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January 2, 2013

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January 2, 2013

31 Days of Nothing Challenge

January 2, 2013
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I happened upon the Learning The Frugal Life blog and this challenge from last year.  I’ve already reduced most of our spending on necessities only as I’m crazy determined to get rid of our consumer debt and thought that this would be a fun challenge to do for January.

What is the 31 Days of Nothing Challenge?  It’s 31 days of spending nothing except what you absolutely need.  Basically only your fixed expenses (mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc.), groceries and transportation.  Even though groceries are included as necessities, I challenge you to try to use up everything in your fridge, freezer and pantry and try to cut that expense in half.  We normally spend on average $600/month on groceries and personal care and I will set aside only $300 and try to make it work.

So how will this challenge apply to us?  I normally make the kids’ lunches, but once in a while give them lunch money.  Not this month!  No eating out at all.  Not stopping by McDonalds when we are out somewhere to get their coffee (my favorite).

No library late fees.  I’m always paying some kind of library fine.  We go to the library quite often and I am always late returning things.  Can’t do that this month.

No spending money on entertainment.  When hubby and I go out on a date night, it will have be completely free.  Maybe a nice hike in the forest preserves..maybe some window shopping?  I don’t know, anyone else have any ideas during the winter?  We also like to take the kids on outings too..that will have to be free as well….or not go anywhere at all.  Maybe just bust out some board games we haven’t played in a while!  🙂

No shopping for clothes.  I don’t see any immediate need for clothes..so we should be fine.  I really think that this should be the easiest thing to give up for families.  I don’t think the kids will get holes in all of their socks this month.  If they do, nothing a needle and thread can’t fix..right?

No personal Thrift Store shopping.  This is a biggie for me as I go sourcing for inventory for my part time online sales business.  I always pick up some inexpensive goodies for home.  It’s hard not too, you can pick up the greatest items (clothes and home decor).

Cut back on water, electricity and gas usage.  There are also so many things that we can do at home.  Take quicker showers, turn off the lights when you leave a room.  Turn down the thermostat by a few degrees and wear your sweater and snuggle under a blankie.

I’m really excited about this challenge.  How about you?

Would you be willing to try the 31 Days of Nothing Challenge with me?  If so, what rules will you create for your family?

Today I’m linking up with Simple Lives Thursday , Frugal Days Sustainable Ways and Rae Gun Ramblings.


  1. If you need help or tips along the way you let me know. This would be a fun post series to do but this being what it is I do this almost every month! At least 6 months out of the year minimum. God bless my pantry 😉

    I have helped many friends in need but found that no one else cared to learn. I saw 2 of the same topic on one blog hop just now and it only just opened. I am glad people are waking up. Many will find it more of a challenge than they imagined if they give it a true shot.


    1. Hi Teri, thanks so much. We are intense now too as I’m wanting to pay off our debts and try not to spend anything…but I am sure I can do better. This helps me think about it more!! 🙂

  2. We pretty much do all this stuff already, I think. Our biggest expense after the mortgage is the grocery bill. Pet food and cat litter add up and so do personal care and paper products. We try to get as much as we can at the discount or dollar stores. We never go to the mall. Most of anything new we buy, (which isn’t too much) is purchased online and delivered (no tax or gas). My husband and I wear uniforms to work so that cuts down on needing clothes. We rarely eat out or go to the movies, so when we do, it’s a big treat. We all have hobbies that keep us busy so we’re never bored at home.
    BTW, beautiful family portrait! Happy new year and good luck with your challenge!

    1. Hi Lorraine,

      We’re the same. But I’ve challenged myself not to buy ANYTHING..if I run out of anything, besides food..Ha..too bad. I want this month to be scorched earth living. I’ve even starting baking my own bread…super easy and oh so delicious!

      Thanks so much and have a great new year!

  3. This is so right on track with what we are trying to accomplish in 2013 that I had to subscribe! We have finally decided to get super serious about getting rid of our debt that we are cutting back in every area and sending any “found” money immediately to the CC companies. Maybe I will try a no spend challenge in February since we just went through a long period of sickness and my freezer is kinda empty right now. 🙂

    1. Hi Jamie,

      I’m so glad that this is your goal for 2013. I started really paying attention to where are money is going. Once you do that, you are much less likely to spend it. Also, we got rid of all of our cards. We have not charged a single thing in about 6 months. We only have a business credit card (for my business), but I haven’t used that in the same amount of time. It can be done if you put your mind to it. I used to get sick everytime I sat down to do the bills not sure if there was enough money to pay them. Now I get sick everytime I sit down to do the bills because I still have to send checks to the credit card companies. All that interest that they are making on me..which I could have been making had I not frivolously spend the money.

      If you are looking for inspiration or a kick in the but, I would highly recommend listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio station. I listen to the archives at: http://www.daveramsey.com/radio/home/#archives-tab. He has truly opened our eyes and making a huge difference in our financial future.

      Best of luck to you!

  4. Margaret, you are right on track here! We’ve become so blurred about the difference between wants and needs in America that I think we often don’t realize what we can/can’t live without. I found a great site that tells stories from people who lived through the Great Depression, and it always helps me to remember what we really need:


    Hope you all find it inspirational in your journey to debt free!

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Thanks so much for that link. I can’t wait to check it out. I agree with you 100%. We are a nation of excess. It’s most challenging with kids, and helping them understand the difference between the needs and wants and from comparing what they have with what their friends have.

      For me, I feel that this is not only something we are doing in the short term to get out of debt bondage, but it is becoming a way of life..of simpler things and simpler times. I love it!

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Sounds like a great list to me. I have always used the shortest cycle on my washing machine but only recently switched it to cold washes – saves on energy and have not seen any difference in how clean things get. I also have started to use half as much detergent – still no difference.

    1. I have always used cold water washes, except for socks and undies. And I either make my own laundry detergent or use very little of the store bought stuff. But I’ve never tried the short cycles on the washing machine.

      But because of your post, have slowly been changing the cycles one at a time to see if I notice a different. So far I’ve gone from extra heavy to heavy (3 boys and hubby who does home renovations = very dirty clothes). I’ve also run a few on a shorter cycle and all is well so far.

      Thanks so much for the tip! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. It IS a great challenge. It really makes you pay attention to your money! I’m constantly asking myself..”do we REALLY need this?”.

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