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March Money Madness: Week 1

I’ve been thinking about money lately. There’s nothing wrong and we’re doing fine, financially (knock on wood). We have a (very low) mortgage and two car payments, we pay our credit card in full every month, we have savings and retirement and investments. But I think we (or at least I) spend too much. I buy things on Amazon that I don’t really need. I stock up on food at the grocery store when I have things in the freezer at home. I buy shoes. (that might be a big downfall).

So, I’ve decided to try something I’m calling March Money Madness.

The goal:

to spend as little money as possible in the month of March

The rules:

it’s okay to spend money on food but take out and restaurants are discouraged
it’s okay to replace things that break

it’s okay to pay bills, of course
any emergency situations don’t count
gift card use is encouraged (we have lots of gift cards that just pile up because we forget about them).
all other spending is verboten

I’ll report in weekly to share how I’m doing and how I’m feeling. I don’t expect this to go perfectly and, were I to place a bet, I’ll probably spend money on something that goes against the rules. But the idea is to try to not buy things mindlessly. To . . . ahem . . . practice spending less.

Wish me luck and let’s see where this takes us.

P.S. Of course I put in a big ole order on Amazon yesterday to gird my loins!

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Good luck! I’ve done a No Buy each January for the last several years. If there’s something I think I need/want, I make a list and tell myself I can get it next month. Almost always I never buy the thing. And I apply the same exclusion list you’ve listed.
    Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all the “stuff” in my home, so I am working on decluttering and intentional spending. In February I gave myself a small dollar amount for whatever and found I spent way less. I just keep telling myself “More is just more, not better” and that I need need to use what I have. So I am doing it again this month. It is a practice!

  2. I have had the same feelings lately, Carole, especially around pantry and freezer supplies, so I have been trying to cook what is already there. I stocked up a lot during the pandemic, and it is time to use it up. It’s a challenge for me! It is ridiculously easy to buy things on Amazon, so I have been practicing by putting it in my cart, then just leaving it there for a few days. Often if it is not something I will end up buying later. I hope you find some new strategies that work for you. Good luck!

  3. I’ve been practicing this in my creative pursuits in anticipation of going someplace I expected to want to shop. I have found it has stretched my creativity in good ways. I’ve also been trying to use up some of the extra food we’ve accumulated. It helps to shop my pantry and fridge/freezer before I make my menus and grocery list to focus on a few of those things. Good luck!

  4. We kind of have been doing this inadvertently thanks to the Pandemic… we have been socking away savings at a crazy clip. And on top of saving we paid a huge chunk of money ($30k) down on principal on the mortgage. Our goal is to have it paid off entirely sooner than later. At first, I worried that I would feel horrible not spending on “fun things” but over time, the fun things that I really wanted became less and less. I do way less impulse shopping now… and when I do think I want something, I wait a few days and see if I still want the item. Sometimes I do… but many times, I don’t.

    I am going to be over here cheering you on! You can do this… and if you need a buddy, I am here! XO

  5. I love this Carole. (And in a kind of demented way, I find a practice like this quite satisfying…) While in the past, saving $ has been catalyst enough, when I read J.B. Mackinnon’s _The Day the World Stops Shopping_, I felt a renewal of purpose. And it has stuck with me longer than I’d ever have expected. One thing I’ve noticed is that in reading about the WHY it matters created a sustained awareness. That awareness, alone, contributes to efforts at Less. If not a ‘perfect’ record–I definitely spend Less. And that’s nothing to shake a stick at! Wishing you a satisfying month!

  6. Best of luck to you, Carole! I know how easy it is to spend money online without thinking about it, so I have a feeling that by keeping these goals in mind, you’re going to spend less.

  7. This sounds really interesting and I’ll be cheering you on! I’ll tell you what might help you spend less – retire and move. When we first talked to our financial planner about retiring, he had us make an actual budget that accounted for everything. It was eye-opening! When I had to empty out the MD house, pack, and move it all, most of it just became “stuff”. I’ll be cleaning out in NJ for much of this year (eight boxes are packed to take to Salvation Army tomorrow) and I really hesitate before buying things now. I know someone will have to move it someday and less is better.

  8. Atta girl! I’ve really cut my spending in the past two years . . . thanks to less eating out (we never got into the take-out thing), less travel, less entertainment, and less plain old “shopping.” I do think Amazon is far too convenient, but I started making a list of things to order “next time I’m on Amazon” and it’s amazing how many things I end up crossing off the list by the “next time I’m on Amazon.” Bonny’s right about retirement (or even semi-retirement) as an incentive for really looking at what you spend (like . . . with a magnifying glass). And my biggest advice . . . do whatever you can to pay off your mortgage as quickly as you can! XO

  9. Great suggestion! We’ve been trying to declutter here also, and it feels good, especially giving old clothes to charities that can use them. I need to practice restraint in yarn ordering also and am trying hard to use my stash. Now to try and not order any more patterns, too. That’s really a big temptation..

  10. I did that in February and while it doesn’t have the same ring to it, I was pretty successful. I spent $11 on Feb. 1st on junk then made it through the entire rest of the month without spending a dime. On Feb. 2 I transferred all but 96 cents to my savings account and here it is March 1 and I still have 96 cents in my checking account! Luckily I don’t pay for groceries, but even there, we only bought bread, milk & a few fresh veggies. We ate from the pantry and freezer, I stayed home (saved on gas) and read free books on my Kindle. But it’s March now. February Money Madness is over and I am dressed and ready to go SHOP! I’ve got some making up for not spending to do! 🙂

  11. ! My mantra for the past couple of years has been- nothing comes into this house unless something goes out. Now that I’m retired I haven’t been spending much though I do have some lunch dates lined up. I’ve also made a conscious effort to delete emails from Talbots or Zappos (for example) without even opening them to alleviate temptation. Good luck Carole!

  12. I try this every month! LOL Honestly, it takes a little practice and sometimes something will be worth breaking the rules. After 4 months of really trying last month was the most successful. I’m hoping success breeds success. Good luck! (Books are my downfall, but that wouldn’t be a problem for you!)

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