No Spend July Recap

I announced on my Instagram stories in late June that Dane and I were all-in on a No Spend July challenge.

I had seen a lot of people doing different types of no spend months, all with rule variations, but I really wanted us to focus and give it a go!

We had done it in the past and banked serious cash, so I was ready for a month full of saving!

The guidelines were simple: we were going to pay our mortgage and re-fill our gas tanks. I had gone to the grocery store and Costco toward the end of June to stock up, so I had no intentions of mindless grocery trips either! I really wanted to see how far we could stretch our dollars, not to mention eat what was already in our pantry.

This meant no date nights, coffee stops (SO GUILTY!), Target trips, late night online shopping binges, booking trips…none of it! We were ready to spend a whole lot of time at home with each other and the dogs, HA!

No Spend July - CommuniKait

Photo: Cait Schlabach Photography

So first I’ll start off by saying, we didn’t quite make it the entire month. If you read yesterday’s post, you know why!

I would call our 21 days a success. We managed to bank a little over $1,700 that we would have spent on things we probably didn’t need, which to me – is huge! We calculated this by averaging what we banked monthly for the previous 6 months and comparing it.

The first week included Fourth of July and friends of ours were leaving the island so the temptation to go out and party was REAL. Instead, we took snacks and drinks to the beach and had them over to our house where we cooked a few meals instead of going out to eat somewhere. This not only saved us money, but calories, too, because I know for sure we would have indulged in some super sugary cocktails and bar food had we gone out!

The second week, I ran out of cotton balls and the cleaning spray that I swear by for all the surfaces in my house. ACK! Knowing that replenishing them would mean going to Target, I decided to manage with what I had. I legitimately Google-searched “what can you use instead of cotton balls to apply toner?” I got some pretty funny responses, but one that I love (and that is more eco-friendly) is to cut up an old t-shirt. BINGO! So I did that and I actually really love it, so that is awesome. Now, for the cleaner. This is going to sound RIDICULOUS, but I do have other cleaners in my cabinet, just ones I don’t love like I do method. So – I used the “back up” cleaners and you know what? It was just freaking fine!

I’ll be honest – week 3 brought a trip to the grocery store for produce. I wasn’t ready to start eating pasta or rice for every meal and I was DYING for fruits and vegetables. We go through a ton per week since we eat 2-3 fruits and vegetables at every meal, so in 2.5 weeks we had depleted our fresh and frozen supply. GAH! I stocked up and spent $56.00. I don’t know why, but I felt SO GUILTY going to the store and doing this, even though I knew it was a smart decision. I will say that I forced myself into laser focus mode while I was there and only got produce and left. No checkout magazine or sweet potato chips for me!

Weeks 2 and 3 also included Amazon Prime Day and the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – I was beginning to think I had lost my damn mind for scheduling this no-spend month during what is often considered the two best sales of the summer. But alas – I made no orders and life went on. To be fair, I didn’t see a ton I wanted, anyhow, but absolutely nothing was a need or necessity to my life!

And on Day 21, we splurged on dinner out after our road rage incident and took ourselves to a movie the following night. I was slightly disappointed we didn’t make it the full month, but sometimes life happens, you know? Either way, this was a fun exercise in saving and taking a closer look at the some of the “stupid spending” we do.

Have you ever done a No Spend month? How did you do?


  • Kudos for going 21 days! Especially in July, which I feel like is one of the busiest months of the year (at least for us). I’m really thinking about trying this, but maybe in the winter when we don’t go as much anyway. Maybe a good way to start, and then do it a few months a year. Thanks for being honest about how it went!

  • Wow, good for you! With our kitchen remodel coming up, I feel like this would probably make me feel good… I know we can afford the remodel we have planned, but still, spending all that money makes it feel icky to spend any other money, or I do a lot of hemming and hawing about whether I should be spending money, even if it’s on something inexpensive, or necessary, like cleaning products. Just avoiding spending for a while and figuring out how to make do is really good for that section of anxiety in the brain, isn’t it? And just not avoiding Target – serious help in the spending department, for sure. Thanks for the inspiring recap!

  • Jen

    I think you guys did great on your no spend month! It’s hard so I give you guys a lot of credit! Once we get settled and Kyle starts his class we are going to do this. This move really depleted us in a lot of ways so it’s time.

    • Kait

      That’s how we felt and we were really strict on ourselves about what the parameters of the “No Spend” would include. It worked out really well and even though we didn’t make it all the way, I’m still glad we did it!

  • I don’t blame you at all for breaking the no spend month after that insane road rage incident. What is wrong with people?! Saving that much is a huge accomplishment though! I wasn’t tempted by the Nordstrom sale either, to be honest. I am thinking about doing a no spend for certain categories in August to save money for our winter trip(s). And just because I added up my total on coffee and it was ridiculous in July. 😩

  • I have never done one of these! I’m totally inspired now though. We actually sat down the other day and worked out our budget and I was a little shocked how much money we spent on movies, dinners, concerts, Target trips, etc. Like…. damn. And, heck 21 days is awesome, you should be proud!

  • Hey, money saved is money saved! If it weren’t for automatic allotments I don’t think we would have a savings! LOL! If I can’t see, I can’t spend it. This would be a huge challenge for Chris and I, because he firmly lives by the “work hard play harder” motto. But I am trying to convince him to do it…..we’ll see. I kind of think it would be fun, although maybe hard with four kids.

    • Kait

      Damn right! And even if I only did it for a week, I would be impressed given life’s recent hurdles. I agree with you about not seeing/not spending!

  • We haven’t done a no spend month but we probably should! THat’s so impressive that you guys did such a great job! I do want to do sort of a food challenge and eat what’s in our pantry a few weeks instead of grocery shopping.

    • Kait

      I LOVE the food challenge idea!