The ‘No Spend May’ Challenge

We’re now into the fifth month of the year, and Sam and I have set each other a ‘No Spend’ challenge. The rules are:

  • No spending that isn’t necessary
  • Any extraordinary expenditure should be approved by the other before spending i.e. emergency vet bills or car repairs
  • Review finances at the end to understand financial position
Since October last year, Sam and I have been in a battle with our bank accounts. Towards the end of 2017, we got ourselves into a DIY and holiday frenzy in that we were trying to pick up the pace and complete house DIY jobs before Christmas and New Year came. We succeeded, but in doing so both went into our overdraft on our bank accounts a little. Then, I was paid wrongly 3 months in a row from my day job, and it kind of spiralled out of control from there.
Now, we find ourselves with a little debt on the credit card (thanks neighbourhood cat who keeps attacking our baby! #vetbillssuck) as well as a patio that needs completing and a holiday to save for.
Therefore, we have decided on No Spend May.
Every Friday throughout the month, I will give you an update on what has happened, where we’ve succeeded and where we’ve not, a breakdown of what happened during the week and a rough guide of where our ‘necessary expenditure went’.
I want to see how much money we are able to pay off the credit card at the end of the month, and what our bank accounts are looking like too i.e. are we in the overdraft, or have we survived without touching it.
Of course, we’re allowed to buy groceries and cat food, electricity and gas, and petrol, but we aren’t allowed to buy excess wine or chocolate, go out to dinner or have pricey weekend dates, or spend any money on unrequired DIY projects (I'm looking at you nice-to-have painted beside table!). We’ve been kind to ourselves; May is a month where there are no birthdays (bar Sam’s but we have a plan for that!), no dates we can’t get out of, and nothing major on the horizon. It should be fairly easy, and I want to prove to myself that we can do it!
So here’s what our monthly necessary expenditure should end up looking like:
Mortgage - £650
Household bills (council tax, internet, utilities) - £200
Groceries (including pet food) - £200
Petrol and insurance - £240
Phone bills - £90
TOTAL - £1380

In theory, Sam and I should be able to pay off at least £300 of the credit card, as well as save £500 between us throughout May (we used to do double this before we bought the house) plus have some spare cash loitering in our bank accounts. I imagine that ‘spare cash’ will in fact clear the overdrafts and leave us about even. When we moved out, we were still doing this but now we’ve got ourselves into a rut I’m determined to get out of.
Things we’re going to miss include lazy afternoons with neighbours and copious amounts of wine and prosecco. Instead, it looks like it will be citrus water and squashes! I think we’ll also miss the spontaneous take outs or restaurant visits, I love going on date nights with Sam. However, it’s only for a month! How hard can it be?

Want to join in? Tag your social media posts with #MixturesNoSpendMay and let’s buoy each other throughout the month!

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