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And, just like that, we’re halfway through the No-Spend Month challenge! Two weeks down and two to go. I don’t know about you, but I feel like it may be getting easier as I start to break the habit. If you’re just tuning into this series now, let me explain.
Two weeks ago, I decided to challenge myself (and anyone who’d join me) to a No-Spend month. The first week was harder than I’d like to admit, but I managed to keep from spending outside of necessities. If you’re just seeing this now, you can still totally join in. Either start your month today or just try it for the last two weeks.
What were my challenges this week?
Honestly, it was a lot easier this week than the first week. I found myself being okay not spending as much with the exception of my living room furniture. I still want that. But the thing is, I can get furniture for free.
There are TONS of couches for free on online markets like Facebook and Craigslist. My problem is, I only have a car, and no one I know has a truck, so there is no way of getting it to my place without paying someone. I’m still holding out hope that I might be able to find a decent couch and maybe make a trade for something I already have but don’t need.
The case of decision fatigue
I hate to admit it, but I did get a breakfast sandwich one day this week. It had been a very long night at work. Our pool filtration system had a leak, so I was dumping three buckets every 30 minutes or so for my whole 8-hour shift. Also, I work alone, so it was me every time. Add to that, staying late about half an hour to soak up all the water that had wound up leaking into the hall once the next shift arrived. Needless to say, I was tired, stressed, and I still had to go grocery shopping. I was also starving, and my almonds just weren’t cutting it.
So, I “bought” a breakfast sandwich. I used points I’d collected in the past from Tim Hortons, so I got it for free. Does that count as a purchase?
You might be wondering why I told you how my night went and how it wound up ending in me getting food from a coffee shop. This is actually due to something called “decision fatigue.” Basically, the more strain you have on your body both emotionally and physically, the harder it is to make good choices.
What will help you to avoid last-minute purchases when you’re suffering from decision fatigue
Making decisions earlier in the day will help a lot. For example, shopping before work instead of after is huge. Or even going home to eat something before going grocery shopping. Either of these options will work. Having a plan beforehand will make it easier as well because you’ve made the choices earlier in the day.
What helped me this week?
I think what helped me most this week was work. A lot of work. With a staff shortage at work, I worked a six-day workweek, so I had less time to go out and spend. I’ve also been taking time every day to spend at least 20 minutes unpacking in my new place. I’m taking my time and just focusing on not stressing myself out. I get up early, unpack, cook food for the day, do some cleaning, play fetch with my dog in my hall, and it works. I just keep myself busy and try to remind myself that, for the most part, I have everything I need.
Self-care during my No-Spend Month
I know not everyone really thinks much about this topic, but I am someone who, in my past, has struggled a lot with both mental health and finances. Making time for myself, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes a day, and recognizing that it is an act of self-care, helps me more than anything else. I don’t know about you, but I often find that when I am focused on a goal, be it a healthier lifestyle, less spending, anything, I kind of let my acts of self-care slip.
This time though, I have a checklist on my fridge for every day, and each day, I have “Self-Care” on there. For me, sometimes it’s taking time to paint or knit. Other days my self-care involves doing something for myself like painting my nails or prepping food for a meal that I love. There are a million definitions of self-care, but making sure I do it helps with my impulsivity when it comes to spending.
More free stuff
So, I decided to make my new and unfinished laundry room (right beside my bedroom and bathroom) almost like a mini walk-in closet for myself. It’s a project I’ll probably be working on for a little while.
For now, though, I’ve moved a bookshelf in, I put up a pretty shower curtain in my favorite color up on the wall using some hooks I’d gotten from the dollar store a while back, and, most exciting, yesterday I got a bunch of tiles for free! You know me, I love my free stuff.
They’re just simple beige tiles (about 70 of them), that have never been used, and are about 8 inches by 10 inches. I’ve never done any work with tiles, but it’ll be a new adventure! Also, in case you didn’t already know, tiles are really heavy. That’s what I learned yesterday, dragging them all into my apartment.
Here’s what I actually purchased during Week 2 of my No-Spend Month…
While this is a no-spend month, everyone still has essentials, so there were a few purchases made throughout the week. Here’s what mine were:
- Feb 16th – $70.63 on groceries
- Feb 18th – $157.79 on my bank loan
- Feb 19th – $50.25 on gas
So, my total for week one:
- Essential spending: $278.67
- Non-Planned spending: $0.00 (However, I did redeem points at a coffee shop for a free breakfast sandwich.)
So how was your second week of the No-Spend Month?
Let me know in the comments! What did you struggle most with this past week? Were you able to stick to essential spending only?
About Chloe Morgan
Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.