Monday, January 4, 2016

No Spend Month 2016!

Well HELLO! Nice to talk to you again! I took an unexpected week off and it was wonderful. It's like the end of summer around here -- so sad to see the break go but also looking forward to a bit of structure again. We are all night owls at heart -- going to bed at a decent time and waking up early are painful for all of us, so we go with it over the two weeks and it's so freaking awesome. Now we start the transition to real life again and it isn't pretty. ;)

I've done a no spend month once a year for the past few years now. I used to do it in the middle of the year but last year I started doing it in January and that's going to stick. After all of the extra decor and spending during the holiday season I'm ready for a break from spending and ready to get some stuff done.

I always have a long to do list but often I see a shiny new project and gravitate towards that. This month is about avoiding the shiny and getting things knocked off the list. I turned 40 last year and I'm finding I have a lot less patience for unfinished projects. Seriously, they are making me itch. It bugs me that I work so hard on spaces and then I'll have baseboards that aren't finished or paint that needs touched up.

For me this means no spending on anything DIY or decor-related. No hardware store trips and certainly no HomeGoods trips, which is easy for some but when DIY and decor is your job it's a little more difficult. Target trips means grocery only. (Wail.) I also avoid shopping in general -- no clothing/makeup/etc. I'm not super strict about that though because I don't spend on those much anyway. It's really not that hard to avoid spending when I'm focused on getting things done, it's only the last few days that I really want to go buy something. This year I may not be quite as strict on the hardware store though -- I have a long list and that may require a few minor items. I've never allowed myself fresh flowers this month either and those are happening -- I need those in January. :)

I focus on using what we have, getting projects completed and purging and organizing our house. I thought I would share some of my favorite no-spend projects from years past before I kick this one off…

I've done a couple simple DIYs and this is still one of my favorites. :) I had a big candlestick from Goodwill:
candlestick table
And turned it into a little side table for the family room: 
white board and batten
We still use this table -- it's the perfect size for next to a chair! 

Another favorite is one I get asked about all the time. The DIY wood trough I use for decorating: 
gray fireplace marble tile
It's made from a few pieces of scrap wood and super easy to do. 

So easy and free so I made another one to use in our living room: 
half wall built in bookcase

They are great to fill up a long space, like down the middle of a dining table. Fill it with candles or flowers or whatever you can find!

I printed off some free art from the NYC Digital Gallery:
free printable art
They have thousands of free images for you to use however you wish (except to sell). I have had these up for  years and love them!

I added some simple trim to some art my son and I painted: 
DIY water color art
The scrap wood made into a frame makes it pop and really finishes it off!

Of course there's lots of organization projects tackled as well. I used more scrap wood to build some shelving into the unused corner of our guest closet:
DIY shelves in closet

Such a better use of space! 

My first project last year was purging and organizing our small storage room in the basement:
small storage room organization
That's one that will happen again this year, but thankfully it's not as bad as it was in that before! Yikes! 

And finally, I finish lists, which is the best part of a no spend month! A couple years ago I finished up small projects and completed our basement bathroom
blue and green bathroom design
It really is awesome to be productive and really focus. I don't think about or purchase for upcoming projects, I just tackle what I have had sitting around. 

Also, over the past six months I've gotten rid of more things in our house than I have in six years, no joke. I'm using the Konmari method (that I told you about here) but I put it on hold when the holidays and my kitchen renovation hit. I'll be sharing more of that process with you as well! 

Have you tried a no spend month? It's refreshing and really goes to show how very little new things we need. Of course new things are fun, but after the holidays I need a break. It does my mind good. Here's a look at my first no spend month and this and this are my latest two round ups. As always, check in on Instagram and Facebook for updates in between posts! :) 


  1. I haven't done a no-spend month, but last year we declared 2015 to be the year of saving, meaning no big renovation projects, no major purchases, no big trip. Honestly it was great to see the difference in our savings account at the end of the year. But what I've found is that we're experiencing a delayed gratification thing and suddenly we're spending like a bunch of lottery winners (including doing a bathroom renovation). So I'm not sure there will be a net gain, but it's probably a good exercise nonetheless.

