This post contains referral codes, clearly marked with *. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission.
We are heading towards the end of No Spend January!
My aim was to spend nothing at all on anything except essentials, ie regular bills, petrol and food, and to keep our grocery bill as low as possible by eating food we already had in our cupboard and freezer. So how did I do? Here are my No Spend January results.
No Spend January results
What were the rules?
A no spend challenge can be brilliant for refocusing your mindset about money and spending. Having rules around what you can and cannot buy can help to instil a discipline that can last way into the future. I do a no spend January most years and find it tends to lead into a frugal February. When you don’t buy anything for a while you get out of the spending habit!
I allowed for three spendy occasions, which I budgeted for in advance. My youngest daughter’s birthday was during January and I obviously wanted to buy her some gifts. Luckily I had Amazon vouchers, so the air fryer and recipe book I got her were effectively free! In addition, I got her a couple of nice gift sets that were half price in the Boots sale.
My eldest daughter moved into a flat last week and I promised her a new double mattress as our moving in gift, along with the bed frame I found second hand on Facebook last month. This was purchased via Top Cashback*, which meant that as well as getting a discount in the sale, I got money back on my purchase.
If you want to check out the savings you can make via Top Cashback, my referral code is here*.
The final potentially spendy thing was attending our friend’s wedding. It was a lovely occasion in the town hall – what a beautiful venue! We hardly spent anything in the end as there was plenty of free wine and Prosecco, plus water on the tables. We just made a contribution to the newly weds travel fund. Better than a present when you are in your fifties and already combining two households.
So, those were the things I had planned for and were unavoidable. What about the avoidable costs?
Off to the pub
We barely ever go to the pub, but an ex-colleague was moving onto a new job and was having a few drinks. It was an opportunity to see her and catch up with all my old colleagues. I hadn’t seen some of them since I took voluntary redundancy last May, and I just couldn’t resist.
I only had a couple of drinks and a bag of crisps, so it didn’t break the bank. Nevertheless, strictly speaking it was a no spend January FAIL that cost me about £6.50.
I barely ever eat junk food. It’s just not my bag. However, my eldest daughter loves a McDonald’s.
Having been humping boxes and furniture up two flights of stairs all morning to move her into her flat, she managed to persuade me that we both ‘needed’ a double cheeseburger and chips. Reluctantly, I gave in – since most of her food was still packed away in boxes.
I regret this one and should have held firm, or foreseen it and taken us both a packed lunch! Two burgers, chips and a side of cheesy things came to about £7.50, my second FAIL. I didn’t think I would see this one in my no spend January results!
However, I redeemed myself when I got home. Tempting as it was to eat more convenience food or order a takeaway, I threw together a chicken curry using a Simply Cook* mix with some rice. It only took 10 minutes to make and was delicious.
This wasn’t what was on my meal plan as I had decided on a slow cook chicken jambalaya, but it used most of the same ingredients and we really enjoyed it.
This is when Simply Cook comes in super handy. The kits are more interesting than most of those you can find in the supermarkets and use healthy ingredients (although Asda do sell a few Simply Cook kits as well now). If you are interested in trying a Simply Cook box for £3, containing four recipe kits, you can use my referral code here*.
Other than my two fails, I have been planning as many meals as possible around what we already had available and mainly buying fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, yogurt and other perishables. However, as I was over my Iceland the other day, I thought I would take advantage and buy our meat and fish for next month to put in the freezer.
We have spent a total of £132.47. Without the Iceland shop, this was £112, so we have spent around £28 a week for the two of us plus the odd cleaning product, a couple of bottles of wine and a few toiletries. I think this is pretty good.
I am generally happy with my no spend January and looking forward to frugal February. Did you join in? If so, how did you do and what were your no spend January results?
If you need to save money fast, a no spend challenge could be just the thing!