Here I am again, late at posting my no spend year reflections for last month. Time has passed so quickly this spring. In this no spend year, I have been shocked when another month has completed! Also, as in March, there is not a whole lot new in April with regards to my no spend year. I have gotten into the habit of JUST NOT SPENDING.
I will tell you one story. One of my rules is that I can purchase things needed for big events this year. We take our children on a special trip by themselves after they graduate from high school. Our middle son will be graduating in just a couple of weeks, and he decided he would like to go to Hawaii for his special trip. I will allow myself to purchase items for this trip. A couple weeks ago I went to a friend’s Noonday Collection party. If you aren’t familiar with Noonday, they are a jewelry and accessory company which employs women in impoverished communities to make their items. They have a website, but also sell through their “Ambassadors” who set up in home parties. I have loved Noonday for many years and several of my jewelry pieces came from this business. At the party I of course saw many things that I would like, but in particular I saw a small cross body purse/wallet that would be perfect for travel. I decided not to buy it that day. A few days later, I got an invite for a fundraiser for our high school “Project Graduation” where they put on a huge graduation party so the kids have a safe place to celebrate. The fundraiser was Noonday Collection! I spent a few days thinking about the purse and decided it was for a good cause, supporting a good company, and would be a useful item for me. I could use it for the trip to Hawaii, but also for times when I don’t want to bring my purse, but don’t want to just carry my wallet. It is also a versatile piece that can be used as a crossbody purse, a clutch, or even a fanny pack (those are coming back you know?!)
This experience helped me to realize a couple of things. First, that I want to be more intentional with where I purchase items moving forward after my no spend year. I want to support companies that have ethical practices and make a difference to individuals and not just a large company. I would also like to be intentional with what I purchase. Even though I wanted to purchase that purse when I first saw it, I want to learn to allow myself to “sit” with that desire for a few days before I make a final decision. No more impulse buys. If I want something, I will give myself some time to think about it and see if it’s really something I need.
Another thing I encountered this month was discovering Poshmark. I knew about this app, where you can purchase and sell used clothing, but I had never explored it. I decided that I would be willing to part with more of my clothing and shoes if I could get some money for them. While exploring the app I found so many cute, cheap clothes! It was tempting, however I want to stick to my commitment. Moving forward after the no spend year, I will definitely use this app to purchase new (to me) clothing. It will help me to stay focused as I only look for something specific, and it is better for the environment to purchase used clothing! Win – win!!
Honestly, March and April have just flown by and I have barely noticed my habits changing. I just don’t think about spending anymore. And it feels amazing!
This month’s post is late because I’m struggling to put together my thoughts about the progress in the month of March. This is partially because there is not a lot new from last month’s post. I still struggle with noticing some things, but I would say that I’m not feeling that “want” as much when I notice.
I have been better at time management this month. I have enjoyed writing, reading, working on projects around the house, decluttering, and I’ve started recording and editing some videos in case I get brave and put them on YouTube! We’ll see…However, I wonder if I am more focused on projects because it’s somewhat of a loophole in my “rules” – as I have allowed myself to purchase things needed for projects. I just finished working on upcycling a couple of vintage chairs I got for $2 a piece from Goodwill, and painting a couple of side tables in one of our rooms.
Perhaps another reason why I am struggling to verbalize how it’s going is because I have had some polarizing feelings. On the one hand, I’m getting used to not being able to buy things. On the other hand, I still feel “pulls” or desires at times. For example, I walked into Target the other day and in the dollar spot (thank you Target for placing that right as I walk in the door), I noticed these white ceramic cupcake stands for $3 a piece. My first thought was, whelp can’t get those. But then I still wanted to rationalize. My thoughts were: I literally have been waiting for my Target to have those cupcake stands in stock for over a year! They were only $3 a piece! But, I stuck to my rules – as I would use those as a decor piece – and didn’t purchase them.
Although I still have those moments where I feel drawn to something, I also see myself getting closer to a place where my habit is to NOT purchase things. I have to admit, last year at this time – when I did a three month no spend challenge for the first three months of the year – I was ready to buy something!! I thought that by this point I would have more of a “craving” than I do. I’m hopeful that as the months progress, I will feel that pull less and less, and by the time January 2020 rolls around and I have completed my “no spend” year, I won’t have the desire to rush out on a shopping spree!
I have made it through another month of my no spend year. February was a bit more difficult than January. It will be tough to write this because a lot of my thoughts from this month are pretty vulnerable. This is turning out to be more insightful than I expected. I’m struggling as I see my true heart being revealed.
