What we DO NOT spend money on:
1. No new clothes. Also no used, thrifted, or consignment clothes. No new-to-you clothes.
2. Should go without saying, but no new shoes. No new boots, booties, house slippers, flip-flops, or clogs. No new footwear. Or socks, which are somehow both clothes and footwear. No.
3. REALLY should go without saying, but I can just see you (or is it me?) on January 25, standing in the Clearance section at Kohl’s, holding a 75% Off scarf, saying…. “It’s not technically clothes… just this once… I can stop any time…” So I’m going to say it: No new accessories.
4. No new craft projects or materials. Finish all those half-done projects and use up what you already have. Pin that idea on Pinterest and save it for later.
5. Minimal grocery shopping. Perishables only – milk, produce, eggs, bread. No cans, jars, or bags of non-perishable pantry items. Use up what you already have. Get creative with recipes. If you come up with something weird and wonderful (or weird and terrible!) post it here.
6. No toiletries or vanity items. No fancy scented lotions, new shampoo, nail polish. Use up the ends of what you have.
7. No random luxury items. Yankee Candle, I’m looking directly at you.
8. No expensive drive-thru coffee, unless you have a gift card. If you got a Starbucks gift card for Christmas, using it is allowable. Get a plain black coffee or an Americano to keep it cheap and stretch out your gift card. It is NOT allowed to buy yourself a $100 Starbucks gift card on Dec 31 just to use in January.
9. Keep dining out to a minimum. However much you normally do it, cut it by ¾. If you normally eat out 8 times per month, in January it should only be 2. Always look for a coupon first. Check restaurants.com, groupon, and the local flyers that come in the mail. Check locally for “kids eat free” days etc.
10. When dining out, share an entrée with someone. Only order water to drink. Avoid pricey add-ons like desserts, etc. If you order extra sour cream and they say “there will be an extra charge” ASK HOW MUCH. One local place here charges $1.50 for 2 Tbsp of extra sour cream. I MEAN REALLY, I can buy an entire 16 oz container for $1 at the store.
11. No impulse purchases. No checkout line magazines, flopped thoughtlessly on the conveyor belt because you are slightly curious about whose cellulite that is or how one of the Kardashians is handling their divorce/baby/boob job/whatever. No checkout line gum or tic-tacs or that $1.50 bottle of Aquafina.
12. No keeping up with the Joneses. I don’t know who the Joneses are really but they always have extra-awesome crap. Just let them win already and be done with it.
13. No new books, magazines, or the like. Use the local library or the “borrow” feature on Amazon for ebooks. And/or borrow actual paper books from your real-life friends and family.
14. No bottled water. Bonus… less plastic waste! Have tap water or use a Britta pitcher.
15. Don’t waste electricity. Be extra-vigilant about keeping the heat at “just warm enough” and turning off all lights, TVs, etc. when not in use. Watch for “phantom electricity” from appliances plugged in but not used. Unplug if possible until needed.
16. No personal luxuries, like haircuts, manicures, massages, etc. Do these yourself…. (maybe not the haircuts and massages) or just go without.
17. No new fancy teas (a big one for me) or expensive coffees. Use up your old tea, go with the cheap generic clearance coffee this month for your home coffeemaker, drink the free stuff at work.
18. Stay out of your happy stores (you know what I mean – the ones where you shop “for fun”) for all of January. This may be Target, Kohl’s, WalMart, Amazon, Etsy, Sears, Home Depot, or even Dollar Tree or a local thrift store. If you always spend too much when you go there, just don’t go there.
19. Wild Card. If there’s anything else on this list that you know you have a problem with financially, just don’t do it for January!