"I Can't Handle This!" ~ 5 Benefits of a No Spend Month


No spend January hasn't been all roses.

It's going beyond the money. 

We're getting at some serious heart and pride issues here. This is a good thing.

I'm so thankful to my friend, Melissa, for suggesting this challenge to me. I just love the words she writes :

This challenge is not just about not spending the money so at the end of January you will see how much money you did not spend. It's about personal discipline, working together as a family unit, realizing that LESS can be MORE!

What I hope you walk away with, on the 31st of January, is a sense of realization that you could (or maybe will continue to) live on LESS.  That we, as Americans, have SO much and we don't need it all...just seems that we WANT it all.  

What void does that "stuff" fill for you?  


In case you're just tuning in, for the month of January we have been reducing our spending - no eating out, no extra coffees, no impulse buys. Essentially - not spending unless it has been pre planned/scheduled and is totally necessary.

The impetus for this no spend month was a general feeling that we needed to do MORE to be good stewards. We have everything we need and then some.  The lessons from Ecuador were many, and I KNOW  God is calling me to change my life. 

We're just two weeks into January and I'm ready to report the benefits. 

This post is a little tough for me to write because I'm admitting some painful truths, but that's what this month is all about.

I'm sure I'll have more benefits by January 31, but here are 5 I've noticed mid-month.

1. It's Rubbing Off On The Kids

When Grant (my 9 year old) realized that no spend January meant he couldn't spend the $10 in his coin jar on a LEGO set he'd been wanting, he proclaimed, 

"I just don't think I'm going to be able to handle this!"

Well, that statement inspired his sister (my 12 year old) to take a coin jar we have in the kitchen (it's labelled "Eating Out Money") and start putting every available coin she could find into it. She's told me this is now our Operation Christmas Child jar. 

In November, when it's time to pack boxes, we will take the money in this jar and pack a very special box. I take time to pray for this box recipient each day. 

Kids are generous by nature - but little by little our culture teaches them to aquire much and share little. 

Grant has even hopped on board - adding change to this jar, rather than the change jar in his room.

I love my kids.

Oh, we've had some instances where mom has had to say "no" to some wants - but I've been really proud of my two.

2. We Spend More Time at Home

There have been no dinners or lunches out. I would normally take the kids out for lunch once a week. We would eat Sunday breakfast out. My husband eats most of his lunches out.

I stocked up at Sam's Club last week and we have enjoyed every single meal at home (or packed to be taken to work).

Plant to Eat is my lifesaver in cataloging what's in my pantry and making sure nothing goes to waste! It also helps me catalog recipes and generate shopping lists.


No trips to The Dollar Store, the consignment store, or TJ Maxx - just "because". 

After seeing children living in deplorable conditions in an orphanage in Ecuador, I can't stomach purchasing much right now.  

My biggest prayer is that the feelings stay front and center in my mind. I do not want to forget those precious children and how I felt when I was with them.

3. I'm More Content and Grateful

Funny, you would think not being able to spend would breed discontent.

Quite the opposite.

I have found myself focusing on what I DO have, cleaning out the clutter, and keeping a better home.

(Staying at home gives you a lot more time to make it a place you want to be!)

Confession: I have a sweet lady that helps me with cleaning. She comes once a week and works for 2 hours in my home. She has been very ill the past month and hasn't been able to clean for me. I do not think it's an accident that I've had to clean the house by myself during no spend month. It's been a BLESSING.

{I normally use the time when she is here to work on my music curriculum and blog - those things have taken a back seat the past couple of weeks - even that has been a blessing!}

One evening I decluttered the family room and put a few of my favorite things on the mantle.  I got out the Murphy's Oil Soap and cleaned the mantle, coffee table, and end tables.  With some great music playing, I made it a point to be intentionally grateful for everything I have in my life, which is SO much.

We put a system in place to help the kids keep up with their clutter, and everyone is joining in taking better care of our home.


4. Money in the Bank (Money for Missions)

It's also pretty awesome to hear my husband say to me, "You know, I can already tell a difference in our finances because we've just STOPPED SPENDING."

This is huge - coming from the man who would live this lifestyle all of the time if I would just hop on board. He has worked for a debt counseling non profit agency for 17 years, so he has seen the worst of the worst when it comes to money disasters.

We're hoping the money we save this month will fund a plane ticket to Honduras. My husband will be going there on a mission trip in March.

5. You Look Outward, and Not Inward

The most interesting byproduct of no spend January has been the realization that I spent a lot of time looking inward before.

More time at home, more money in the bank, and just the peace that comes from not letting spending control you  allows you to think about how you can serve others - and what your purpose REALLY is. 

This has been HUGE on my heart since I returned from Ecuador. 

It's so much more than money. 

And once again - I am thankful my children are with us every step of the way, learning at home and taking an active part in this challenge.

Are you participating in the no spend month? Are you thinking about cutting back?