Something’s gotta give.
If you read my previous post on tackling debt, you know that I’m in the thick of paying off a few cards/loans that accrued over the years. It’s not a very glamorous process and it’s slow going but I’m making progress. Just a few days ago, I came across an old debt payoff tracker from a few years ago and it made me really stop and think about how I’ve managed to stay on this rollercoaster. Mostly because I hadn’t really made enough noticeable progress. Pay everything off, charge more, pay it all off again. It’s been an endless ride and I want off.
So, I had to really dig into the why because I’ve been shorting future me (us) a lot. The internal conversation is basically me justifying a purchase because I’ll be able to pay it off when the bill comes. Except when the bill comes, I always wish I had the money freed up for something else and sometimes, I realize I didn’t really need whatever it was that I bought in the first place.
The problem is, I’m not very patient. I don’t want to wait until I have the cash to buy something. I want it when I see it and I need that instant gratification. Jacked up I know but I’m working on it and this no spend challenge is helping.
The fact of the matter is that while we are not drowning in debt or struggling, it doesn’t mean that we are in the best place that we could be. I accept my part in that (all of it really) because I manage the day-to-day bills and I do all the spending. So, I have the power to change our financial picture by not spending money on things we don’t really need. The Jamaica trip was a key factor in me facing my own shit. We want to travel more, and I can’t do that if I’m not sacrificing my random, middle of the night Amazon purchases.
So, enter in this no spend challenge that I started this month. It means no spending on anything that isn’t a bill basically. No clothes, no eating out, no random I need to have this now purchases. I’ve stuck to it thus far and it’s been eye opening to see all the things I would have bought.
Clothes, website add-ons, batteries for our Ring, a lamp, nightstands, the list goes on and on and when I totaled it came to around $700. It’s been difficult not gonna lie. I told myself that when October comes, I would re-evaluate and see if I still needed to buy any of the things that I didn’t this month. Already, there really isn’t much that I’m dying to get except this and this because I’m building up my wardrobe after cleaning out my closet for the fifth time.
Ultimately, I want to save more for the things we have prioritized. Right now, that’s traveling, building up savings and funding categories like clothing for me, future expenses for the kids (cars and such) and continuing to update spaces in our home.
Learning to be more patient is key in all of this. I don’t need this thing now; I can wait until I’ve saved for it and then purchase it and if it sells out then so be it. It’s all part of being more intentional and slowing down. I’ll update at the end of the month and report back on how it’s gone. Have you ever done a no spend month?
Ty for sharing. I’ve been working on cutting my mindless consumption of “stuff” and reading posts like this helps me stay committed.
It’s tough! We started back on a strict household budget this month, to reign in all the nonsense. It’s humbling to force myself to look at ALL the transactions and categorize every one of them. Cheers to holding ourselves accountable and being kind to our future selves and family!
This has been me for years. Instant gratification. I, like you want, us to see the world too, so I have slowed wayyy down on the buying. Ups and downs are a sure thing but as we get wisdom we begin to realize what matters more. Keep up the good work. You got it!
Way to go! It’s hard but it adds up when you don’t spend for a whole month! I have done these before – in part because I find it easier to spend 0 than to keep track to keep spending under a certain amount. Keeping a list of things I want/need(ish) helps a lot!
I’ve done Austerity January for a few years, and every once in a while it continued into February because it feels so good! I feel so responsible when I cut the unnecessary spending, but it’s awful easy to fall off the rails again afterward. The push to consume is so inyerface all the time!! And like you, I’m wildly impatient! When I see something I think I need, it’s so urgent. Thanks for sharing your experience with this! And maybe I should do a couple months “off” spread out through the year. It can be really empowering!
Lovely post. Been there. Biggest lesson for me was perspective. You said “we’re not drowning in debt or struggling”. Here’s what I had to realize: 1) You can drown in an inch of water and 2) if you have not reached your goal then you are in the struggle (read that as in the process). Those terms were relative and just because i didn’t have 5 figure credit card debt and my paycheck easily covered my obligations I was still very far from where I wanted to be. I had to honestly say “Tammy either you’re at goal or you’re not”. That perspective helped me. Hope it helps you. All the best. You got this!!!
Thanks for sharing. “Mindless and impatient spending has been my biggest problem.
I’ve definitely stop making internet purchases after 9:pm. And I re-evaluate my purchased before buying them. I’ve been doing this for months now. Most months I’m successful. It’s definitely a work in progress.
I needed to read this. I too have been short changing my future self. Random purchases that are honestly not necessary. I work from home and don’t need another pair of shoes or article of clothing. The roller-coaster stops today!!! Bills and groceries only at least through Thanksgiving. Thanks for the inspiration.