How to stay motivated for a no-spend challenge with upcoming special occasions like birthdays and Valentine’s Day?

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  • #90745 Reply
    Nisey

      My no spend January went REALLY REALLY awful. We spent $237.68 on eating out, $228.39 on my son’s birthday party (that’s including the price of bowling), and we spent $689.36 on groceries (for our family of 4).

      I’m hoping for a stronger February, but this month has my birthday and Valentine’s Day. When there is always some special occasion right around the corner, how do y’all stay motivated to not spend?

      #90746 Reply
      Jennifer

        I am willing to bet you spent much less than you ordinarily would have. Celebrate your successes, instead of beating yourself up!! Then decide how you can improve moving forward and move on!

        The important part is recognizing there are problem areas. So, can you use your crock pot more to prevent the fast food habit? Batch cook & freeze meals on a Saturday? I’ll bet you do better this month!

        #90747 Reply
        Cynny

          You can’t do a “no spend” month with bday parties in it. That is not no spend. You can budget for, drastically reduce and allow that expense as an exception. I would not skip doingbsomething for my kid and I will mot notnnot gift my family on their bdays) As long aa you can save *something* at the end of the month that’s progress. And Valentine’s day is an easy skip (for long term relationships) there are alot of free things that can be done to celebrate. Get creative.

          Planning a no spend month with bdays in it is setting yourself up for failure.

          These are my opinions.

          You can check also: Home cooked dinner under $20 for 5 adults and dessert for Valentine’s Day

          #90748 Reply
          Tena

            No spend months mean Murphy’s Law will happen here. Realistic budgets are better. Plan for each event even if it is a little bit. Plan for your savings too. This month is tight for us. But I will give my son some sort of a birthday gift and gathering. I like to plan little eating out each week.

            Like Panda Express for $30. Not a big Valentines fan so that will not cost much of anything.

            #90749 Reply
            AuntyBeth

              Try going to the thrift stores for decorations. I wanted to start decorating for each season, and have noticed even now that there are a ton of fall decorations at my area thrift stores, and they look really nice.

              Can probably get double the decs that way.

              #90750 Reply
              Sharon

                I know a lot here don’t celebrate or do anything for Valentines. And that is great. You do you. But obviously she and her family do recognize it. That is ok too.

                I like to do things for my grandkids for Valentines. And I did with my kids before them. We usually make something special together.

                Homemade brownies with strawberry sauce and whipped topping or with ice cream has always been a favorite. Or heat shaped sugar cookies to frost.

                I have also bought heart shaped cut outs at the craft store and let them paint and decorate to hang in the house.

                I make their favorite food (usually pizza) and we have a night in the living room watching their favorite movies.

                Other years that I could fit that in, I would get valentine decorated lunch size bags and get candy and little trinkets at Dollar Tree—pencils, erasers, stickers to fill the bag. Never added up to much.

                My husband and I never did much on the day but it’s usually just dinner out. So easy to budget for.

                Also, check out: Need ideas for a home-cooked, romantic Valentine’s Day dinner?

                #90752 Reply
                Amy

                  My husband and I make time to be together on Valentine’s day rather than gifts? Also – my whole family is starting to do “no gift” birthdays because we’ve all been through some penny-pinching moments. We tend to love books, so we do thriftstore books as gifts, or some such. All the best!

                  #90753 Reply
                  Maria

                    It’s your son’s birthday. It’s worth spending money on. You’re creating wonderful memories. As to fast food s, try serving fruits…they’re easy, no preparation. Just wash and bite.

                    #90754 Reply
                    Coley

                      Stop celebrating consumerism holidays. Instead of buying gifts and having a party, Go have a free experience for your birthday. Take a picnic hike to a place you haven’t been before, volunteer at a local animal shelter and play with some animals in desperate need of attention, find something constructive that contributes to your memories, not just another thing to own

                      Explore these too: Seeking clutter-free and budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gift ideas for my husband

                      #90756 Reply
                      Norma

                        At least you are keeping track! Being aware is the first step! February will be better. And March will be better than that! Good luck!

