average American.  All I had was a few student loans. It wasn’t until a few weeks before my 22nd birthday that I got a loan for a Jeep and my very first credit card. I should say credit card(S). For the month of December, I thought it was so cool that I finally had a credit card. I was excited over it actually. I was learning about all the different rewards I could cash in and it was fantastic. Towards the end of the month, I was cleaning off a bookshelf, getting ready to move (again), and found The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. This $15 book completely changed my life path at the time. Dave describes being debt free as such a rewarding and achievable thing. In his book, he says it will take work and it will be hard, but it will be worth it. He has been right. There have been days were I have completely questioned my sanity. I sometimes wonder why I don’t just make minimum payments forever like everyone else. “Sometimes, you have to like like NO ONE…

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Millennial Stuff, Money

Why I Don’t Regret My $29K In Student Loan Debt

Student loans are such a dumb and tricky debt when it comes to a debt snowball. I started this journey with about $29,000 in student loan debt left to pay. Most people would say that $29,000 isn’t too bad for a Bachelor’s. But I don’t have my degree. All of my general education credits are complete. I just need to decide what degree to pursue and commit to it. The main problem with that is that I have zero idea what I want to pursue as a degree. When I go back, I have about a year left on my degree. If you have missed my story, check it out on my about me page.  I have paid off over $15,000 in debt in one year, and plan to finish October 2018. If you want to check out my current progress, check out my Debt Free Journey Reports.  The Dave Ramsey book changed my life and outlook on money. I refuse to get into anymore debt, because of The Total Money Makeover. A lot of people have asked me if I regret taking out student loans or if I wish I would have done it differently. My student loans are almost 100% of the reason that I have debt. They are the reason that I am on this debt free journey. I have student loans because I lived in the dorms during my freshman year. ($10,000) I believe that every student should live on campus for at least one semester. I met one of my favorite people from living in the dorms. My roommate was amazing and she was so much fun! Alie and I have so many memories from living together because she was my first “random” roommate outside of the military. She taught me to understand that everyone is different. She also taught me that we both lied on our roommate preferences sheet and still got paired together. Living in the dorms during my freshman year was practical, convenient, and insanely helpful to my freshman education. After moving out of the dorms, it was easier to skip class and…

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Money

Week Three: NO Spend Month

The farther that I get into the month, the more I find myself slipping up or at least considering it. Week Three was way harder than I expected it to be. I clocked out with 66.85 hours this week. It was a STRUGGLE because I was so tired by Sunday. Sunday’s are usually my organization days, but I had a lot on my to do list. I still needed to drive back to my parents. Meal prep, go to the gym, and get some stuff done for work. Good News for the week: My dad fixed my brakes on my Jeep, so all is great! I am finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to keep up with my writing. I would rather be writing than working a billion hours, but I am also working some extra hours to pay off my debts. I can’t wait to get into a routine where everything actually works out, but I am slowly working on it! This week I learned a lot about staying organized and prioritizing when it does come to my free time. I also learned that after 13 hours at work, I have very little will power when it comes to food. SPENT DURING WEEK FOUR: Super Saver Groceries   $  31.15 Sam’s Club Gas:       $ 25.00 Additional Gas: $10.00 Total: 66.15 Spent this week 16.15 Over Budget Paid Off: Student Loan #1: $104 Jeep: $77.88 Total Debt Paid Off This Month: $1,088

Money

Week Two: No Spend Month

  The holiday and work made week two a little hectic, but I am finally sitting down to get caught up! Have you ever had something totally unexpected happen and it was completely out of your control? Well Sunday while I was at drill, I get a call from my roommate asking me if I paid the water bill. Yes. I did. She tells me that the water isn’t working in our entire apartment. I ask her to check with the neighbor and sure enough the entire complex is without water. I get home that night. The weather is warm for this time of year and we have nothing cold to drink in the apartment. I met with someone at Target to sell an item from one of the Facebook For Sale pages. As soon as I got that money, I went into Target to get a gallon of water (which I am usually against buying water, but it had to happen). As I was walking to check out, I saw cake mixes for $1 and frosting for $1.50. I gave in and got the supplies for two cakes. Brittney and I spend our water-less evening making cakes. While I still count it as part of my grocery budget, it definitely wasn’t the kind of spending I had planned. It was so worth it though. It gave us something to do instead of complain about the lack of water in our apartment and we spent most of the evening laughing in the kitchen. I managed to make it through the drill weekend without spending money on lunch or any other food cravings. That being said, I have a long list of restaurants that I can’t wait to eat. One major lesson I have learned from the No Spend Month is that you don’t have to give into your food cravings. The other night, I desperately wanted Taco Johns. I didn’t give in. Instead I went home and used some chicken to make chicken tacos and I happened to have tater tots in the freezers. What could have cost $8-12 for…

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