Baby steps are often forgotten about in the grand scheme of things. So often I’d sit down and think about “Oh, I really want to do X, try this new hobby, instill this new habit, save this money” and never really went about it because, well, I never made a plan. But it doesn’t work like that. Being good at something doesn’t happen overnight for most things. Being good at something takes practice…and oftentimes baby steps will get us there. Sometimes, I think it’s because I only saw the END result instead of – that first baby step.
3 surprising things a zero spend month will tell you about yourself
During our zero spend months we’ve done as a family in the past, I discovered 3 surprising things, so today I’m sharing about 3 surprising things a zero spend month will tell you about yourself today.
- Doing a zero spend month may show you what your struggle areas are. For us, that was 99% of the time comfort food. You know - that extra extra food on top of groceries like cheesecake (I love cheesecake) or takeout pizza ($$ it adds up).
- Doing a zero spend month may get you thinking about your struggles. Oftentimes really focusing on your finances will reveal to you about the deeper issues you may (or may not!) have with finances. This could be anything from hoarding to free spending that both could have been learned about earlier in life. Discovering where your struggle areas came from and the why behind it can help you deal with what’s really going on in behind the scenes.
- Doing a zero spend month may lead to strong emotions. Once you’ve discovered your struggle areas and perhaps thought about the why behind them, it may bring back strong emotions towards money. I know for me, that I have to often unpack the holding onto for dear life feelings towards money for various reasons. I found this podcast “Change Your Money Habits + Get Intentional with Your Finances with Rachel Cruze” a great, thought provoking podcast that talked about this in more detail.
Quick recap of 3 surprising things a zero spend month will tell you about yourself
It’s complicated and everyone’s zero spend months will look different, but 3 surprising things a zero spend month will tell you about yourself is that it may show you what your struggle areas are, it may get you thinking about your struggles, and it may lead to strong emotions.
During my zero spend month in January, I once again learned our struggle areas is definitely food. We spent $80 on “extra” food. Cookies, pizza, and treats. We’re, of course, not beating ourselves up over it, but it’s good to be aware of those areas. We may also adjust our zero spend months to include one treat night of X dollars. We did pretty well this month for saving, I’d say! But, I tell you those small purchases do add up quickly if we’re not watching for them.
And back to baby steps once more … Remember: You can do it 5 minutes at a time. One day at a time. One month at a time. Want to start exercising? Try 5 minutes. Or 15. Whatever feels good to you. Want to start reading more? Start by reading a small chunk at a time and gradually increase that time. Want to start saving more money with baby steps? Start tracking your purchases.
If you want to instill something new into your life that you know you really want or need in your life, try baby steps. Take out your timer. Shut off the distractions and get started!
How do you do a zero spend month that works for you?
Make your own rules, guidelines, and be mindful of your spending. Learn from your mistakes and keep going. It’s worth it if you are really looking to be better at your finances. It can help so much if you have debt or want to start saving. Going a step further, you may also enjoy Dave Ramsey’s steps for taking control of your finances.
Try a zero spend month with a freebie to help you track along the way
Invitation: Are you on the quest to pay down debt or save more this year? If so, a zero spend month might be just the thing to try. If this sounds interesting to you and you’d like to try it. I linked a “Plan Your Zero Spend Month” worksheets for you if you’d like to try a zero spend month that you can download here.
What’s included in the zero spend month worksheets?
- Some background information on what a zero spend month is.
- Planning Your Own Zero Spend Month worksheet: Five questions to help you design your own month.
- Spending tracker page for all expenses.
- Spending habit tracker (essentially to track the days you stick to zero spend)! So you can see your progess.
I’d also suggest reading my friend Shelly’s blog here with some more great tips: “5 No Spend Month Tips and Tricks.”
Other blogs of mine you may like:
- Five Tips to Have a Successful Zero Spend Month
- How to Do a Zero Spend Month that Works for You
- Simple Budgeting Tips for People Who Don’t Like Budgeting
- 2 Simple Tips to Start Sinking Funds for Beginners
Here’s to more mindful spending!
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