Hey girls and guys! I'm back with another monthly update on my year-long "No Spend Challenge" that I started this past January. I'll give a run-down below on how I did in the month of March, the good, the bad and the things I want to do better in April.
I'll start with the good first; although I did do some unnecessary spending this month, I have found some loopholes. We recently cashed in some of our Aeroplan miles for AMEX gift cards and I used my share of the money to buy some new shoes from Native Shoes, and a fedora from Sunday Afternoons on a website called ShoeMe.ca. (I plan to do a full post and review these items and this website so stay tuned for that!) I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I bought some things I technically didn't need (other than for my love of fashion and blogging) I didn't actually spend my money on it. Another positive to report is that I have continued with price-matching my groceries, this has saved me at least $50-$75 each week on food.
The Dark Side
I have definitely noticed myself falling back into the old patterns of my spending addiction; thinking about what to purchase next, trolling on kijiji, courting new items through online shopping websites, filling up online shopping carts, buying things "for the girls" some necessary items but also some that they could do without, and there's this problem that Mike and I both struggle with and that's buying toys for Audrey (she loves to collect Tsum Tsums, My Little Ponies, Lego etc.). Another area of weakness this month which is kind of unavoidable is birthday gifts and special events and while I don't want to skimp on these, I do want to have money put aside for these expenses so it's not a last minute purchase on debit/credit. I have also been more careless with my budget, not really looking ahead and making unbudgeted purchases.
I feel a bit deflated and disappointed in myself for allowing this to happen so early in my challenge, this is a huge commitment and if I want to see it through to the end, I'm going to have to be stronger in my resolve. Finding things to do at home to occupy my time rather than going out with the girls to places where I will spend money is going to be key for me in the coming months. Thankfully the weather is slowly starting to get sunnier and warmer so I will be able to spend more time outdoors with the girls, running, walking, going to the park and playing in the yard. I also want to start setting myself a daily goal and intention for how I will spend the day and on the days when I know that spending of some kind is inevitable then I want to set myself some guidelines for what I will buy and where I will buy it.
Having cash for my purchases is another way that I plan to have more control over my spending, I will attempt to leave my debit and credit at home and only bring the cash I will need for when I'm out (possibly some extra cash in case of an emergency).
One of my goals for my blog this year was to do more OOTD photoshoot posts and part of being a fashion blogger is showcasing new clothing, shoes and accessories. This is pretty contrary to the minimalism and no spend challenge so I will need to be pretty discerning in my purchases and try come up with outfits that are mainly based on what I already own. Hopefully I am able to achieve this in a way that is interesting and useful for my readers, please give me any ideas that you may have!
If there's anything I could suggest to someone who wants to try this challenge it would be to set yourself some pretty firm guidelines, to really be honest about what is a must-purchase and what is not, to keep yourself away from temptations as much as possible, to have go-to distractions for your bad days and to recognize your "spending triggers". I'm looking at this more as a journey in self-discovery more than anything, and in the end I hope to have a better grip on my desire for things and my impulsive spending tendencies. I also want to have more money in the bank and invested for my retirement and for my daughters futures.