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2019 No Spend Challenge

No spend year is here. This post has finally come together! So here it is, our 2019 no spend challenge rules. You have been wanting to hear all about it. It’s been the hardest post I’ve had to write because as soon as I hit publish I am going to be accountable to so many people. No pressure!

I am also disclosing a lot of personal and financial information and as much as that is uncomfortable, I think it helps some people to better understand our reasons and maybe get you thinking about your spending habits.

How this challenge came to be…

For the longest time, I have been wanting to start something like this. I have read so many books, blogs, and articles about families who embarked on a no spend journey and how much they gained, financially and emotionally. This intrigued me so much. Each of their stories was different and often their reasons for starting were different as well.

Ben and I have discussed this topic a lot. I’m super into it because for me saving for tomorrow is huge! Was my husband completely on board? I will be honest and say no, not at first. Financially we are doing fine and he didn’t understand the point. However, after showing him the numbers and bottom line, he has since bought in and is willing to give it a go. Let’s start with our WHY?

  1. Double our mortgage payment – want to be closer to MTG FREE

  2. Save for our retirement

  3. Eventually be able to travel much more

Now lets get into the details! The stuff you came here for. THE RULES.

In the past couple of years, we were trying very hard to limit the amount of stuff in our house. We created some hard rules like if something new comes in, something goes out and to only bring things we value into the home. During this time we had set a goal to work on cultivating our relationships through experiences, time together and traveling. We did this quite a bit and it’s been successful.

Problem is, we were never hitting our big financial goals. In December I was so curious to break down numbers so I could see where we could cut back a bit to save. I broke down 2018 numbers, a year’s worth of spending, to see where our money was really going. I couldn’t believe the results. Below are some of the categories that were most shocking.

Food, well I never thought twice about food. I always tried to be mindful of eating well, eating clean and trying out whatever we liked or wanted. That doesn’t work well if you are trying to save. We also had a cleaning person come in 2x a month, which helped us maintain our home and gave us back time but this is something we could be doing ourselves. Clothing, I am not sure where we land here because I don’t think we spend a lot on clothing (shoes, pants, shirts, jackets etc) yet I still do, mostly on the three boys, and teenagers like expensive things.

2018 spending:

Groceries & supplies for a family of five: $23,380 (includes food, cleaning products, and toiletries)

Take out coffee 2 adults: $1798

Eating out: $8,654 (approx 700 a month, includes kids special school lunches etc. for a family of 5)

Clothing family of five: $4820

Lashes, Nails, Brows, Facials: $2180

House Cleaning: $2880

Travel: $17,800

Ok, so these are the major categories that need serious attention and change. These are the categories I was super shocked and disappointed about. First off, EATING OUT at almost $9000! WTH! I thought we were really good about eating at home?! But all those little things and outings add up so fast. After examining the numbers it really hit me how a year of no frivolous spending could teach us some new habits and potentially help us learn to tackle some of our above goals, to save and work towards being MTG free sooner. Prior to this we were already saving and paying a little more towards our mortgage. My hope now is to double these numbers.

So in December and January, I did some reading. I read a few books to help inspire me and set me on track – like – Cait Flanders, The Year Of Less, which helped shape some of our rules and The No Spend Year, How You Can Spend Less and Live More by Michelle McGagh.

Before I set the rules, we took inventory of what we had and what we might need. We already felt like we had everything that we needed but I wanted to make sure that the boys were set. We determined that Anthony needed some new underwear and a new jacket. His winter jacket already had ripped and I had it stitched in November and then in early January, the zipper broke so he was literally stepping into his jacket and was using the buttons to keep it closed. It was ridiculous, so I got him a new jacket. I anticipate we might need to get the boys some shorts in the summer, but I will keep you posted if we break the rules.

Some things we already had set money aside for last year was a new back fence, ours is literally falling, outdoor speakers for the yard and a security camera. This was part of the plan to finish the house renovation, plus we literally have the wires hanging and it looks ridiculous. So those will get done in the spring/summer.

The goal here is to start saving money and NOT to live a deprived life – so here are the rules that will work for us! Please note that with growing Move Play Mom I could be working on partnerships with local stores or brands, this is part of my work and only benefits our no spending year. I promise to only partner with brands or businesses that align with my brand and my values.



  1. Groceries – budget a month: $1200

  2. Bills and utilities

  3. Toiletries – only once what we have is done

  4. Basic cosmetics & makeup – only purchase once what we have is done

  5. cleaning supplies – once we run out we can replace

Not Allowed

  1. No clothing (unless needs replacing)

  2. No shoes (unless needs replacing)

  3. No accessories

  4. No books – Kobo is hooked up to my library/borrow from friends

  5. No magazines

  6. No home decor

  7. No household items

  8. No electronics

  9. No take out coffee – We both set aside limited budgets in our business accounts ONLY to meet with clients/customers for coffee or a drink as this is sometimes part of our work.

  10. Eating out – limited to our budget 1 x a month

  11. No nails, no lashes, no brows.

  12. No chiro, no massage, no naturopath

  13. Hair – In an effort to cut down on my hair expenses, I am going to say goodbye to my high maintenance blond on Feb 12 and dye my hair back to its natural mouse brown or close to it. Because my hair is also a big expense, with my hair loss, I will not cut my cost of special extensions out but will limit my trims to every 4 months instead of every 2 months.

  14. family and friends gifts: We enjoy giving, however, our gifts will be tied to experiences that fall within our budget.

  15. Next Christmas – Our hope is that we can save and use points towards a holiday rather than purchasing gifts to celebrate ending 2019 successfully

  16. Travel: Use points, Free accommodations, and cut the budget down to $10,000

  17. No house cleaner, we will do it ourselves


  1. Groceries 2018 – 23,380 2019 – 14,400 SAVINGS: 8,980

  2. Take out coffee – 2018 – 1,798 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 1,798

  3. Eating out – 2018 – 8,654 2019 – 1400 SAVINGS: 7,254

  4. Clothing – 2018 – 4,820 – 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 4,820

  5. Lashes, Nail, Brows Facials 2018 – 2,180 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 2,180

  6. House cleaning 2018 – 2,880 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 2,880

  7. Travel – 2018 – 17,800 2019 – 10,000 SAVINGS 7,800

  8. miscelaneous expenses 2018 there was a lot of random purchases/events those will be cut, I anticipate a savings of $2,500


That’s it. I will share a monthly breakdown on how we are doing and you can always follow along on Instagram to hear all about the challenges and gains. I hope you appreciate that we would like to keep comments positive and non-judgemental! Any comments? share below!

Till the next post,


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