How to prepare for a no-spend month

Well hello everyone!

I have a confession, I’ve been a bit careless with my spending the last couple of months, I’ve been on a couple of staycations, planned a few holidays and my food budget has more than doubled- 270% to be exact! Now the food thing I can attribute to my decision to become a vegan in early June. My whole routine and basic meal prepping went totally out of the window and I had to experiment all over again with what works for me and my lifestyle, come up with new recipes and ingredients yada yada. The holidays have been wonderful and have all cost around £150 each-thank you airbnb- so whilst I’m not going to fret about them, I am going to come up with a yearly holiday budget to factor in! It’s time to get those costs the hell down.

My solution?

A no spend month.

The perfect way to reset all of your spending habits is to get rid of them. This October is to become my second no spend month of the year, with January being my first. Similarly to my first no-spend month I will be paying all of my direct debits and bills as usual, thinking about cancelling some and maybe reducing some -although I have very few and have bartered with all of them already *strikes pose*! Mostly I’ll be reducing my optional spending like food, travel and entertainment. I’ll be banning any impulsive money outside of these categories and making do with all the free things I have to entertain me!

There will be slightly different challenges this time too. In January I had a car, if I filled up the tank at the beginning I could be careful and make it to the end of the month, trying to invite friends to my house, foregoing my piano lessons and receiving a bike as a gift from a friend for everything local. This time I have a bike, trains and have no desire to miss out on my piano lessons – hobbies are an awesome investment into yourself. So instead I have allocated myself 4 Piano lessons by looking at my work rota to see when I can fit them in and looked at when exactly I’m going to travel by train and decided that 3 return journeys is all I’ll need.

In January I also had full cupboards to work with whereas now I pretty much empty my cupboards every month and don’t buy food until I need more. Instead I have made an in detail meal plan where I outline how many meals I’ll need, what ingredients they require and added in a variety of different flavours. Of course buying generic brands or on sale to keep the cost down even more.

Some of the items on my list weren’t in stock- like Quorn ‘chicken’ breasts, burgers and I didn’t need the corn flakes without the chicken- such is life and to avoid going shopping again and resisting Oreo temptation, I improvised. I substituted them for vegan sausages, more chick peas, a white sauce for lasagna (to go with items at home I already have) and Thai green curry paste. My plan is to make pretty much everything all at once, freeze it and then reheat for meals so that things don’t spoil! My food bill for this month so far is £37.90.

(I will add that the week before I had found some high brand organic soy milk on sale for the same price as the shop brand UHT I usually get and I bought 8 bottles of that for £6. Because I drink a LOT of tea. I don’t include that in this month.)

My meal plan for the month is:

White Curry x8

Lentils, chick peas, onions, frozen peas, coconut milk, curry powder, spinach.

Red Curry x8

Lentils, chick peas, onion, frozen peas, canned chopped tomatoes, courgette, curry powder, spinach.

Chilli x8

Canned chopped tomatoes,lentils, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, peppers, courgette, spinach, gravy, sweetcorn.

Pad Thai x8

Spaghetti, peas, sweetcorn, soy sauce, chilli flakes, sugar

Pasta and Pesto x4

Pesto, Pasta (inventive I know) soy milk, mashed chick peas, spinach

Thai green curry x12

Thai green paste, coconut milk, chick peas, lentils, spinach, peas, curly kale, soy milk.

Lentil Soup x10

Lentils, Chick peas, Potato, onion, Pepper, spinach, peas, sweetcorn

Lasagne x5

White Sauce, Canned chopped tomato, chick peas, Courgette, lasagne sheets

Oats and Bananas x30

I’ll give you three guesses…..

Chips, veg and burgers/ sausage/ anything I have in the house at the time x 10

This is for those days when I want something junky to avoid getting a take-away, I cut some potatoes into wedges and fries, part boiled them and seasoned them before putting portions in bags in the freezer for easy access when I need them! I can just pop them in the oven with the burgers or sausages and add in some frozen veg.

On top of this I will be buying a couple of items along the way that would spoil or that will need topping up as the month goes on. These items are bananas, porridge oats,-the brand I get weren’t in the shop I went to- flour -for baking- and spices -IF mine happen to run out, cat food. For this there is a £7.10 budget – so that it all adds up to £45.  That’s it.

Nothing else has been included in my budget so hopefully no emergencies arise and it will be smooth sailing *Universe laughs maniacally in the distance*. I’ll keep you updated as to how it turns out!



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