Budget Challenge: No-Stress November (Nov 1 - Nov 30)

Folks found Budgetober really helpful, so I’m inviting anyone who wants to keep going with regular budget check-ins an offer to continue doing so on this thread for November.

No-Stress November will run from November 1 - November 30th.

The goal for no-stress november is to set your own money-related rules for the month that cultivate a feeling of no-stress! Whatever that means for you.

It will have a special forum badge and even a STICKER for people that complete the whole month, of this kitty:

Basic rules:

  1. You must establish your own rules about what you are trying to accomplish as a money goal this month. Maybe you’re trying to spend less on booze when the cold sets in, or you want to plan ahead for holiday gift expenses instead of having to scramble this year. Or you want to pack lunch and snacks for work most days so that you can have more money in other parts of your budget. Or maybe you want to have extra to put in savings each week. Maybe you want to track each week. Whatever your money goal, it has to be something you can report progress on each week.

  2. You’re allowed two chances to make changes throughout the month. It’s NO STRESS NOVEMBER. That means we’re not emphasizing “right” and “wrong” - we’re encouraging just actively thinking about your money goals. This means if you go off the rails in a category, or something big comes up, you can reset. Don’t get discouraged just because you have an off week! Don’t hide. Just acknowledge it, and move on!

  3. Each Saturday (or Sunday for the Aussies/Kiwis) you will report how you did on your challenge for the week on this thread. You can report on where you’re at, and what your biggest challenge and victories of the week were. Then, you’ll put your predictions/goals down for the week ahead.

Who This Challenge is For

  • Anyone who wants a little public accountability and discussion about their money goals on a weekly basis. If you liked budgetober and want to keep it going, welcome to No-Stress November!

What do you get out of participating?

  • Deep Satisfaction of working on your money goals in one of the spendiest months of the year
  • A community to support you as you resist (or scoop up pre-planned) Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals
  • Community support for whatever your goals are in November!
  • A CUTE forum badge for participating in the weekly check-ins
  • And if you do all 4 week check-ins, you get a STICKER mailed to you. It’s a cat in a bubble bath saying “treat yourself” and I have only printed these for this challenge.

If you’re in to participate (or on the fence and need encouragement), comment below with what you’re hoping to get out of No-Stress November and what your rules will be.

Resource List for Budgeting


I’m in. Goals and theme TBD.


At the pace I’m catching up on my numbers weekly, I think my goal for November might be to finish Budgetober :rofl:


I’m in again for November! Aside from acquiring cute kitten stickers, my main goal is to get my freaking food expenses under control. Even though October went better in this regard than previous months this year, my food spending still needs to be lower and more deliberate.

My budget:

  • Food: $300/month. This includes groceries, restaurants, and coffee shops.
  • Gas/transportation: $60/month. This may need to get recast, in case I buy plane tickets to visit family for the holidays.
  • Recreation/health: $9.99/month for the gym.
  • Clothes: $200/month. Yes this is high, but (hopefully!) I will have a new job and so will need clothes actually presentable to wear in public.
  • Household: $50/month. For TP, soap, stuff like that.
  • Misc: $50/month.

Total: $701.99. Resisting the temptation to arbitrarily round this off lol.


Currently trying to figure out the intersection of “Goals && Not stress” like what?


YOU LOVE GOALS GREYWELD. Surely you have some monetary goals that bring you LESS stress, not more.

Hahaha yes.

I’m in. I don’t think I want to do a no-restaurants month again, but I do want to figure out good goals for this. (Theme, as always in life, will be “spending according to my values.”) Will have to update later – I think tonight is going to be a big spreadsheet night…


I DO LOVE GOALS but also I’m a panicky little shit so…?


Have you tried the cash envelope system at all? For some people that makes them less panicky because it’s clear feedback without actually having to track. Could be good for a category like restaurants or snacks at work.


I should try that. Cash presents itself to me as “free money for restaurants or toys” anyway, so quite good for non-essentials!


I’m in for this round!
toddles off to read how to do this thang.


I’m going to do this because my food/eating out has escalated a little bit in the last few months and while some of that is okay, it’s got to stop going up the graph at a certain point. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Goal: Pack a lunch every day. It must be enough food to satisfy lunch as well as snack needs.
METRIC: 4 packed lunches/week (1 for every work day of the week for me).

Goal: Find another place to sit and read a book on lunch hour other than coffee shop where I feel obligated to buy a fancy drink to pay rent for my butt.
METRIC: This means in November spending money at the coffee shop in my work building no more than (3) times.

Goal: Find more economical recipes that focus on veg and use things like legumes more frequently (while still allowing for fish and meat).
METRIC: Keep the food budget under 250$ for my share. This should be doable and is more generous than in the past but I went over that in October.

Did I do this thing right?


