Here’s the first week of my February No Spend Challenge. Details of the challenge can be found in this blog post. But just incase you can’t be bothered to read the previous blog post (I feel you), I’ve decided to challenge myself to spend no additional money in February. I’ve got a clear list of things I’m allowed to spend money on (existing direct debits, weekly food shop as per normal, travel etc etc) but its more the frivolous, spur of the moment purchases that I’m not allowing.
Earlier this year, I got stuck in a bit of a rut of thinking of anything and everything, checking whether I could afford the item, and then instantly buying it online without thinking. But I want to do this challenge to almost reset this habit and stop carrying it on. Here’s how the first week went.
01/02/2021 – £0
Today has been fine, I’ve not felt the temptation to buy anything really – but that’s because I’ve been really busy. I did have a boredom scroll through my emails and almost got tempted by a few marketing emails; but chose to unsubscribe from them instead. 1 point to Heather, nil to capitalism.
Today has been a little bit more tricky. Firstly, I’ve finished an audiobook and I’ve been really tempted to buy another one. I noticed I had a credit on my audible account, so purchased Ghosts by Dolly Alderton. Is this a purchase? technically the credit was already there.. and no money actually left my account…
I also started to get really frustrated with my digital camera, which seems to heat up faster than my kettle. I toyed with the idea of selling it on eBay and upgrading to a better model – but 1) that’s unncessary 2) just because you’re selling something to pay for a new thing – that doesn’t negate a purchase.
I tackled the overheating issue with a bag of frozen berries
03/02/2021 – £20.50
The clock is yet to strike 10am and I’m already contemplating my next purchase. My daily journal has about 10 pages remaining before I have to buy a new one. I journal every single day, and I’ve used the exact style of journal for 15 months – am I about to cave in on day three?
After a quick hunt for a suitable alternative in my house, I toss aside a flimsy A4 refill pad and shopping list jotter to accept my fate. I will be making an amazon purchase today.
In a normal world, I’d probably pop into city centre and see if I could find a suitable alternative for a smaller price tag – but since I’m going to have to order one online, I may as well order the tried and tested fave.
I’ve cancelled my Prime membership, so I am now phased with the age old question. Do I pay £4.99 for the shipping, or add another item to my basket to qualify for free shipping over £20? I remember my lack of shower gel this morning, and stick a £4.50 shower gel into the basket.
If the item is going to be shipped to me anyway, I might as well have a nice smelling shower as a result. I’ve definitely just found a loop-hole in my spending ban.
Was this notebook purchase essential? I’m going to say yes. Daily journalling is a massively positive part of my daily routine, and whilst I could easily compromise by using a standard notebook or note pad – I’d ultimately end up buying my usual journal straight after this challenge ended anyway. I like to look over past journals and reflect on my progress; therefore having all the notebooks exactly the same helps me keep them all in the same place and write in the same way. fussy, I know.
Today is a new day, and a new spending habit arises. I volunteer at a foodbank on Thursday mornings, and I usually like to treat myself to a coffee from my favourite speciality coffee shop in town.
Today I resist the urge for a hipster coffee (decaf oat milk cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles please x) and as soon as I arrive at my volunteering, I stick the kettle on and pour myself a lovely beverage of instant coffee and boxed milk. A different kind of speciality coffee.
Thankfully I’ve had no chance or time to think about frivolous spending today, as I’ve had a 9-5 remote radio news day for university, so I’ve spent the best part of the day walking between the biscuit tin and my laptop. The only instant gratification I’m getting today is that of my 3rd hobnob.
I have boredom scrolled through a few facebook buy/sell groups, and resisted the urge to express interest in a Bershka puffa coat for £10, or the various books on sale for only the price of postage.
This morning I finished my current paperback (How To Break Up With Fast Fashion by Lauren Bravo; would highly recommend this book – as it’s partly influenced this challenge!) Thankfully I’ve got a lot of books waiting to be read, so I didn’t fall into the deep dark pit of wondering which book to purchase next.
I also went on a lovely walk around the village with a friend, which we discussed all manner of topics – including this very challenge. She reminded me that whilst it’s a interesting challenge to do; not to let it be at a detriment to myself.
I think having a defined “allowed” and “not allowed” list has meant that I’m able to still have my quality of life but also have clear areas where I shouldn’t be spending. Heaven forbid I do an Alfie Deyes £1 challenge.
WEEKLY TOTAL SPEND: £20.50
I genuinely think this week went quite well. The delivery driver’s have probably been grateful too. The slight debacle with the journal has highlighted to me that some un-essential purchases do feel essential. Nobody desperately needs a £15 hardback journal to write their daily brain dump, but it is such a positive part of my life that it almost feels as necessary as filling a car with petrol.
Of course, I’ve still spent money. I’ve bought food, I’ve bought a return bus ticket, I’ve had direct debits coming out of my account – but I suppose I’d count this as “inactive” purchases. Food is needed to live off, and I have never been one to buy frequent takeaway or unnecessary food shops. I’ve previously whittled down my direct debits, so I know that I only have the actual essential outgoings (phone contract, laptop insurance etc), rather than pointless app subscriptions etc.
This first week has also lead me to exercise the pause. The pause between seeing/thinking of an item and then actually hitting purchase. It’s strange to think just how blindly I will see something online or think of something and just instantly buy it. Taking time to stop has really highlighted that I don’t need half of the stuff that I think I do.
Let’s see what week two holds!