No Spend Challenge

 

There is a challenge floating around the Internet where people are pledging to not spend any money for 30 days in order to save some money and change their spending habits. Now, this might sound crazy to you, but I was intrigued. How do they do this? How can I do this?

So here’s the deal. The 30-day No Spend Challenge is a individual, conscious effort to become more aware of your personal spending habits and how your money is leaving your pocket. It isn’t a no-spending at all challenge though. That would be nearly impossible and likely defeat the whole purpose of the challenge!

The rules are that you dedicate 30 days to not spending any money on anything that can considered “non-essential”. This means that bills, medicine, doctor’s appointments, a portion of your gas, and essential grocery items don’t count as “spending” for this 30 days. Now, I’m very intrigued. I can very well do this!

False Start

So, my no-spend month was meant to start last Friday, January 19th, but this challenge has turned out to be harder than I thought. I am restarting, and here’s why.

Two weeks ago now, I totaled my car. I was absolutely okay, which was, of course, wonderful and a blessing. The stress overload that followed totaling my car however, was more than I could handle. In these first few days, I have already learned  a valuable spending pattern of mine. I spend money to not only relieve stress but also to celebrate relieving stress. Let me explain. On the day that this challenge started, I bought a car. This purchase falls under the essential category, so that spending doesn’t count, but three days later to “celebrate” buying my car and being satisfied with my decision, I convinced myself that I needed to buy an essential oil set for said car so that I didn’t need to keep carrying my “at-home” oils around…

All the way home from the store, I thought about why I caved and made the decision to buy those oils. Now, a responsible adult would probably go return them, but I know very well that as soon as this challenge is over I will go back and buy them again if I do that, so I am going to keep them, and learn something from this.

I don’t count this as a failure, because I learned something, but I am going to start the challenge over.

My 30 Day No-Spending Challenge.

My challenge will run from today, January 24 to February 24. My bills and any medical expense, of course, don’t count as spending and neither does the gas that it takes for me to get to work and back. I am also going to allow myself gas to travel to friend’s houses and the grocery store, but I am going to try to be more conscious about this spending, meaning that I am going to try to do these things when I am already in the area or try to bundle trips into one excursion instead of multiple trips to town.

My essential grocery list includes; milk, eggs, and produce. For us, produce means greens, mushrooms, onions and bananas.

Why Am I Doing This?

The first and most obvious reason for me to try this challenge this month is that money has been a huge stress in my life this month. It has been tight, but it has also become all that I think about and therefore, it is starting to take over my life. I want to try to break this obsession and fear of money and spending by paying very close attention to my thoughts and attitudes surrounding money. I want to gain some freedom.

I have also proven in this challenge already that I have a bad habit of convincing myself that I need things that I don’t. I want to become more conscious of these habits as well, and try to reteach myself the difference between want and need. Eventually, I would like to relearn when it is okay to buy something that you want but you don’t need, but that will come in time. First, I need to learn the difference!

In terms of the big picture and my future, I’m doing this because I want to gain some financial security. Now, I don’t think I’m going to save enough money this month to get that, but I do hope that I can learn enough about my habits to get there eventually. I also would like to move out of state at the end of our lease in July so we will need to save some money before that is possible.

Other things I will be doing:

 

  1. Keep track of spending urges

During this challenge I want to try and keep track of all the things that I have a desire to buy or even shop for. I think that this will not only help teach myself to resist the urge to buy, but it will also be interesting to look at in the end to see just how many times I do crave to buy something.

In the first few days that I was trying this challenge I compiled a list of more than ten items. I wanted to buy;

  • New seat covers for my car
  • A dream catcher for the rearview mirror
  • A cargo net for the hatchback
  • Natural cleaning products
  • Blankets
  • New lanyard
  • Mushroom coffee
  • Selenite crystals
  • New keychain
  • New makeup pouch
  • Posters for my living room

None of these things are necessities and if I followed through on all of them I would have spent more than $200 in a weekend… That’s crazy!

  1. Jot down what I do that is free

This will be super useful later on, I know it. If I write down the things that I had fun doing without spending any money, I can try to do these things more often even after the challenge. This list will be useful to share with you too!

 

What Can You Expect as I Complete This Challenge:

I will try to update you on how this challenge is working out for me, but in the very least I will post a conclusion and reflection of this challenge on here for you to see how I made out.

 

Here’s to hoping I can control myself! 🙂 

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