I'm Doing a No-Spend Month... Sort Of.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Hellooooo, February! Inspired by the ever-stylish, world-traveling Priya over at Priya the Blog, I've decided to take on a modified no-spend month. 

Yeah, yeah, maybe you wouldn't call that a no-spend month, but... bear with me, OK? Life isn't black & white! I'm trying here!

So what does a "modified no-spend month" mean to me? As Priya outlined in her recap of a "no-buy year" - that's right, she did this for all of 2019 - I've set a few rules for myself. I'm not saying I can't buy anything because A) that's absurd, & B) that's setting myself up to fail, like suddenly starting a celery-only diet when all you've been eating is pizza.

The idea here is to seriously limit my spending & to be thoughtful & intentional about what I buy, including when, why, & from whom. Am I making smart choices with my money? Do I need that? Do I need that now, or could it wait until a later paycheck?

Below are the rules I've set for myself for the month - seven things I can spend on, & seven categories that are off-limits. Any questions? Any suggestions? Hit me up in the comments & let me know!

What I Can Buy
  1. I can buy groceries. Duh.
  2. I can still purchase up to one latte per day. Though I know I could save a lot by not doing this, this is a non-negotiable expense for me, as I work from home & otherwise don't engage much with real-life people!
  3. I can replace skincare, hair care, and makeup items only when they run out or if they are somehow otherwise deemed urgently necessary. I can, however, purchase a new eyeliner & replacement Buffet serum before I run out of them; I'm running low on both, & they have to be shipped, & I don't want to go without them while I wait.
  4. I can buy a new travel backpack if I find a suitable replacement for my beloved Puma with the broken zipper. I've been looking for one for awhile, & I need to find a good one before my March trip to Israel, so this is an important loophole.
  5. I can purchase a small gift for my mom for Valentine's Day & a book I'm planning to buy for a friend, neither of which can exceed $20.
  6. I can buy a new pack of thank-you cards, as I just ran out of mine & have a bunch to write. I will not spend more than $7 on this purchase.
  7. I can spend money, at my discretion, on activities with friends. I will try not to let this loophole be the deal-breaker in my no-spend month, but after an extremely busy, lonely, kind-of-alienated-from-loved-ones December & January, I feel good about focusing my money & energy on making memories in February, within financial reason. 
What I Cannot Buy
  1. I cannot buy frivolous groceries. That means no microwave pizza, no Oreos, no weird snacks, no "I walked by this on an end cap so I put it in my cart" purchases.
  2. I cannot buy any new clothes, period, unless something absolutely vital somehow rips or is otherwise destroyed.
  3. I cannot buy any new accessories & accouterments, including jewelry, shoes, workout gear, home decor, etc., period. No exceptions, as none of these could be deemed vital.
  4. I cannot order food delivery unless agreed upon with Mike (& he never agrees to it).
  5. Aside from aforementioned exceptions (two specific Valentine's Day gifts), I cannot buy gifts for others unless something suddenly arises (death, pregnancy, birth, etc.) or I realize I forgot an important birthday. (I set this rule because I am prone to picking up inexpensive items that might make for nice eventual gifts - just to have them on hand.)
  6. I cannot spend a dime on any new media. That includes iPhone games or upgrades & iTunes/Amazon video rentals, etc.; that's why I pay for Hulu, Netflix, & HBO. The same goes for purchasing any new books - a no-go. To the library it is!
  7. Aside from the aforementioned exception (thank-you notes), I cannot buy any new paper products, including stationery, planner stickers, craft supplies, etc.
There you have it, my seemingly long, kind-of-daunting list of the rules for my modified no-spend month, which is already in full effect. Can I do it? We'll see. Will I report back here & be honest with you about the results either way? Of course! 

Have you ever done anything like this before? Got any tips, tricks, thoughts, or feedback for me? I'm trying to be more intentional with my money in the new year, & I'd love your input.

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