Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

How did I go on the ‘No Spend’ days this year?

One of the first posts I wrote on this blog was one about how I make my spending more intentional by using a simple chart I keep in the cloud.

Simply put:

1. Detail every dollar spent – easy because I spend almost exclusively through my credit card. It’s the little cash things that I have to be careful to put down straight away!

2. Every week that has 3 or less ‘no spend’ days gets to be a Silver Week. This is my first full year of tracking my spending like this, so the 2018 total is the benchmark that I’ll measure future years from.

That’s it. Can’t get more simple than that.

This chart works on pretty basic psychology. If I want to earn a silver square, I have to be very intentional about which days I choose to spend money on. This means that on most weeks I bunch up my spending, instead of lazily spreading it out throughout the week. I might do a shopping trip on the way home from work, where I’ll stop in at Costco to buy fuel and then pop in for some dog food, a roast chook and some veggies; then I’ll swing by the chicken warehouse to buy chicken necks for the dogs and some other meat for us; and then if we need a top-up from the supermarket I’ll stop by Aldi. Everything’s done on the one day!

As you can see, in 2018 I had 28 weeks where I restricted my spending to fall into the category of a Silver Week. I don’t think that’s too bad… it’s a little more than half. December was a very spendy month. I was pretty well exhausted by the end of the year and I think I spent more on lunches this month than I did for the last 2 years combined!

The next job is to go through the chart and fill out my yearly spreadsheet of all my expenses. Considering I spent 50K on all of the garden renovations that I did this year, 2018 hasn’t exactly been cheap! (And there’ll be more to come in 2019… yikes!) But these are expenses which only have to be borne once and will reap dividends in the future.

I won’t lie – it’s tedious to run through the chart and add up all the figures. But it’s essential to know where my money is going as I head ever closer to retirement. I need to know precisely how much money I need before I give up work. The 4% Rule will only take me so far…



  1. simplywendi

    this is a very interesting post with a cool and unique way of keeping track of spending. thank you for posting it. i am about to start a low spend January and keeping track of every penny! 🙂 here’s to a saving and paying down debt in 2019!

    • Frogdancer Jones

      Being debt-free is truly one of the most empowering things anyone can do. It’s amazing how much less stress there is in life! ________________________________

      • simplywendi

        I can’t wait to get there! 🙂 Happy New Year!

  2. easypeasyfire

    This is a very cool way to track your spending, and it provides a quick visualisation tool to drive you to achieve more!

    I’ve thought about doing something similar in the past where I would colour in each box for each $1000 of the mortgage I paid off but so far have not started doing such yet. Maybe I should look into in in the new year!

    • Frogdancer Jones

      Why not? It’s a pretty easy NY Resolution to keep! ________________________________

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