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LIVING,  SIMPLE LIVING

My No Spend Month – Lessons Learned And What I Spent Money On

 

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.

A No Spend Month

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?

2 Comments

  • Rachel G

    I definitely experience #3–finding ways to be thrifty, finding ways to not spend money or to stretch the groceries a little farther definitely feels like a sort of “game” to me. I’m still trying to win Angel over to the idea of feeling like saving money is a game. 😛 It doesn’t come as naturally to him.

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