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 and no degree as of right now. 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. That’s a story for another day. 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 don’t regret my student loans one bit.

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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Money

Week One: No Spend Month

My first week of my #NoSpendMonth was GREAT! Read about how I spent less than $50 on everything I needed this week!

Week One of my No Spend Challenge was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had a few ups and downs as I expected, but I really think I excelled all week! Thank goodness for my Instagram #debtfreecommunity. HUGE shout out to The Budget Awakens and Frugal Desperado for doing this challenge with me! All three of these have been amazing sources for me when I wondered if this challenge was really worth it! Buying supplies for my no spend challenge The few days before, I spent $21.43 at Super Saver getting chicken, fruit, veggies, and other stuff to make for my meals this week. Then I spend $25 at Sam’s Club getting enough toilet paper to last through the apocalypse and coffee creamer for the rest of the year. They were both killer good deals and I won’t worry about needing them for a while so I am not constantly using my small budget this month to buy items. (Update: I bought the toilet paper in March and I still have a ton left in August. My coffee creamer lasted until July.) I put $25 worth of gas into my Jeep! Gas is probably going to be the hardest part of this month because it doesn’t really matter if I go over budget, I have to go to work. That being said, I have been trying to monitor how often I am driving places and if I can make multiple trips into one instead of driving all over town! Most of my driving is to and from work and the gym. I had to buy more pre-workout and ended up spending $90 at Max Muscle (They still gave me a killer deal) for some pre-workout. BCAA’s are good for sore muscles and recovery. Since I have been insanely sore after my last few workouts, I decided to give it a try. I had a little bit of money in my supplement fund. While it was an impulse, it was worth it to get me through week one. Week One of my No Spend Challenge! I think I…

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Food, Money

The Number One Grocery Shopping Secret to NEVER Going Over Budget Again!

Are you constantly going to the grocery store, dropping a ton of money, and wondering where it went! This is the grocery shopping secret that will save you tons of money on your budget!

  I love to eat.  I will be super honest about it too. 90% of my day is spend eating or planning out the next time I am going to eat. When I am on a good workout routine, I eat every 2-3 hours. This means that groceries seem to be a never ending expense and it gets old! I honestly feel like I go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week, but I know it isn’t that often. I can’t believe how often I have to go back to the store to get one thing or another. It is so easy to drop $100 at the grocery store and walk away feeling like you barely have meals for the next week! Also, you probably forgot the one main thing that you went to buy from the grocery store. Does this sound familiar? One thing that helps is that I attempt to only go to the store once a week. Even though I try to make it in the fewest trips possible, it can get so expensive if I am not paying attention to what I am putting into my cart. I try to always go with a list so I know what I am going into get. Along with anyone trying to save money, I have read over so many “Save XX amount on groceries” articles. So many that I can hardly remember most of them. I slowly started saving money, but it wasn’t until I started waitressing that I actually realized the best way to save money. Groceries is always a struggle because it is an essential purchase. We can’t just stop eating, but it is expensive. Whenever someone is looking for budgeting advice, they are usually asking for ways to cut grocery costs. It is one of the easiest things to spend money on, but it is also one of the easiest places to cut from as well.