  2. I've never done a no-spend month (at least not formally), but I like the idea! Plus, it may force me to use up some of the spare antique trinkets we've got laying around for "one day" projects. Thanks for sharing some of your past projects!

  3. I am looking forward to your posts on the Konmari method in your home. Combined with a no-spend month, that seems like a pretty powerful formula!

  4. It's looking like January is going to be a no-spend month for me, and I am loving the thought of getting some half-started projects done. Maybe it should be more like "project finishing month"...

  5. I read about your no spend month. I did it last year and now this year. Truthfully. I am so burned out from shopping for Christmas that it is refreshing. By the middle of the month though, it gets hard. It does gives me a chance to organize and see what I actually need which in the long run is nothing at all. I love home decor and my mind tells me to buy. So, I do!!! That is something I need to work on. I have one of those long boxes and I live mine. It was fun decorating it for Christmas.

    Happy New Year 🙂

  6. I love the idea of a No Spend Month. I doubt I'd ever be able to do it but I think its a great idea!

    -Ashlee Michelle

  7. Awesome idea! I could definitely benefit from a no spend month haha

  8. I'm obsessed with the gold mirror! It's so pretty!

    For the first time ever, I am challenging myself to a no spend month. I know it's going to be tough but worth it in the end. Wish me luck! :)

    - Mel

  9. We're doing one this month, too. It's our first official no-spend month, although I'd argue that the first 60-odd months of our marriage were also no-spend months. It's actually been really refreshing after all the impulse buys of December.

  10. Love this idea! We're in a new home, so I'm always jumping from one project to the next...need to wrap up some "starts." Also, love the NYC Digital Gallery tip!

  11. Hi! I love the wood trough you made and am thinking of making it myself. What are the dimensions? Thanks & love your blog!

  12. I made a small table out of a large candlestick. I thought it would be great for setting my coffee on when sitting on the sofa. That was until my dog knocked it over! LOL! So I gave it to my mother. :)

  13. I have a friend that does no spend month every once in a while, and it works really well for her! I keep saying I need to do it - maybe this is the year of the multiple no spend months!!! Projects do make it hard to no-spend, though ;) But it also makes you think harder about what you need and how to get it. For example - there are many places to get free materials that people don't need all of, like paint, facebook, craigslist... (be safe, obvs)

  14. Oh, yes, I have already counseled Hubby that we are locking down the budget for January! There are lot so leftovers in my freezer, it's too dead outside to work on the yard sprucing, and we've no time for inside sprucing, either! Today the garage gets cleaned out and items tossed, tomorrow the kitchen. I might buy some new potholders, though. (:

  15. Welcome to the 40 club. Its a lot like the 30 club only you become prettier and smarter! ;) I was inspired by this when I saw you mention it on Instagram. I like the idea of targeting the weakness area. Mine too would by diy & décor so this is inspiring me. And btw I really love the chair next to your candle stick turned table. I like table too but I have a weakness for anything spool style. Love your blog, Jenny @paintyourselfasmile

  16. I am always so inspired by your no-spend month and how much you manage to get done without a hardware store trip! ;)

    We are trying to cut back on a few areas of spending - and decor is definitely one of them. (So is eating out, by the way. I know you didn't ask. ;))

  17. I love your no-spend months! It's easy to get carried away spending money redecorating, painting, organizing rooms. It's nice to try and reinvent rooms working with what you have!

    Your blog is such an inspiration! Even though I'm at a different stage in my life (single and working on a house alone)I can take so many ideas. I'm in the middle of going the black door route through out my entire house thanks to you!

    feel free to give it a look!


  18. Loved the book! I was already a decluttering type but this book pushed me further.

  19. a friend and i did this last year! should really do it again this year, but it was kind of hard :) online shopping and thrift stores always get the best of me.

  20. I love your no-spend months - you get so many amazing things done!! I love them so much I am also doing one for January this year and I wrote about it on my blog a few days ago!

  21. I love the wooden trough. My husband made one for me, and it is on my mantle. I used silver balls from Pier One, and it looks great! I posted a picture on my blog today: Thanks for the great ideas! I enjoy reading your blog.


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