The January Money Diet Begins with Challenge #1

Give Something Away | January Money Diet

Welcome to the first day of the 2017 January Money Diet. This year, we embrace our new dieters and say hello to many repeat dieters who have participated before. Our community includes money dieters in the U.S. as well as the U.K., Canada, South Africa, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

Best of all, we have YOU. I’m so glad you’ve joined us.

For the next 31 days, we’ll learn skills to live well and stretch money. We’ll take a break from spending cash on anything but essentials. We’ll encourage each other, cheer each other on, and share lots of ways to live large without spending. At the end of the month, we’ll each do something extraordinary with the extra money we’ve saved.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Today’s post includes the first of 5 challenges that will help strengthen your relationship with money. If you choose to try these 5 challenges, you’ll be automatically entered in a giveaway for prizes including cash, gift cards, books and more.

The Link Between Giving and Receiving


Give Something Away | January Money Diet


Prosperity and giving are connected in a beautiful way. It might not make logical sense, but the more we give away, the greater abundance we experience. We receive more, and then we can give away even more. In the process of sharing with others, we also feel happier.

In a month when many of us feel squeezed after the holidays and anxious to get back on track financially, it might feel almost counterintuitive to start a money diet by giving more. And yet, because I’ve experienced this wonderful paradox in my own financial life I know that giving generously this month will unlock amazing things for each one of us.

The age-old Biblical principle of sowing and reaping is the yin and yang that brings balance and joy to the way we manage money.

Creating a “Nest” for Comfort and Contentment


Create a Nest | January Money Diet


One of the best ways to reign in spending is to have a place to live that feels comfortable and inviting. We’ll be working this month on doing all we can to make our homes places of peace and harmony.

By clearing out clutter and making space, we’ll have fewer things to clean and keep track of and more breathing room.

Here is your first challenge, which you can work on at your own pace throughout the month.

January Money Diet Challenge #1: Give 31 things away.

During this no-spend month, look for opportunities to share your abundance with others.

Some of us may choose to give away 31 things we no longer need — perhaps items like clothes, furniture, coats, dishes or other things that would bless another person. Some may prepare a hot meal for someone, or send an encouraging note, or teach someone a skill, or babysit, or listen, or give a back rub, or shovel a snowy sidewalk, or pass along a book. What you give is completely up to you.

Be on the lookout for unexpected gifts and blessings that come your way this month, too. I encourage you to return to this page and leave comments about the 31 gifts you give, and your experiences of both giving and receiving. I can’t wait to hear your stories!

I’m excited to share this journey with you, and you’ll be hearing from me again tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy this New Year’s Day and the promise of a fresh financial start in 2017.


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

The January Money Diet Begins with Challenge #1

  • Nancy

    I gave away clothing to Goodwill and books to a senior apartment complex that has a small library.

  • I have been following your challenges for a couple of years now. This is my favorite. I have been purging and when I started in 2015, my goal for the year was 2,015 items out of the house. That has been my benchmark every year since so of course, that brings me to 2,017 items gone in 2017. It seemed out of reach when I started and my mom wondered what would be left but when you look at the accumulation of cards, schoolwork, clothes, toys, books, media, etc. it was not as difficult as I expected. I moved last year and it made it so much easier. For this year, I am at approximately 260 items since the beginning of January. And I am not a hoarder but wow, the things I have chosen to keep over the years! When I started there were things I could not part with and in 2017, my perspective has changed. I also limit more carefully what we bring into our home, otherwise this would all be null & void. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement!

  • Colette

    I have been doing great with this all month, and I’m still going strong! My Mother passed away last May, and she was a true hoarder. My give-away pile has included both of our items. My husband, a minimalist, is especially appreciating newfound spaces!

  • Annette

    This weekend I finally finished gutting my entire house!I have cleaned out all my closets and cupboards and re-organized the bedroom. It is so much more peaceful there now. We ended up donating a total of 14 large garbage bags full of clothing, shoes and kitchen supplies to a local charity. I know that these things gently used things will find a good home. It is embarrassing to think that I had that much clutter in my house. Though it honestly didn’t seem that cluttered to me at the time. I now feel mentally lighter. The process was cathartic! I will now only bring things into my home that I love and that I will use. Thanks Eliza! What a difference this has made.

