YNAB BLOG

Join us for the March Spending Fast Challenge!

From March Monday 25 through Sunday 31, we’re going to do a YNAB community spending fast.  That means no unnecessary spending during that week.   Let’s bring March to a close by bringing some of our categories in under budget!

We’ve created an event on facebook so you can comment on how it’s going, share what you’re learning and support others.  If you don’t have a facebook account, you can leave thoughts here on this blog post.

Obviously, you’ll want to pay your bills and all that good stuff.  It’s important to be responsible. But everything else is on the chopping block!

So what’s unnecessary?

I think that’s a line that each of you should draw for yourselves.  It’s easy for me to say “No eating out! Period!” as a guideline, but I don’t know your specific situation and you may have to eat out for a very legitimate reason.  (Work lunch meeting, too far away from home at meal time, etc.)   I myself have a dinner meeting next week and I’m going to proceed with that.  So look over your budget, think about the upcoming week and set your own parameters.  This is really about increasing awareness on YOUR spending habits, so I’ll leave that up to you.

 Here are my personal parameters.  I will not spend money during that week on:

  •  Groceries (If you choose to not spend on groceries make sure you have enough food in the cupboards for the week ahead)
  •  Restaurants (except for the pre-scheduled dinner meeting)
  •  Pet Stuff (I tend to go overboard with stuff for the dog, and there’s plenty of pet food in the house right now.)
  •  Gas
  •  Household Stuff
  •  Clothes
  •  Entertainment
  •  Hobbies
  •  Software, technology, etc.
  •  Books

Basically, I’m just going to make sure bills get paid.  That’s about it.

A spending fast isn’t sustainable over the long term, and that’s certainly not the goal.  This is just for a week.  Hopefully, that’s long enough to be meaningful.  The point is to become aware of places where you could cut back and where you might be spending wastefully.

So join us and comment as the week goes along to share what you’re learning about your spending habits!  Naturally, we’ll be giving away a handful YNAB T-shirts when it’s over for insightful comments, deep words of wisdom for others, and meaningful lessons learned.

Share your successes and challenges with us as the week unfolds.  And be sure to keep track of what you think you’re saving so you can share that at the end!

19 Responses to “Join us for the March Spending Fast Challenge!”

  1. Melissa

    I will be on vacation on the 25th-27th, but I’d still like to participate. I’m thinking that since I saved up $850 for this trip, that I will resolve to stay within that amount, and not spend regular funds on the trip. And then continue the regular spending fast upon my return. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Taylor

      i am right there with you. On a pre-budgeted trip from 3/27 to 3/31. I will stay within the budgeting vacation amount.

      Reply
  2. Dona Nishi

    Excellent idea, except it’s spring break and both kids will be home. Is this something that you all do regularly? If so, I’m in next time.

    Reply
    • erin

      We’ll see how it goes Dona and what the community response is. Hopefully it’s something we can do time and again. Though you can institute your own spending fast any time you want. :)

      Reply
  3. Bob Blaschke

    We are in! – Gas will be the exception, as I am a commuter.

    Reply
  4. Jon

    I am in. I am already doing a sorta-fast because I’m trying to shed debt. Since I’m a college student it shouldn’t be hard to fast on unnecessary items.

    Reply
  5. Nicole

    I’m in! The Mon-Fri part is easy for us as I work from home and generally cook dinner every night during the week. However, weekends are always a challenge. I resolve to be prepared ahead of time – especially being that it’s Easter weekend and we are making dinner for friends. There will be no last minute store runs!

    Reply
  6. Nadine Graham-Kaplan

    The problem for me is that week is Passover, and there’s TONS of spending that happens with that. It’s just an irregular week for us to do this – but I’ll sign up the next time!

    Reply
  7. Paul Johnson

    I only usually spend money on lunch, eating out for dinner, baseball activities, etc. I think I will empty my money clip and put my debit card in my car for emergencies only. That should allow me to fast. We’ll see how it goes.

    Reply
  8. Oren

    3 years ago my wife and I started a similar exercise but in a larger scale. We went through 3 months of spending fast every year since then. It’s an eye opener! We manage to reduce 20% of our monthly household income every such month (and I’m not reducing the money I put aside for savings on a regular basis). This 20% is only coming from not spending where we usually spend. After the first year we acquired new habits in various areas and we manage to save more on a regular basis. I wholeheartedly recommend trying this for a longer period. BTW, during this yearly exercise we keep our kids very involved in this and we usually use the money we save for fun stuff (vacations!).

    Reply
    • erin

      That sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing your insights. It sounds like you really gained a lot of awareness and that helped you line up your spending with what matters to you. Awesome. I’m excited to see what everyone learns from this week long fast.

      Reply
  9. Paul Johnson

    OK….Here we go. A little apprehensive, but we’ll see how it goes. Resisted the urge for breakfast out. Headed home soon for lunch to save there.

    I gotta be honest, though. If I make it until Thursday, I’ll be surprised.

    Reply
  10. Paul Johnson

    Well, that was quick. My wife’s van has transmission issues starting last night. Taking it in today to see what the issue is going to be. I’ll keep moving ahead in other areas, though.

    Reply
  11. Paul Johnson

    Well the van still isn’t done yet, so no spending there. I still failed, though. I bought the family dinner after dropping of the van at the shop. Other than that, I really cut back. Good exercise to get you thinking about what you spend.

    Reply

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