No Spend Year, November Reflections

Wow. It’s December and I only have one more month to go in my no spend year! It’s been such an interesting and informative challenge for me. I know moving forward into 2020 I will need a plan to be intentional with my spending habits. I wanted to share how things went in the month of November. I have mostly continued to glide along this month, as I did in October. I just have a couple things to share.

First, all year long I have noticed that my creativity has skyrocketed! I’m not totally sure if this is due to the no spend year and the extra time that afforded me or due to taking some scary steps, like working on my website and starting a YouTube channel. I have been learning so many new skills over the past several months. However, my creativity in regards to styling my home has caused me to purchase a couple of larger items (small decor like tchotchkes and wall art were included in this no spend year, but larger pieces like furniture were not). I ended up sprucing up one of our rooms – purchasing a coffee table (cheap + second hand at Salvation Army) and an area rug. Have you ever read that children’s book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”? The idea is that one thing seems to lead to another. I found that amazing vintage coffee table, but it looked off with our wood floors, hence the rug! In any case, I’m wondering if my spending habits have just shifted away from clothing and home decor to other things.

The next story I wanted to share is about a visit to one of those large last chance Goodwill stores. As a poor college student, my daughter loves shopping at this place. If you’re not familiar with it, you pay by the pound. Everything is stored in huge plastic rolling bins. It can be a sport to wade through all of it, but many times you can find gems. Whenever my daughter is home, we like to go together for fun. I mostly find it an interesting place to people watch, but I have found some unique and cool clothing pieces there in the past. On this occasion, we purchased 9 items, and the total came to $8.88! I wasn’t going to get anything, but I did find an Ann Taylor blouse and a pair of Levis shorts, both in great condition. I plan to sell the blouse in my Poshmark closet. I haven’t decided about the shorts because I do like them! AND they fit me! AND they were only $1! UGH… the justifying! So, if I keep the shorts, once again this month I technically failed. However, I still feel like I’ve learned so much this year and have grown from this experience.

Here are some of the things I am thinking about doing moving into the new year.

Buying things used – thrifting for clothing and home decor. Purchasing vintage home decor when I can.

➤I would like to support small businesses, rarely if ever purchasing clothes and home decor from places like Target. I want my clothing and items in my home to be more curated.

➤Speaking of Target, I would like to stop shopping for entertainment. I will go into Target with a list.

➤I want to be more intentional with my wardrobe. I hope to have some time within the next two weeks to assess my clothes again, and see if there is anything else I can get rid of.

I have actually enjoyed the freedom of not making decisions. I go shopping for other needed items for our family, and I don’t even have to think about making a decision on items I see and like. I’m learning to appreciate the item in the store without having to purchase it and take it home. I’m excited to read back through all my blog posts this year to compile all I’ve taken away from this year in my next No Spend Year Reflections post in January! 

No Spend Year, October Reflections

I would say the month of October was a win for my no spend year! I quit browsing through the Poshmark app, as I intended to do. Having that distraction cut from my life not only prevented me from breaking my rules, but also gave me more clarity. This month was for sure a month of a deeper understanding of the root cause of my spending habits. I have been waiting all year to have these kinds of revelations, and exactly what I was hoping for with this no spend year.

First, I will talk about the one thing I did purchase. I purchased a top for our annual family photos. I will assemble that with other clothing items I already own for the outfit. I will revisit the rules I set in place in case this is the first time you are stumbling upon my blog. I am allowed to purchase items for special occasions.

I purchased this velvet top from Poshmark to pair with other items in my wardrobe for our annual family photos.

The main thing that I have been evaluating this month is the idea that there are root issues in all of our lives which hold us back from living more fully. These issues can easily get covered up with distractions. For me, that distraction was shopping. For someone else it may be binging Netflix, eating too much or unhealthy foods, drug/alcohol use, and many more vices. It’s difficult to do the work of reflecting on what holds us back in our lives when we don’t leave space for that work. I think it is natural to want to distract ourselves from these issues and not deal with them. Reflecting on our lives and making necessary changes is difficult! 

