My wife and I are nearing the end of our fun ‘No Buy July’ challenge. I will be updating the results and posting them soon to talk about how that challenge ended up for us. We had a fun time competing and also helping each other to stay on course when the urge to buy something happened. Overall, I think we did a fantastic job at our impromptu savings idea.
We are now starting another summer month and will be challenging ourselves yet again. Last month, we were able to pay off debt equal to $650 in payments! This is huge for our cash flow and will help us reach our home remodeling goals this fall!
My wife is also moving to a four-day work week. We were able to keep full healthcare benefits of her job even on this lighter work schedule. She will be spending more quality time with our son and we will be adjusting to only a slight decrease in income.
Read Also: Our 21 Day ‘No Buy July’ Starts NOW!
After a great July with our budget, we decided to try another challenge to motivate us to keep saving throughout the summer. We will be doing a full month of the Zero Spend Challenge!
The Set Up
From Zero Day Finance, the idea is to see how many days you can spend absolutely nothing! No coffee, gas, random toy, or late-night Amazon purchase!
We will of course have our normal bill days, have to buy gas and groceries, etc. The idea is to cut out all the mindless spending that creeps into our daily lives. Even though we have things budgeted for clothing and even discretionary spending, the idea will be to spend as little as we can.
We will also not abuse the zero-day challenge and buy things we don’t need only on bill days or when we have already spent. That definitely undermines the goal. We will concentrate on zero spend days naturally, not forcing extra days for the sake of the challenge.
All extra saved money will continue to go to paying off student loans and remodeling the house! We have decided on bamboo flooring for the entire first floor of our home, and will have installers come in to do the work. Hopefully this winter I will be posting pictures of them in our home.
Read further to see some of the reasons we chose to take on this summer savings challenge all month!
We Have Everything We Need
This challenge should serve as a reminder that we have basically everything we need to lead an amazing life. There are so many free opportunities around us for entertainment that we certainly don’t need to buy anything else.
Armed with museum and zoo passes, we can keep our growing boy entertained outside for days. There is no need to purchase any new toys or tickets, we can keep exploring what we have. He has also been given plenty of toys, Legos, and books to read. We have no real need to purchase anything new, and should really work on getting rid of toys that are no longer played with.
Also, we have greatly cut back on going out to eat, and after a grocery trip, we have realized we can eat great without eating out. I admit, this was the hardest part of sticking to a budget for me in the past. Now, my wife cooks amazing meals at home and we save hundreds by not going out to eat.
Focus on Minimalism-ish
Not only can we focus more on buying less, but we can also continue to get rid of things and become more minimalism-ish. This has proven to take a bit longer than expected. With family and work, we have not had the time needed to sell some of our ‘things’ we don’t need. We have done a great job of identifying our unwanted items, but haven’t sold as much as hoped.
Without mindless spending and a focus on zero spending days, we should be able to refocus on selling things online. We will also keep cleaning up clutter throughout the house, throwing out those items in the cupboards we have never used.
Read Also: The Art of Living a Minimalism-ish Lifestyle
Competition Breeds Success
My wife and I are pretty competitive, and this has bled over into our savings challenges as well. I think this competition will help us out all month long with this challenge.
Since we will be doing this as a team, neither one of us will want to let the other down. I am sure every night we will talk over dinner about how little we spent. I would hate to take the trash-talk from my wife if my mindless spending caused us to lose a zero spend day.
Having a team mate and support system will also help us in this challenge. We can keep each other motivated and talk each other from the purchase ledge.
I enjoy making challenges up to help save more money. Heck, my most popular post has been 9 Money Saving Games to Help You Save More. By turning something into a game or challenge, I am much more motivated to try harder and win at any game. This seems like a great challenge to do for an entire month, keeping the game going and always focusing on spending with a purpose.
All in all, these games or challenges are just a way to keep increasing our savings rate. It is much more fun to use imagination to come up with more free activities, while also having the friendly competition with my wife. Having a clear goal at the end (remodeling, debt payoff) is also always critical for me to stay focused throughout.
What summer savings challenge have you come up with? How else do you stay motivated to save more? Thanks as always for reading!