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How To Plan A No Spend Month Challenge : The Saturday Weekend Review #310

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no spend challenge

Taking On A No Spend Month For Financial Motivation

We’re not getting rid of our budget however for the month of September we’re embarking on a No Spend Month.

Since Covid-19 non-essential stores were closed and other shops offered curbside pickup and delivery for consumers.

The one good thing about the past 6 months of self-distancing is that there wasn’t many places to spend your money.

It wasn’t so great for businesses especially local shops but no one wins during times such as this.

I’m not sure anyone was prepared for the magnitude ripple effect this pandemic brought on across the globe.

According to the Bank of Canada who recently conducted a Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations (CSCE) more than half the respondents 55% said their current spending was lower than before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Consumer expected spending growth dropped in 2020 from 3.78% to 2.4% turning Canadians into cautionary spenders.

Consumer Expectations Survey Canada

The money wasn’t and still isn’t there for most Canadians who may not be back to work or were laid off and relying on the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit or employment insurance benefits.

As less money was coming in bills may have been pushed back and money used to pay bills such as shelter and food.

Anyone who planned to make a big purchase before the outbreak either abandoned or delayed their purchases.

Changes We’ve Experienced Financially

Since March when the kids stopped going to school and I was told to work from home our gas costs dropped significantly.

Where we once spent near $300 a month on petrol for our vehicle has since dropped to just over $100 a month.

What did increase was the cost of groceries and online shopping became the norm and somewhat of a distraction.

With everything going on shopping online meant browsing stores that were closed from Big Box to mall shops.

There were deals on just about everything because the stores needed to move the product out the door.

Stores that didn’t have an online presence or very little scrambled to get in front of consumers to make sales.

All of this splash and bling motivated shoppers to spend money online just because it was there.

We’ve found that our online shopping has increased however we did make use of online shopping apps and coupons.

Earning cash back by shopping online meant we were saving money that we may or may not have found a sale on.

It was easier to order from Amazon Canada then to shop online, get dressed, start the car and do the curbside pickup.

Also, Amazon Canada delivery was far superior to other stores even though they were even held back.

For a while there I felt like we relied on the simplicity and convenience that online shopping and shipping provided.

Although it is a wonderful perk to not have to get showered, dressed, and use gas to pick stuff up it can get costly.

It’s also easy to overspend when you are shopping online because the internet can be an addictive property for shoppers.

The strength that marketing has when the audience is in front of the computer or mobile screen is overwhelming.

As emails came pouring in from every retail store that I subscribed to, I clicked on the most desirable if I was bored.

The key to not overspending is to keep yourself busy and away from the computer if you are at home.

That’s been our learning experience as it reduces getting caught up in buying non-essentials that increase the budget.

Often this is why the miscellaneous category will increase especially if we did not budget for a certain expense.

There are always going to be items that pop up which don’t have a budget category and that’s where the expenses go.

With our budget expenses slightly increasing due to online or boredom shopping, we’ve committed to a no shop month.

I know we’re not going to make huge strides financially in one month but the key is to be mindful of spending habits.

  • Why are we shopping online?
  • Do we really need what we are buying?

Working From Home and Boredom Can Be Costly

How many of you are going shopping at stores that are open just because you’re bored?

Lots of Canadians are being forced to work from home and boy it sure can make you feel cooped up.

Having the ability to get back into the mall or the stores even with a mask increases the probability of spending.

Not everyone has a grip on locking up the wallet and hiding credit cards until they are absolutely needed.

If you’re like us we use our credit cards for rewards points and have earned almost $6000 at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Luckily, that wasn’t all saved since the start of the pandemic however credit cards are a big part of our lives.

No Spend Month 101

What is a No Spend Month?

A No Spend month for us means we are not going to spend any money on non-essentials to balance our budget.

You don’t necessarily have to hold a No Spend Month over the course of a month if you think it will be too much.

Ideally, if you want to ease your way into it start with a week, then two weeks, and so on until you complete a month.

Although we have saved money on certain budget categories since Covid-19 we’ve spent more on others.

Our goal for the No Spend Month is to condition ourselves to always question every potential purchase.

Although we are frugal and nit-picky with our monthly budget even the strongest saver can get into a tangled web.

You don’t have to be in debt to practice a No Spend Month either since it’s more about conditioning than anything.

The more you shape the way you think about money and understand how your spending habits affect you the better off you will be.

