What (Not) To Do Now {Day 31}

31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero.  Freeze your spending.  Change Your Life.  Awesome way to reset your spending patterns or kick-start your budget!

This is the last day of my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge.  To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.

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Day 31.  The end.  If you’ve made it this far, you should feel very proud of yourself.  In a world where the solution for every problem is to buy something new, you managed to make it an entire month using the things you already had.  Way to go!

Tomorrow your challenge will be over and you can go back to spending what you want, when you want, and you will have the choice of pretending this challenge never happened or using what you’ve learned to make some permanent positive changes to your spending habits.  I would like to encourage you to be intentional with how you end this challenge, to put some serious thought into where you want to go from here.  To make this your new beginning.

  • DO spend some time reviewing your finances for the month to see how much you spent, and how that compares to the previous few months.  Husband and I were downright shocked to discover, when we went over our budget for the month, that even including a trip he and Princess took to Chicago AND pre-paying the girls’ dance & gymnastics tuitions (+ recital costume fees) for the rest of the year, we spent less this month than in any other month in our marriage.
  • DON’T run out and buy all the things you didn’t buy but wanted to during the challenge.  There probably will be legitimate purchases you need to make, but try to pace yourself.  If you have managed to wait this long, then chances are it is not an emergency.  There will always be more stuff for sale.
  • DO spend some time setting a budget for the next month and planning for the holidays.  Don’t ignore these assignments!  As the old saying goes, a failure to plan is planning to fail, and without clear goals for the next few months, it will be very easy to lose track of your finances and overspend.
  • DON’T buy more food if your pantry is still full.  If you started with a huge stockpile, you might still have a lot of food left to choose from.  If that is the case, consider continuing your pantry challenge for another month, or until you’ve used the food you have on hand.  After 2 months of eating solely from our pantry & freezer (with the exception of milk, eggs, cheese, & bread), my pantry is finally down to little more than condiments.  There are a few things that I have realized we will probably never eat, so those items will go in the trash (they are expired–if they weren’t we would donate them.)
  • DO start rebuilding your stockpile if you are truly out of food.  If you are not a coupon-user then consider learning by reading my Beginner’s Guide to Coupons.  Even if you choose not to use coupons, understanding the fundamentals of good coupon strategy–buying what’s on sale, buying enough to last until it goes on sale again, & maintaining a stockpile of items purchased at their rock bottom price–will help you cut your grocery bill significantly.
  • DO bookmark the 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero overview page so that you can easily find your favorite posts whenever you need to.  There was a LOT of information packed into these 31 days, far too much to process in just one month, but my hope is that you will use these posts as a reference for the future.

Today your final assignment is to do some serious thinking about what you want to bring out of this challenge to the future.  Use this final printable worksheet to help you be intentional about your next steps.

{Get your final 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero worksheet here}

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How has this challenge changed you?  What are some of your goals for the future?

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Amanda October 31,

    Ruth, I have to admit that I am a little sad that this is the last day of our challenge. I have loved all your posts and it has been so motivating & inspiring to read them each day. Although I can’t say I followed everything to the letter, it did make me take a closer look at my spending and cut back a lot. Thanks again for all you do.

    Reply
  • Denise October 31,

    I’m sad too! This month has been SOOOOOOO awesome. We have saved so much money and my husband is sooooooo happy! I thought it would be so hard and I guess sometimes it was but mostly it was really motivating. Thanks Ruth!

    Reply
  • Kate October 31,

    Thank You for making our family more aware of our spending. YOU have made a difference in our lives. I love the worksheets…will be so helpful this holiday season.

    Reply
  • Jenny November 1,

    Thanks for all of your hard work, Ruth. I looked forward to each of your posts, seeing what new topic you were going to cover for the day.

    Reply
  • lindsey March 26,

    Hey I am about to do this for the month of april, but I was wondering are there any adjustments you would make for someone who is in college?

    Reply
  • Kristina September 23,

    Ruth, thank you so much for this inspiring series which I just found and read through out of curiosity, and now I’m considering taking it on! But especially thank you for all the time you put into your incredible free printables to keep us on track. I’m a new subscriber and I just completed your goal setting workbook, and I can’t thank you enough for how it has helped me to clarif what’s really important in my life.

    Reply
  • Robin October 31,

    Thanks, Ruth for sharing your talents. We just finished the challenge (okay we have 18 more hours) but it has been an amazing month. I am planning on doing the challenge again in January and brining a few friends on the journey.

    Reply
  • Peggy Pace January 7,

    This has been amazing, resourceful, helpful, life-changing, totally awesome!!! Thank you for sharing this with us, you have truly changed my mindset and my life-view. God Bless.

    Reply
  • Susan September 5,

    Thank you for this series. I really enjoyed reading it. It is certainly food for thought for me although I didn’t play along at home…yet.

    Reply

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