20 pound notes with red circle and line through

Alex, our Digital Content Executive may be a whiz when it comes to our website but budgeting is another matter! Here, she explains why she embarked upon a no spend month.

Provident's Alex Devine “I am one of those people who are always in their overdraft, especially after Christmas, it’s always a hard time money wise. So I decided that after payday in January I would make February a no-spending month. The aim of this was simply to not go into my overdraft, as every month it eats up my salary. I have quite a large overdraft that has crept up over the years, so when I say I’m in my overdraft, it’s by quite a few hundred.

Budgeting

I already have a list of all my monthly outgoings so I know what’s expected to come out of my bank account and on what date. I made sure there was enough money in my bank account to pay for all the outgoings and I worked out what was left over after that goes out, so I knew what the absolute maximum I had to spend was.

Okay, so when I said no-spending month, I didn’t mean none whatsoever, that would be ridiculous. I had about £100 left over to last for the month. I allowed myself to have that to spend on those unexpected things that pop up.

 

Avoid, Avoid, Avoid!

I’m not going to lie, it was a hard month, but I just kept thinking of all the things I want to do and how if I kept spending above my means every month I was never going to be able to achieve them. Especially since I am already paying off loans and credit cards! But that’s another story entirely.

Throughout the month, I was asked to go out with friends, and I just had to say no. Unfortunately that’s what I had to do for this to work. I refused to open any sales emails from my favourite shops, and avoided clothes shops entirely, just to remove the temptation. Honestly I should have walked around with a paper bag on my head.

I did spend a lot of weekend nights at home though and managed to convince my friends to have film nights with me instead of going out. I had a lot of support from them as they realised how important this challenge was to me, and one friend even said she wanted to try a no spending month too!

The Results?

To cut a long story short, I made it through the month and managed to stay out of my overdraft! This allowed me to have more money left over the next month to put some away in my savings. Very sensible of me I know! I wanted to go out and shop straight away after that month was over but that probably would have put me right back to square one, so I am keeping a tight leash on my spending for the next couple of months to follow up my efforts.

I also realised just how much I did spend pointlessly, the odd small thing here and there like coffee with a friend or clothes. From now on I’ll be letting myself have a certain amount to spend on clothes each month instead of spending continually throughout the month. Who really needs that many handbags anyway?

Oh, and it also meant I could reduce my overdraft by a third, to keep me on the right path financially. So every month I stay out of my overdraft from now, means I can reduce it a bit more each month.”