For the first time ever, Seth and I decided to do a “no spend” month this January. We did it for a few reasons – January is a good time for a reset after Christmas spending. I LOVE Christmas and buying presents, especially this year when our family got to be home instead of living in the hospital, but I always have to stop myself from buying too many things! We also had gotten in a habit of ordering things on Amazon Prime without spending enough time thinking about if we really wanted/needed them. That one-click ordering will get you!
Seth has a pile of student loan debt still (I don’t want to get too specific with numbers here, but it is going to take us awhile to plow through it). One of our goals this year is to try to aggressively tackle Seth’s student loans.
We have budgeted every single month since 2016 and I’ve listened to some Dave Ramsey podcasts here and there as well as reading The Total Money Makeover. If you are struggling with debt or overwhelmed at making a budget, I would totally recommend checking out his podcast or books. With that being said, we definitely do not do all of the things he recommends. We still use credit cards (getting that cash back!) and pay them off at the end of every month.
We also aren’t going quite as crazy at paying off debt as Dave Ramsey recommends because over the last couple years we have realized how fragile life is, and how quickly it can change. Personally, we are trying to prioritize family time together rather than having Seth deliver pizzas or something on the weekends to try to pay off student loans faster.
What we did for no-spend month:
- We were allowed to use any cash we already had in our wallets and our venmo/cash apps.
- For groceries, we tried to eat what was already in the house and paid cash for what we really needed to buy like milk & eggs.
- I unsubscribed from marketing emails which I think actually made a pretty big difference! I also tried to minimize watching any social media influencers.
Did we actually save money? I think we did a little bit, but we also had some “catching up” to do after January. We did a huge Costco run on the evening of January 29 to restock everything we were almost completely out of. More than saving money, I think it was just a good exercise in realizing how often we are buying things and trying to take a step back to re-evaluate what our goals are. We want to be good stewards and try to plan ahead in case life suddenly changes again. I think it is a good thing we might try every January.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but we were SO generously given financial assistance from so many of you when our kids were diagnosed. All money given to us from the GoFundMe or in other ways has only ever been used directly for medical expenses, gas, food in Seattle, and the allergy-free carpet for Oliver’s bedroom and playroom. I’ve also had people say we don’t have to explain, but it makes me feel more comfortable when I do! We are so incredibly thankful and so humbled from how we are so surrounded and loved. It has changed our perspective on generosity and giving for the rest of our lives.