I decided to start the year off with a "no spend" month. If you're not familiar with the term, a no spend month is where you intentionally choose not to spend any money. On anything. The point of it is to see how much you actually need the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter.
No spend is actually where you only spend on necessities. While food, clothing, and shelter are our most basic necessities, everyone is different. Therefore you can personalize your no spend month to include or not include whatever you want. Additionally, you can do a no spend week, month, year, or whatever time frame you choose.
I decided to do a no spend January and I chose to only spend money on basic needs. I did give myself a pass on social outings, as I really just didn't want to start the year off declining every social invitation.
Top three things I learned:
1. I DO have food at home.
I work. I work hard. I have sacrificed and still do sacrifice a lot for my career and a steady income. With that being said, do you know what was really humbling for me this month? Going home after a long day and eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I could have spared $12 for a bowl from Mezeh or Chipotle, but I didn't need it. I had food at home.
2. No consequences, no need for change.
My humbling experience eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was a result of poor planning, not lack of budgeting or finances. I had gone grocery shopping that week, but I didn't meal plan for the week or prep any food to cook. If I had bailed myself out by going to get Chipotle or Mezeh, history says I would've found myself in the same predicament again. So where there are no consequences, there is no need for change. I learned. I adjusted. It hasn't happened since.
3. Every little bit counts.
Every choice we make, sends a ripple effect into our destiny. Every time you question a purchase, it counts. Every time you say no to buying something you don't need, it counts. Every item you put back on the shelf at Target counts. Every time you choose not to spend unnecessarily, you gain so much more.
So this month had some difficult moments. I can't say I really enjoyed the challenge, but I know it made me better, wiser, and more intentional with my spending. I will not be continuing the no spend into February, but I hope to solidify what I've learned by practicing better spending habits. Thank you for reading!