Are you guilty of buying things just to buy them? I am! I’m guilty of buying things because, at the moment, they give me instant gratification. Most of the time, right when I walk in the door at home, the item(s) will sit in the shopping bag for days. I didn’t really need the thing I had just purchased but I just wanted that instant gratification for myself. I decided right after Christmas that I was going to challenge myself. A good challenge for myself is something I like to do to put myself back into check from whatever I feel has gotten a little out of control. This was the perfect time and opportunity to do a “no spend month”.
Why I Chose January
In December, I’ve always had the really bad habit of buying things for myself whenever I would go Christmas shopping for other people. I would have 4 items in the cart for myself and 1 item for someone else. This year wasn’t as bad as previous years but I still caught myself doing it. This time I was more aware of it too! Once I noticed this, I decided that I wanted/needed to challenge myself to start “clean” that next month which just so happened to be January. It was my “no spend January” month.
What Were MY Rules
Since I decided to do this challenge a few days before the 1st of the month, I didn’t have much time to plan. I read a few articles where people wouldn’t spend money on groceries or gas or bills because they planned ahead and everything was taken care of. I couldn’t be this strict on myself since I only had a few days to prepare.
So here were MY rules:
- I can purchase groceries- no spend limit
- I can purchase gas- no spend limit
- I’m allowed to spend when it refers to my businesses
- All bills can be paid per usual
- My hubby wouldn’t be included in the no spend month
These were all of my rules. Pretty simple and only 5 total. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself.
How I Did For Most Of The Month
Well….I did pretty good! Better than I thought. The moment when I decided to do a “no spend month”, I wanted to take it back but I knew I needed to do it! The fact that I would be sharing my experience with all of you was worth it. The first week was hard to get used to. I was on my way to the coffee shop a few times and had to turn around because “DUH! It’s no spend month!”. That was annoying because I really wanted coffee. But you know what? I didn’t need coffee because I had it at home.
Throughout the month I did purchase coffee 2 or 3 times. The first time was a coffee date with one of my besties and another was really early in the morning when I needed it so bad. The 3rd time, which I don’t even know if there was a 3rd time, but I think there was. Matt also took me to dinner but that was one of the rules- Matt wasn’t participating so he doesn’t count if he paid…right?! A few times I did pick up to-go food for myself but I caulked that up to my grocery/food money for the day. Excuses, I know! I did notice myself not adding a drink to my order or not adding a side, I was very aware and careful about what I purchased even when it came to food.
When I Failed
I really wouldn’t consider this a fail because I spent so much less money than normal but I did end up spending a few days before the month was up. I was on the hunt for a planner and usually Marshalls/TJ Maxx has the best selection. Of course, I didn’t find a planner but I did find my sister a birthday present and it was the last one left so I bought it. Still on the hunt for a planner (considered a business expense), I was sucked into the shoe department at Target and purchased 4 pairs of shoes that were on clearance for less than $7/each. I couldn’t resist! The dollar amount I spent (excluding the planner) was less than $50 total. Honestly, this still isn’t a fail in my mind but I’m going to call it what it is.
I would recommend everyone (seriously, everyone!) to do this that feels like they spend frivolously. It’s only been a week since the no spend month ended but I’ve noticed that I’ve stopped myself when I’ve wanted to buy something. This “no spend month”, along with Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up, has made me really appreciate the things I already own. I’ve learned to put new outfits together with the clothes I already have which is so fun, by the way! This month gave me the time to clear out the things that no longer served a purpose to me without adding new items into the mix. I feel lighter, more appreciative and I’ve saved lots of money too!
Bonus: This whole month has made my husband so, so, so happy! He wants every month to be a “no spend month”…haha!