As I reflected, I realized I used shopping as a way to find value and stay busy. It’s in my nature to make things beautiful. I love organizing, decorating, and putting together creative outfits. I feel safe in these areas – meaning I have confidence I can do them well. We all have a certain amount of time and energy in each day. I was using shopping, and organizing, and decorating, and putting together new outfits as a creative outlet. This was hindering me from growing my organizing business – which is scary and requires facing unknowns. I used these things as a distraction from dealing with the root issue of fear in my life: fear of rejection and fear of failure. I’m growing. I’m moving outside my comfort zone. I’m trying new things. I’m beginning to grasp that if this new thing or that new thing fails, or if I’m rejected, THAT’S OKAY. At least I put myself out there. At least I tried. 

Over the last month, I have been promoting my business more via word of mouth. Owning and saying “I’m a professional organizer,” instead of saying, “I’m a SAHM, but I kinda, sorta started a business.” I also updated my LinkedIn profile. I recently started a YouTube channel, where I will be sharing organizing tips. I’m beginning to lean into my giftings as a creative in a way that brings more purpose.

Here is my first YouTube video. My plan is to make one video per week. Would love for you to check it out!

One other thing that I thought about during this month is decision fatigue, which can waste our time or worse paralyze us from moving forward. I had some items that I needed to purchase at Target. Items in which I would have to make decisions. In the past, these decisions felt overwhelming or I felt like I was always making the wrong decision. This time, it didn’t feel that way. I instead felt confident in my decisions. I wondered if it was because when I used to shop at Target, prior to this no spend year, I would go in with a list but get sucked into the dollar spot, the home decor section, or the clothing section. I would see things I liked or wanted and I would have to make decisions about those items – on the spot! After walking through Target, I was completely done with making decisions, perhaps even before I got to the items that were actually on my list!

I’m still in the process of thinking through what I would like to do moving forward into 2020. I do think I’m going to be intentional about sticking to my list, especially in places like Target or Home Goods where it’s easy to get sucked into browsing. Share with me any ideas you have on dealing with consumerism in your life. What types of “rules” do you have in place for yourself? A budget? Certain number of clothing or home decor items purchased per month or per year? I do want to have a plan as we move into the new year!

No Spend Year, July Reflections

Well, here I am officially more than halfway through my no spend year. July was another month in which I really struggled. Looking back, I think I made excuses and to be completely transparent, I feel like this is the month that I have failed. But, failure equals learning. I am beginning to realize that failing is okay. Not “okay” as in don’t try, but as in failing at something leads you closer to success as it is an opportunity to learn how to do things differently moving forward.

This is the backpack I got for our trip. I did get it off Poshmark with my credits.

Let’s start by talking about a couple of the “rules” which I made that led to the choices from this month, that looking back I might have done differently. The first rule was that I could buy things for special occasions, unless I already had something that worked. This month, my husband and I took our son – who just graduated from high school – on a special trip to Hawaii to celebrate his accomplishments and to spend time with him before he went off to college. Usually when we have a trip like this, I like to purchase things specifically for the trip. I like to have new outfits that work well for whatever location we are going. The first thing I purchased for this trip was a new backpack. I don’t own a backpack. I usually use an over-sized purse for my carry on item, but we would be doing several hikes which I would need a backpack. With this item, I could have used one of my husbands old backpacks, but that wouldn’t have looked cute/feminine 🙂 so I justified that it was necessary to have my own.

I purchased these dresses and sandals for the trip as well.

I also chose to buy a few new dresses, as I did not have any lighter colored/summer specific dresses. Looking back, the dresses were not necessary as we ended up getting take out most nights as we were really tired after the long day doing active things. The two times we went out was to very casual restaurants. I also bought a new pair of shorts, as I only had one pair that fit me comfortably. I had gotten rid of several pairs of shorts that didn’t fit me during a closet clean out. I also purchased a linen shirt that I thought would work well in Hawaii – looks and for the climate. Lastly, I purchased a pair of sandals. This was one item that I didn’t really need, but I was going for a specific look and the sandals I owned did not look right with these outfits/dresses. I say I feel like I failed this month because I know I could have done without these items. I had a specific look in mind for this trip, and I justified it by telling myself that these pictures would last a lifetime. Even as I type this, it seems a bit ridiculous, but it’s where my brain was at when purchasing these items.

