Buy Nothing Challenge – March Update

Spending less seems like a hot topic nowadays. I see “no spend month” challenges everywhere. We are actually doing this thing for a whole year! I read about this last January and thought, hey let’s do this! Pretty impulsive actually. But now that we are 3 months into this buy nothing challenge, my mindset has changed so much!

Spending less gives you options

If you spend less, you need less. And if you need less money, you will have more freedom! You can save more or start investing for example. Or you might be able to work less hours or change to a job you really want but pays less.

This challenge forces me to think about our spending. Why do we want all this stuff? We really don’t need it, we can be happy with way less. It probably even makes you happier when your home is not filled with clutter.

On to the numbers for food, gifts, children and extra’s in March, how did we do?

Food € – 698.57

While food doesn’t count towards the buy nothing challenge, we do want to spend less on groceries (which also include hygiene and household products) and takeaway food. We do like to go out to a restaurant once in a while without our children, to make time for each other. We don’t aim to spend less on that, since we already don’t go out to eat that often.

Takeaway & restaurants: € – 127.25

We got takeaway food once this month and we went to McDonald’s with the boys when we picked up my husband after he was away for a week of skiing.

My husband and I also finally went out to eat again. That was a while ago and we really liked it, we should do this at least once a month actually. Just spending some time together to talk, without the boys interfering, and enjoying good food.

Groceries: € – 571.32

Wow… Well, this is a lot above our goal. My husband was celebrating his birthday, which did cost a lot extra. Drinks, food, pie and more for all the guests.

I also have to admit that I wasn’t really paying attention to our goal in the supermarket this month. I just bought what we needed and also a lot what we wanted. It was a busy month and I was more tired than usual and I tend to buy more comfort food like chocolate, cookies or cheese on those days.

My husband went from regular beer to non-alcohol beer, which does cost more (stupid right?!).

But even with these changes and a birthday, we should be able to stay below € 500 a month. In April we also have a birthday (our oldest son will be 5 this month) and Easter is coming up. But I’m confident we can keep it below € 500!

Gifts: € – 80.74

My sister-in-law and her husband were married for 12.5 years in March, so there was a big party and we contributed to a gift everyone gave together for their new home they just moved in. Also both daughters of my sister and the daughter of my husbands sister are celebrating their birthdays and we bought them gifts.

I actually wanted to give more experiences this year instead of normal gifts, but I have’t thought of good experiences yet. Plus we joined the family in big gifts where everyone just paid along, so we just did that. I should make a list of experiences to give for different ages.

Children € – 15.58

For the children, we have some monthly expenses like diapers. We don’t add expenses for childcare in here, as we can’t lower them and are not aiming to spend less on that at the moment.

We only spend some money on diapers / nappy pants this month.

Extra’s € – 298.90

In the last weekend of March (and the first of April), we were away for the weekend to Beekse Bergen, a Safari Park in the Netherlands. We were with my mom, my sisters and my sisters husband and her two kids. We stayed in 2 lodges where we had animals right before the lodges, it was great!

I did buy a sweater for myself and for the boys a t-shirt in the park. They were just so awesome that I wanted to buy them, plus I was cold and wanted a sweater ;) Not allowed, as it was definitely a want instead of a need, but hey, I’m not perfect as I’m only human.

Our view from the lodges

How did we do in March?

We did pretty okay this month:

  • We spend a lot on food this month, too much to my liking. Even with a birthday, we should be able to spend less than € 500 a month.
  • Other than the sweater and shirts on our short holiday, we didn’t spend anything on wants instead of needs.
  • We did spend pretty much on gifts this month and I definitely want to dive into giving experiences instead of stuff.

I’m so happy that we are doing this challenge! It makes me think about money in such a different way. Even though I’m still tempted to buy something we don’t really need from time to time, but it so much less than a year ago!

This month I plan to look back at our spending in 2018 to compare the difference. I actually have no idea how much we did spend on wants instead of needs last year.

Are you going to join us this month in our buy nothing challenge or have you already done a no spend month before? Let me know in the comments!

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