Family Budget – Why You Should Skip That No-Spend Month


Keeping your family budget in check is one of those things that for the vast majority of people is hit or miss. You either nail it on the head and things run smoothly or you have trouble finding a budget that works for your family and you struggle with your family finances each month. If you’re in the latter group, you might be tempted to try a no-spend day, week or month that you’ve seen some friend, family member or blogger talk about. With the no-spend months, you don’t buy anything that isn’t considered a necessity during whatever time span you’ve chosen to do. They’re billed as being able to save you massive bucks during the saving time period. Everyone will tell you to do one. They’ll tell you that they can help you save and potentially even save your family budget. Well, everyone except me that is. I don’t think you should do them at all.

Have you done a no-spend month? Did it help your family budget? What if I said you should not do a no-spend day, week or month? You shouldn't and I'm going to tell you why.

When you last updated your budget, did you go over in any of your categories? I’d be willing to be that you did. Most of us do at some point or another. Did you go over in two or more categories? Be honest. You did and now you’re looking at doing a no-spend week or month to make up for going over that budgeted amount. Can I ask why? Are you looking at it to save your finances? Are you looking at it as a way to boost your savings account? Are you looking at it as a way to get back on budget?

Family Budget – Why You Should Skip That No-Spend Month

It won’t do any of those things for you. Yes, you might save a few extra dollars in your savings account, but chances are very good that within a month or two, you’ll be right back in the same position that you are now. Why?

Because no-spend days, weeks or months do not change the bad financial habits that got you into trouble in the first place.

I know that sounds harsh. I’ll even admit that it is harsh, but hear me out. None of us get to a bad financial spot overnight. If your family budget is in tatters, if your savings account is empty, if your bills are unpaid, if you’re at your wits end, you took some time to get there. You didn’t update your budget when you should have. You didn’t have budget meetings with your family. You overspent in one or five of your budget categories time and time again without fixing the issue. You didn’t save money when you should have. You didn’t build an emergency fund to help you take care of the financial troubles you’re currently having.

Sure, taking a couple of weeks or a month to put a few extra dollars into your savings is great. I’m not in any way saying that it isn’t. But…

Putting a few extra dollars into your savings will not stop your bad habits.

If you really want to get ahead financially, you will have to break your bad spending habits. You will have to teach yourself to save money. You will need to learn how to build wealth while you’re saving money and how to invest your money so that it grows for you. You’ll have to teach yourself to live frugally if it doesn’t come natural to you. You’ll need to suck it up and learn how to save money on groceries so that you can cut that cost. You’ll need to teach yourself to cut your household expenses as much as possible, to start controlling your money instead of allowing it to control you.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t save money. I’m not saying not to try and spend less. What I am saying is that you need to fix you before you can expect a no-spend anything to fix your budget. I see so many others talking about these no-spend challenges as if they’re the end all, fix all and the simple truth is that they are not.

Fixing the issues isn’t easy. Nothing worth doing is easy. It isn’t impossible though. You can:

and so much more.

You have to work to keep your family budget in check. It doesn’t happen overnight and it isn’t going to happen with a day, week or month of not spending money. All that no-spend challenge is going to do is put a bandaid on things and I’m sure that we’re all aware. Bandaids are temporary fixes. 

Have you done a no-spend month? Did it help your family budget? What if I said you should not do a no-spend day, week or month? You shouldn't and I'm going to tell you why.

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Stacy Barr
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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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