No spend January – how did I do?

Regular readers will be aware that, like many people in the new year, Christmas had left my bank account feeling rather depleted. I resolved to make January a no spend month, buying nothing except essentials. I paid the bills, planned our meals to use up what we already had and then kept grocery spending as low as I could. I bought petrol but tried to minimise how much I used the car and drove like a granny so I didn’t use so much fuel. I didn’t need any cleaning products and won’t do for a few months. I bought no clothes, books or makeup. Even the cats have had to get used to a cheaper brand of food!

Did I have any slips? Well, yes, I caved and bought hair dye as I had a grey stripe on my head, I bought popcorn and snacks for my daughters from Lidl when we went to the cinema (they treated us as they had vouchers). On Friday at work I was a bit hormonal and gave in to a bar of chocolate from the vending machine (80p! Could have got a pack of 4 for £1 elsewhere). 

Other than that I have done really well – so well I am extending this into a no spend February. None of this is really a stretch for me as I am frugal nearly all the time anyway, but declaring a no spend month keeps me hyper aware of my every purchase. If I am going to create a healthy emergency fund I need to do this.

I really need a haircut at some point so that might be an allowed exception. It is also Valentine’s Day. We never go over the top with this but will have a nice meal in and I plan to make Mr S a present. (Not sure what yet but it is likely to be edible!). Because it actually IS the thought that counts.

We will need every spare penny over the next couple of months as Mr S is installing a woodburner. This was my birthday present a year and a half ago but for various reasons other things have taken priority and it has been sitting in its box waiting to be fitted. He will do everything himself except line the chimney so it shouldn’t be too expensive, but we will redecorate and freshen up the whole room. He has damaged the wallpaper, adding to the damage already inflicted by the kitten! I don’t intend to use any savings for this project, it will mean being super frugal and cutting back elsewhere.

It’s been an interesting month for my blog. I made a new year resolution to write a decent post every day and the number of views I get has doubled. I am chuffed, so thanks to those of you who have read my whitterings!

How about you? Did anyone else do a no spend month or are you planning to?

10 thoughts on “No spend January – how did I do?

  1. You’ve done really well, especially as January can seem such a long month.

    We are going to be low spend for the next two or three months as we want to have some work done to the house so we need to boost the savings. We have a birthday trip out planned, the only cost will be petrol as the venue is free entry and I’ll make a picnic, I think that’s about it. All other energy will go into using things up, getting out into the garden if the weather is suitable etc. Here’s to a good month!

  2. Well done on your No Spend January and this being extended to a No Spend February. Sadly, if we all did this, the economy would collapse, tee-hee! Only joking!
    I enjoy your blog posts and have been reading you every day and attempting, too, to comment (sorry if my comments are long! That’s an infliction I have never overcome; blame it on being able to touch-type as fast as I speak; in my day, before computers, anyone who worked as a secretary (PA today) needed such typing skills.)
    We try and spend wisely all the time although I confess to having bought two books from Amazon this month, a room spray and a wardrobe spray from http://www.frenchsoaps.co.uk . But we only spend what we know we can afford.
    I have also managed to post fairly regularly (although not every day) on my blog, which I find great fun.
    I have never craved a wood-burning stove – maybe the only person in the UK who doesn’t want one, but I expect it will be lovely when it is installed and all that work finished! When I watch Escape to the Country I’m always amazed at the things people want and top of the list seems a wood-burning stove, then an ‘island’ in the kitchen (which I think would be an obstacle which impeded my progress!), and a range cooker (I don’t want to crouch down to get heavy casseroles from an oven close to the floor, give me my wall-mounted Neff every day!)
    Look forward to your next post,
    Margaret P
    http://www.margaretpowling.com

  3. Well done on getting through January and good luck for February. I often feel Feb is the worst month to get through – we’ve eaten Christmas leftovers, it’s still cold and then our senses are assaulted by the colour red as supermarkets try to persuade us we are nothing without a Valentine Card or a lavish pressie!

    I’m now on a year long “No Spend on Stuff” and I’m having to constantly having to remind myself about it. My friend told me about a jumble sale coming up this weekend, at first I thought “Bargains, yippee”, then I remembered I don’t need anything (except a massive cash injection!!!). I’m going on a Seed Swap allotment event instead.

    Interesting and challenging times ahead for us both

    Linda x

  4. I managed to come in at 95% of my planned budget, so that’s an extra 5% still sitting in my account, which I’m VERY pleased about! 🙂

    I always start my new year resolutions on 1st Feb because by then all the Christmas temptations are long gone, and I’ve had the month of January to devote to properly deciding what I’m going to do, rather than the last minute panic when I used to suddenly remember I needed to think of something on New Years Eve!
    I also use this 6-7 week period before the start of spring at the equinox in March (which also coincides with our wedding anniversary, so a double reason to celebrate!) as my version of Lent, so boosted by my successes in January I’m entering this next period feeling very positive! 🙂

    • Well done! Starting the New Year resolutions on 1st Feb is SUCH a good idea and one that I am going to do next year. I made the usual healthier eating resolution but with Christmas goodies still around I failed almost as soon as I started! My new month resolution for this Feb is to try and cut 5% from my already seriously pared down budget.

  5. Not many slip ups in January – well done! I don’t dye my hair – am in my early 60s – and it is very liberating, not just financially either! You will love your woodburner – hope you are already on the lookout for free sources of fuel as it can get quite expensive otherwise. Good luck for February! Vicki

  6. I tried an extra low spend January even though I have already cut down as much as I can. I found that I still spent right up to my usual budget. But….never say never…..I am going to try again in February.

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