I am going to surprise some of you and say that I just don't believe in budgets. No shade on those people who love budgets, or you budget and it works for you. Most personal finance books and financial health courses are built around budgeting, but maintaining a budget makes you live in a mental state of scarcity instead of surplus. You end up cutting back on little indulgences, wondering if you should get that $5 latte instead of a magazine, getting bitter along the way. The reality is that if that $5 latte truly makes you happy and sparks joy in your day, then you should have it! Otherwise what's the point of all of this? Everybody has to determine what financial freedom means to them. As Grant Sabatier says in his new book Financial Freedom, "Ultimately, the amount you need comes down to the life you want to live, where you want to live it, what you value, and what brings you joy."
At the end of the day, the bigger picture is that you have to change your whole mindset about money. I think it's truly important to live in a mindset of surplus rather than scarcity. This helps you see the world as full of opportunities, rather than insurmountable mountains. So many of us hate our jobs, feel trapped in the rat race - I think the last thing people want is to be put in the confine of a budget!
Ok, enough harping on budgets. So what are you supposed to do if you need to pay off debt and start growing your income? A no spend month challenge! It is the quickest way to get rid of bad habits, jump start your financial fitness, and see personal rewards. But there is a right and a wrong way to do it. No Spend Months aren't about financial dieting where you just "fast" for a month and then go back to binge spending. It's really about digging deeper into the corners of who YOU are and where certain behaviors come from.
There are better ways to cope with stress than spending. You don't have to feel ashamed because of your debt. Of course spending isn't evil, but we do have to learn to exercise our "No" muscle, and damn it feels good when you get the hang of it!
I've also learned that to be successful in change your habits, you really should do a whole month. When I did my no spend month, I was utterly amazed at the good habits that started to unfold in literally the last 72 hours of my no spend month. I think it's easy to dip a toe in for a weekend, but the real change happens when you are confronted with having to say "No" to something you used to say "yes" to without previously thinking about it.
The second part I've learned is to be successful in your mindset change, you have to set yourself up for success. Once you set yourself up for a successful month of not spending, you also set your mindset to shift. It's two months after my No Spend Month, and I still think about my successes during January and feel proud. I used to get Amazon packages almost every single day before my no spend month. Today, it's rare for me to get a package more than once a week.
I'm starting my next No Spend Month in April and I hope you'll join me. If you're interested in setting yourself up for success for a No Spend Month sign up to receive the same steps I'll be taking to get ready!
So what do you think, No Spend Month a few times a year or budgeting forever?
Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links.
Pin for later?