6 months of 'no spend'

Something exciting is on the horizon....we're adopting 6 months of 'no spend'.

Probation periods at work mean probation pay and tightening the belt to make sure we don't end up in all sorts of trouble. We're going back to the beginning when Lee and I didn't know how much was going to come in so we lived off the bare minimum to make sure we had enough. I'm excited. I love a bit of frugality every now and then, and 6 months of it is going to be a real challenge.

There are a few events coming up that are exempt, but our day to day life is going to be totally no spend. Even our grocery shopping and petrol allowance is going to be tested - where can we walk to, what brands can we swap out of the food shop, what can we stop buying that we don't need? I want to see if you really can do life as a family of 5 for free (or thereabouts).

Obviously we'll be paying bills. We're reducing what we can, and we won't be adding any extra direct debits over this period, but everything else is coming under fire. I'm going to document it too! Why not? I know so many people who hit periods where money suddenly becomes a struggle, so enjoy reading this and see if there is anything you could also adopt during those times. Heck, there is probably loads of advice I could receive from you lot too!

Of course, there is a greater One looking after me too, so I feel I have a somewhat unfair advantage. We have lots of friends and family around us who know that these 6 months are going to be tough, so we're not on our own here. I can't imagine we're going to get to breaking point with this, but we want to take some responsibility too, be good stewards with the money we have and cut our coat according to our cloth. 

I'm on the hunt for free activities, date night ideas, cheap meals and shopping tips. Anything that can save you a heap of money then throw it at me! I'm going to see how far I can go with this. I'm not quite ready for 'mud hut in the middle of the forest with no electricity', but I wonder whether money really is the be all and end all of a comfortable life, or if it's perfectly feasible to have a happy, content life with little. 

I have to remember as well that this isn't forever. It's literally just for a probation period and then Lee's new salary will be more than plenty for everything. I think it's good to be clear on that, because living a life full time on frugality is pretty rough. Jack Monroe wrote a book about living on £10 food budget a week and the response by some was, "great! If you can live frugally then we don't need to worry about you". This isn't the response that I believe we should be adopting. It's important to be looking for those that are struggling and to help where we can. Even those in the poorest areas of the world will be the first to offer you food and share their homes with you. It's a beautiful example of "If I've got enough for me, then I've got enough to share".

It's an additional challenge during this period for us. To make sure that generosity is still at the heart of our lives. There is always room for one more at our table, and we will always be mindful of sharing what we have. 

It's an exciting journey that we're beginning (actually we've been on 'no-spend' for two days already!), and yes, I know that it's really weird to be excited by that. I think I just thrive off challenge and I'm looking forward to seeing if you really can do it! I promise to be super honest with you all about how it goes. There's no point pretending is there?

Anyway, I'm off for coffee. Yep, I'm using my costa club points to get myself a freebie! Lots of my loyalty cards have points on them so I'm going to use them up during this period. I'll update you all every Friday (it'll be titled 'Freebie Friday', isn't that brill!) and we can laugh/cry at how I'm doing. Wish me luck!


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