July: No Spend Challenge
I’m eight days into my self-imposed no spend challenge for the month of July and I’m doing OK. As a refresher, the only purchases that are allowed are food/health/car related. And by car, I mean gas and any maintenance related spending ( like the blinker I’ve been avoiding fixing).
Eight days in and all I’ve purchased is food/drink, gas, and my normal monthly expenses. I’m also hoping that this month I’ll look at some of those expenses and if they’re really necessary. For example, I have streaming and DVD Netflix, plus a bunch of TV/movie viewing apps on my iPad- so much that I’m starting to think that both the Netflix may be overkill. I’ve been trying to read and write more in my free time and want to make painting more of a priority, so I’m thinking about cutting back in the entertainment area of life. Similarly, I pay for a few subscriptions of newspapers and magazines on a monthly basis that I’m not sure I’m using enough to justify the spending each month.
The no spend challenge is something I completed last year in the month of February and it was a challenge I did well with. It comes from not only wanting to get a hold of my spending/purchases/budget, but also to really think about what I need/want/have. Last month I went shopping with my mom for the first time in a long time. I bought the things I went in search of, plus a few others, but unlike in the past, the first thing I did as I was putting the new stuff away, was start throwing out/donating the old stuff. The ‘one out-one in’ rule is definitely true for me now more than ever, though in this most recent experience, it was more like one in, four out. It felt good to bring a bunch of stuff to the donation bin.
I shamefully must say that in the eight days so far I have pitifully spent money ( less than $5) on frivolous in-app purchases of a really addicting and silly game on my iPad. The ridiculousness of this is not lost on me and when I see those charges on the account statement, I shake my head at myself for being so flippant about those dollars. It was an in the moment purchase ( well more like 3 or 4 moments) and somehow I justified it to myself while I was making it happen. Of course now, I can’t believe I spent actual money on a computer game. The first step is admitting it’s a problem, so now I can move towards not doing it again ( like putting no in-app purchases on the iPad).