(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
Wow. It’s hard to believe a full month has passed since I started this No-Spend Challenge. Not only did I save a lot of money, but I’ve finished this past month with a sense of accomplishment, a better understanding of my personal finances, and a better understanding of the things that do and don’t work with avoiding unnecessary spending.
If you missed previous challenges, here’s a quick recap:
- Challenge: Can you Survive A No-Spend Month with Me? – This is where I introduce you to a No-Spend Challenge and what it’s all about.
- Challenge: A No-Spend Month – Week 1 – An update where I talk about my struggles with fast food and what’s helped me to stop that bad habit.
- No-Spend Month Challenge: Week 2– Here, I talk a little about my struggles with decision fatigue, how it affects my impulse shopping, and what has helped.
- No-Spend Month Challenge: Week 3 – An update where I talk about a few purchases I made, the reasoning behind them, and more tips and tricks for saving money.
Here’s how my week went.
This week was honestly so hectic I barely had time to sleep, let alone shop. I had a virtual conference Thursday through Sunday, so before, after, and between classes, I was napping because I still had to work all night long at my “day job.” Needless to say, it was a bit chaotic. Overall though, I’ve come out of the weekend with some great new ideas and a sense of accomplishment from my actually being able to juggle everything (without losing my sanity!)
So, with that consuming a majority of my week, there really wasn’t much time to focus on anything like shopping, eating out, or even getting food delivered (though thankfully, I don’t live close enough for even pizza delivery). Wednesday was spent prepping myself for the weekend to come.
My meal preps this past week
I made a one-pot rice meal with rice, sausage, frozen broccoli, onion, and bacon. When it finished cooking, I stored it in single-serving containers that I could just pull out and throw in the microwave on breaks. I cut up a bunch of carrots and cucumbers, having them ready to go in a similar fashion with hummus, and washed fruit. And lastly, I sliced some cheese for cheese and crackers. Between that and bowls of snacks like peanuts or apples, the meal prepping truly was a huge time saver.
Honestly, if I hadn’t done it, with how crazy busy I was, I probably would have caved and gone through a drive-thru or two while traveling to and from work. Not only did it save time on my busy days, but it saved me money too.
Here are my totals for week 3 of my No-Spend Month:
- March 1st -$64.22 on gas
- March 3rd – $70.84 on groceries
Wow. I didn’t even realize how little I’d spent until just now, looking back at my card statements.
So, what did I really take away from this No-Spend Month Challenge?
Like I said at the beginning of the article, this past month has left me with a sense of accomplishment, a better understanding of my personal finances, and things that do and don’t work to help me from spending. I’m going to dive into that a little deeper, though.
I’ll be honest, I’ve tried to do these frequently in the past with little to no success, but this time was just different, especially with all of you to keep me accountable. I think finding an accountability partner, be it a friend, a family member, a spouse, or a partner, was really one of the major tools that helped me succeed.
Breaking it down into smaller chunks
Instead of looking at the month as a whole, I thought of each new week as a new challenge, a new level in the game of life, if you will. Telling myself that I just had four more days to finish the week instead of “I have 24 more days of this,” I think, helped to make this challenge so much easier. It’s like that saying, “How do you eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.”
After my Move beginning of last month, I had used about $800 from my emergency fund (right now, I try to keep it at $1000) to cover the two months’ worth of rent, the moving costs, and some essentials I really couldn’t go without. I had expected to take at least 3-4 months to save it all back up, but I’m proud to say I only have $200 left to go. For me, that is a HUGE impact.
(To learn more about the importance of an emergency fund, you may want to consider this book.)
Before I started this challenge, I really was starting to feel like I would never make progress financially. I felt that my impulse spending was just always going to get the better of me. This past month taught me that I could control my spending that I can increase my self-discipline. It won’t be easy, but I can do it. I just proved it to myself!
My parting advice
One of the quotes from my personal development class this past weekend really stuck with me and fits well within the current context:
You don’t need a new day to start over; you only need a new mindset.
I’ve seen in the comments that many of you have struggled. I get it. It’s not easy. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years myself. That being said, there is no reason you can’t restart immediately after a slip-up.
So, what did you take away from this experiment? Did it help? Did you learn something? Let’s discuss this in the comments.
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.