I’m Going to Have a Spend Free Year!

Over the past several months I’ve been getting the feeling that I should have a no-spend year. Or as close to no spend as possible. I kept pushing it off because I simply didn’t want to do it.

But I really want to be a more intentional shopper + I want to recognize the abundance that I already have, instead of always wanting new things.

So, I’m going to be trying a spend free year.

I'm having a spend free year!

What my spend free year will look like

There are still things that I have to buy. This includes:

  • Health + car insurance

  • Diapers, wipes (baby care)

  • Groceries (but we’ll be actually sticking to our budget)

  • Phone bill

Those are really the non-negotiables. And there may be some other things that we pay have to pay monthly that I can’t think of right now (oops, a little tired as I write this post.)

Things that I have permission (from myself) to buy:

  • When something is used up, runs out, doesn’t work, or can’t be worn (for example, if the only pair of flats I own gets too worn to wear, ie my toes are peeking through some holes, I can buy a new pair)

  • Blog expenses. My blog is something that I love, but it does cost money. I have some yearly expenses as well as some monthly expenses, which I’ll still be paying for.

  • Book of the Month club. I will be keeping my subscription, but I’ll talk more about where the money for this will be coming from in a moment. I will also be limiting myself to only one book each month instead of adding on extras.

  • Owlcrate. Technically I already paid for this. This was a Christmas present to myself, but I will not be renewing when the subscription I paid for is up, but I will be getting boxes for the next several months.

  • Our Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ subscriptions. I know, these are essentially a luxury to have. We don’t have cable but we love TV and movies. We’ll be keeping these because they provide entertainment and bring us joy. It’s not a need and I get that, but it’s something we’ll be keeping plus…

My husband isn’t joining me, at least, not exactly. He will have a strict monthly budget and if he wants something more expensive, he’ll have to save for it. So, there are some things (like all of our streaming subscriptions) that we both use and we’ll be keeping.

I really wanted my husband to join me 100% in this experiment/project of mine, but when I first approached him about it earlier this year, he wasn’t interested. I thought, ‘well maybe he’ll be more interested in a few months’. It wasn’t really a surprise when he still wasn’t interested. But I decided that I would go forward with it anyway, and make his monthly allowance stricter (meaning he actually has to stick to it) and he did agree to that.

Things I can’t buy (unless I have fun money):

  • Books

  • Toys for Von (because she really doesn’t need anymore)

  • shoes/clothes (unless completely worn)

  • Office supplies (I’m a sucker for notebooks and pens)

  • Beauty products (unless they completely run out, then they fall into the replacing category if that’s what I want to do, I haven’t worn eyeshadow in years though)

And now a little bit about what fun money is. Growing up I was really intentional with my money. I put 10% away for tithing, 10% for saving, and the rest was my fun money. As an adult, I’ve been really good at spending a lot of money and not saving much.

However, now that I’m making money from my blog, the VA work I do, and my internship, I’ll be putting between 5-10% each paycheck into a fun money account, which I can use to buy anything I want. (and some of this will be used for my Book of the Month subscription that I mentioned earlier.)

I know it means that my year won’t completely be spend free, but I wanted to give myself some flexibility and also a way to really be intentional about what I’m buying.

Why am I having a spend free year?

Ultimately I want to be more intentional about my spending habits and what I bring into our home. I don’t want to buy all the new things just because I can. I want to recognize the abundance and blessing around me as well as use the things I already have.

We also want to buy a home in 2020. After paying $1600/month for rent for the past 18 months, we’re ready to find a place of our own. We currently live with my in-laws and we’re working hard to pay off all our debt. We’ll be debt-free by February, and then we’ll be working hard to save for a home.

Follow my no-spend year

Throughout the next year, I’ll be sharing my journey here on my blog. I’m excited for the year ahead and to really recognize that yes, we are so fortunate and that the money (and things) we have help us have an abundant life. And that can be more intentional about our spending habits to give ourselves an even better future.

Have you ever gone spend free for any amount of time? How did it go?

Don’t forget to sign up to get updates on how my spend free year goes!

  1. I LOVE this idea! I’ve been doing spend-free months for a long time, but have never considered going for a full year. I might try this!

    1. I got the idea when I read The Year of Less and have been thinking about trying my own version ever since! I’m excited and a little nervous.

  2. I LOVE this idea! I’ve been thinking about limiting certain things as well in 2020. No new clothes is a big one for me. I’m thinking of setting some more strict limits for my husband and I next year, and you’ve just inspired me to kick it up a notch. We want 2020 to be the year we pay off our last credit card, and our other debts! I’m so excited to subscribe and follow along!

    Hannah | A Balanced Mom Blog

    1. Woohoo! So happy to have given you that little extra push you needed. We want to finish paying off our credit cards and debt as well and then save save save! I think it’s going to be a good year and even though I’m sure it will be a bit tough, I’m excited for the challenge!

  3. It sounds like you have a great plan in place with reasonable expectations. Both my husband and I are fairly frugal, so it is easy for us to not spend too much, but occasionally we splurge on something. We never regret the splurges because we are intentional about them.

    1. That’s so nice! I’d love to be more frugal + more intentional about my splurges and I think this will help me a lot!

  4. This is a really great idea. I would love to follow your journey. I am sure you are way stronger at this than I am…

    1. Thank you! I decided I wanted to do it after I read the Year of Less. But it’s taken almost 8 months to actually take the plunge. I’m excited though.

  5. DANG GIRL! Props to you! I have heard of no-spend months but haven’t seen anyone set out to tackle a no-spend year, so I can’t wait to see how you do. 🙂 I’m actually really good at not spending money on unnecessary things but I want to do a no-spend month sometime next spring (after baby is here and I’m somewhat adjusted haha)

    1. I used to be so good at not spending money, but the past few years all my good habits turned into not so great ones. I got the idea after I read the Year of Less, where the author wrote about her year of not spending anything. I was going to do a no-spend month, but really felt like I should try it for a year!

  6. I’ve been thinking about having a spend free year the last couple month, too. I feel like this year I’ve already really limited my expenses, but my savings aren’t where I would like them to be. I hope your spend-free year goes well!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I’ve been pretty good this year about limiting my expenses, but my savings are in the same boat as yours. I want to be better!

  7. This is a great idea. Honestly I think I need to try something like this. Maybe even just starting with a spend-free month.

    1. Yes! Starting with a spend-free month would be a great idea. I went back on forth on the length of mine, but always came back to a year! Good luck if you do a spend-free month, I hope it goes well!

  8. Wow! A no-spend year! That’s a great endeavor! I think it’s totally okay to include things like streaming services and your Book of the Month subscription in this. They might not be necessities but they bring joy and that’s worth including in your budget as things you’re willing to pay for. You’re still being intentional. 🙂 Good luck!

    1. It seems so big, but I’m taking it day by day, week by week. And as I thought about how I wanted to do this, I knew there were those few things that I wanted to keep, because just like you said they bring me joy and I’m being intentional about it. 🙂 Thank you!

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