It’s so hard in today’s world to avoid materialism, impulse buying, instant gratification, and all of those monetary pit falls. Advertising is abundant, selling you all sorts of things you don’t need and may not even want. But those adds sure are convincing. And Social Media platforms are making other people’s lives so much more visible, and consequently so much more comparable. I see things on Social Media all the time, and more often than not I start thinking that maybe I want that too…
Take a minute and consider any purchase you’ve made in the last week. How many of them were necessary? How many of them fulfilled an actual need? And how many of them were impulse buys or superfluous “stuff” that will eventually be tossed aside, neglected, or clutter up your home? Sometimes makes you wish you’d had the self discipline or mindfulness to walk away before buying, right?
I do this all the time. I see something, think I want or even need it, make up an excuse to purchase it, and then get home and ask myself what on earth I was thinking. It’s a struggle, and it’s why people (particularly in America) have such large homes filled to the brim with things, no room in their garages to park their many cars, storage units containing forgotten junk, and otherwise overly cluttered lives.
One thing I love about minimalism is that it isn’t about living with nothing, but rather altering our mindsets to encourage only the things that have value or purpose. One of my favorite minimalism quotes is by Brian Gardner:
“I’ve learned that minimalism is not about what you own, but why you own it.”
It’s not about what, it’s about why.
And so, as many minimalists do, I’ve embarked on a 3 month No Spend Challenge. This is a common New Year’s practice to help start the year with less stuff, and more resources available for important things. The No Spend Challenge is about limiting what you buy for a determined amount of time to break the impulse buying habits, save money, and otherwise be more mindful of what you do and do not need.
I chose 3 months to challenge myself. And one week in it is already a challenge. I chose 3 months, as opposed to 1, because I think it will take more than a month to really detox myself from spending. It will also help us save up for Italy, and the 3 months will be up just as we are getting ready to go on that trip. So I will get instant reward for my efforts if all goes well.
You can do a No Spend Challenge for however long you want. You can even do it intermittently throughout the year. And what you give up is entirely up to you. It can range from superfluous shopping and excess splurges, to full on strict budgeting and cutting out everything but the day in, day out essentials. It’s customizable to your situation, goals, and preferences.
I’m aiming for middle of the road by giving up monthly subscriptions (essential oils, books, some streaming services) and all shopping that isn’t an absolute necessity. I am purchasing 3 essential oils that I use daily and that’s it. I will need a few bath/beauty refills before the end of the 3 months, but I’m challenging myself to find alternatives that I already have in my home if possible. If I have partial products in my bathroom for example, I am using those before buying more. Unless I use it every day, I can’t replace it. And any other purchases have to be approved by my hubby and categorized as a need. I’m not limiting my food budget, but I have reorganized my pantry and am trying to focus my meal planning around what I already have. We already limit eating out to once per week, with the exception of special family occasions.
Obviously the No Spend Challenge doesn’t cover you monthly bills and responsibilities, but rather all of the unnecessary luxuries we are prone to justify. And it’s really about challenging yourself to think about every purchase, deny yourself the instant gratification, prove to yourself how much disposable income you really have, and then allow yourself to be intentional with the funds you save.
Let me know what your thoughts are below, and if you are planning to do the challenge. If so, what are you giving up? And what are you going to do with the money you save?
Be sure to check out my YouTube channel and corresponding No Spend Challenge video!
Currently reading: YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis
Hello! I'm Whitney and this is my home for all things food and life.