It’s now been three weeks since I started my impromptu no-spend month. So far I haven’t cracked and broken any of my self-imposed rules, but hey, there’s still more than enough time for that to happen and temptations are all around.
Part of the reason for the success to date is that the rules weren’t too strict. I’ve been able to keep my pre-existing social arrangements, I can have a drink of some sort whenever I go out, and we’re still buying basic and healthy groceries. The new Empty the Storecupboard Challenge is helping a lot too, as I’ve been building menus around dried and stored ingredients.
The extra wriggle room has been very helpful, and the ability to go out and socialise has probably made the most difference. It’s not much fun being stuck at home, especially when the weather warms up and everyone wants to go out and do things. This way, there’s the chance to go out and see people, meet and chat, and there’s no feeling of being shut away or deprived, so perhaps there’s been less temptation to rebel against the rules.
Don’t shop ’til you drop
As for the shopping, I’ve had a few moments here and there of browsing in online shops, usually in response to emailed newsletters and sale updates. For some reason I haven’t seen any ‘must-haves’ in the last few days, which is kind of unusual for this time of year, but that’s a relief. I suppose I could always add things to a wish list and think about them later if that happens.
I’m running out of a few non-essential toiletries and skincare products, but I’m not too worried because I have other similar things to use from gift sets and samples so that can all wait until the month is up. While they all have a decent shelf life, things like this don’t last forever so it makes sense to use them up rather than let them become useless clutter. It’s the lazy girl’s way of tidying up, isn’t it? Miles cheaper too.
In many ways, it’s been nice to have a bit of a holiday from semi-mindless shopping, and it’s made me reassess my priorities to some extent as well. As part of this it’s been interesting to see what I’ve missed the most. On reflection, the least pleasant moments have centred around not buying tickets for events, not buying books and not signing up for courses. That’s been where the real feeling of missing out has come from, so it’s mainly experiences and not material goods that need to be prioritised once I go back to normal spending patterns after this challenge is over.
This makes sense, as most of us gain longer term happiness from experiences and learning, and materialism tends to become a hollow experience unless it’s part of a wider hobby or interest. You can learn a lot from moments where you feel discomfort or irritation, and this has definitely been one of them.
Have you tried having a no-spend month or a zero spend week? What would you miss the most?