A No Spend Challenge: 28 Days of Being Simply Frugal.

Ready, set, go!  The No Spend Challenge is officially underway!  So far, we’re off to a great start! 😉

Truthfully, I’m winging this challenge. 🙂 In the morning of December 29, I had fully intended on doing a month of organizing here on Simply Frugal for January. But come the afternoon of December 29, I realized that that would be silly of me to do personally because I should be packing up to move instead of organizing things! So, the No Spend Challenge just made more sense since we could really do with a lot less spending.

It appears as though many of you agree because so many of you have joined me over at the Simply Frugal Community on Facebook! Yay!

Before we get started with today’s post, I thought it would be important to think about why you are taking the No Spend Challenge and what you hope to achieve. It’s important to always keep your reason(s) in mind as the challenge goes along because this month isn’t just about saving money, it’s about changing your mentality as it relates to shopping, your needs, and what a good life is all about.

Throughout the next 28 days I’ll be touching on some of the most common ways we like to spend money and suggesting some solutions or ideas to help us all start to think differently about how we spend money on those things. There won’t be daily posts, but I will provide the occasional task to complete. Not only to help get your mind off the fact that you’re not spending money, but also to help you get into the habit of using what you have, rather than buying more. Another perk to the No Spend Challenge is to realize and appreciate all that we do have. 🙂

Today, we’re going to spend some time thinking about our menu for the month. (Or start with a week and go from there.) Food can be a huge area of the budget. Especially if we’re used to eating out regularly. Let’s see if we can learn to use what we have and cook more often at home by planning some meals.

First of all, start by making a list of all your favourite recipes and your family’s favourite meals.  Feel free to ask them for input!  Don’t worry about the ingredients, it’s important to just write as many ideas as possible. Here’s a free meal ideas printable to help you out:

No spend meal ideas

Next, take a quick inventory of what you have on hand already by taking a look in your pantry and fridge/freezer. Here are some handy freezer and pantry inventory checklists for you to print:

 Get the Pantry Inventory worksheet here.

Get the Freezer Inventory worksheet here.

Now, take a look at your pantry and freezer inventory lists and think of one meal that corresponds with each ingredient.  For example, if tomato sauce is on your list, you could write spaghetti, sloppy joes or lasagna.

Finally, find more ideas by getting inspired by taking a look though cookbooks, magazines or browsing the web!  Pinterest is a great way to find recipes as well.

Try to have at least 28 meals on your list. One for each day of the challenge. More if you need to plan breakfasts and lunches. (I tend to rotate through the same few meals for these, but I think it’s still important to write down.)

I’ll be back tomorrow with my list of No Spend Month Meals.

I’d love it if you left a comment listing at least one meal idea from the list you just made!  Be sure to join the Simply Frugal Community on Facebook for the discussion we will be having about this.