Over the last few months, I had quite significantly changed the accounts I follow on Instagram. I have moved away from all of the random parenting blogs that I had connected up to three years ago, back when I was blogging more heavily and in an attempt to build a following for me site. Now I have refocused onto accounts which help me either in improving life or improving my mental wellbeing. So at some point a late in Autumn last year I began to follow An Organized Life and Alyssa from Reset My Space. Both of them have routinely mentioned “No Spend” months and the concept has always intrigued me.
January is a month where I always seem to spend a lot. I avoid buying routine items in the run-up to Christmas – toiletries etc – so I have quite a few outgoings as I stock-up on that sort of thing again. January also sees us paying out for whatever is needed for Little H;’s birthday party. So by the end of the month, I tend to look at my credit card bill and feel a little dismayed. We never spend beyond our means but I’m a northern lass so I don’t like seeing money go out. Haha! Plus, it’s so easy to get into the habit of picking up a little extra thing here or there.
So, as January came to a close, I decided to give a “No Spend” month a try. It’s not a blanket ban on spending; rather it’s a way of controlling spending on a set of permitted categories whilst avoiding spending from things which are deemed essential. I spent 10 minutes on evening and started to consider what I felt was and wasn’t allowed.
|Food / Groceries||Clothes|
|Weekly cafe stop with the Littles||Plants|
|Shoes for the Littles if they go up a size||Toys|
|Family meal out||Other types of lunch out|
|Star chart reward for Little H|
From the start of February, I was instantly motivated to monitor my spending. I am a naturally competitive person, most especially with myself, so setting myself a challenge as simple as this immediately made a difference. Whilst I was never in the habit of buying in excess, it was easy to find myself browsing for an additional colouring book for the girls, or nipping out for a “treat” snack. However, over the course of the month I kept in the controlled mind set and found my spending was lower. Of the 29 days in the month, I only broke my rules on three occasions: two were to buy single books on my Kindle after I realised the final two books in a series I’d been reading before Little Z was born has long since been available (and I was in desperate need of some absorbing fiction!); the latter was to buy a refillable cartridge insert for Sam’s fountain pen which he never uses and which I have commandeered! The only additional spend outside of the list was something which didn’t feature on either list: some urgent replacement for my waterproof walking trainers after mine significantly split. I decided that we were permitted since waterproof footwear is a must in the current weather!
I enjoyed my No Spend month so much that I have decided to give it another go in March. I’m not taking forward the same list as above – this month there are some different focuses, such as starting to get the garden ready for the new veg growing season – so I have made sure to include certain items in my “Allowed” list to cover that. The most significant outcome from these No Spend is just developing a mindfulness of where and how I spend my money so that I have more spare to do things that matter. Roll on March!