                        #90757 Reply
                        Betty

                          Save eating out for more special occasions.

                          You always need groceries , so cutting back in that area is doable but not cutting out entirely.

                          And always be generous on you family birthdays you are creating memories that last a life time… just try not to over do.

                          #90758 Reply
                          Christina

                            So, the fast food doesn’t sound great. Your son’s birthday party- of course you have to spend that much. I would make it my goal to cut out or decrease the fast food spending. But, remember, it’s your birthday and you have to live a little!

                            #90759 Reply
                            Misty

                              Don’t make it too hard, make a goal for this month to reduce all those same categories by just 10% each. By the end of the year, you’ll be saving a great deal of money without even feeling like you’ve had to make a major sacrifice.

                              #90760 Reply
                              Susan

                                Hey failure is very important! How else do we learn?

                                Pat yourself on the back for knowing the exact amount you spent on food…..that’s HUGE! And now you have a starting point and a goal, to beat January’s numbers from now on, if you can. Remember those famous words: progress, not perfection!

                                Would you also like to explore: Frugal meals for Valentine’s Day go!

                                #90761 Reply
                                Jennifer

                                  Also, I’m REALLY dismayed to see the holier than thou attitude of people on this post. Everyone’s life circumstances are different. We are here to LEARN from each other, not to show off.

                                  #90762 Reply
                                  Angelique

                                    Pretend you are in college and don’t even have the $$ to spend. Think about those younger years and the free fun you planned. I’m like you I love a good celebration and I want it perfect with themes and decor etc…you can do this!!:)

                                    #90763 Reply
                                    Amy

                                      Please remember that through EVERY event there is not failure. You may not have succeeded in your initial endeavor. However, you learned from the experience. As long as you learn something there is not failure, there is a learning opportunity. Then take what you learned into the next time you try the endeavor.

                                      This world needs to look at things in a positive way. I tell my son, no experience/interaction/happenstance or whatever is bad.

                                      There is always something good, sometimes you have to lol for it, but there is always a positive.

                                      You learned that bday months are not the months to do a no spend month. Take that and move on.

                                      Stay positive and keep trying.

                                      Take a peek at: Leftover Magic: Turning Valentine’s Day Steak and Potatoes into a Scrumptious Breakfast and Future Quesadillas!

                                      #90764 Reply
                                      Barbara

                                        Well, you didn’t stay motivated. Just wipe the slate clean and start over. Do this until you accomplish what you where trying to to.. Once you do that, and feel the power and control over your $$$, it will become easier.. YOU GOT THIS.

                                        #90765 Reply
                                        Hannah

                                          You only live once maybe it will be the best birthday your kid remembers….don’t beat yourself up about it… just like cheating on a diet let it go and try to do better next month if that’s your goal.

                                          Good luck.

                                          #90766 Reply
                                          Jobi

                                            Give your future self the gift of not spending much on your current self’s birthday. Maybe earmark what you (reasonably) would have spent to pay off a bill or put in retirement or whatever goal you’re working toward. And if you really need “immediate” motivation, spend a little something on your birthday in March if you complete your goal.

                                            Also, no idea the family situation but start telling yourself and the kids that there is food at home. Maybe not what you “want” to eat but every meal doesn’t have to be your favorite.

                                            Also, have kids make valentines or buy really cheap ones if you don’t have bandwidth to make.

                                            Have a meal plan–sounds like food and preparation maybe where you have the opportunity to improve.

                                            You can do this!!

                                            Worth a look: Frugal tip: Buy clearance gingerbread houses and decorate for Valentine’s Day!

                                            #90767 Reply
                                            Charlene

                                              Special occasions are for given a certain amount – son’s birthday is in February so 100 is set aside and money for a nice lunch. We already wrote down what we want to spend in February so hopefully no surprises.

                                              #90768 Reply
                                              Denise

                                                Since when does someone have to spend money on birthdays and holidays (especially made up Holidays). Your birthday can be a regular dinner of your favorite food and a cake. No gifts. Valentine’s Day… send texts to people you love and tell them! Every holiday can revolve around a regular at home meal. 1 gift for kid’s birthdays and their choice of dinner and cake. Make memories not debt!!

