I have a full two-weeks left of the no-spend challenge, which means that I am halfway through. If you haven’t read my post about what this challenge is or the rules and guidelines I made for myself, I would suggest reading that first. You can find that article here.
I fell off the wagon a little bit in keeping track of the things that I had an urge to buy over the last two weeks. I found that instead of writing them down, it was better for me to tell myself no right then and there to stop the urge. Since starting this challenge, though, I have noticed that these urges have been more realistic expenses. I have been thinking about buying books about herbalism to enhance my learning, or bottles to fill with recipes. I have been thinking less about spending money on things that will just sit in my house, like carpets or posters. I feel like in this way my habits have shifted to more useful, and enriching products rather than things to fill up space.
I have also noticed that my spending urges are coming at times of clarity and I feel more control over them. At the beginning of this challenge I was having a lot of spending urges in periods of stress. Those feelings are less now and when they do happen I can easily differentiate them from my clear, logical thoughts on spending.
What have I learned so far?
There is a difference between needless spending and spending that is enriching to your life. At the end of January, my friend Matt invited us to a birthday dinner at a local bar and restaurant. The whole drive there I was beating myself up because I knew I was going to spend money there so that I could participate. Then I realized, this is an enriching experience. We are celebrating a friend and this spending should be out. I was not there to spend money on food when I didn’t have to. I was there to celebrate his birthday. This type of spending is different than my TJ Maxx sprees when I am overwhelmed.
I have also learned that I have been wasteful in buying beauty products, especially face wash and lotion. I have found so many products buried in my drawers and cabinets that I have had for too long. I have started using all of the ones that are still good and I am working on disposing of the ones that are not anymore. This will be something that I will keep an eye on moving forward.
As I have started running out of products, I have started experimenting with making some of my own. I will write more on this if I happen upon any great recipes. Regardless of if I am successful or not, this has been a fun thing to do.
So what have I been doing since I can’t spend any money?
This was my greatest concern going into this. I was worried that I would have to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs until this was over, but that is far from what has happened. Besides working full time, which helps fill most of the time I have, I have spent a lot more time with friends and I have took advantage of a few free opportunities.
To start off the challenge, I spent a couple nights at friends’ houses for parties or to watch a movie. I invited my gal friends over to my house to draw tarot and drink tea, and I have spent more time with my parents on my days off than I would have. This has made the experience worth it. Not being able to go out and entertain myself by shopping forced me to go out of my comfort zone and spend more time with people. I have noticed that this quality time with them has helped me cut through some of the stress of my life, and helped me make time for some fun.
As the challenge continued, I pushed myself to commit to a couple free opportunities that I would not have done otherwise. I went to a free yoga class after work that my friend was teaching and learned how to practice my headstand. Super exciting! Then a week later, I cashed in one of the free spa days that my job gives me as a full-time employee. Normally, I wouldn’t have done this, but my other option for this day was to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs so I went. It was amazing!
Now, I was fortunate to have these typically high-cost things available to me for free, but I have found plenty of other things to do during this time as well that wouldn’t cost anything anyway. I have spent more time working on my future. I have written more for this blog than I was planning on, I have made a lot of progress in my herbalism course, and I have started brainstorming what my next big step is. All of this commitment and effort seems to be paying off also, which is amazing. 🙂
Would I recommend this challenge?
At this point, I would still recommend this challenge to anyone who wants to become more aware of their thoughts surrounding spending. I have learned so much about myself and how I cope to certain situations by participating in this challenge. I believe that I will come out of it a better person and more reasonable spender and a more conscious consumer.