The most eye-opening thing I learned this month is becoming cognizant of the number of times I was affected by Instagramers or YouTubers direct links to items they had. I realized that I am persuaded to buy clothes more than other types of items. I guess this isn’t too surprising given my closet is the area that I struggle to keep decluttered. What was surprising was how unaware I was by the effect “influencers” had on my purchases. Which I guess is the exact reason they are called “influencers”! I noticed this month how many times I wanted things that I saw others had. In the past, I might have easily clicked on links without giving much thought to it. To this day, I’m sitting with some wants that I don’t really need.
The other thing that really struck me this month was how much I have been turning to other things to fill some hole I have where I used to shop. I feel like I have less self control in other areas – like the food I am eating, and the amount of time I spend watching YouTube or Netflix. While it has been wonderful to have some extra time, it’s interesting that I am gravitating towards participating in “indulgent” things rather than doing something more productive. It has made me realize that when we seek to eliminate some bad habit from our lives, we should be cautious that another bad habit doesn’t creep in. This coming month, I hope to be more intentional with my extra time.
I have been more okay than I expected not purchasing home decor. I am continuing to work on purging our home, and with these items I don’t want to bring more things into our home that I will just have to purge again. I wish I had that same feeling about clothes! Ha!The other positive thing that I saw come out of this month is my awareness going up. As I mentioned, I didn’t realize how much I was affected by “influencers.” Also, just an awareness of what is happening internally. I’m sure this is just the beginning, but I’m starting to evaluate why I am shopping and why I want things.
I’m hopeful that in the month of March I am able to evaluate what I spend my time on, and what I allow into my life. I also want to continue the process of examining why I like to shop. I’m hopeful that I will be able to make progress in these areas to become a better version of myself!
So far, this no spend year has seemed fairly easy. Granted, we were skiing the first week of January. I have done “no spend January” before, and the month seemed to drag on! But this month flew by and I hardly noticed I was on a spending fast. I thought about how maybe it’s like long distance running, when your mind knows you’re about to run 12 miles, the first mile seems to fly by, but if you just run a mile it seems to drag on. Part of doing any fast is “mind over matter.” We’ll see how my worn down mind is doing by May!
The biggest take-away from month one is TIME. I seem to have so much more time now. I didn’t think I spent a lot of time shopping, but I find myself going out less in general. When I do need to go to Target for something, I’m quite focused. Where I used to grab a cart (and maybe a coffee!) and browse through the entire store, I now go in and get the items on my list and leave. The first couple of times I did that it felt very weird. I felt like I was fighting a magnetic pull to look. And the first time in Target, I did in fact browse a little. After that, I realized browsing would only make me want. With the extra time, I have been spending more focused time purging our home, and I’ve been reading a lot more!
The other thing I’ve noticed is how influenced I have been by social media ads and influencers. I saw an ad for a light athletic jacket that I wanted on my Instagram feed, which was very frustrating because I had been looking for a similar jacket for quite a while now to replace an athletic jacket I have had for a very long time. The previous Joy would have clicked on the link and purchased the jacket (embarrassingly, probably immediately), but since I knew I couldn’t purchase it I didn’t. Over the course of the month, I have thought about that jacket, and how my current jacket while old and outdated looking still does it’s job. I really don’t need a new athletic jacket. I wanted a new one. Also, there is a YouTuber I watch who frequently shares the products she has purchased and loves. She had bought this nail polish at Target that was high quality (doesn’t come off as easy) on sale. Guess where I headed the first time I went into Target? Yep, the nail polish isle. Technically I didn’t include beauty products in my no spend rules. I couldn’t find a sale color I liked, and ended up buying two colors that were not on sale. In hindsight I probably didn’t need either. Other times I’ve seen items on Instagram or Youtube and thought, I want that! There was a time when I would sometimes go out and purchase the item I saw someone else wearing/using/owning, but with the spending fast I had to deny myself. Often times, a few days later I think to myself: I really didn’t need that!
Lastly, I have found I get coffee and food out less than I had been. Apparently shopping is draining! I would often like to get a coffee at Starbucks while browsing around Target. (I’m starting to realize the genius of putting Starbucks inside of Targets! Great for Starbucks AND Target). Perhaps this last one had to do with my lack of time-management when shopping around. I didn’t realize I would be out so long and would get hungry or tired (afternoon coffee time!) I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways my eyes are opened this year in this spending fast. I think it’s not surprising month one was easy, but I am confident my appetites will be tested in the months to come!