Some of us are emotional spenders and others spend out of boredom or because they think they can afford it.

Whatever the case there is never any harm in a No Spend Month to get back on track with your budget.

Free No Spend Month Calendar

No Spend Challenge

I created a simple No Spend Month Budget Binder Printable for anyone who wants to participate in a challenge.

You can challenge yourself, family or even friends to join in if you want support along the way.

Personally, I find doing a No Spend challenge to be motivating when nobody knows about it.

That way they can’t do the, “I told you so” if you mess it up.

With the blog we are transparent so if we screw up, we screw up and that’s ok.

I guess it hits different when it’s your family or friends making a joke at your expense.

Surely they don’t mean to but if you are seriously struggling financially it’s not a joke and not everyone will understand.

Even if you think they should understand you have to remember that finance is different for everyone.

Not everyone understands the stress of money and how it affects others.

If you want to challenge yourself along with us feel free to and you can report back anonymously if you’d like.

I’d love to hear how your month went and understand what you learned from the experience.

First, you need to download the free No Spend Month Printable.

Visualize Your Success

The idea around the No Spend Month calendar is that you put it on your refrigerator or in your budget binder.

Every day that you are successful you put a happy face in the square.

On days that you fail, you put a star so that you understand that you tripped up but will do better the next day.

When we challenge ourselves and visually see the results as we do with a budget often times it pushes us harder.

Again, no one is perfect so don’t beat yourself up if you slip up.

Simple No Spend Month Rules

What are the rules of a no spend month challenge?

The great thing about a no-spend challenge is that you get to make up the rules because you own it.

  • Why are you doing the No Spend Month challenge?
  • What would you like to achieve?

Start from there and then add guidelines and rules to your month.

What does that mean for us?

That means we are going to stop those mini-trips to McDonald’s for the $1 coffee while we are out.

It also means we won’t be doing any online shopping for products or gadgets we think we need or clothing purchases.

We also plan to stay out of all the stores unless we need to go in for a specific purchase for home maintenance.

Online shopping is a big NO unless it’s a need and we anticipate expenses will only be renovation materials.

No Spend Month Tips

Expenses that are allowed for the No Spend Month

Obvious budget expenses such as those below must be done and paid for.

  • Housing Rent or Mortgage
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Car Payments
  • Life Insurance
  • House Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Loans and Credit Card Debt
  • Investments
  • Utilities such as Hydro, Gas, Water Heater, Water
  • Cell Phone, Television, Internet, Home Phone

Areas you can CHOP for the No Spend Month may include;

  • Beauty products
  • Spa visits (hair, nails, eyebrows, eyelashes, pedicure etc.)
  • Clothing and Shoes
  • Toys
  • Gadgets
  • Eating out and Entertainment (find new ways to entertain yourself for free)
  • Shopping (stay away from the stores and online shopping unless necessary)
  • Any other expenses must be a need only.

Even if you see the BEST SALE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, walk away from it.

How To Start A No Spend Month Challenge

  1. Print the No Spend Month Calendar
  2. Discuss why you want to complete this No Spend Month *or however long you choose)
  3. Set rules and boundaries for your No Spend Month
  4. Discuss the No Spend Month with your family and partner so they are clear on what is going on
  5. Mark off the days you don’t spend any  money wherever you choose to keep your No Spend Month calendar
  6. Meal plan and grocery shop what you already have in the house for the month
  7. Find other activities to keep you busy rather than being online
  8. Limit your online time
  9. Organize your house and sell what you no longer use to bring in extra money
  10. Call your friends or family
  11. Eliminate taxi and Uber and choose walking or the city bus if possible
  12. Volunteer Your Time
  13. Write a letter to a friend instead of an email
  14. Finish up tasks that you’ve been putting off

Review Your Results

Whatever you choose to do just follow through until the end of the time frame so you have results you can review.

From there you’ll know where you can make changes to your spending habits and perhaps areas you’ve succeeded.


Discussion: Have you participated in a No Spend Month and what did you learn from it?

Leave your comments or experiences below.

Blog Posts You May Have Missed

Below is a recap of the blog posts I’ve published over the past two weeks.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog make sure to add your email to my list so you get my weekly blog posts and access to my Free Budget Resources Library.

Plus, now I also release a bi-weekly newsletter that comes straight to your email only for subscribers.

You’ll find exclusive updates about the blog and CBB home life including photos and exclusive contests.

