It’s a new year, a new decade, and I know several people who are using this as a chance to do a reset in their lives, whether going plant based for Veganuary, cutting out sugar, exercising more, etc.
Personally, I’ve delved into a no buy January. With a 10-day trip to Ireland coming up in April, I want to make sure I have enough to freely experience whatever I’d like to while I’m there. I’m fortunate to have very low living expenses, but dining out and going to the theater are my vices, and I needed to put myself in check.
Inspired by several YouTubes videos (I recommend The Personal Philosophy Project and Lara Joanna Jarvis), I’ve continued thinking about rules to set for myself during this time. Yeah, let’s say I probably didn’t accurately prepare for this kind of challenge, but it’s just one month, right? I’ll admit that I did one of the things they’ll tell you not to do: stock up during the previous month. By no means did I go overboard, and I think my purchases were practical despite making them with a no spend month in mind.
The first purchase was a gift card to Red Cow. They had one day in December where buying a $100 gift card online got you a $40 bonus card. My partner and I go there somewhat regularly anyway, so this felt like a logical purchase, and then we could still manage to dine out a couple times this month. Call me a cheater. It’s fine, I accept it.
After this month, I’ll hopefully continue to limit my spending, but since my blog’s premise is mostly about dining out, I want to come up with some rules so I can continue to, you know, blog. For example, if I go to a restaurant that I’ve been to before, I have to order a dish I’ve never had.
As I mentioned, theater is also my thing, and I occasionally make purchases through Goldstar which is a discount website for shows and other events. Every year around Christmas, they offer 20% off their gift certificates, and I usually buy one $100 certificate for $80. This year, I decided to buy two since two of us will use the service, and my rule is that I can only see a show using a certificate or as a plus one for one of my theater reviewing friends. So even though I’ll still go to shows, it’ll be at a severely discounted rate. This one is tough because I know many theater folx and I want to support them to the degree they deserve. Since I stopped reviewing shows, I’ve paid full price when I can but it can add up fast, so for now, Goldstar is my happy(ish) medium.
Groceries are fair game, of course, and we’ve already done more meal planning/prepping than we did in probably all of 2019. I’ve been going to Mike’s Discount Foods for the past couple years which honestly saves us so much money. We usually make a couple trips there each month, and on average we spend $30-40 per visit.
I’m not big on beauty products, and I’m not a big shopper in general. I used to buy more books, but now I exclusively read through Libby for free with my public library card.
I’ve never been good about saving or budgeting money, so to cut myself a little slack, I’m allowing myself to spend $50 (total) freely in any way I’d like to this month. I worried it’d be too much of a shock to my system to go cold Tofurky. Privilege is really hard, ok? I have a brunch planned with a friend in a couple weeks, so I’m rationing some of my $50 for that, and there are a couple events happening that I hope to attend.
I jest about privilege, but honestly, doing something like this comes with a lot of privilege that I somtimes take for granted. I mean, I’m doing a no buy so I can travel internationally. But really, this month for me is about looking at my priorities and what I need to do to make things happen. I love traveling and would like to travel more, so I’m coming to terms with that fact that I don’t need to make weekly trips to J. Selby’s to eat the same thing over and over. I think this month will help me sort through how and why I spend money, and I’m excited to see where it takes me!
Have you done a no spend or no buy challenge? I’d love to hear about your experience!