My 'no-buy' month challenge
Way back yonder in February, I created a little challenge to see if I could save money, spend nothing and be more environmentally aware. Here's what happened:
I'm setting myself the challenge that for the next month, I will not buy anything or spend unnecessary money. Today's date is the 10th of February, so by the 10th of March I will re-evaluate and potentially extend the challenge.
I had heard about no-buy month's or even years from a number of YouTuber's who had completed them but also through reading the book "The year of less" by Cait Flanders (I have written a book club review if you wanna check it out) and decided to take it up myself for a number of reasons:
1. I continue to be too materialistic- it makes me feel yucky inside.
2. I want to travel and would love to have some extra coin up my sleeve to do so.
3. Dave and I will be building our house this year- not only do I NOT want to accumulate extra crap that I will then need to transport and store, but I also actually want to have enough money to bankroll the operation.
To make this process easier for me and to help me not slip up, I'm going to write a list of the acceptable and unacceptable purchases for my no-buy month.
I do not need any of the following and will not be permitting myself to buy them:
-Clothing and shoes
-Personal care products (including makeup, face and body products)
-Flowers (I spend most weeknights at my parents and won't get a chance to see them so it would be pointless)
-School accessories (I'm well stocked already)
-Books (I can re-read ones I already own or borrow from others)
-Any 'snack' items that are not on the shopping list
-Take-away coffee- I need to get off that stuff anyway
This is where my money will be allocated each fortnight:
-Rent and land loan
-Phone and internet bill
-Gym and union membership
-Healthy items for breakfast, lunch and dinner that are to be written on the shopping list
-Toothpaste and tampons as the only personal care items
-One date night per week to the value of $100 or less
I know that in the space of this month I will also have to pay my car insurance. Currently, my car is comprehensively insured, however I am going to talk to my provider and see if I can get a discount. I am also going to see what the market value for my car is and if it would be better financially, just to get fire and theft insurance rather than the full deal.
I also know that in this month I will need to pay a deposit for the US and America tour my sisters and I are going on that the end of the year. I am not going to count this as unnecessary spending for two reasons. Firstly, because extra travel is one of the reasons I'm doing this challenge in the first place and second, because I already have the full price of the holiday saved up so it's not eating into the potential savings I could make this month.
Week One Here came my first challenge. I had a s**t day. And I can't tell you how much I just wanted to get online and buy something. I just wanted to buy myself a little something nice to make me feel better again. But I resisted the urge. Barely. And instead had a cuppa tea and watched Kardashians. * * *Today was the school swimming carnival and I ended up buying a sausage roll and a coffee at the pool canteen. I tried to come up with reasons why this wasn't a violation of my 'no-buy' policy. I came up with three. One- I already had the coins in my wallet. I'm not going to bother going down the bank to deposit them, so I may as well spend them. Two- It was a hot day and no access to a fridge or microwave so bringing my own lunch was unfavourable. Three- I was busy doing marshalling duties from the moment it started to the moment it finished so it was almost impossible to have the time to sit down and eat something decent. Was this a break of my contract? You guys be the judge.
Week Two I went on Shein today. Just for 'a look'. I wasn't intending on buying stuff, I swear. But I did end up putting a few items in my cart, 'just in case'. I intended on coming back to the cart after my no-buy month was complete and then making my purchase. But when I went back on later to re-examine my cart, it had been emptied by the site. Looks like even Shein knows I'm on a no-buy and this is a sign from above to abort the online shopping at all costs. ***It's pay week. Which is a good thing because it means I'm no longer broke. But it also means I have money to potentially spend on things and ruin my pretty good no-buy track record. One of the things I automatically do when I get paid is transfer money over to the loan account to cover the two weeks of loan repayments. I also allow an additional $120 for the fortnight which I put as an extra loan repayment. Next I transfer money straight over to savings. This used to be a set amount per fortnight, but I've been finding a number of unforeseen expenses have been cropping up, so instead I transfer over a little bit less and at the end of the fortnight, if I have money left over, I can put it in savings.
Week Three Friday afternoon I come home feeling unwell and unmotivated. Dave didn't have anything out for dinner. We ordered Thai. Saturday rolls around and our plans to go out for dinner for a friends birthday fall through. Nothing out for dinner again. We ordered Pizza. While both of these meals do fit into the $100 weekly date night allocation- neither of these situations are healthy. Being organised enough to plan out your meals beforehand and get meat out of the freezer to defrost are simple steps that can encourage healthy eating as well as saving money. While I'll let the spending go this time (because technically it fits into my challenge budget), I'm going to try not to let it happen again- at least not two nights in a row.
I'm gonna be honest here...
I committed to a 'no-buy' February. I went ok.
But then as soon as March came around, I started buying the things that 'couldn't' buy during the previous month. Then came April and the school holidays, and of course I had to get some new clothes and order a few pressies online. I suck at 'no-buy'. I don't think I had enough incentive to save because the house still feels like FOREVER away and I have most of my travel money tucked away already.
I certainly learnt from this experience and would definitely do it again, but perhaps in a situation when I was more enticed to save or if there was a more pressing deadline looming.