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The things that I learned during my first no spend week and the place that I overspent (and why I’m ok with it).
I started a No Spend January plan just over a week ago.
After evaluating my spending from January of the prior year it was clear that my spending had gotten out of control.
I wanted to use this no spending purge as a time to focus on financial goals, cut back on frivolous spending and get back to my frugal ways.
It has only been a week but these short few days have taught me a lot!
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No Spend January 1 Week Review
Sharing about my finances and decisions seems very personal to me but I am hoping that you might find something useful to meet your own goals.
Using What We Owned
I think it was on day 2 of my spending freeze that I “needed” my first item.
As I was cleaning, I realized we were out of those little tiny bathroom trashcan liners.
Now keep in mind that I did allow myself to purchase core items (food, needed household supplies/consumables) as part of the no spend January project. So I could technically go out and purchase them without breaking my goal.
But then I started thinking. Instead of spending $4 on a new roll of bags, I could just do what my grandparents always did.
So I lined that trashcan with a grocery bag and saved my $4!
Delayed Grocery Shopping
Sunday came around and I found myself saying that I “needed” to go to the grocery.
We were out of basics like bananas and bread.
And I had school lunches and dinners to prepare for the week so I should go and pick those things up plus a week more of food.
But the truth was that we had plenty of food. It just wasn’t the things that I necessarily wanted. The things that make day to day tasks a little easier.
So I spent the next 4 days cooking from my pantry and fridge.
Homemade lunchables were made for the kids instead of purchasing them.
A less than fresh loaf of cinnamon bread was transformed into French toast. The extra slices were frozen for a simple breakfast for the kids.
We ate all the apples and every grape. There was so much less waste than normal.
We had breakfast for dinner one night to use up the last of the eggs and some sausage that needed to be cooked. My kids love brinner!
So instead of going to the grocery just because that was my habit, I waited until we really needed to.
If you spend an average of $15 a day on food for your family, that means that delaying shipping for 4 days saves $60!
Changing Grocery Habits
When I finally did get to the store, I noticed that my mentality was different from other trips.
Instead of mindlessly grabbing a box of cereal because I always do, I remembered that we had half a box at home. And with my homemade French toast and a few other breakfast options, we didn’t need a new box for the week.
Ibotta also came back into my life. I found a few things that I would use this week that could be purchased at a good price when combined with a rebate.
I got a $3 rebate in my Ibotta account after my shopping trip. Doesn’t seem like much but it add up.
Shopping the clearance produce section is something I traditionally pass right by. I’m a smidge picky about quality and state of my produce.
So with my bag of $5 apples and $4 pears, I pushed past the clearance bin of fruit past it’s prime. But this time I stopped.
And as I looked, the fruit that I expected to be bruised and battered looked quite good.
For .99 I got 5 Granny Smith apples and only one had a small bruise. Another .99 got a bag of amazing pears. There were a couple that looked ugly but they were not really bad.
In fact, they seemed a lot better than the rock hard pears that I was about to spend $4 on and not be able to eat in the near future.
So I saved my $9 and put the pears and apples back. Into my cart went the ugly pears and the one bruised apple.
Tonight I peeled the ugliest pear in the bunch. And my daughter ate it up and asked for more! Mom win.
A few days in, I was scrolling Facebook and happened upon one of my favorite BST groups for kids clothing.
A woman was doing a clothing purge of the cutest stuff and it was in my son’s size. And it was at Incredible prices.
Without even thinking, I typed out my email address, readying myself for the next item that would be listed so that I could swoop in and purchase it.
OMG! I am not supposed to be spending money! I felt like someone had swatted me on the hand.
Since then, I have tried to be present in what I’m doing. I am deleting my favorite smocked clothing company emails as soon as they hit my inbox.
Why open them? I’m not going to buy.
While sharing the no spend January 1 week review, it is only fair to share both the ups and downs.
And I want to be clear right off the bat, I don’t consider this a failure!
After not buying unneeded stuff for 7 whole days, I have been on a decluttering binge (more on that in a minute)!
So in my original no spend January post, you learned that we have a ton of family birthdays in January.
One of those happens to be my husband’s! He asked for one thing that he needed, a new belt.
But after I bought that, I had some leftover in my gift fund to buy something else. I spent a few hours luxuriously browsing the online aisles of some of my favorite retailers that I had been intentionally avoiding.
Originally I was searching out several options and piecing out a way to make it work within my set budget.
Then I realized that I was just buying stuff so that my husband would have a couple of gifts to open. Would he have liked the items? Probably.
Would they have really been something that he truly wanted? Something that wouldn’t get pushed back on a shelf and forgotten about? Probably not.
So I decided to overspend in the gift category. And I bought him an outdoor heater for our porch. It is something that we have discussed at least 20 times over the last two years.
Something that will allow us to get outdoors and spend more time together as a family. An item that I think we will still be using frequently a year or two from now.
Intentionally (and with the money in hand) I overspent on a gift for my dear husband. And I’m not sorry about that!
You may have picked up on the words ” being present” throughout this no spend January week 1 review.
Being present is a goal of mine in 2020. Enjoying the now.
I didn’t expect my no spend month to influence that goal but it has.
Instead of spending tons of time online shopping or mindless browsing retailers looking for sales, I have been doing other things.
And one of those things is decluttering. When you stop buying things, it seems to make you want less things around.
I started this week decluttering my bathroom vanity. I tossed tons of old makeup, expired items and donated more cosmetic bags than I would like to admit.
But my favorite thing this week was some found treasure! Under a box of old makeup was a pair of earrings that my husband gave me that I thought I lost more than a year ago!
So today, although I didn’t buy anything new, I had a pair of earrings that made my day.
Books & Media During No Spend Time
The other thing that I wanted to share during this No Spend January 1 Week Review was the books and show that I watched this week that pertain to spending.
I listened to the audiobook called The Year of Less. It came from the library Libby app so I didn’t spend any money on it before you ask.
The book was an interesting look into the life of a woman that decided to stop spending for a year and declutter tons of her belongings.
She shares her victories and struggles as she went through that year.
The other thing that I wanted to share is a Netflix documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important things. The minimalists are two guys traveling around and sharing their story of getting rid of all their things.
I appreciated their approach and the documentary also shares the story of a few other families that have chosen to live simply.