I’m in. My goals will include:

  • Continuing to use YNAB
  • Mindful meal planning. I’m not sure this goal is going to involve a number. It might be more related to eating down some things in my freezer and not over-buying, figuring out where the dollars are going and what I can do to reduce them. I’ve been collecting grocery store receipts so I can analyze where I’m spending. It might be developing the ability to continue putting together my list, and estimate a $ figure. I price shop so I know a lot of the prices off of the top of my head but I almost never try to add up a total. It’s like things get blurry after three numbers. And I’m supposed to be good at math. This doesn’t happen with other back-of-the-envelope calculations.
  • Make some progress on rolling over an old 401k to Vanguard. I’m very nervous about a big check getting lost in the mail. WIthout going into details, I’ve already determined I need to consult with a tax advisor. Cue a bit more fear. Would love to have this sorted and wrapped up by year-end. I made one phone call today and have a recommendation for two people who might be able to help me.

In keeping with No Stress, the goal probably won’t include numbers. With the grocery stuff, I feel like I’m in more of an information-gathering or experimentation phase. I may report numbers, or just more qualitative progress.

But, it’s only October 29. I’ve got what, two more days to finalize my goals? Did I mention I sometimes procrastinate?

And I have a driveway to shovel.


I am in.

I want to (need to) do my first Roth conversion.
I think I have done my direct Roth contribution and my tax-deductible HSA contribution, but I will check on those.

Review my medical insurance renewal and read the materials (god I hate this - the words start blurring).


I’m in!

We’re currently trying to build our EF back up to a more comfortable place and save for a house so we’re pretty much in “if we don’t absolutely need it, don’t buy it” territory. Which is fine, and having accountability here helps. The no stress part comes in when we are back where we want to be with savings and aren’t stressing about it anymore.

Some Goals

Stick to $150/wk grocery spend. Also aim for 1-2 no meat meals per week. Better for our health, our wallets, and the environment.

Continue to really scrutinize any purchases. This will be a challenge because November is my birthday, Bobbin’s birthday, and my best friend’s birthday. So I will have the treat yo self urge.

Mindful heat usage. We have a loft in our condo so it is very open two levels and is a beast to heat and cool. Thankfully the weather is cooperating and we can just open/close windows to maintain a nice temperature. Hoping to keep energy bills down.

Might add to this but these are the things I can think of right now.


Sign me up! I was pretty close with my original Budgetober estimates. For November I want to focus only on two food related goals:

  1. Keep to our grocery budget ($260)
  2. Anticipate if/when we will be invited to go to restaurants this month, and decide ahead of time how many we will say yes to and what our budget will be. This will require my husband’s input so I don’t have numbers right now.

I’m in! My main goal is to not spend money on food, alcohol/drinks, and clothes.

Food - I have food in the freezer and cupboard that needs to be eaten, and I would like to spend less money on takeout, restaurants, lunch, and last minute snacking. This will be a good exercise to get me cooking and not wasting food.

Alcohol - The last month and a half I attended a lot of celebrations and events, so I drank more than I usually do. I’ve gone more than a month before without buying or drinking alcohol, so I’m not worried about this one. I do crave a sweet non-alcoholic drink every now and then, but I have plenty of tea to make iced tea.

Clothes should be easy because I did a looot of clothes shopping this year. My size changed, and I needed clothes that fit. But now I have plenty of clothes that feel like me, and I’ve already identified new clothes that I really don’t need or love. So no clothes shopping for November (and probably through winter).

One definite exception: a bachelorette party of dinner and dancing.
Two possible exceptions: bringing a pie from a local bakery to Thanksgiving and taking my mom out for breakfast when I visit.

To play more into the no stress theme, I am also going to aim to go to the gym once a week. I pay for a gym membership, but I don’t use it. The movement would be good stress-relief, and I might as well get my money’s worth.


I’m putting my hand up for this. Hopefully I can sort an actual broken down budget for the month based on what’s happened in October and then follow it for November.

1 Like

I’m in! Going to do a more limited categories thing this month. I have a full budget laid out in my spreadsheet situation, but for here I’m going to focus on just a couple of things.

I have two goals.

  1. (short term) save as much as possible. I have to sign up for my big race for next year in early December, and I don’t want to have to put that on a credit card. So I don’t have a target (might create one as the month goes along) but I’m planning to track things here and put as much into short term savings as possible.

  2. Track groceries vs meals out/snacks purchased on the fly. I did a general “food” category last month (aside from budgeting specifically for one fancy meal out for Sweaty’s birthday), but I felt like that let me gloss over some spending habits I’d like to tweak a bit, so this month I’m distinguishing groceries from snacks/eating out. That all has to fall within my food budget which is $175 (Sweaty does a bigger share of our shopping).

So it’s more of a prioritize this and track that plan for me than setting up specific budget categories or minimums!


Thinking more, I might break down tracking too with respect to purchasing from small local businesses, restaurants I want to support, etc. Trying to work through the balance between saving money and supporting the businesses I want to support, and I’m not sure how to achieve the best balance there, so I want to try to pay attention to my spending to that effect, track it for a month or two, and see if observation can help me figure that out!