When I was packing for Indiana a couple months ago, I realized how many clothes I had in my closet that I haven’t worn in forever (but I still love them all). I also noticed how many writing products I have accumulated, such as post-it notes and Sharpie pens. At this point, I knew I had been spending too much money on products that I did not really need and I had to do something about it.
Throughout my time here in Indiana, I planned several trips to make the most of my time out here. I have visited friends out in Chicago a couple times, attended the Society of Women Engineers Conference in Nashville a couple weeks ago, and am taking a red-eye bus trip to New York City this coming weekend! I was extremely excited to plan all of these trips, but like anything else, it all costs money.
If I had continued to spend money at the same rate I had been, I would not have enough money to spend on the trips I had coming up throughout the fall. I knew that if I wanted to travel, I needed to stop spending money on ridiculous stuff, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that I actually needed it.
Why you should complete a no spend month:
- Save for traveling
- In order to make a big purchase, such as a car or house
- Make use of the items/ products you already own
- Save up to purchase the latest technology
How to successfully finish a no spend month
1. Have an end goal in mind
Because I had a definite reason for saving my money, it was so easy not to splurge on random shopping sprees. I know that the more money I spend, the less money I will have for traveling and souvenirs at my destinations. This definitely put my goals and spending into perspective.
2. Avoid shopping when you get bored
I typically head out to stores whenever I have nothing else to do. (Is anyone else like this?!?) This always leads to me spending money impulsively without any plan. During my no spend month, I chose to spend more time with family and friends, took up another hobby, and spent more “me” time to relax. I also try to only go grocery shopping once a week with an exact list of what I need and don’t stray from it
There were several times when I was at Wal-Mart and was so so close to buying more Sally Hansen gel nail polish, but luckily I remembered my goal and put it back down!
3. Avoid online shopping
Groupon is seriously my weakness. What makes it even worse is that all I have to do is click “buy” and it automatically completes the transaction without any hassle. Like any other online shopping, it is easy to think that we really aren’t spending that much money because we aren’t actually purchasing something we have in our hands at the moment.
4. Allow for (a couple) exceptions
Whenever I went shopping, I always knew exactly what I was looking for and never bought items I knew I really did not need. If you plan on trying a no spend month, I would suggest allowing for a couple exceptions on various items you might want throughout the month. I would consider my no spend month to be completely successful although I did purchase a couple items:
- Chicago Starbuck mug–How can you travel to a destination and not buy a souvenir??
- FabFitFun subscription box–I have heard to many great things about this box, so I needed to buy it while it was still on sale (The splurge was well worth it,friends! Stay tuned for a review)
- Auxiliary cord–Like I stated in a previous blog post, I have been obsessed with podcasts lately. I needed an aux cord in order to listen to these awesome podcasts during my long four-hour trip home.
- Pad folio to hold my resumes for the SWE Conference–When attending a business conference, I always want to look professional so I bought a pad folio to hold all my documents for companies I was interested in.
My no spend month actually lasted longer than a month because I found it to be extremely beneficial in helping me realize what I already had and what I really needed. Since this helped my save a ton of money, I have decided to put myself on another no spend month. I really want to buy a tablet, so I need to save my money to justify the purchase at the end of the month.
Have you ever completed a no spend month? Is there anything that you really want to buy that you would find this beneficial?!