I purchased this shirt and these shoes with my Poshmark credits from what I had sold.

Another “rule” I gave myself is that I could use gift cards to purchase things. I do have a gift card to an online clothing boutique, which I still have not used. I have sold several pieces on Poshmark, and had “credits” – which I talked myself into believing was like a gift card. I did use my credit to purchase a shirt and a pair of shoes. The shoes in particular have been something I have had my eye on for a long time now, longer than before this no spend year. The shirt I got to replace a similar long sleeve shirt – which I liked but rarely wore since I don’t wear long sleeves often. If I’m cold in the winter I tend to layer instead. I am happy with these purchases, and I feel they fit well in my wardrobe, however in hindsight I’m not sure I should have used the credits like a gift card. Poshmark has been good and bad for me. It has been great to sell my items and get some money back, and knowing the items will be loved by someone else. It has been amazing to get such good deals on items, and it’s always good to buy clothes second hand. HOWEVER, when I go on the app to manage my items I have to force myself to NOT LOOK at what’s available. Moving forward, I would like to use this app, but only to look for something specific. It’s really hard to pass up these good deals! I haven’t fully decided yet if I should continue to look at the money I make as a gift card or not.

I continue to not really struggle with wanting/being tempted by home decor purchases. If anything, I feel like I have plenty and I don’t want more. I am learning to appreciate items I see in the store, and not have this need to take it home with me. We’ll see how I feel this fall as it’s my favorite season and I love all things pumpkin!!

This month has been eye-opening. I have learned what a slippery slope it is in justifying purchases. I feel like I am STILL – 7 months in – not at a place where I feel restrained in my purchases. I want to get to a place where I am completely intentional with my purchases, and after this month I just don’t feel “there” yet. I am hopeful that in the next five months I will continue to learn and grow.

One other thing I find myself noticing over these last 7 months, is consumerism mentality. When I was in it, I don’t think I noticed how time-consuming and distracting it was to my life. Being an “outsider” I notice people’s behavior when I am out shopping. I’m not sure I’m able to put words to what I’ve seen, but the best way I can describe it is like we’re ruled by things – our time, money, thoughts, energy. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I love beautiful things. I like putting outfits together and making my home beautiful, but I don’t want that to dictate my life. My hope is that after this year, my brain will be re-trained!

No Spend Year, June Reflections

Well, there goes another month in my no spend year! June went by so fast I barely noticed being bothered by the no spend. That’s not to say I did not see things I wanted. I looked back at the journal I’ve been keeping and there were some things scribbled down at the end of May that I was obsessing over. Again, I have really only wanted clothing items. I continue to enjoy the fact that I have not brought in any new household items, and I continue to declutter them!

Some of the items in my Poshmark closet.

This month, I started the process of cleaning out my closet. I did this a little over a year ago, but obviously more things had come in since the last declutter of my closet. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been selling things on Poshmark. It has been so freeing letting things go, and even better to get some money back!

This is the current state of my closet. I know I still have a lot, but I plan to do another declutter in late fall.

I waited quite a while in the no spend year before tackling a closet declutter. In part because I have noticed clothing is the thing I am struggling most in the no spend. As I have stopped the inflow of clothing, I’m learning what specifically my style is. I have noticed the things I gravitate towards, and the things I tend to not wear. I have also been doing this experiment where I wear items that I know I haven’t worn in a while, and if I don’t feel fabulous in it, it goes! When new clothing items were constantly entering my wardrobe, it was hard to tell what my style was and I would often gravitate towards wearing the new items – because they were new!!


