No Spend Month, What I Learned

The title maybe deceiving. Why? Because it was not a complete “do not spend any money” month. It was more a do not spend money on non-essentials (Target Dollar Spot). What I mean by essential spending……the boring stuff of bills (always having money coming out for those!), groceries, and gas. Being my second time doing this, it still amazes me how much impulse control it can be.

With the cost of living going up, and inflation soaring, everything around here is going up. It was time to curb the spending a little to figure out what was worth spending more on, and what can be completely cut out entirely.

And after it all there were a few things completely not worth the money I spend on them.

Here are my thoughts after a month of spending on essentials:

  1. Inflation doesn’t help with saving money. The price of essentials have gone up to the point where the money you do save is very little if any. So cutting in the non-essentials allows you wiggle room to buy say the overpriced eggs at the grocery store.
  2. Some stores you buy from are overcharging for basic things. Do you feel some grocery stores are over charging for things compare to others?
  3. I kept thinking the money I am saving is going to go towards getting out of debt (hello car payments and student loans), and saving for the future.
  4. I use up what I already had on hand. Using up the left over odd bits of things in the kitchen and bathroom. I finally go through a lot of Bath and Body stuff, and using up pantry staples before the big spring cleaning in the coming months.
  5. Less impulse spending and taking a break from the fast pace consumer spending cycle we all have found ourselves in. I took a break from all the influencer hauls on social media.
  6. Still had to spend a large sum of money in an emergency. I had to buy a new car battery after mine died after 1.5 years (the car is that old too!).
  7. Friends and family will think you are crazy for forgoing those extra unnecessary spending.
  8. A lot of things that are fun are free!

With inflation making essentials expensive and the cost of living going up during the month, I did discovered a few things from doing it that I will be applying to my relationship with money:

  1. Reason is for you to focus on controlling what you can control (your own money)
  2. Have a plan when you’re experiencing struggles to break a habit.
  3. Bigger the challenge or bigger the goal, you may fall and that is okay. Just restart again.
  4. Some of the spending decisions come from luck and others from a place of scarcity.
  5. What is in front of you is more important.
  6. It feels good to honor the commitment to the future, and relationships you build.
  7. Learned how to separate abundance from spending money, it’s a mindset.
  8. I gave me time to realized what my future needs are compare to the now needs.
  9. I learned to maximize what I already have.
  10. A space for investing and appreciating assets I have.

After all this was said and done, I came across The Financial Diet’s post on all right spending bans. I agree it is better to take baby steps and cut out one or two spending areas in the budget. Not cutting out “fun” things like experiences or spending time with family and friends. All outright spending bans can feel like a crash diet and they end up be impossible to stick to, and end up hurting in the long run.

Believe me I tried it the last time I did a no spend month, and it did not help. This time around I believe the small/baby steps would be lasting and the beginning steps of a new relationship with my money and making it work for me in this time of high cost of living. As Lent season goes, I will continue to apply this cutting down on the small impulse spending.

Have you done a no spend month or something similar?

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