Posted in author, H. S. Contino, motivation, updates

Introducing “Penny-less January”

 Good morning!

As the new year approaches, I’ve decided to challenge myself to what I’m calling “Penny-less January.” I’m writing about it on my blog and sharing my plans on the internet in order to keep myself accountable. 😉

The “rules” are pretty simple: I want to see if I can make through an entire month without spending a penny on anything other than my regular household bills (housing, utilities, and phone/internet). I’m also going to avoid spend money on groceries or take out. In preparation, I’ve stocked up on frozen, canned, and shelf stable foods (as well as pet food and treats– of course!).

I have several reasons for pursuing this challenge, but one of the main ones is that I’m tired of starting each new year poor and in debt. For years, I felt societal pressure to spend a lot of money on gifts for my family and friends every holiday season. Since I’ve never had a large salary, more often than not I ended up falling back on my credit cards– which mean that come January I had to start paying them back with interest.

I want to break that cycle.

This year, I sent holiday greeting cards to my family and friends, but I only gave gifts to my closest family members. And, instead of racking up debt, I purchased a few small, inexpensive gifts. Instead of traditional gifts, I made individualized Memory Books for family members using photographs of past family adventures and special moments. As I told my nieces and nephew, I was giving them each the gift of memory— and the Memory Books were meant to symbolize this intangible gift.

I chose the name “Penny-less January” because my goal is the exact opposite. I’m trying to break the cycle of beginning every new year penniless, and I’m so tired of modern society’s focus on consumerism. Instead, I’m going back to the basics. I want to start the year while focusing on my basic expenses, which will free up money in my budget that I can put towards my debt.

So, wish me luck!

What about everyone else? What are your goals for the new year? Any new year’s resolutions? Please, feel free to share in the comments.

Thank you for reading. I hope that your holidays were merry, and I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful (and happy) new year!

~ H. S. Contino


I'm a combination writer and crafter. My books include "Shipwrecks of Coos County" (Arcadia Publishing, 2011), “Shipwrecks of Curry County” (Arcadia Publishing, 2017), and "Paw Prints" (Create Space, 2013). I'm also the owner of "Reprieve's Corner: Handmade Crafts" ( I live on the southern Oregon coast.

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