Have you ever tried a no spend day week or month? The basic idea behind challenging yourself not to spend a penny for a set time seems to be to bring awareness of the reliance we have on purchasing and consuming.
Can it work?
Does it help with frugal living ?
Have I tried it ? Well I can give a definite answer to that question at least… Yes I have and the results were thought provoking.
Reading around other blog posts on no spend challenges, planning seems to be the key to not opening you purse or wallet for the assigned time. Preparing for not carrying cash, going to shops, buying a coffee whilst out. So think about this and write a list of all you will need (then buy it before the clock starts on your spending freeze?)
I know I sound skeptical, perhaps even negative…. I am writing as the foolish person who jumped into a no spend week with out much planning, the only thing I knew I would need was milk for my cups of tea, so I planned to give myself permission for that. Below are my notes from my no spend week
Day 1. Took Angus for a long walk, avoided the town center and the normal routes as we would have stopped for coffee. Saw parts of the area that I have missed walking round, it rained. Hid inside for the rest of the day and cooked food that was part of the fortnights stock up shop.
felt positive – spending 0.00
Day 2. Work took up most of the day, avoided being near anywhere that I would be tempted to spend money – dinner was left overs
felt tired, positive – spending 0.00
Day 3 Worked for 4 hours, walked Angus on the beach- free! I need to take note of what I have around me. Cooked tea but really wanted to stop off and buy crusty bread to go with the soup made …. need to plan more in future
Spending 0.00 – but have already written a short list of things to buy when this is done
Day 4. Remembered a family celebration at the end of the week and haven’t bought a card or gift yet and I am going to have to – planning is not my strong point. Today I didn’t even take my purse with me – worked for most of the day.
Day 5. Another work day, home and diner had been prepared by husband dearest, I have had a phone call from a friend who wants to meet for coffee tomorrow, said yes as I need to buy gift and card
Spending 0.00 – feeling determined only to spend £15 allocated for gift and have “free” coffee saved on my loyalty card for tomorrow
Day 6 – Blew the budget!
So what did I learn from my dalliance with a no spend time frame?
- I learn’t we hold enough food in the house to survive with out going to the supermarket routinely.
- I looked at my locality with “fresh” eyes. The time I spent rather than the money I spent allowed me to see many things and places I have taken for granted.
- I am not a great planner- I can and will work on this!
- Wanting and needing things are very different. There was nothing I needed when I stepped away from the checkouts and cash registers, wants were different, wants were recorded on my little list to buy once I had given myself permission…. When I looked at my list again, a week later I needed none of it so it remained un-purchased.
- Many of my social connections are made when financial transactions take place, I meet friends for coffee, for lunch for a drink…. I need to rethink this and chat with those who matter about other options.
- Mostly I limit myself by my spending power or lack of it, this I must change and will.
- I felt like a bit of a pariah, by the end of the 5th day.
Do I think that I will try another no spend week?
If I do I will take note of the great advice out there and check my calendar before I begin. I will broadcast the spending freeze to every person I connect with so they know what I am trying to do.