                                                #90769 Reply
                                                Tammy

                                                  Pick months when nothing is going on like no holidays, birthdays etc and try to be extra frugal those months so you can spend a little more on birthdays etc just fyi

                                                  #90770 Reply
                                                  Monique

                                                    I would just focus on improvement. I didn’t really commit to a no spend January, but I was trying to stay away from Amazon… I failed but I’m ok with it. I feel like, I thought hard about my purchases.

                                                    Don’t be too hard on yourself, just keep trying for baby steps in the direction you want to go!

                                                    Further recommendations for you: Our frugal Valentine’s tradition

                                                    #90771 Reply
                                                    Rochelle

                                                      Hope February goes better for you! Why the need for anything for Valentine’s Day? It’s a made up commercialized day to suck money out of our pockets. Hide little love notes throughout the house instead. It’s more fun and actually means something. And Birthday gifts for adults are overrated. After a certain age, folks shouldn’t feel the need for one. Resist the urge to fall prey to the pressure.

                                                      Your pocket book will celebrate and you’ll feel free!

                                                      #90772 Reply
                                                      Sharon

                                                        Do you really need anything that you’ll get for your birthday? Just say no, it might feel good. We don’t do Valentines anymore, waste of $ for us, but of course not everyone feels that way.

                                                        #90773 Reply
                                                        Brandi

                                                          Perhaps setting a budget and sticking to that would be a better first step for you. No spends are tricky when you’re starting out. As for things like birthdays, my birthday was in January and I only asked that I wouldn’t have to make dinner that night. My husband got us take out, but he could have made dinner instead. For Valentine’s day I’m getting the kids a couple small treats and we’ll make homemade pizzas for dinner, we may end up buying Valentines for a small homeschool party, but we’ll keep it simple, paper valentines and a candy or something for each kiddo.

                                                          It’s fun to go all out but you have to set priorities, would you rather save the money and pay off debt or put it toward a future goal? Or spend a bunch on money on gift bags of which half will probably end up in the trash?

                                                          #90774 Reply
                                                          Laurie

                                                            I have started freezing food. My sister gave me the idea. She has a family of five and a tight budget. It’s hard to teach yourself but now most days I come home and pull food out of the freezer for dinner.

                                                            I haven’t been to the grocery in 2 weeks. I cut back on eating out and no more waste.

                                                            #90775 Reply
                                                            Kate

                                                              But you have done one of the most important things when it comes to money management. Finding out where you are spending your money. Trust me I have wasted so much money in the past. One of the hardest steps is being honest with yourself.

                                                              To stop eating fast food my husband and I eat before we leave the house. When we leave we also bring drinks with us. It definitely helps. I meal plan what I am making for dinner the day before. That way I can thaw things from the freezer and have time to put the meal together.

                                                              #90776 Reply
                                                              Catherine

                                                                You grocery bill for four people doesn’t seem to bad. The birthday party seems a little below average, too. If the spending didn’t go beyond your means then o think you did pretty well. Celebrations will come and go. You have to enjoy life and make memories. You can’t get that back and you can’t take your money to the grave.

                                                                Save where you can. Use coupons and be conservative with utilities as much as you can. Don’t be hard on yourself.

                                                                #90777 Reply
                                                                Pam

                                                                  You have to buy groceries and feed your family. Of course your child should have a birthday party and that sounds like a very reasonable amount to spend for such an important day! Fast food!?!?!Remember you are doing this for yourself and no need to justify or answer to anyone else. You only let yourself down if you spent when you said you wouldn’t. Don’t put the unrealistic expectations or demands on yourself and family.

                                                                  Happy Birthday!!

                                                                  #90778 Reply
                                                                  Mary

                                                                    Self discipline. The same way not to overindulge on food. There’s always an occasion. You have to ask yourself what your goal is and what your priorities are. If fast food is a priority, then look for deals and coupons. Look for lesser expensive ways to celebrate occasions, possibly at home. Get the household to understand and agree to helping you keep within your budget.

                                                                    It will be easier if everyone is on board.

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