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?