Tag Archives: money saving tips

No-Spend November: A 30-Day Money Saving Challenge

No-Spend November: a 30-day money saving challenge

George and I are taking our first overseas trip in December and we all know what December means… present-buying season. In years past I’ve done a handmade holiday challenge and a $100 holiday challenge. This year, before the holidays begin, I’m going to challenge myself to spend no money in the month of November. I’m calling it “No-Spend November.” Clever, eh? Of course, I can’t literally spend no money at all. I have bills to pay and food to eat, but I will be spending no money on non-essentials in November. We paid for our plane tickets and our hotel on our credit card, so the money that I save in November will go to paying that off. I also plan to buy Christmas presents when I am overseas, so I don’t have to plan holiday gifts far in advance this year. It’s win-win all around. Anyway… here’s the rules.

No Spend November Rules

The rules may vary from person-to-person depending on your life situation, but rule #1 is the same for everyone:

  • Only spend money on essentials! This is by far the most important rule. Throughout the month I’ll be asking myself: is this essential?
    • Essentials include doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, gas for car, bills. Not much else!
  • Shop for groceries before the month begins.
    • For items that expire quickly (milk, fresh produce, etc.) I am using CSA share that comes once a week and costs $25 per week.
  • Leave credit and debit cards at home. This will help me avoid temptation.
  • On November 1st I’ll pull $100 out of an ATM for gas money and gas money only.
  • Bring lunch to work every day.
  • No online shopping!
    • Delete saved passwords and credit card info to make online shopping harder.

That’s it. Those are the rules. It’s easier said than done, but I’m excited to get one step closer to our first overseas excursion.

How are you saving for the holidays? Will you join me for the No Spend November challenge? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

Our Trip to Niagra Falls and Toronto and A Few Money Saving Travel Tips

Toronto A couple of weeks ago, George, two friends and I boarded a plane for Buffalo, NY. About a year ago, a college friend had planned to get married that weekend. Fast forward about 6 months and that friend called off the big wedding and just had a small thing. That’s cool, no hurt feelings, but we had non-refundable plane tickets. Instead of moping about our used vacation days, we decided to make the best of it. And by making the best of it, I mean seeing something slightly more exotic than Buffalo. Toronto and Niagra Falls are nearby, so we hopped in a rental car and went looking for some adventure.

Niagra Falls We didn’t really plan on seeing the Niagra Whirlpool, but we saw so many parks and signs for it, that we just pulled over!

Niagra Falls

We stopped at a park and discovered the 237829371283 stairs it took to get a closer look at the whirlpool. Although my legs were burning on the way back to the top, the view from the bottom was worth it.

After the whirlpool, we decided to mosey on over to the American side of the falls. Most people had told us it was dirty and not worth it, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls The American side of the falls was surprisingly clean and of course, breathtaking. Seeing that much water rush over the side of a cliff is spectacular.

Toronto

The view from the top of the tower.

Toronto After the American Falls, we headed over the border to Toronto. We stayed in Hannah’s loft while we explored the city. She has a great view from her balcony. We ate a lot of food and visited the CN Tower.

Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Finally, we finished up the trip by visiting the Canadian side of the falls. We went “Behind the Falls”– it’s kind of self explanatory– and we rode on the boat that gets you up close and personal with the falls. We did a lot of touristy stuff on this trip, but we still had so much fun. The people you travel with can really make or break the trip.

Not only are my friends fun, they are also thrifty. Here’s how we saved some dough on this trip.

  • We used Groupon* and Airbnb* for discounted hotels. We also shared a room and our Groupon came with free breakfast!
  • We bought our plane tickets from Costco. Crazy, right? It helped us save a bundle.
  • We flew into Buffalo and drove over the border. It was cheaper than flying into Toronto.
  • We BYOB! (Read more about how I save money on booze.)

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through my travel photos. Ha-ha. Have you ever been to Niagra Falls or Toronto? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

*Affiliate links, but the Airbnb link gets you $31CAD off your next trip!!!