  • Lyn

    They’re gone! I took various bags of books to various organizations and people who wanted them, bags of clothing and other books to a local church yard sale, and a few books to friends who found them appealing. Wow it feels great to have those things gone!

  • Judy

    All of the 31 and more items have been delivered. My friend who brought the fabric that I gave to her church mission group said the fabric has been made into bandages and will be used in clinics in Camaroon, Africa.It makes me smile.

  • Sara

    Challenge completed. I have sent numerous post cards to friends and mentors. Cooked and baked for family and colleagues. Took two of my brothers out to lunch. Helped out with my brother’s summer job hunt through editing several resumes and cover letters, helped friends with career advice and tips for the new year. Supported colleagues with some work projects. Shared the gift of yoga with a friend.

  • Lyn

    I now have a huge pile in our mud room – – books for specific people or the library, clothes for our local goodwill, and clothes to send to younger cousins who will just love my son’s old dress shirts 🙂 Every year there is more. Incredible how that works. I keep thinking we are all clear, and then I look again. Thank you for the inspiration everyone! Am on my way to 31!

  • Judy

    I have been cleaning my quilting room which doubles as a guest room. I have packed up fabric that needs a new home. One of my quilting friends requested a bag of scrap fabric and that is ready to be delivered. A couple of bags went to a friend who brought it to her church mission group. They are going to use it to make bandages for missions. Today, a local group picked up the hide a bed that was used in the room. I feel great that all items will be put to good use and my quilt room is cleared out and much more relaxing to sew in. Have also been packing clothes and household items for the Salvation Army. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Funny that I had already been working on the nesting thing last week before receiving the first challenge e-mail. It does make it easier to not spend money when I have a space I enjoy being at home. I also have been going through all of my cupboards and closets pulling out items to donate or give away. Signed up to do increased volunteer work this month as another way of giving.

  • Kelly

    My daughter and I cleaned out our kitchen cabinets and I had tons of duplicate kitchen gadgets and different kitchen items. We donated the items to a local charity. Having less clutter sure makes me feel so much better!

  • Katy Emanuel

    We put together a big box of items to pass onto my cousin who has a little guy 6 months younger than our youngest and another one on the way. We had clothes, shoes, boots, glass bottles, sleep sacks, coats and toys. The kids are in the process of going through their toys as well to see if there is anything else to donate to other kids. We did just move across the country so we did a major overhaul of our home to declutter and get rid of lots, but it is amazing that we can still find some things to give away.

  • Jenny

    So far we have gathered some kitchen gadgets, clothing and books to distribute to local charity shops. My daughter has also written and posted some thank you notes to relatives in order to express her gratitude and deliver some New Year cheer 🙂 We are also thinking of ways in which we can give to others by offering our time and help.

  • nancy

    I cleared out things i do not use and was able to give many away on my neighborhood website. I love my tidy store room and had fun conversations with the neighbors that picked up the stuff i was getting rid of.

  • nancy

    I purged my storage room. I cleared out things i do not use and was able to give many away on my neighborhood website. I love my tidy store room and had fun conversations with the neighbors that picked up the stuff i was getting rid of.

  • Steph

    I am starting with books. My closet is overflowing with clothes I never wear, so those are next. I have a piece of furniture in my living room and a toddler bed that I am going to offer up to anyone in my town. Oh, toys. Toys are everywhere!

  • Meg

    I have been thinking of doing this for a long time I have so many clothes I do not wear anymore so this next week I will start to clear all out and give to to our action cancer shop.

  • Baylee

    I have pulled out Christmas decor I didnt put up, I also cleaned out my closet. Taking the stuff to the Vet’s home for the vets that are needing things and then to the Grain Train to be donated to places that have been affected by natural disasters. Over the past few months I have been collecting things and up to 6 boxes now I think.

