no spending for a month

No-Spend February Recap

In case you missed it, we decided, after a busy and expensive holiday season, to do a no-spend month! Kyle and I agreed to say ‘no’ to spending unnecessarily on things like clothing, accessories, household decor, takeout, restaurant meals and general stuff.

So, now that it’s March, I thought I would share how we did!!

My initial thoughts are that we likely cut down on a lot of frivolous expenses. We didn’t go out to eat or order takeout at all. I didn’t just go wander around HomeGoods and bring home a candle or a rug. I didn’t buy Butters any toys or treats (I did stock up on treats at the end of January though) and the biggest thing… I didn’t buy any clothes. I have a problem, ya’ll. I love clothes. Especially comfortable ones. But, for the last six - eight months I’ve been buying all of my clothes thrifted from ThredUp (click to get $10 off your first order!!) or on clearance at Old Navy. However, not spending money on clothes for a month was a big win for me. I definitely want to keep that up.

Looking at our grocery bills I was sort of surprised at how much we still spent but I also felt like I was at the store at least once a week instead of once every two weeks. Without going out to eat, Kyle and I both had a lot of “there’s nothing in the house we want to eat” after the first week so instead of craving pizza and ordering pizza… we would crave pizza and then go wander around the grocery store trying to find things we’d want to cook and make at home. In some ways we probably spent more than if we had just ordered the pizza. I did also buy a bit of freezer stuff for my own lunches that won’t get consumed until March or even April.

Scroll down to see the recap of what we DID spend this month and on what!


The Recap

$343.99 for groceries, household care (like toilet paper, laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent) and trip snacks for my wedding weekend in Pittsburgh

$86.76 in personal care (like cosmetics for a span of bad breakouts *unavoidable expense if I wanted to look presentable for my wedding weekend, stupidly expensive razor blades that I ran out of, new face wash, acne spot treatment and lotion

$22.74 at Lowes for marble threshold for our unfinished kitchen floors

$21.99 at the Home Depot on the gorgeous fiddle leaf fig above and some potting soil (this is my one big fail but it was such a steal!!!! and I can’t resist a fiddle on sale.)

$45.57 from for Butters dog food (Nutro Ultra)

$41.99 on new rack cards to send to venues which were a business expense

$12.00 on my February wedding couple’s client thank you gift also a business expense

$3.66 with USPS for shipping a client gift again, a business expense

I’m glad the month is over and we can freely order pizza and Chinese food again but I also love the idea of periodically doing challenges like this. While we will probably have a hard time making it practical for us during my busiest months of the year when we thrive on pre-prepared meals, it’s really important for us to force a daily reminder to be grateful for what we already have.

A Lesson in Gratitude: No-Spend February

Sometimes I feel like it’s so easy to just click: add to cart and that ease takes away from my ability to recognize what I already have. We have decided to challenge ourselves to a no-spend month! Today, I’d love to explain why and how… and then encourage you to join me!

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Sweet wedding photographer and boss babe, Nancy Ray, does an annual Contentment Challenge and while it wasn’t on my radar to participate back in January because we just had so much going on, with hindsight, I should have! Our month of no-spending is essentially a take on what Nancy encourages others to do for her challenge.

In full transparency - we had tried to do a no-spend month back in September but just a few days into the month I got very sick with what was either a very rare, undetectable virus or a flare of an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. I didn’t eat for nearly a week and then very quickly our goals to not spend unnecessarily went totally out the window when my hunger came back accompanied by weird cravings. We ordered a lot of takeout, I bought a few new cozy sweatshirts from the Target lounge-clothing department and I spent randomly without paying much attention.

I admittedly do have some bad spending habits like when I just need to get out of the house because working from home causes some really intense cabin fever, I make the 8 minute round-trip drive to Dunkin for a sweet tea. I’m slightly addicted to buying clothing and while I have recently become very committed to buying thrifted clothes to reduce textile waste, I still find myself constantly browsing and adding things to my cart. We just redid our dining room, kitchen, laundry room and small downstairs powder room so there was pressure to make these spaces feel finished hence a few trips to Target and HomeGoods.

January brought us two expensive car repairs/maintenance needs, a new camera body for me when my beloved primary body went in for a shutter replacement and didn’t make it back home due to a complete failure of the main board, house updates in four different spaces and a few other things. So, in February… we are saying no.

For the month of February, we will be saying no to spending unnecessarily on things like clothing, accessories, household decor, takeout, restaurant meals and general stuff.

Obviously there are always some necessary business expenses like postage and monthly subscriptions to my gallery delivery service and client management software, I have a wedding in Pittsburgh where we will definitely go out to dinner so that’s already factored in, we’ll be grocery shopping as normal and if anything comes up that is an absolute need, we will of course spend (with caution). We hope to take this time to be grow in our thankfulness for what we already have. There are some trips that we’d like to take this year and our savings accounts could use some attention so our primary goal (beyond not spending) will be saving and better managing our income.

In preparation, I’ve gotten my Galentine’s Day orders in and stocked up on dog treats! I hope you’ll consider joining me for this month of no-spending or at least take a look around your home and have gratitude for what you already are blessed with and have worked hard for.

If you’ll be joining me, pop on over to my Instagram story and tell me that you’re in!!

I’ll share the results of our no-spend month come March!