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We’re Doing a “No Spend Month” & You Can Too!

We are declaring October 2019: “No Spend Month”! We are challenging ourselves to save money, reassess our priorities and become more self sufficient! Want to join us? 


*No Spend October has officially concluded but you can still learn about how to do your own No Spend Month and grab the free printable worksheets below!*

Homesteading = thrifty living, right?

Once upon a time, I thought so! I was definitely one of those people who thought that we would find our homestead, grow all our own food and not have to work anymore. Ha ha ha ha! Oh, young Kaylee, how naive you were!

We quickly learned that “simple living” doesn’t always equal “cheap living”! 

Compared to a lot of people, we definitely live frugally and well within our means. Homesteading has absolutely helped with this! But, it is also a lot more expensive than people think! We found this out quickly when we bought our fixer-upper homestead three years ago!

No Spend Month Challenge

Everyday, we all spend money on things. Some of the things are essential, like car insurance, food, animal feed and housing expenses. However, it’s super easy to be tempted to spend on non-essential things, like coffee, eating out, home items, and more. 

On the homestead, we are particularly tempted to spend on supplies for projects and property improvements. Now, many people would consider these items essential, and maybe some of them are. However, if we don’t actually have money budgeted for it, it’s probably not essential that we do it right now (ah, patience, how I despise you!). Or, we need to find an alternative way to get it done without spending (hello, Craigslist!)

After a while, I’ve noticed that it can become really hard to discern what is and isn’t essential. We end up buying things that are supposed to make life easier, but actually just keep us living paycheck to paycheck and relying on a consumeristic culture. And at the end of the month, we’re left wondering exactly where our money actually went. 

This is why, from time to time, we challenge ourselves to do a No Spend Month!

No Spend Month Challenge

What is a No Spend Month challenge?

A No Spend Month is a personal challenge to not spend money on anything but the absolute essentials! It helps us asses what expenses are essential and helps us save money by not spending on non-essential items. It also helps us create better habits by interrupting our normal spending habits because we have to stop, think and get creative before we spend!

It’s pretty simple, right? That’s the beauty of it! It’s super simple and can be completely customized to fit your own life! You don’t even need to have a budget to do a No Spend Month challenge!

Why are we doing it in October? 

October is going to be a tight month for us financially, but beyond that there is another reason too: the holidays are coming!

Yup, like it or not, the holidays are almost here! While I love the holiday season, I do find that it is a perfect time to get lost in this crazy consumeristic culture. It’s easy for anyone to get caught up if we aren’t careful! 

It’s all about good habits! Doing a No Spend challenge helps us get our priorities in order and really focus on the essentials. It also helps us learn how to be creative rather when following our knee-jerk reactions to spend money.

And, of course, we will spend some money during the holidays, so it’s a good idea to start saving now! If we can put away even a little bit of money, it will make the holiday season more enjoyable and less stressful.

Does it have to be a full month? 

Absolutely not! Sometimes, we do a No Spend Week challenge instead of a whole month. That’s perfectly fine! The benefit of doing it for a full month is that after 30 days, we’ve begun to create a new habit. But every little bit counts! Again, this is fully customizable, so perhaps a few days or a week is a better amount of time for you and your family.

No Spend Month Challenge

Why We Do No Spend Challenges: 

Save money:

This is pretty obvious. Of course we are going to end up saving money (whether a little or lot!) if we are carefully considering each purchase and only making spending money on things that are absolutely essential!

Expand skills, get creative and increase self-sufficiency:

One of my favorite benefits of a No Spend Month is that it forces us to get creative! Can we make something instead of buying it? What about bartering instead of buying? Can we thrift or salvage materials? 

For instance, in the past when we did a challenge, I was getting ready to go out of town. I realized I  really needed one of those little fabric bags to put my bathroom items in. I talked with Lindy about needing to buy one and she reminded me that it wasn’t really an essential item. So, instead, she sewed me a little zippered pouch using some fabric that we had on hand! I love and cherish that little bag now! Plus, it reminds me to get creative and to use the supplies we have on hand before of buying – which is a valuable skill for any homesteader who truly wants to be more self sufficient! 

Learn patience:

You know that song: “you can’t always get what you waaaaant”…? Well, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s true! We can’t always get what we want. Sometimes we have to wait and work harder before we can get it. And sometimes we just won’t be able to get it at all.

This has become a really hard thing to understand in our consumeristic culture. Patience and discipline isn’t sexy. It’s not even fun. But it is something that makes us stronger, more resilient people. And we have to teach ourselves how to be okay with not getting everything we want. A No Spend Challenge gives us the opportunity to do just that!

Reduce waste:

A No Spend challenge helps us use what we have on hand instead of racing out to buy something new. It’s a perfect time to use up food that’s been in the cabinet or freezer for a while. It’s also a good time to asses how to use the homesteading supplies you have laying around the property already! By not buying new, we’re more likely to use up and wear out what we already own. It’s actually pretty impressive how much we can do with what we already have on hand!

No Spend Month Challenge

Join us for our “No Spend October” Challenge! 

Here’s the deal: I don’t usually put personal financial stuff like this out into Internet-land. I’m no financial guru! But I do know that we can all be a little better about our spending, no matter where we are at currently in our lives! And, since I personally believe that we’re all here in this big old world to help each other, I thought I would put it out there and see if anyone else feels the same way!

If you want to join us for No Spend October, or if you simply want to follow along and see what it’s all about, let me know by signing up below. There’s no sales pitch or gimmicks. I promise.

What you will get is an email with step-by-step instructions to help you plan out your No Spend Month. I also have some printable worksheets to help you! These are the same worksheets that I personally use to stay on track during our No Spend Month challenges. I will also send out a weekly email, checking in and sharing some tips. After all, we’re all in this together!

Want to join us? Click HERE or on the image below to get the printable worksheets!

*No Spend October has officially concluded but you can still grab the free printable worksheets by clicking the image below*

Click here to sign up for the No Spend Month Challenge


  • Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founder of She has set up and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her current two-acre dream homestead in the Pacific North West. Her qualifications include a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State University, and she is a Gardenary Certified Garden Coach. Kaylee currently produces at least 80% of her own food. She contributes to our site through articles, training and coaching to our clients. You can read more about her at


Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Nice initiative to realize where all the money goes to. I am in!

Project Zenstead

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Yay! So glad to have you along with us! :D

Tessa Zundel

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Ah, yes, the learn patience part. Never my strong suit, but so necessary to being happy. Getting creative is another benefit of a no-spend month, you're right. We don't always choose it if we don't have to, so forcing ourselves into this kind of parameter is a good move. Great way to prep for the holidays!

Project Zenstead

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Yes, me and patience don't always agree! There are so many benefits to teaching ourselves how to be content with little! :)

chelsea Duffy

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

Great post! We just finished a no spend September. It really does give you a re-set going forward. Probably good idea for us to do it twice a year just like a reboot to your health (but your financial health). We'll see..... ;)


Tuesday 1st of October 2019

Very timely for me, and this is really going to go great with a low waste challenge I'm in this month too. Looking forward to it!

Project Zenstead

Tuesday 1st of October 2019

That's awesome! I love how saving money and saving the environment can intersect so well! We find that when we aren't consuming or when we are extra conscious about our consumption that we end up with much less waste! Definitely a win-win! :)

Lisa B

Monday 30th of September 2019

What a great idea... with nonjudgmental accountability and ideas from the experience of others. Sign me up!

Project Zenstead

Tuesday 1st of October 2019

Yes! It's all on your own rules - which I love! So excited to have you join us!