Recently I went a full 30 days without spending any money. Well, okay, I did buy groceries and regular house supplies like toilet paper and soap, but all my extra spending was cut out. I didn’t allow myself to eat out or buy new shoes just because. Through this journey, I learned many things and I think you should give it a try too.
1. It’s Hard
Wow! I was so surprised how hard it would be to not spend more. The urge to shop is strong. I am sure many of you can relate to that comforting feeling that comes with buying a new lipstick or pair of shoes. It’s an urge that is difficult to fight.
2. Need Vs. Want
By not allowing myself to spend money for 30 days I was able to evaluate my needs versus my wants. I may have really wanted a new pair of shoes before going on vacation, but the question was, did I really need them? Turns out I didn’t. Last year’s sandals are still super cute and in good shape.
3. Finding a Better Deal
While I didn’t spend, I did still shop. That’s crazy, right? Why would I put myself through the temptation and torture? What I noticed is that by not buying right away, I was able to find a better deal for later on when I am able to make purchases.
Not only did I want new shoes for vacation, I also wanted some new outfits. Since I couldn’t spend any money, I had to look at my current wardrobe with fresh eyes. In the end, I turned to Pinterest for some good ideas on upcycling old shirts.
5. No Eating out
This was another hard one. We all like a good meal that we don’t have to cook, right? I had a couple of friends who knew I was doing this challenge so together we planned a few family dinners at each other’s houses. It’s a great way to get that restaurant feel and socialization with your friends and family.
While I was going to make an exception and buy a new gift for my daughter to take to a friend’s birthday, she insisted that we make something. I was surprised by this but decided to embrace her support and cleverness. My daughter created a memory scrapbook by printing off pictures at home and using some materials we already had. By the way, her friend loved the book of memories.
7. Money in the Bank
I am a little embarrassed to say that after the challenge, it was amazing how much money we had left over. I can’t believe how much we spend on frivolous things with nothing to show at the end of the month. Now we have extra money in savings and a little more to spend on vacation.
All in all, this was an awesome experience and has really taught me a lot about my spending habits. By the second week, it was much easier to not jump at the impulse to spend and come up with an alternative solution. I will be doing this again soon, how about you?