My post in January about this year’s no spend feels like a lifetime ago. Literally the world has been turned upside down. When I embarked on my yearly saving’s stretch, I decided the most exciting thing would be a road trip to Journey in Atlanta where I would allow myself to get Starbucks on the way there and back. (Spoiler that was cancelled.) Until the end, I can say that I did okay following my rules. Here are my thoughts and break down about my most recent exercise in living frugally.
The biggest challenges come at the beginning and end of the no spend. My goal was a little longer this time with 3 months. As usual, I crave stopping for coffees throughout. I made a few exceptions this time. Ed and I also took a road trip to Oxford for friends and a concert. That night, I splurged for the 28 dollar Uber back to where we were staying. (I know yikes!) Otherwise, I did stick pretty closely to my 30 dollar social budget.
However, I feel like no spend is a punishment after a few weeks. It is difficult to turn down social engagement for nights inside. Also, seeing everyone’s Instagram posts of their Starbucks orders are so tempting. The days can begin to feel a little repetitive a few weeks in. Sometimes I just wanted to go wander somewhere instead of going straight home after work, but did not want the temptation.
My first round of no spend worked fine since I was overwhelmed with both Christmas spending as well wel medical bills. I had the lucky situation of having to pay a hunk of my deductible for December and again for tests in January. That paired with my need for sleep caused me to cut my VIPKid schedule drastically. I taught about half of what I normally do and it was fine. Being on a strict no spend helped me find a way to manage my financial and self-care delima. I cruised through January above water and with a little cash to spare.
This is the month I had a road trip to Oxford and the outrageous Uber fare. My friends and I also enjoyed Mardi Gras within the social budget. Ed and I also completed a No Spend Valentines enjoying a good dinner together of dumplings we made at home. I went on a quick business breakfast at Greenhouse as well to network with a fellow VIPKid teacher. By doing this, I was able to pay a chunk of medical bills without going into my savings right away.
This is where things get hairy according to my self-imposed rules. First, I treated myself to Greenhouse Biloxi after a doctors appointment with a fasting test. Then talk of self-quarantines, social distancing, and lockdowns began. So I decided to try to support as many local businesses as possible with the upcoming hard times. I made a point to get coffee and carry-out from some local places. This past week would have been my final week of no spend, but it was pretty much a wash around the 16th when my library job was shut down.
What I Learned This Time Around
Each time I complete a no spend challenge, I take something new away. My first time helped me break my shopping addiction. Last year I found I sometimes used loopholes in coping with spending no money. This time it proved to be annoying while I worried about different things in my personal life, but was forgoing things that could have comforted me. It did teach me to enjoy the little things at home instead of getting too annoyed. I certainly took more walks outside, sat on the back porch, and spied on my hedgehogs snacking in their cages.
What is the longest you have gone on a no spend?
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