7 In Minimalist Livin'/ No Spend Year

2019 No Spend Challenge

No spend year is here. This post has finally come together! So here it is, our 2019 no spend challenge rules. You have been wanting to hear all about it. It’s been the hardest post I’ve had to write because as soon as I hit publish I am going to be accountable to so many people. No pressure!

I am also disclosing a lot of personal and financial information and as much as that is uncomfortable, I think it helps some people to better understand our reasons and maybe get you thinking about your spending habits.

How this challenge came to be…

For the longest time, I have been wanting to start something like this. I have read so many books, blogs, and articles about families who embarked on a no spend journey and how much they gained, financially and emotionally. This intrigued me so much. Each of their stories was different and often their reasons for starting were different as well.

Ben and I have discussed this topic a lot. I’m super into it because for me saving for tomorrow is huge! Was my husband completely on board? I will be honest and say no, not at first. Financially we are doing fine and he didn’t understand the point. However, after showing him the numbers and bottom line, he has since bought in and is willing to give it a go. Let’s start with our WHY?

  • Double our mortgage payment – want to be closer to MTG FREE
  • Save for our retirement
  • Eventually be able to travel much more

Now lets get into the details! The stuff you came here for. THE RULES.

In the past couple of years, we were trying very hard to limit the amount of stuff in our house. We created some hard rules like if something new comes in, something goes out and to only bring things we value into the home. During this time we had set a goal to work on cultivating our relationships through experiences, time together and traveling. We did this quite a bit and it’s been successful.

Problem is, we were never hitting our big financial goals. In December I was so curious to break down numbers so I could see where we could cut back a bit to save. I broke down 2018 numbers, a year’s worth of spending, to see where our money was really going. I couldn’t believe the results. Below are some of the categories that were most shocking.

Food, well I never thought twice about food. I always tried to be mindful of eating well, eating clean and trying out whatever we liked or wanted. That doesn’t work well if you are trying to save. We also had a cleaning person come in 2x a month, which helped us maintain our home and gave us back time but this is something we could be doing ourselves. Clothing, I am not sure where we land here because I don’t think we spend a lot on clothing (shoes, pants, shirts, jackets etc) yet I still do, mostly on the three boys, and teenagers like expensive things.

2018 spending:

Groceries & supplies for a family of five: $23,380 (includes food, cleaning products, and toiletries)

Take out coffee 2 adults: $1798

Eating out: $8,654 (approx 700 a month, includes kids special school lunches etc. for a family of 5)

Clothing family of five: $4820

Lashes, Nails, Brows, Facials: $2180

House Cleaning: $2880

Travel: $17,800

Ok, so these are the major categories that need serious attention and change. These are the categories I was super shocked and disappointed about. First off, EATING OUT at almost $9000! WTH! I thought we were really good about eating at home?! But all those little things and outings add up so fast. After examining the numbers it really hit me how a year of no frivolous spending could teach us some new habits and potentially help us learn to tackle some of our above goals, to save and work towards being MTG free sooner. Prior to this we were already saving and paying a little more towards our mortgage. My hope now is to double these numbers.

So in December and January, I did some reading. I read a few books to help inspire me and set me on track – like – Cait Flanders, The Year Of Less, which helped shape some of our rules and The No Spend Year, How You Can Spend Less and Live More by Michelle McGagh.

Before I set the rules, we took inventory of what we had and what we might need. We already felt like we had everything that we needed but I wanted to make sure that the boys were set. We determined that Anthony needed some new underwear and a new jacket. His winter jacket already had ripped and I had it stitched in November and then in early January, the zipper broke so he was literally stepping into his jacket and was using the buttons to keep it closed. It was ridiculous, so I got him a new jacket. I anticipate we might need to get the boys some shorts in the summer, but I will keep you posted if we break the rules.

Some things we already had set money aside for last year was a new back fence, ours is literally falling, outdoor speakers for the yard and a security camera. This was part of the plan to finish the house renovation, plus we literally have the wires hanging and it looks ridiculous. So those will get done in the spring/summer.

The goal here is to start saving money and NOT to live a deprived life – so here are the rules that will work for us! Please note that with growing Move Play Mom I could be working on partnerships with local stores or brands, this is part of my work and only benefits our no spending year. I promise to only partner with brands or businesses that align with my brand and my values.



  • Groceries – budget a month: $1200
  • Bills and utilities
  • Toiletries – only once what we have is done
  • Basic cosmetics & makeup – only purchase once what we have is done
  • cleaning supplies – once we run out we can replace

Not Allowed

  • No clothing (unless needs replacing)
  • No shoes (unless needs replacing)
  • No accessories
  • No books – Kobo is hooked up to my library/borrow from friends
  • No magazines
  • No home decor
  • No household items
  • No electronics
  • No take out coffee – We both set aside limited budgets in our business accounts ONLY to meet with clients/customers for coffee or a drink as this is sometimes part of our work.
  • Eating out – limited to our budget  1 x a month
  • No nails, no lashes, no brows.
  • No chiro, no massage, no naturopath
  • Hair – In an effort to cut down on my hair expenses, I am going to say goodbye to my high maintenance blond on Feb 12 and dye my hair back to its natural mouse brown or close to it. Because my hair is also a big expense, with my hair loss, I will not cut my cost of special extensions out but will limit my trims to every 4 months instead of every 2 months.
  • family and friends gifts: We enjoy giving, however, our gifts will be tied to experiences that fall within our budget.
  • Next Christmas – Our hope is that we can save and use points towards a holiday rather than purchasing gifts to celebrate ending 2019 successfully
  • Travel: Use points, Free accommodations, and cut the budget down to $10,000
  • No house cleaner, we will do it ourselves


