A couple of weeks ago, I took on the 14-day no spend challenge…and challenged others to join with me. In this post, I wanted to tell you how it went, as well as what I learned about my spending habits.
Before I began the challenge, I decided to create a page in my bujo to note any struggles and lessons I learned during the two weeks. However, I also made small notes during the first week of the challenge on my phone. Taking notes not only made me aware of the temptations of frivolous spending, but it helped me to remind myself of my ultimate goal…to be more fiscally responsible so that I can accomplish my financial dreams (i.e. pay off student loans).
My major struggle during this challenge was food. I’m pretty good at purchasing enough food to eat for lunch and dinner, but I tend to forget about having options for breakfast and snacks. So there were numerous days throughout the challenge where I wanted to go to Dunkin’ Donuts for a doughnut or grab Chick-fil-A for dinner, but couldn’t. This caused major frustrations, but I did not cave. What I realized is that I needed to make (and buy) more filling meals. My morning oatmeal wouldn’t last long enough to get me to 9am, and my nuts/Larabar/fruit wouldn’t last enough to get me to lunch, which made me eat lunch early. If I could make or buy foods with more substance, I could eliminate eating empty carbs; and moreover, eliminate wasting money on these types of foods. Another thing I learned from this struggle is that I need to ensure I meal prep on the weekends. My week is super busy and if I come home late, the last thing I want to do is wait 40+ minutes while my food cooks in the oven. And if I can cook it ahead of time, that will be even better!
I learned that I should leave my wallet in the car (or with another responsible adult) when I visit Target. It is so hard not to leave Target without anything. Even when you didn’t plan to buy anything, you end up leaving the store with at least three bags. Well, that almost happened to me. I was walking around Target while my car was at the dealership and I passed the kitchen section. As a foodie and aspiring home chef, I’m always watching tv and online videos on how to make different foods. And of course, there are a billion different gadgets you need, to make them. So as I passed the KitchenAid mixers (a dream item), the blenders, and pizza stones, I felt so conflicted inside. So much so, that I had to leave the store before I bought anything.
This shopping experience taught me a couple of things. One – think before you buy. I don’t impulse shop a lot, but when I do, it is something I really didn’t need. And if I am trying to save money to pay off my student loan or to pay for my next trip, it will take longer if I am buying a KitchenAid mixer I won’t use that often. Two – it is okay to buy something nice for yourself every now and then. This may sound contradictory to the first lesson, but it’s not. I have always been a frugal person who doesn’t buy anything new until something rips/breaks/etc. There is no medal in being the most frugal person in the world. This life is about enjoying everything, so every so often, treat yourself to dinner at a nice restaurant or buy a new pair of shoes. Three– be content with what you have. I found myself researching new cameras to use for my blog and Instagram during this challenge. However, I already owned a nice and functioning camera. It may be easy to get swept up in keeping up with the Jones’, but you probably have everything you need in front of you.
Whenever you participate and complete a challenge, you always want to try to maintain the new habit in some form. For June, I decided to create a monthly budget and expense spread in my bujo. As you can see above, I have a section for my bills, my financial goals, and my expenses. On the right page, I have started to write down everything that I have bought using my debit or credit cards. Then all the way to the right, I have the column labeled “want/need.” This column helps keep me accountable for my purchases, by helping me to avoid buying too many “want” items. During this journey to financial freedom, I desire to only purchase things that I need in order to save the excess for my goals.
Thanks for reading everyone! If you enjoyed this post, please make sure to subscribe/share/like/comment/and follow me on social media (Instagram: @my_attempt_at_adulting). That’s how my challenge went, tell me about your journey below.