December is finally over, and I’m happy to say I’ve finally made it through this no spend year challenge. I can’t believe it’s been a year! So, how did we fair during the final month of the challenge?
No Spend December
I’m not going to lie, by the time December rolled around I was pretty much over this whole no-spend thing. But I still pushed through, and other than my birthday celebration weekend, I didn’t actually spend much of my own money during my no spend December.
Did you catch that “my own money” part? That’s how I got around this No Spend December challenge. We bought tons of things, but all of it was with money that was gifted to us for Christmas spending. No one wants to hear that the money they gave you to splurge on yourself went straight into a savings account. They want to hear that you bought yourself something fun with it, and that I did!
We spent tons of money on video game systems, games, and art supplies. It was an epic Christmas for us! Not a bad investment either, since we’ve been more than happy to stay home every weekend since and just play our new games. It’s given us something new and fun that will keep us occupied for months! Seriously, Breath of the Wild has an average play time of 130 hours. That’s a lot of quality engagement time on just one of the games we got.
Ok, for those of you hung up on my use of the word “investment” – clearly a video game is not a real investment. We will never increase our profits on it, and we will never be able to sell any of it for more money. It is, however, something that will keep us occupied for hours upon hours, so we won’t be tempted to go out and spend money elsewhere. So it’s an “investment” in the sense that it saves us money in other places.
But really, I’m just very thankful to have people in my life who care enough to offer such a wonderful Christmas gift, and wanted us to enjoy it by buying tons of things.
The only other thing we spent money during our no spend December was my birthday trip to New York City. Luckily, we live close enough to drive, but we wanted to spend a full weekend so we decided against a day trip. We spent about three hundred dollars on a hotel, and another hundred on pet sitting in order to make it happen – but it was well worth it. We got to see the MET – something that’s been on my bucket list since forever, sample a bunch of different dumplings in China Town, and meet up with some awesome people.
I budgeted six hundred dollars for the trip and we managed to stay in budget. This is something that I’d been planning on doing since before I even had a no spend year challenge, so I don’t think it counts against me.
Going Out to Eat
One place where we saw spectacular resilience during our no spend December challenge was in eating out. Yes, obviously we ate out while in New York, but since that is part of a trip it doesn’t count. Other than that trip, the only time we didn’t make something at home was New Year’s Eve. We ordered a pizza from the cheap place across the street and rang in the New Year (at 10 pm- I’m too old to stay up until midnight!) with video games and unhealthy foods. Go us!
The rest of the time, we did an amazing job of cooking and eating at home. I did splurge and get some seafood for Christmas dinner – it cost about forty bucks (eek!) but lasted us for three meals. Forty bucks for three seafood dinners is much cheaper than what we’d have paid in a restaurant though!
No Spend December Success
All in all, I’d call our no spend December a success. We wouldn’t have gotten the games if not for the gift money, so that was a happy surprise. Other than that, we did an amazing job of staying home, eating in, and not buying anything unnecessary. Hopefully, we will take some of the restraint that we learned in December (and throughout the year) and bring it in to 2020 (though we have no plans to try to repeat the challenge!).
Did you try a no spend December? How did it go? Tell us about it in the comments!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.