  • Groceries 2018 – 23,380  2019 – 14,400 SAVINGS: 8,980
  • Take out coffee – 2018 – 1,798 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 1,798
  • Eating out – 2018 – 8,654 2019 – 1400 SAVINGS: 7,254
  • Clothing – 2018 – 4,820 – 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 4,820
  • Lashes, Nail, Brows Facials 2018 – 2,180  2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 2,180
  • House cleaning 2018 – 2,880 2019 – 0 SAVINGS: 2,880
  • Travel – 2018 – 17,800 2019 – 10,000 SAVINGS 7,800
  • miscelaneous expenses 2018 there was a lot of random purchases/events those will be cut, I anticipate a savings of $2,500  


That’s it. I will share a monthly breakdown on how we are doing and you can always follow along on Instagram to hear all about the challenges and gains. I hope you appreciate that we would like to keep comments positive and non-judgemental! Any comments? share below!

Till the next post,


0 In Home Design/ Minimalist Livin'

Our House Tour, A Minimalist Home

Welcome to our minimalist home house tour. Pretty much all that you see is all that we own. We like to live simple. I would like to clarify, that being a minimalist doesn’t mean you are cheap or don’t like nice things. On the contrary, I appreciate beautiful things. I value them. I buy quality items but I don’t need a ton of things to find happiness. I am content with the few amazing things I do own. Also, I like to know that everything has a place. I like to have the things that we need. I enjoy a clutter-free environment. Maybe the concept of minimalist living isn’t for you, but I am sure you can find elements of living this lifestyle that you might want to work into your home. I read that at first, it is a method and then becomes a lifestyle. This is true. I believe the Marie Kondo way is just that. I don’t ever feel like my house is messy, WHY? because…well everything has a place. We don’t have a lot of stuff. So it’s easy to keep organized and clean. My children don’t own bins upon bins of clothing or seasonal clothing. What you see is what they own. They have what they need. I try to buy quality clothing that will last a long time. Our rules are simple…If something new comes in, something old goes out…that’s for all our things. I try to use my products before purchasing anything new. I don’t buy in bulk. The only thing I might buy in bulk is food, only because I have 4 guys who LOVE to eat. Anyway, this is our home. I hope to shoot a better video soon. For now, enjoy our little tour and welcome to our simple.

PS- the only thing I own a lot of, is sadly hair care products…and for those of you who have been following me for a long time you know it’s because I suffer from hair loss and it drives me bananas, and I often try new things – anything – to help. Sad. but it’s my only thing…


Till the next post,


0 In Parenting

Calgary’s Metro Dental’s Pampered Parent Friday!

As you all know, I am all about making life easier for families. I remember when I first moved to Calgary, the challenges of finding childcare for my 4-year-old was so hard. I didn’t have many family members or friends yet, at least not anyone I really trusted to leave my busy little guy with. Often I found myself taking him around to regular check-ups and/or appointments and feeling the anxiety of how it could go. This wasn’t ideal for either of us. He would often end up upset, bored and begging for something all while I would be frustrated, impatient and rushing the appointment. Ninety percent of the time we both left feeling flustered, exhausted and I would experience serious mom guilt because I wished I could have handled it better or had some support.

Well, imagine if you had the opportunity to schedule your “appointment”, and you could bring your child along and leave there afterwards feeling amazing, pampered and cared for! YES CARED FOR!

I was totally amazed by the service at Metro Dental’s Pampered Parent Friday. This is a local Calgary business that understands a young family’s needs. I wish every city and business had services like this! The owners and operators are really in tune with the challenges of parenting, especially in such a transient city like Calgary, where often there aren’t extended family members to help out.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by their friendly receptionist who took our information and offered my boys the opportunity to go into their childcare room to play, get their faces painted or check out the video games console for the older children. The piece I really connected with here and that surprised me was that they hired a high-quality Early Childhood Educator to supervise and play with the children. She had experience with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. This would definitely leave parents feeling confident that their littles are in good hands while they get their dental work attended to. In addition to these amazing benefits during your visit, they also offer you an Ipad that connects with a camera that is logged into their on-site childcare playroom, so you can keep an eye on how your little ones are doing. The great thing was I recognized the ECE on the floor helping out as she and I used to work together several years back before I opened my own program!

It doesn’t end there, they have an on-site massage therapist to offer mini massages to parents before or after, They have delicious snacks and refreshments for both you and your children and if you have several children (LIKE ME!) they will plan to get them in and their teeth looked after at all the same time, saving YOU Time! (YAY!!!)


Sometimes we need a treat too! Metro Dental Pampered Fridays are a wonderful way to check off one of our important must appointments, be it cleaning, a filling or a teeth whitening treatment in a wonderful and caring way. Leaving YOU to feel supported and your littles to have some FUN!

Looking for more information on the next Metro Dental Care Pampered Parent Friday? CLICK HERE for more info, METRO DENTAL CARE PAMPERED PARENT FRIDAY

Don’t live in Calgary but you know of similar services where you are? Or love this and want to let me know what you think? Comment below to share with other MovePlayMom followers!

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