Monday, January 13, 2014
The No Spend Challenge
Have you guys ever heard of "The No Spend Challenge?" Well, I jumped on board and decided that this year, I would get over my need for constantly acquiring possessions and truly work on getting out of debt. You see, I have way too much debt! Debt from college, from my divorce, my car, etc. And the truth about our possessions is that we don't just own them, they own us. We spend so much of our time acquiring them, maintaining them, making space for them, and then working to pay for them.
So in order to break this cycle and work towards a life free of debt, I committed myself to this "No Spend Challenge."
The No Spend Challenge is exactly how it sounds- you spend no money whatsoever during the time you commit to the challenge. I want to take on this challenge in a manageable (for me) way and make sure that I don't overwhelm myself with unrealistic expectations. So here's how I'm making it really work for me:
-I am committing myself to do this for 1/3 of the year- in one month increments
-Obviously I can't completely not spend because I have bills, so I set my bills on automatic withdraw from my account, that way I won't have to deal taking any money out of my account at all.
-Aside from my automatically withdrawn bills, I do have to spend money on gas for work. Therefore, filling up my tank is my one "guilt-free" purchase I've allowed myself for the month.
-I stocked up on groceries before the first of the month. I didn't go crazy, I just picked up enough to get me through. This one gets a little tough because say I want spaghetti tomorrow but I don't have ground beef- I can't go buy it. I'll have to make due with the things I already have at the house when I make meals for myself. I'm not allowing groceries as an exception in my challenge because then it'll be too easy break the rules and keep spending.
-I'm reminding myself that I have plenty of unfinished projects and crafting supplies to keep me busy during the month, that way I'm less tempted to think about the things I want to get (hello, has anybody seen all the gorgeous new project life and heidi swapp products that were just released last week?!)
-I am filling a lot of my time with working as much as I can, that way I can see the rewards and be even more encouraged to make and save money.
-I've written a list of all my debts and look at it every day. This keeps me focused on eliminating those debts, one day (of not buying unnecessary things) at a time.
-When following other people who were doing the challenge, I noticed a lot of them were doing huge "hauls" before they started their challenge. Basically they would go out and spend a ton of money on things they didn't need (home decor or scrapbooking items) right before they started their challenge. I would just like to point out that this defeats the entire purpose of the challenge. Keep your priorities in check if you decide to do the challenge, otherwise it won't serve you as it should.
I'll be sharing lots more about getting out of debt over the year, keeping myself accountable here. And maybe even encouraging some of you to commit to obtaining that same freedom :) So my little penny pinchers, what financial challenges are you facing this year and what are you doing about them?