A Holy Ash Wednesday 2017 to you! As promised in Monday’s post, How We Lent, we’re here to explain our No-Spend Lent to you! Rachel has mentioned the concept of a No-Spend Month before (see her post entitled Yikes, It’s Budget Time Again!! for more information). This year, we’re really drawn to extend the challenge of a No-Spend Month into a No-Spend Lent. I think about this every year, but it’s my first time to do it. Rachel’s a No-Spend veteran by now, so she’s going to explain it.
A No-Spend Month is exactly what it sounds like: you don’t spend any extra money from your income. It can sound intense at the start, but it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Actually, it’s really easy to do if you get organized.
The first thing you do for this adventure is to write down all of your bills for that month. You pay all of your bills—everything—then you look at necessities like food, gas, and tithing. Budget out for those necessities (we take the cash out and put them in envelopes); then put away your debit card. If you only carry around cash, then you are more aware of what you are buying.
What do you do with the money not being spent on bills and necessities? Any extra money is up to your family to allocate. You could save for a home project, new car, vacation, paying off debt, building your savings…use that extra money for whatever helps build up your family and its goals.
I’m intrigued by the concept of freezing all discretionary spending. It’s actually brilliant. We sat down to budget into January this year, so we overspent slightly that month, as our limits and categories came into existence after the fact. Initially, I chose this option to “make up” what we’d overspent.
But as I began to think about this Lent, I decided that I wanted to simplify. I want less stuff in the house, a more open schedule, and a deeper faith life. A No-Spend Lent makes so much sense, then, because I’m not spending my money on stuff or experiences that cost time and money. I’m also not spending my money on things that ultimately distract me from the true life I’m called to as a Christian. The money that I’m saving can be applied to more tithing or helping those around me in need.
We are firm believers that we should be debt free; to us, owing money is a form of addiction. The Scientist and I believe that owing money is stopping us from truly living our life for God.
The more we spend paying down our debt, the closer we become. It brings us together as a team to win the goals and expectations that we set for our family. Being able to help those financially is something we really think is important; not only with our own family, but to strangers that are in need.
This strategy also teaches us how to strengthen ourselves against some of our bad habits of selfishness, materialism, and not exercising empathy towards others. When we are only focusing on ourselves by buying things we want and have to have, we are not looking up and around to those who need our help.
That’s our No-Spend Lent challenge and we are definitely gonna need your prayers! Anyone willing to join us in this endeavor? Have you ever done a No-Spend Month? Join the conversation here by leaving a comment below or head over to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to hang out with us there. Remember to use #HowWeLent!
Kristi & Rachel
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