Tag Archives: saving

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

Link Love: 44

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg I meant to update when I was on vacation, but it was vacation! And my phone didn’t work in Canada. Whomp. Whomp. I did manage to to find some web goodies while on airport wi-fi. Here’s the best of the best this week.

How life in a caravan set us free.

It’s ok to have a small, happy life.

This 111 square foot home is lovely.

I can’t find the original source for this link, but how beautiful is this modern tiny floating house?!

This art piece home between skyscrapers is amazing. If only it was functional.

“A good percentage of tiny house dwellers don’t remain tiny house dwellers.” I agree. You have to learn to keep content.

And similarly, “The purging process eventually reaches a point of winding down, but the gratitude and contentment that comes from appreciating all that we have should never stop.

The life-changing magic of losing shit.

The most affordable small towns in America.

Skip the debt, reap immediate rewards: why I chose community college for my design education. Yes, yes, yes.

7 low maintenance (and low cost) haircuts.

See how much your lifestyle will cost will with this calculator. Kind of depressing, but a reality check, for sure.

9 distractions that keep us from living fully. Yes, yes, yes. Number 1 and number 2 especially.

I forgot about last month’s book club book. Whoops! I’ll be discussing Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less* on Monday.

And this video brought me to tears and then made me feel like everything is ok.

I’m struggling to get back into work mode, but it’s almost the weekend! I plan on catching up on laundry and housework and try not to fan-girl too hard; Orange Is the New Black*
is back on Friday! What are you up to this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

*Affiliate links

Link Love: 34

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg

This week there’s been some great stuff on the interwebs. Here’s the best of the best:

Fast and easy Feng Shui tips.

Decorating tips for INTJs. (That’s my personality type, if you are interested in decorating for your’s, scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Learning to love living with less.

This guy built a cozy log cabin for less than $500 bucks.

Yes, you can live in a tiny house with kids.

Costa Rica is now running completely on renewable energy. Let’s go!

10 of the cheapest countries to travel to.

Avoid impulse spending with an ongoing list of fun projects.

Suze Orman recently quit her show. I just adore her. I’ll miss her, but she writes beautifully about knowing when to move on.

Remember how I was just talking about minimalist makeup? Well there’s a company who is doing it. It’s so smart! I never use up regular size makeup before it expires and it’s budget-conscious.

“I achieved the American Dream – and it was awful.”

When you’re buying things you don’t need (and how to stop).

Calculate your energy costs with this formula.

On another note, I’m doing another Whole30. I didn’t want to clog up my regular IG with food, so I created a new one. You can follow along here.

That’s it folks! Happy Thursday!

love,
melanie

Frugal Friday: Sometimes saving money sucks

My empty wallet.

Let’s be honest: sometimes saving money just plain sucks. Lately I’ve been pining over a pair of pricey winter boots. I’ve pinned them, I keep my browser open on my phone to the website and I even follow the company on Instagram. I’m torturing myself, even though I don’t need winter boots. I’ve had the same pair since middle school. Not kidding. It obviously doesn’t snow very often here. But I still want those boots. Boo hoo. First world problems, right?

As my “less stress” mantra for the new year I’ve been trying to take a more zen approach to every part of my life. As such, I’ve been telling myself to own it. Acknowledge those sucky feelings. Let’s all say it together: “Yes, saving money sucks.” Let’s all acknowledge it, zen it, and move on. Sometimes it sucks, but I’ll never get to fix up my van and drive around the country by buying super cute (but expensive) shoes that I don’t NEED.

Does acknowledging your feelings ever help you save money? I’m curious! Let me know in the comments!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 21

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg

This was my first week back at work and it’s been insane (as always). Here’s what has managed to catch my eye this week.

In case you missed it, we’re on Tiny House Swoon! So pumped.

This “micro” home is so lovely.

16 “weird” houses. (I’m in love with #12!)

27 hacks to keep your fridge clean and organized.

