November was shaping up to be a bit of a high-spend month for us with two planned trips out of town (one for my work, one for Thanksgiving) and houseguests from Korea. In an effort to maintain our progress towards debt repayment, I’ve decided to challenge myself to have as many $0 spending days as possible this month–a minimum of one per week.
My goal with this challenge was to encourage more mindful spending practices. At first, it was causing some bad habits, like on days a bill was paid that $0 spending wasn’t possible, I’d give myself permission to buy a soda or coffee. Also, last week was an especially trying emotional week for me, and there were a couple days I succumbed to emotional spending that otherwise would have been successful $0 spend days, and that felt overwhelming.
Now that I’m a bit further into the month, I feel that the challenge is starting to accomplish what I hoped it would. I am more aware of what my family (and especially what–eek–I am) is spending day to day. I have made significant efforts to create habits that will allow us to go longer between spending money (using up groceries, planning gas trips, choosing free entertainment, planning snacks and meals more completely, etc.). These habits are starting to become part of my routine, which is counteracting the “permission” to spend that buying gas or groceries had been. My family is getting into the Zero Spend Days challenge by proposing free activities, such as a walk in our neighborhood (see above picture of H making a silly face).
On November 8, 15, 18, and 19, our family spent $0 (also on October 31, so the once per week in November minimum has been met). I find the spending report with $0s to be very motivating. I feel the desire to keep a “streak” going whenever I can. While November may still end up with higher than average spending, it’s not out of control, and I will definitely continue this challenge into December with a goal of at least two days each week with no spending and a no spend weekend.
Have you tried a Zero Spend Day challenge? How did it go?