31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero – Day 1

So I’m joining a group of people in doing an October Challenge. In years past I have done 31 days of Creating White Space, and last year I did 31 days of cast iron cooking.

This year I’m setting a goal of spending “zero” which is further defined this first week. And we are saying spending “zero” on things that are not “absolutely necessary.” We are trying to preemptively discuss and list the things that are okay to spend on. We are setting personal and family boundaries.

Today I started with these things…

1. fully commit, believe I can do this, sign the commitment form provided by Ruth Soukup.

2. Began figuring out what this looks like for us…

  • Writing a list of free activities
  • Finding free events in our community
  • Creating a list of grocery/toiletry items we may buy – keeping in mind “absolutely necessary”
  • Composing a list of things we have committed to pay for this month (tithe, bills etc.)
  • Beginning a list of things we’ll have to take off our calendar or do differently (parties, gifts etc.)
  • Discussing things that don’t fall neatly into these categories.

3. Write goals for this week.

  • start reading “Living Well Spending Less” by Ruth Soukup
  • pantry inventory
  • freezer inventory
    (find free printables here)
  • “extra food storage” (garage) inventory
  • monthly (dinner) meal plan
  • write a reading list (or free/to do list)
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  1. This is great Alex! I have done a few months here and there with no spending…it is a great challenge (and then more of a challenge to not run out and buy things one day one of the next month! ha!) I am interested in how you will approach holidays…we have a hard time communicating with people on our view of less-is-more or homemade gifts rather than spending X on everyone. It gets so expensive and we end up with too much random stuff that just goes straight into donation boxes. Any insights would be great!

    1. Lauren thanks for reading!
      I've done shorter spurts but nothing quite this extensive. It is all an experiment so we'll see. I figure any buying less is better then buying.

      We have a system we are trying with our kids (5 things they "ask" or "list") want, need, wear, read and give. Something they want, an item they need, something to wear, a book to read, and something they will give away (that previously belonged to them or that we save for and buy to give to someone else). We've done this since Cashel was born but only a few extended family members have "adhered" to the request. 🙂 I figure you really can't control people and they are wanting to be generous. We have this problem each year with the boys birthdays too. Often we have asked people to contribute to an "experience" like a membership or punch card that is in the area of interest of the boy.

      I'm also hoping that as years go by we can set the mindset in place that we prefer experiences and ways to make memories.

      I have done 2 "Buy Nothing" Christmas's now – basically gifting only what we acquired through Buy Nothing (our local group), had on hand, made ourselves, or could buy on a VERY small budget.

      It's a hard line to walk. We are learning that some family/friends will go along with it and help our kids learn that lesson while others will give gifts and help our kids learn to be gracious and grateful recipients. 🙂

      Still figuring this one out myself!

    2. I would love to see our boys receive experience from grandparents that they do together. Last year my in-laws gave us a cooking class/date night and it was the best!

      I think the boys would love something like a children's play, train ride, trip to the zoo etc. that they do WITH the family member. Like a date.

      We like to give gifts this way for sure!

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