A guide to which foods you can freeze.

Timeless tips from the Great Depression.

Delicious dishes for less than 4 bucks!

I love this “swimming pool of the future.”

Create a “secret number” for financial goals.

A good way to minimize your clothes: limit yourself to just 40 hangers (or less!).

29 things to remember for the New Year.

And just for fun… Dads acting like fashion bloggers. (This made my day!)

love,
melanie

The $100 Holiday Challenge: Did I make it?!

The $100 holiday challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season? This lady tried it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! This year we are celebrated both! This holiday season I also lost my mind and challenged myself to spend only $100 on almost 20 presents for friends and family. Check out the original post if you need a refresher.

And for those of you who were curious about my strategy, this post explains it. If you’re not feeling extra literary, here’s the short of it: I used coupons, I had a no-gift pact with my husband, I crafted and I shopped early, among other things.

Since it’s now Christmas, I can share the full details with you!

  1. Mom – $2 necklace flea market find
  2. Dad – $10 pants with a coupon at JC Penny
  3. Dog – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  4. Sister – Necklace made from materials at Michaels $10.11 with coupon and Etsy: $10.00
  5. Sister’s cat – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  6. Sister’s boyfriend – $2.78 hat with coupon from Kohl’s and coffee from my CSA (free)
  7. Mother-in-law – Gift basket made with things from the Dollar Tree: $8.00 and a neck relaxer .53 with coupon from Kohl’s
  8. Father-in-law – Set of grilling accessories: $5.33 with coupon from Kohl’s
  9. Brother-in-law – Slippers with coupon from Kohl’s: $6.39
  10. Sister-in-law – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  11. Niece – Finger puppets from Ikea: $4.99
  12. Kid Cousin – $9.99 toy vehicle kit from Ikea
  13. Kid Cousin – $4.79 necklace making kit from Kohl’s with coupon
  14. Gift exchange – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  15. Friend – Ice scraper from Kohl’s with coupon $7.26
  16. Friend – Purse $4.06 with coupon from Kohl’s
  17. Friend’s kid – $10 Groupon
  18. Co-workers – Nuts made with ingredients already on hand and packaged in bags from the Dollar Store $2.00

Total: $100.21

You guys, I got so close! It’s almost unbelievable! Admittedly, I probably didn’t add in tax for everything (which is pretty low here). I would have been under if everything had worked as planned– but of course it never does! I had planned on redeeming some of my credit card/debit card points for gift cards, but they didn’t arrive in time. Although I ordered them a month ago. Ugh!

Regardless, I’m considering this a win!

So what did I learn? Start early– super early. I thought I was starting early enough with a month’s leeway, but I could have used more time. The holidays are such a busy time, I’d love to just be able to sit back and enjoy them without all the shopping and craziness.

Use cash because it’s more tangible and you can easily figure out exactly how much you have left in your budget.

I also learned to look in the clearance section before even looking at something that people might enjoy. Then, use your coupons strategically. I always tried to get things for less than a dollar, if possible.

Check out those savings!

Check out those savings!

And luckily, I have a coupon crazy mom who graciously couponed for me and gave up some of her Kohl’s cash for me.

Happy holidays, ya’ll! It’s been a fun, wild ride, but I’m glad it’s over. I can’t wait for the refreshing start of a new year!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 18

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg

This vintage trailer nicknamed the Nugget(!) is adorable.

21 NYC women confess the dumbest things they spend their money on.

The tiny house movement and binge saving: the new retirement. I think so.

5 spending addicts. Which one are you?

14 smart money moves to make by the end of the year. Let’s get to it!

What to do when you’re 40 and have nothing saved.

Saving money when you have no time. (I can relate. We all can.)

5 questions to simplify your life during the holidays.

Consumer madness? Opt out.

7 tips to overcome holiday gift clutter.

Your work is not… nothing. (Alexandra Franzen gets it, ya’ll.)

Happy almost Friday!

love,
melanie