For the past couple of years one of my favorite bloggers, Rachel at Small Notebook, has challenged herself to a month of very limited spending and written about her results. Last year, I was inspired to try a challenge of my own — a summer of cash budgeting.
It may seem like a month or two of limited spending won’t make much of a dent in your overall budget, but we were amazing at how much we could actually save in just 30 days without extra spending. More importantly, though, the psychological effects of just 30 days of limited spending can last for months or longer. Teaching yourself how little you really need to be happy can permanently alter your attitude about spending. As Rachel wrote today:
I thought once the month was over we would be desperate to go out for coffee or to go out to eat, but it wasn’t the way you would think. An entire month is long enough to change your perspective about spending money and what you get from it. You can change your habits. You suddenly realize the value of a dollar when you have to stretch every single one and make it count.
Our experience was similar. Instead of running out and spending money at the end of last summer, we were much more careful about money as we headed into the fall months. We’d learned just how little we really need to be happy, and we learned how much more valuable it is to keep money in the bank. We also learned that challenging ourselves to spend as little as possible didn’t have to be an exercise in deprivation — it could be kind of a fun game.
Rachel at Small Notebook has decided to skip the challenge this month, but I urge you to head over to her blog and read about her past experiences with No Spend Month. Hopefully you’ll find the same inspiration I did to make some positive changes to your spending habits this summer.