Don’t Spend December: Extreme Spending Reform Without Being a Humbug

christmas dollar house(Guest Challenge by Sox)

Now let me start out by saying that this is something I’ve chosen to do. I’ve made the rules and I don’t expect anyone else to follow it. (Although I welcome the challenge!)

A bit about me:

How can I pull something like this off? Well financially I’m rather unique. No one is financially dependent on me unless you count my cat Liza, and she only needs treats, food and cat litter. I live in an inexpensive town with great public transportation and an office close enough to walk to. I am horrible at collecting food and other things that I just forget about and don’t use up. I can cook as well as or better than any restaurant (don’t challenge my pie skills). Being able (time and skills) to cook is a huge factor in pulling this off. I don’t drink coffee or alcohol and rarely hit up sodas. I am a tv junkie (over 1000 show episodes watched on hulu alone) and much of my entertainment comes from that. I have woodworking, electrical, plumbing, basket weaving, and canning skills to help me out.

Last time on NoSpend November:

Remember how I did NoSpend November last year? Well this year I decided to try it in December. There are a couple of reasons for this shift. First of all I had a vacation planned already for November so I didn’t want to skimp on it since vacations for me are so rare. The other reason is that while last November was difficult (primarily because of football tickets) it wasn’t as big a stretch to pull off. Christmas is a big spending time and I found that instead of really saving on holiday spending, it could have been differed. So is it really no spend? Tough call.

The New Plan:

So this time I figured I would get back into the blogging habit by doing No Change November showing you what happens in a typical month for me. I will do my best to be realistic about it and not restrict my spending out of shame since you’re watching! The only noted difference is that I am not allowing Christmas presents to get stockpiled a head of time. Now I’m not going to avoid buying things that I would usually, just not going to make a run on target at 9pm on the 30th. A benefit of this activity is for me to see how well I can track my spending. In this age of digital payments I rarely look at bank accounts or credit card statements. Lets see how it goes! 

Here are the rules:

1) Unless otherwise indicated, you can’t spend any expected income.

  • Salary
  • Wages
  • Rent owed to you
  • Established court settlements
  • Alimony
  • Expected year end bonuses

2) If you have any bills, you can pay them.

  • Credit card purchases from previous months
  • Medical prescriptions
  • Mortgage/rent (For some people commuting costs or gas can be considered a utility but not me)
  • Utilities
  • Cell phone

3) NO spending of already existing money in your possession

  • Cash on hand
  • Gift cards

4) NO stockpiling

  • You can’t buy gas on the day before it starts unless you need it.
  • No loading up on extra food. If you’re low on milk that’s ok, but you can’t buy a dozen frozen dinners.
  • No Chirstmas present stockpiling unless you would have bought it ahead of time anyhow.

5) If you have any thing owed to you, you can call it in

  • Owed lunches/dinners
  • Money
  • Take someone to court
  • Stuff that was borrowed

6) You can sell get money by getting rid of things in your home

  • Selling on Craigslist/eBay
  • Returning things to Home Depot/Lowes (easy to find for any home owner)
  • Unused gift cards

7) You can spend money that is refunded to you in that month

  • Credit card cash back checks/ gift cards
  • Medical reimbursement

8) Anything that you sell or get refunded must be spent after you get the money back. So if you submit a reimbursement for medical expenses, or sell something online, you can’t spend money in anticipation of getting it. If you submit it and you don’t get anything sent to you that month… tough noogies.

9) Gambling is allowed with any eligible money (but I don’t recommend that)

10) You can consume anything that you already have

  • Food
  • Toiletries
  • Fuel

11) You can barter

  • Make dinner for someone with your own food, get someone to take you out for dinner
  • Help a friend out with a chore, get food or something else (not money) in return
  • Sell anything you receive by doing chores for others
  • Sell anything that was borrowed and then returned to you
  • Sell anything for profit that you buy that month with eligible money

The Benefits of Don’t Spend December!

  1. Reduce excess crap in your pantry
  2. Eliminate items you shouldn’t have bought
  3. Get evened out on things that people owe you
  4. Get in better shape from walking instead of driving
  5. Hang out with friends more
  6. Lose weight by eating more frugally (saving and eating leftovers)
  7. Eat healthier by cooking your own food

Best of all, next month you’ll have a lower credit card bill. Each time I’ve done this I have actually made between 50 and 200 dollars. Combine that with the money I didn’t spend, and the fact that I reformed my spending, it can have a big impact financially!

You can track my progress so far here:

November 09 and 10 are already up.
Have fun everyone!

Sox has dedicated his life to learning to do things for himself that he’d otherwise have to pay for. As a result many delicious pies have sprung forth to remedy the lack of desserts available in his hometown of Blacksburg. Also, he has a cat named Liza.

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  1. Sox December 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Thanks for the post J. Always like to share the madness :)

  2. J. Money December 16, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    You know I wish you the best of luck, brotha! Not that you need it – you’re a killer at this stuff :)