Reflecting on My No Spend Month

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

I woke up on Friday excited. I had crossed the finished line of my No Spend Jan challenge. If I were to sum it up, I would say it's been the most effective way to get to know myself and grow into becoming the person I want to be in such a short period of time. Big statement - I know! I am SO proud of myself for hanging on for the whole month even when I slipped up because the biggest surprises came at the end of the month. So let's dive in and recap what it was like!

1. I grew in being kind to myself. When I started, I told myself that I would keep going through the whole month even if I slipped up, and I challenged myself to be my own cheerleader. I didn't judge myself when a purchase slipped here or there, but just pushed myself that tomorrow was a new day and to keep going. TBH, it was super refreshing to have me show up as a cheerleader rather than the negative self-talk girlfriend.

2. I reset my value of money. Before the challenge, I had gotten into a place where I was comforting myself through purchases or impulse buys because it made me feel better in the moment after a long day at work. A month later, since I am no longer leaning on the crutch of shopping, my eyes are open to the value of every hard earned dollar. I also noticed that the email marketing campaigns got less aggressive once I stopped opening the "sale" emails and by the end of the month I was pretty much left alone since I was no longer an engaged shopper. It felt good to step away from that carousel and not be on it.

3. Impulse buying is overrated. Not buying things for a whole month really showed me that at the end of the day most things are just...well, things. When you dig to the heart of why you are having this impulse/emotion, you realize it has nothing to do with the item you want to buy. In the world of fast fashion and commercialism, there will ALWAYS be another thing you want and like, so passing up on this one isn't a big deal. The other night I opened a bookmarked page of a turtleneck I had wanted and planned to buy the minute Feb rolled around. I chuckled looking at it now. What was I thinking? This probably wouldn't even fit me right. It feels good to let the emotions and impulse feeling travel on.

4. I spent more time doing the things I love to do. Inundated with a constant stream of ads and what life should look like according to Instagram, what makes YOU happy can get muddled. I found myself trying new recipes, redecorating and Marikondoing my house, reading a ton, and exercising. I didn't get to everything I planned to do but now that the habit is in place, I've continued to spend more time on the things I love to do instead of plugged into my phone.

5. I did become more introverted. This one really surprised me. I am a really introverted person by nature and have to push myself to be social; so I was surprised when I let myself just free fall into being a homebody as much as possible. I think part of what enabled me is I hadn't planned any free events or outings, and I didn't want to spend money, so I cancelled plans left and right and basically holed up for the month of Jan. For my next No Spend Month I want to make sure I have a plan around this and feel comfortable. It was interesting to see what our natural tendencies are like when we take away something from the routine. That being said, I think it's totally OK to be a homebody and not "push" yourself all of the time.

6. I cracked my exercise challenge. This one came at the last week, and was a total surprise. I've mentioned how exercise just isn't my jam. Like I literally need to be paid to do it. But once the crutch and impulses around spending money were removed, I turned to exercise to push through a really tough week. I literally had the week from hell, and instead of turning to Instagram to look for new, shiny trinkets, I got on my Peloton bike and channeled the negative energy into investing in myself. Damn, that felt good!

7. I journaled more. I love journaling - that is when I get around to doing it. I found myself picking up pen and paper and getting my feelings out. I also wanted to track my journey and reflect for next time. In that process, I came up with a Guide that I filled out week by week.

8. I grew into the person I want to be. What I found in sticking with one goal for a whole month, grew the whole me without force in different areas of my life. I am the type of person who is always "doing" something - cleaning, working, tidying up, errands, side hustling. My brain is constantly checking off to do items and things I need to tackle next. For me achievements are usually work related. I kind of hate that, but it's how I grew up. It was truly beautiful to see myself grow without "working at it". It was just the inside me blossoming when I removed a negative habit.

Days into February, I am still in my new habits. Getting on Amazon and buying a few things didn't undo all of the work of the past month. I've decided to do these challenges once every 3 months, and I am super excited for my next challenge in April to save for my trip to Costa Rica! What do you think about doing a No Spend Month?

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