Yet another challenge for us made by us.
We have been a single income family since August. It has not come without its challenges. We have been on a limited income since May 2011 (sick leave with my twin pregnancy then maternity leave then a leave of absence). I almost have been avoiding writing about this…but in an interest of freeing myself from the “shame” or stigma of living on a tight budget. I decided that post-Christmas has forced us to re-evaluate and get ourselves back on track.
- We are a family of five (six including Tessa our dog).
- We are a single income family living in 2012 (soon to be 2013).
- Living expenses are at all-time high.
- We live near Toronto.
- We have a family member with special dietary concerns.
- We have 2 children in diapers (3 if you count evenings). There are several monetary strikes against us.
Money is not everything. I understand. I am not upset so please do not read into this post as feeling poorly or desperation (read: parents we can afford to eat and yes, the electricity is paid or more importantly the natural gas bill).
We have decided to welcome 2013 with a challenge to remind ourselves that we are on a tight budget so that I don’t get carried away with another renovation that we should not be undertaking right now or so my husband does not rush out and purchase the newest video game or car parts to restore his rally car.
January will be the month of necessary spending only. To us, food is NECESSARY. I will not sacrifice the food budget but I do plan to reimplement the 2 week grocery cycle to reduce the cost of our slowly out of control food budget.
This means the regular fixed expenses are exempt from the challenge (don’t worry mortgage company). We are permitting ourselves to spend on food and gas. No Frills and the Gas Station here we come!
To our dear friends & family: if we decline plans in the next 31 + days….this is why…we do like you and we do want to continue our friendships!
What does this mean? Free family friendly activities…tobogganing, walks in the snow, visiting family and friends, playing games, finishing projects that we have started and already have the supplies in hand! No Home Depot this month!
To the critics of this undertaking such as “you cannot enjoy life without money” or “this is stupid” or “you are not living your life” (real comments made to other bloggers). My rebuttal: what is wrong with taking a step back and enjoying the new toys that were given to our children for Christmas? Spending quality time together? Getting reorganized and refocused for the New Year? Finishing already started projects? Reading? Watching movies? Cooking? Is that not a full life? I think it sounds refreshing.
I will recap post-January 31st and let you know how we managed. I cannot guarantee that we will be perfect. There are a few expenditures that are unavoidable in January (dog license and a family birthday to name a few). But who is?
Feel free to share tips and tricks if you have any. I have a feeling that we are not the only family in Ontario that could benefit from taking a hiatus from spending and consumerism. We are not ones to shop as recreation or eat out as recreation so it will not be a huge change for us. The no home projects will be difficult.
Wish us luck. Anyone want to join in?The Smiths Resources:
- Simply Frugal – A great website outlining tips and tricks.
- Save.ca – A place to find coupons that will be mailed directly to your home.
Others who have attempted the No Spend Month Challenge:
- The No-Spend Experiment by – Check out this blog – great tips for money free activities
- The No Spend Month Challenge by Small Notebook (here)
Just search “No Spend Challenge for TONS of other bloggers who have undertaken this challenge in the past.