Why I’m planning to have a ‘no spend month’…
I have a confession to make. I’m addicted to shopping.
Not the kind of shopping that you might first think of when somebody says their addicted to buying things. I don’t spend a fortune on handbags, clothes or shoes. And I’m certainly not in debt.
But I still buy things we don’t need or even have the space for, purely for the ‘buzz’ of it. I like the feeling having new stuff. Whether it’s buying a pack of nice pens (I do love my stationary) for £3 or a bottle of kitchen cleaner for £2 (even though we have about 6 bottles of kitchen cleaner under the sink at home already).
I. Can’t. Seem. To. Stop. Buying. Stuff.
And this is why I’m going to try my very best to make February a ‘no spend month’.
1. I’m fed up of the clutter.
I’m sure it takes me twice as long to tidy my house because of all of the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated. Most of the things I end up buying don’t serve any particular purpose and just end up gathering dust.
2. I want us to be able to afford a holiday abroad.
We’re very fortunate that we live comfortably in terms of keeping a roof over our head and food in our cupboards. And I realise that this is very much a ‘first world problem’ but right now we can’t afford to go on an overseas holiday this year.
I really wanted us to go on a ‘big holiday’ this year, before J starts school in September and we’re restricted to travelling in the school holidays and paying extortionate prices.
Small loans can go along way financially, but in order to save for a holiday I need to learn to curb my spending habits. Saving money for one month isn’t going to pay for a holiday – I realise that, but every pound I don’t spend will contribute to making our sunny getaway a reality.
3. It takes 28 days to change a habit.
February is ‘short’ month and not spending for 28 days seems achievable. Also, depending on who you ask, it supposedly takes 28 days to change a habit. We shall see!
How I’m planning to do it:
Realistically, I’m going to have outgoings in February, utility bills, pet insurance, driving lessons etc. and that’s fine. I can’t do much about those things but it’s everything else, the things I can do something about, that I’ll be focusing on.
I’ve broken those things into the following categories…
We tend not to bulk buy food, we shop weekly and plan our meals so that there’s little or no waste. This means that we don’t have lots food in our store cupboards and freezer to eat up during February so I plan to food shop weekly as normal. Food is a necessary expenditure so I’m going to try my best to keep our shopping bills to a minimum by planning cheap, healthy family meals. I will not buy ANYTHING other than food from the supermarket. Cleaning products, toiletries and clothes will not be going into my shopping basket – we have plenty already.
I will also be avoiding spending money on lunches and snacks whilst out and about. I’ve realised recently that a couple of drinks and some cake from the cafe after toddler group can often cost me a small fortune.
Not spending money on travel should be easy. I don’t drive and seldom use public transport because I’m lucky enough to live in a town where everything is within walking distance (including the shopping centre… gulp!)
I don’t want to spend the entirety of February stuck indoors with two littles – I think we’d all go a little stir crazy. Instead, I’m going to use this challenge as an opportunity to explore our local parks and free attractions. E and I attend Hartbeeps (toddler group) on Tuesdays but this has already been prepaid so we will continue with that. I also have a cinema gift card with a fair bit of credit left on it, so I’m planning to use this to take J to the cinema on the weekends. Convincing her to go without her beloved popcorn could be interesting though!
Another few ways I plan to get some free entertainment:
Using my library to borrow some books.
I’m thinking of taking advantage of Netflix’s free month trial too.
Downloading free podcasts to listen to.
The beauty of doing this early on in the year is that I’m already stocked up on smellies from Christmas gifts. I have more shower gels than you can shake a stick at. I shouldn’t need to buy anything in terms of personal care. If I do, it would just be for the sake of it.
How I’m going to avoiding temptation…
I’ll be skipping any haul videos that come up on YouTube subs page or blog posts that are trying to sell me something.
I’ll be deleting marketing e-mails as soon as they enter my inbox.
I’ll be avoiding both going into physical shops and browsing online shops.
I’ll be leaving my bank cards at home when I go out.
I’ll pack lunches, snacks and drinks when we head out of the house in the mornings.
Wish me luck!
I’m planning to keep a weekly diary of how I’m doing (mostly to keep me accountable) so keep an eye out for those posts over the next few weeks.
Do you have any no spend tips for me?
This is a collaborative post.