I love the idea of valuing experiences with the people I love more than valuing stuff and things but while I would say that, my personal spending has always showed that my actions do not back up my words.
I have a lot of weaknesses when it comes to spending: dollar stores, stationary, art and craft supplies, books, thrift stores . . . all stuff that doesn’t cost much in the moment but when you start adding the purchases up it can get fairly expensive.
So, a little over a month ago I decided to put myself on a spending freeze.
The freeze was on my own personal spending, obviously this doesn’t count groceries and other expenditures that are necessary.
My goals for the freeze were:
- to stop bringing clutter into the home
- to purge and de-own stuff while I was on the freeze so there would be less items in the house after it was over
- to save money so I could have money to choose experiences over stuff
- to re-train my brain to not just buy a bunch of little stuff and to actually think about the things I purchase
So, I sent out on my no spend month and guess what?
I spent money.
WHAT I SPENT MONEY ON
Okay, so it wasn’t completely a no spend month, but it was pretty close. I bought two things: 1) a family year-long membership to a local museum and 2) I pre-ordered this book.
Here’s where I justify my purchases: the museum membership is completely in line with what I’ve been working towards; it was because I wasn’t spending that I had enough money to purchase it this month. The membership allows us to get actually have museum experiences together as a family. I’m really glad I got this. As for the book that I ordered, it is by one of my current favorite authors. I actually pre-ordered the Kindle book so it won’t take up any physical space and I like to support people that are producing content I like.
LESSONS I LEARNED DURING MY NO SPEND MONTH
I actually learned a few things during my no spend month. Most of them are kind of common sense but there is a difference between knowing something and actually doing it.
Lesson #1: If you don’t want to spend money, don’t go to the store
Not mind blowing, right? But because my biggest spending problem was a number of little items, they were impulse purchases when I was at the store picking up other stuff, or when I was there “just to look”. So, if I didn’t go to the store that helped curb a lot of small purchases.
Lesson #2: Start a wishlist with items you want and wait a few weeks before buying them
During the month I kept a list of things I wanted to buy, it started out as a way to not forget what I wanted but after a few weeks I realized I didn’t want most of the items anyway. If it’s something that stays on the list for awhile (a few weeks or a few months) I find it’s generally something worth purchasing.
Lesson #3: Saving is also a rush
I totally get a rush when I shop, admittedly online shopping is one of my favorites; I get a rush when I initially purchase the item and another rush when it gets delivered at my door. But, as the number on my savings/travel fund slowly inches higher and higher I’m realizing it gives me the same rush – win win!
Lesson #4: Make a specific plan for your money
If you generally know what you are saving for, make a specific plan for it. I knew I wanted to travel but then Jared found some cheap flights and when we had a specific destination in mind it makes the purpose of saving more real, even though we won’t be going anywhere until next winter. Now it’s easier to save a little here and there. My thought process goes like this: “I could buy this shirt or I could save the money and pay for a lunch on our trip instead.” Usually saving for later wins out.
That was my no spend month in a nutshell!
Are you a saver or a spender? Have you ever done a no spend month?
Do you have any good saving tips for me?
SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER!
Hi Friend, I would love for you to sign up for my seasonal-ish newsletter! I would love to send it monthly but I feel like in this season of my life that will probably not happen but I would like to commit to sending one out at least every three months.
In the newsletter you can expect little (or big!) life updates, what I've been reading in the Bible, and all sorts of resources I've been loving and lessons God has been teaching me.