That one time I didn’t spend any money for a month

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Let’s backtrack to the end of March. I opened up my phone like I do so many times a day, and went on to pay my credit card bill. The bill was about the same that it is every month, no idea how that always works out to be. Every month I pay the whole balance, no matter what. Team good credit. But this time it felt different. My heart actually hurt when I hit “submit payment”. I cannot even explain it; but I just felt annoyed, defeated, and over it. Over paying this chunk of change at the end of every month and not even remembering where all that money ran off to.

Right then and there I set my heart on a challenge to give myself $40 for ANY “extra” for the month of April. Anything beyond groceries, gas, and necessary bills that you cannot just put on hold for a month because you feel like it (like rent, utilities, and insurance) were an “extra”. I told my boyfriend and texted my parents my plan. All about having accountability and support, right? That was that. All of my credit cards were put away, and I gave myself 2 $20 bills in my wallet. For this Target, Amazon prime, Tjmaxx loving girl, I felt like this was going to be the longest month of my life. I felt excited, but I also felt scared.

I had given myself this $40 budget, but I knew that I didn’t even really want to spend that. I often have this all in, go big or go home type of attitude towards changes I am wanting to make or in challenging myself.

Of course we are halfway through May now, and I can happily and proudly say that those 2 $20 bills were still sitting in my wallet by the end of April. Some days were hard and I wanted to run to Target and rummage through the dollar spot without a care in the world. Most days were easy, though. I had thought this no spend month was going to be the longest month ever, but in reality, it flew by just like all the months tend to do.

So reflecting back on my month of not spending, I learned some things along the way. Am I a changed woman? Probably not. Will I still have days where I go in to Target for 1 thing and come out with 10? Absolutely.  But here are just a few things that I can reflect on:

  1. Retail therapy is real. I have a seriously bad habit of running to the store after a bad day to make myself feel better. Most of the time it does work. Usually only for a moment, though. Swiping the credit card is not the end all be all to a bad day, it’s just not. 
  2. Just because it is cheap, doesn’t mean that I need it. I am a hardcore bargain shopper and clearance junkie. That can be such a great thing, but it can also be trouble. Just because it is on sale and “such a good deal”, does not mean that I need to actually buy the thing.
  3. Little purchases here and there add up, and they add up fast. 
  4. I need to focus on buying for what I “need”, not what looks good after 20 minutes of roaming through a store. If it was not what I came in to the store for, I don’t buy it. I’ve started making a list for every single time I go to a store, not just for the grocery store. Is this always going to work? No, but it is a good habit to start. 
  5. Spending money can be fun. Saving money is even more fun. That house I want in the future is not going to buy itself. 

All in all, it was a good month. Cheers to saving money and learning some things along the way. Looking forward to the next no spend month I am sure to have later on this year.

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