Well, there is one more day left in this short month of February, which means my no Spend February Challenge is basically complete…… I’m not going to go out and spend a bunch of money in these next two days, so I decided to write a recap about the month and what I learnt during this “no spend” challenge.
I’m guessing you are all wondering how I did….. I am going to be completely honest with you as well because that’s how we learn and grow. I did have one hiccup, purchasing a purse for spring……. the good thing is it was majorly discounted, so I only spent $20 on it, but yet I still felt guilt about the purchase and defeated.
But hey we all have our hiccups and that’s how we learn! Now onto the good stuff and what I learnt during this 28 day challenge.
1) Emotional Spending- I feel that a lot of my spending isn’t necessary (surprise surprise) a lot of it has to do with emotional spending. If I’m stressed retail therapy always seems to give that quick boost of serotonin to make me feel better… but then you fall into the whole buyers remorse, giving yourself heck for purchasing something that you may not need and you are back to being stressed!!!! Ways to fix that is to think of another way to relieve or manage your stress such as exercise or watching a funny show or baking!! If you check in with yourself and realize that you are in fact stressed and you know that shopping may be a weakness, keep yourself busy and stay away from the mall!!!
2) It was a great way to clean out the freezer and not waste food- I started to look into the freezer and figure out recipes usually using Pinterest and cooked some creative meals with food that I already had! I’m sure we all waste a lot of food (and money), doing pointless trips to the grocery store when all we need to do is an inventory of our freezers and pantry as well as some creativity! It was honestly kind of fun! Turn it into a game or a challenge and watch your savings rise.
3) I do Have More Willpower Than I Thought- Me and a friend decided to hit up the mall last week for something to do. Yes we walked around from store to store with all of these temptations surrounding us….. We kept reminding each other that it was “No Spend February” and that we don’t essentially “need” anything. And guess what it worked. I think that sharing your goal with other people keeps you more accountable and on track!
4) Being sick helps you save money- It was almost a blessing in disguise catching a horrible flu this month…. even though it was brutal. It’s really easy to not spend money when you are couped up in bed and all you want to do is sleep.
5) Shopping Because Of Boredom- I think this may be my biggest issue….. “I’m bored, may as well go to the mall”. The reason I know this is because mall shopping happens more in the winter…. Summer I find it much easier not needing to hit up the shopping mall. Ways to fix this: There are lots of free activities that you can do, that won’t be burning a whole in your pocket. Hiking, skating, cooking, baking, explore your own city, organize a room, crafting, practice photography, learn a new skill, visit a park, attend a free local event etc etc.
6) Experience is More Valuable Than Your Stuff- Lots of times when you purchase a new item your happiness and excitement only lasts for a couple of hours….. When you have an experience such as a trip or even a weekend staycation with a special someone, that memory sticks with you forever. So basically what are your priorities and what truly makes you happy?
7) You Start to Appreciate the Small Things In Life- I feel that sometimes you just get yourself into a habit…. whether it’s going out for lunch a couple times a week. The problem is that before, going out for lunch say once a month was something exciting and to look forward to. Doing it a few times a week is not only expensive but it takes away from it being special and turns it into an every day habit that you start taking for granted.
8) You Become More Productive- Usually when you put yourself up to a challenge there is a reason for it. A no spend month is usually for saving up for something bigger, changing your spending habits or to give yourself some financial security in case of emergencies. I started getting into the theme of saving money and financial freedom. I did my own research on ways to not only save money but also possibly earn extra cash. (That will be another post on its own). I also spent the month painting my room as well as our main bathroom (which my mom bought paint for ten years ago, with the intention of painting it).
9) Out of Sight Out of Mind- I would say that this is one of the best tools that I have taken away from this challenge. I had no choice but to walk away from purchases this month, leaving me time to assess the situation and if I truly needed the item. Usually they say to give yourself 24 hours to go home and think about your purchasing decision but I would say give yourself a week. If you were able to live without thinking about it 24/7 you don’t need it.
I am honestly so happy that I did this challenge. Not only did I get to see my savings account rise I feel that I grew a lot during the process and kicked a habit to the curb. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. The benefits and feeling that you obtain after successfully (well almost being completely successful) completing a challenge, are so much more worth it then that new shirt that will be thrown in the back of your closet.
Now it’s your turn!!! Have you ever done one of these challenges?! Were you successful? What did you learn from the challenge? Don’t be scared of possible failure……… because during failure is is when we learn and grow!!!!!