February Is a No Spend Month For Me And Here’s Why!
Generally speaking, I’ve always been good about saving money. I have clear financial goals, and I’ve set money aside regularly to make them a reality for as long as I can remember. Still, this year, I’ve decided that a No Spend February is the best choice for my financial situation. If you’re wondering why, here’s what you need to know.
The Impact of Pandemic Spending
Let’s face facts; the pandemic threw everyone for a loop. While I was fortunate enough to maintain a reliable source of income during the height of COVID-19 – and that continues through today – that doesn’t mean I always made the best financial choices during the past two years.
Like many people, I adopted new spending habits during the pandemic. I was able to keep saving and investing, so I didn’t entirely deviate from my plan. However, I did end up sending more cash out of the door for grocery, takeout and additional streaming services.
In some cases, the shifts in my spending were due to pandemic-spurred changes in my routine, making them a bit unavoidable. At times, it was purely related to costs shifts in the market. After all, inflation has been a significant issue, and I wasn’t immune to the rising prices.
However, I also began spending far more on miscellaneous purchases (thanks Amazon) than I allotted in my budget regularly. It These expenditures caused he to lose some of my financial focus, whic made me uncomfortable. As a result, I decided that a No Spend February was just what I needed to regain my footing.
How No Spend February Will Get Me Back on Track
Before digging into how a No Spend February is going to help me get back on track, I want to go over what a no-spend month is and how it works. During a no-spend month, the goal is to avoid as much spending as possible. While there may be exclusions for certain necessities – like paying bills, getting gas for work commutes, and buying fresh groceries – all other spending isn’t allowed.
Some households even go further, restricting the exclusions significantly. For instance, it might eliminate commute spending by requiring household members to get a bus pass for the month and rely only on that for transportation. Even grocery shopping might get barred, forcing a household to rely on what’s in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Usually, that option is only used when a person feels like there’s an excess of stored food, but you can see how far it can go.
While I won’t be going as far as what’s outlined above, I will be eliminating all extraneous spending. That way, I can get my budget back under control, commit more money to long-term financial goals, and break the habit of overspending in my “miscellaneous” category. It’s as much a mental reset as it is a financial one, allowing me to recommit to the budgeting approach that’s served me so well in the past.
What Happens After No Spend February
After wrapping up No Spend February, my goal is to continue forward with good financial habits, just without some of the instructions. My hope is that returning to my pre-pandemic miscellaneous spending after February ends will feel normal. I didn’t feel deprived when I was using the limit I had in place before, so I’m guessing that will be the case after I reel it all in for 28 days and then move back to that point.
There’s even a chance that I’ll spend less than I did pre-pandemic. However, if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. As long as I recommit to my budget after No Spend February is over, I’ll be pleased with the result.
Are you participating in a No Spend February? Have you used this or another approach to get your finances in order and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.