Dill Keto Bagels

Seasonal Frugal Recipe Box

Blueberry Cake

Vera over at OMG Chocolate Desserts has this Blueberry Cheesecake Crumb Cake that I’m turning Keto.

The moment I saw it on Pinterest I knew that I was adding this to the keto baking plan.

I absolutely love how thick and creamy the cheesecake filling looks with the blueberries.

Most of all the crumb topping looks amazing which I’ll replicate with almond flour, butter, and a bit of cinnamon.

Since blueberries are in season I wanted to find a recipe that was unique and I’ve found one.

I can’t wait to try it.

Do you like cheesecake?

If yes, leave me a comment and tell me which flavour is your favourite?

Frugal Gardening Tips

We use mulch in the front yard and back yard of our house to add to the overall decor of our landscaping.

I purchase around 15 bags of Scott’s mulch from Canadian Tire when it goes on sale for $3.99 a bag.

Besides looking aesthetically pleasing there are other reasons mulch is a good choice for your landscaping. 


There is no debating the many benefits mulch provides to your plants and gardens:

  • Mulch insulates the soil helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold temperatures.
  • Mulch retains water helping to keep the roots moist.
  • Mulch keeps weeds out to help prevent root competition.
  • Mulch prevents soil compaction.
  • Mulch reduces lawn mower damage.

Plus, it just makes your gardens look nice and clean.

However, with the good comes the bad and the number one concern is mulch mistakes you might be making.

According to the Right Plantz website out of 5 mulch mistakes, one that stood out was getting free mulch.

They say wood pieces are not the best idea and something I’ve always said, “You get what you pay for”.

That’s why I wait to buy the good stuff when it goes on sale but even then if it doesn’t I’ll pay for it.

Do you use mulch?

Leave me your comments below and tell me if you learned of a mulch mistake you’re making in the comments below.

CBB Motivational Corner

Life Quote

This is something important especially if you are a procrastinator who gets nothing done with their life.

Stop waiting around for everyone else to approve what you want out of life and just do it!

Home And Blog Update

Canadian Budget Binder

Home Update

As we head into fall over the next few weeks I’ll be doing yardwork and cleanup which is a big task around here.

We have lots of stuff to put away especially with our son who likes to bring his toys outside.

The pool we are ditching as I’ve patched far too many holes over the last two years.

I’ll be on the lookout for a new pool for next summer that is on sale so if you see one, let me know.

Right now our garden is giving us loads of harvest for cherry tomatoes and cucumbers.

If you subscribe to the blog you can see all of our photos that I share in my bi-weekly newsletter on Fridays.

Other than that I’m prepping for back to work and that’s taking up a tonne of my time right now.

I’m working on creating videos for clients which is next to impossible with continuous changes happening.

I’m being optimistic though.

Our son is registered for school and next week we meet with the school so he can integrate into grade one easily.

I’ll keep you all updated on the progress.

Oh, we have a new kitchen faucet.

I know exciting. I’ll share photos in the next newsletter.

If you’re not subscribed head to the bottom of this blog post or the home page of the blog and subscribe!


Blog Update

I’ve been working behind the scenes updating old blog posts including recipes that I created without a recipe card.

My designer has been tending to personal issues so I’ve given her that time to deal with what she needs.

The blog changes that she needs to make such as adding the freebies for new subscribers and another decor will be completed when she is back.

For now, I’m doing the best I can to make the blog run faster and to get the most important blog posts in front of my readers.

If you want to help out please share, comment, and like Canadian Budget Binder posts.

I always appreciate your support and recommendations on your social media platforms.


Saturday Search Term Giggles

kermit the frog

These are keywords that readers typed into their search engine and landed on this blog.

So whatever you type in a search engine and then click on a CBB post or my actual blog URL I can see that.

I get thousands of these every single day and pick some of the best to feature right here.

  • How to write a complaint about someone yelling at you? – Someone is going to get in trouble.
  • Creating wealth in Canada – I don’t know why but the first thing that popped into my head was a magic wand. Ha!
  • Why mist fruits? – So they look misty..
  • How hard is it to stockpile a million calories of food? – Some people are odd, that’s all.
  • Peanut Butter Soup Keto – Ok, now that just sounds wrong.

Thanks for your continued support of CBB and for listening to me ramble about our financial journey.

I’ll see you back here in two weeks for the next edition of The Saturday Weekend Review.

Be well,

Mr.CBB x

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