  • Kathy

    I love this challenge and reading about all the wonderful things people are giving away. Since yesterday, I have gathered 2 boxes of food and 2 boxes of personal care items for the Salvation Army. Three bags of women’s clothing, shoes, bags and accessories along with boxes of new makeup and personal care items for dress for success and our local woman’s shelter. Two new sleeping bags and two bags of men’s coats, clothes and gloves for a men’s shelter. I also have another 8 boxes of misc books and household stuff for the Goodwill. Finally, I donated 3 large trees of firewood for a local family in need. Everything, but the firewood is loaded in the SUV in the garage waiting for better weather.

  • Cheryl

    My family received so many wonderful treats for the holidays. They home-made ones we enjoyed but during the last few days, I repurposed chocolate, packaged cake, etc. for other people, either as a thank you, or just a thought gift.

  • Laura

    Yesterday was a lazy day for the kids and I so I gave away a back rub to my daughter while we watched a movie together. She is 7 and loves getting her back rubbed and would have me do it every day if it were up to her! But once in a while keeps it special. Looking forward to this year’s challenges!

  • Amy

    I have a pile of clothes and household items in the garage, and I will finally be bringing these to the thrift store so they can be put to use! I appreciate the encouragement to “give away” in a less physical sense as well. These are things that I no longer need and just want out of my house, but will be looking for other ways to give as well!

  • Clothes- both the ones that never quite worked on me, and the ones that will never fit again. (Why did I keep those anyway?) This is a great way to start.

  • Catherine Godfrey

    Closet clean out donated 16 casual/dress shirts of hubbies to men’s shelter. Donated 20 clothing items of mine to women’s closet that gets women ready for interviews. I’m going to continue on & donate more stuff. My goal is to stop bringing it in to begin with.

  • Susan Trimble

    Last night I started going thru books. So far I have found 17 to give away, plus more to go thru. Am thinking about volunteering at a food pantry.

  • Delaine

    Like a lot of people, I’ve gone through my closet and am giving away clothes I no longer wear. I’m also dropping some books off at at least one of the little free libraries in our community. And I’ll be checking back here often for other ideas. Thanks everyone!

  • Anne

    Challenged accepted! I am committing to going through my home from top to bottom – the attic to the basement – at least once but maybe not with a fine tooth comb quite yet. There is someone I know saving for a first home and they will have very little extra cash so I am putting together things from my “stuff”. I already have an extra kitchen table and 4 chairs practically new from ikea , a set of dishes and various kitchen items and someone else is giving me a set of pots they don’t use. I also have extra blankets and towels for the collection. I was on a roll yesterday and cleaned out a box from the attic that included many lovely clothing pieces and a pair of travel and hiking pants with the tags still on them — all going to goodwill today. I feel lighter already. Why did I squirrel away all this stuff ???

  • Lisa

    I found a home for 30 years worth of Music CDs and old DVDs. They have been in boxes in a cupboard for the last several years. It turns out, a senior center down the road wanted them for their residents. I packed them up along with workable players and sent them over. Several of the residents started picking through the contents as soon as I arrived! Smiles and stories all around. I count this as the first of my 31 things to give away.
    Thanks for the insight-

  • Lynn Louise

    When putting away the Christmas decorations I kept a few out that I never use anymore and am planning to take them to the Goodwill store. I find each year that I use less of the decorations and really only put out the ones I love. So I don’t need all these others. I also try to follow the rule “1 thing in and 2 things out”. I received 2 pairs of yoga pants for Christmas this year so found 4 pieces of clothing that I no longer needed and will donate them. That was pretty easy to do. I’ll keep looking through the closets and donating as I fill up the boxes. Good way to start the New Year!

  • country cottage

    SUSAN CANADA Such a good saying not to let your possessions posses you but it is so hard to let go as I always think I might need it one day or what a waste. I hope I can do what you started 4 years ago in giving things away or selling items, did you find it hard to begin with? You said you were close to finishing don’t lose heart you are nearly there, just think of the lovely home you will have at the end of this, I have yet to get there. Sorry to hear about you ill health you will be in my thoughts.

