The No Spend Challenge

Recently I’ve had to confront all my impulse shopping as I penetrated our dismal cave, the storage room.  So many eye-openers peering from every corner.  I picked up a shirt, and could not recollect the moment of purchase.  I contemplated keeping it, but why?  It failed to charm me so much, that this vault became it’s final resting place.  Many items I noticed found their way here.  This black hole, likely a point of no return.  How many items lie in state behind doors of steel all over this country?  The swift sell of the abode catches you off guard and the rush to unload leaves few choices.  So we pack it all in, push it all back and walk away.  Every month we are reminded of it’s existence when the line item requires payment.  Another month fades into the next, before you know it, years have passed by.  I didn’t want to be a statistic, I wanted to eliminate the issue before the first anniversary.  Our friends waited ten years, there was nothing left to donate.

There is something about facing it all at once when you have existed for months without the benefit of its contents.  For those of you beginning here, We live in an RV.  The travel trailer has been our home for more than six months.  In the beginning, we made a necessities list, and we transported those items here.  We have earned a paycheck, ate, and slept here.  This was the launching point for out of town trips as well, and it was all accomplished, without NEEDING a single item that we abandoned.  As we continued to make room for the buyers we discovered nice to have items, but nothing of importance. posted that the average household has over 300,000 items.  I wonder how many of those items would reveal more than a couple sets of fingerprints.  Touch it once to buy it, another to unpack it and place it.  The item has found a home, and it waits there until it is relocated, sold or disposed of.

My thinking cap on, I took the advice of many before me.  I decided to do a no spend challenge.  I will experiment for a month, and may extend or repeat depending on the outcome.  Below I will list the rules that I came up with, borrowing some from others that have completed or continue to follow their regiment today.  I will be happy to share my results as time goes on.  Buying things on the spur of the moment must cease if debt is to be eliminated.  Trust me, I will be one happy camper, as will my husband when money is landing in savings not checking.  Take care and have a productive day!


The Rules:

Items that may be purchased at any time

  • Bathroom essentials (e.g.,soap, shampoo, razors) 
  • Groceries (Care will be taken here)
  • Medication (Prescription and OTC)
  • Household Cleaning Goods (e.g., dish soap, detergent, sponges)
  • Essentials (e.g., batteries, auto parts, replacement chargers)
  • Gifts for Birthday’s, Christmas, other holidays etc.
  • Gasoline
  • 1 DVD per month
  • NECESSITY left at home when on vacation

Items that require agreement between both parties

  • Replacing damaged or lost (on vacation) clothing, household essentials (Original item must be damaged enough to toss, and must be a necessity)
  • Anything inside one of the categories above, that’s outside the norm.  (e.g., gourmet foods, fancy razors, additional essentials)
  • Moving essentials

Items not permitted to purchase

  • Souvenirs (upcoming vacation planned)
  • Clothing (except as stated above)
  • Office supplies (excluding paper for printer or pictures, binders)
  • Bags, book-bags, purses, suitcases (only exception damaged beyond use, ON trip only)
  • Just in case items (does not include medication)
  • Any compulsory purchase
  • Impulse spending on grand-kids (they will be given money on trip to budget themselves)
  • Dishes (We have plenty and replacements) (picnic wear not included)
  • Pots, pans, gadgets, nice to have, etc. (only caveat, replacement items as listed above)

Spending on non-material goods

  • No Impulse eating out (e.g., “Well, we don’t have to cook”)
  • No Impulse experiences (e.g., “Let’s go to a movie because we are bored”)
  • No Impulse trips (“Hey let’s go out of town this weekend”)
  • Movies, experiences, and eating out, are all acceptable for vacation as long as budget not exceeded

NOTE: This list is a start-up.  As times goes on more bullet points may be added.   

Below is our storage at the beginning of the downsize.  One close-up and one far away. Will post after pics when complete.  
















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