I have been using Pinterest as another reference to see what types of clothes I tend to like. In the past, I used my style board on Pinterest as a place to pin outfits that would work with items I already owned. As I go back and see what I like, I’m able to weed out even more items that I know I don’t wear – usually it’s items I once liked, as I have seen my style change over the last 8-10 years, or it’s items that I thought I would like but ended up wearing them very little or not at all.


I’m still working on my closet clean out as of today. I have been struggling to know how much to keep. I tend to wear a uniform, and I like variety within that uniform, so I’m struggling to let go. I gravitate towards plain shirts – white, grey, and black, but I have a variety of styles of each color of shirt. It’s a work in progress for sure! Even for me – a fairly organized person!

Our bedroom’s new look!


The final thing I wanted to talk about is how I have continued to feel like I have so much more energy and time. I have been working on all kinds of house projects. I painted our bedroom and the trim to freshen it up. I have started to paint the trim in the remainder of our upstairs as well! I was able to get my extra clothes uploaded to Poshmark and organized so it’s easy to package them up to send off. I have actually sold several pieces! Most recently I have been teaching our youngest son to drive as he just got his permit.

No Spend Year, May Reflections

This is exciting… I’m nearing the half -way point in my no spend year! I’m not gonna lie, May was rough. I found myself fighting with the temptation to make excuses to spend. If I were to do this again, I might be more explicit in my rules so that they could not be bent.I don’t know if it was the justification in April for the purse, or if it’s just “the wall” you hit in any long-term endeavor. Have any of you have ever run a long distance race? For those of us who have, you know there is this point in the run that you have to self talk your way to finishing. You hit “the wall.” You have every excuse as to why you should stop and not finish. This is something most long distance runners know about and are prepared for. It is at this point in your commitment to finish the race that your resolve comes from self-talk, like mind-over-matter! This was May for me.

This was the dress I wanted to purchase from Altar’d State.


My story is about a dress. In my “rules” that I laid out prior to starting the no spend year, I said that I will allow myself to buy things for special occasions ONLY IF I had nothing else that woul work. Well, my son’s graduation was approaching and I told myself that I needed a new dress for this occasion. Forget the fact that I own about 12 dresses currently, and barely ever wear dresses! I believed that I needed a different one for this occasion. So, I began the process of shopping for a dress. I was going to be intentional. I was going to wait to purchase a dress after allowing at least 24 hours to marinate and decide if I really loved it. I tried on dresses at a handful of stores, and there was one dress that I really loved at Altar’d State – a store that fits the bill for ethical practices. After thinking about it a couple of days, I decided to go back to buy the dress. When I get to the register, the sales person reminds me that the dresses are buy one, get one 50% off. SIGH. I know this, and I came to the register with one dress because I only need one dress. But, in that moment I again begin to justify and compromise. I decide I will grab that other dress that I saw that would be great for our trip to Hawaii we are taking this summer. Even as I drive home I’m thinking this was all a bad idea. I think about how much time I’ve already wasted driving, trying things on, thinking about THESE DRESSES!

When I get home I try on the dress with the bra and shoe options I thought would work, and suddenly I hate it. I realize in the light of my own full-length mirror that this dress does not look good on my body type. For another two days I think about these dresses. I go back to where I had written down my “rules” and read the words again, “ONLY IF I have nothing else that works.” I know I have several dresses that could be styled in different ways to make something work. So, I TAKE THE DRESSES BACK! Yes, both dresses! I again think about all that energy I spent on this whole process, and I’m reminded of how much time I must have wasted in the past pursuing that perfect item. I want to be intentional moving forward in making decisions about adding pieces to my wardrobe, but I know I will have to learn a new way to make decisions. This whole process didn’t work for me.

In the end, I wore a dress that I had purchased for a wedding a couple years back, a dress that I don’t often wear but I loved. I felt great in it, and I was glad that I decided to stick with a dress I already owned. On a side-note, perhaps I should reevaluate how many dresses I own.


No Spend Year, April Reflections

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!

No Spend Year, March Reflections

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.

One of the Goodwill chairs I upcycled! I spray painted the legs and added the fun blush fur covering the seat!

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.

One of the side tables I painted. I used items I had on hand to complete this project!

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!