  • Melissa in Texas

    Thank you for this post — just what I needed. I pulled a skirt from my closet as well as a few make up bags to add to my donate box. Committing to this challenge. Happy 2017!

  • maggi

    i did this challenge last month. i purged my kitchen and gave everything to my bestie’s granddaughter. a rice cooker, small pressure cooker and lots of cookbooks too.
    im looking forward to the next challenge.

  • Susan Canada

    Don’t let your possessions posses you is what my motto was years ago. Due to family moving in, relatives passing away leaving me items, people storing items at my house due to hurricanes or lay offs that they no longer want or due to my shopping when depressed I had more that I didn’t want than what I wanted. Started remodeling 4 yrs ago & since then gave most to charity, neighbors or for family member to sell on eBay. Now close but due to cancer not completed. Need motivation to finish remodeling & organizing. Looking forward to hearing from all.

  • country cottage

    Re-reading your blog you use the term ‘NEST’in having a home that is comfortable and inviting, that hit a cord. I have never really liked my present home and am continualy spending money on itmes to try and make it more homely. Many of these items are still in their carrier bags as I have no room or space to place them, others just clutter the place, in the process I have spent thousands of pounds on credit cards which is such a waste. I will follow this diet in the hope it will stop me spending any more and trying to clear my credit cards.

  • country cottage

    Just read your post this evening, the funny thing is that I had started clearing out my wardrobe today and found a few skirts that were too small for me, so I threw them in a black sack ready for the bin men. After reading this blog I am going to retrieve them and take them to a charity shop on Tuesday, now why did I not think of that before!!!

  • Susan Trimble

    We have been in our home for 39 years. There is so much I need to get rid of. I had not thought of it before, but love the idea of doing something for other people. I do this but it isn’t something I think about doing consistently. Thank you for the idea.

  • Deborah

    I am excited to join in another year of the “No Spend January” I baked bread today and took an extra loaf to a neighbor. I am planning on cleaning out closets and taking items to our local clothing closet. Thank you for providing inspiration to keep going this month.

    • Oh my goodness, I bet your neighbor was so thrilled to receive a loaf of bread that you baked with your own hands. How special! Good luck with those closets, too, Deborah. So glad you’re enjoying the challenge. xo

  • Nancy O

    Gave away two books to my local little free library. One was signed by the author, which I would normally not want to give away, but it’s a book of historic photos of a local cemetery that someone else might like. The other book was one I’ve had 15+ years. It belonged to my ex-husband who never wanted it. The topic was simplicity, and I felt I needed to read it. I skimmed it last night and it wasn’t even a good book. So that had to go. To a local free store I gave an FM radio that I bought for my cat (music during the day) when i wanted talk radio. Finally, a plastic holiday mug I got in a gift package. The reason I write all this is because I always have a reason for not eliminating clutter. Now to find some stuff for day two.

  • Rebecca

    This is awesome! I was going through my closet yesterday and I thought to myself that I needed to go thru it and get rid of things. Then I got an email this am that a lady at church was in need of clothing….my size. So I’m going through my closet today and giving things to her. I think I may extend this and keep going, as we have ALOT of clutter!

  • Jennifer

    I’m excited to start this year’s Money Diet, and the give-away challenge is one I’m embracing whole-heartedly! I’ve been struggling to clean up a cluttered, disorganized home (resulting from living here many years & not keeping up on things). I’ve recently given some nice things I no longer need or use to my cousin, and noticed all of them now in use again in her home, and I was overjoyed!

    • That’s so nice that you were able to bless your cousin and clear space in your home at the same time. I think we all struggle with keeping up with clutter – I swear things multiply when I’m sleeping! 🙂 So glad you joined us. xoxo

  • Glenda

    I am going through my closet and getting rid of clothes that are in good shape but that I don’t wear. And I plan to go through my cookbooks and share the ones that I don’t use a lot with my friends that love to cook as much as I do.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>