In 2015 I didn’t spend any money on clothes for myself. It was a great way to break from that shopping cycle and I loved it! It made me really utilize the clothes in my closet, and freed up so much time. But, it also made me realize some holes in my wardrobe and in 2016 I filled those holes. And then some. I love to shop. There’s no way around that. I love going to the mall, I love browsing, and I love treating myself. I really thought I could keep that “I don’t need that!” attitude beyond my shopping ban, but it was hard, especially once the floodgates opened.
September – December is always expensive. Back to school, back to activities, Christmas shopping. I felt like money just flowed out of my account with no control. Having No Spend January is always this light at the end of the spending tunnel. I love knowing it’s coming!
This year the rules are going to be a little different. I’ve noticed that I’m fairly good at sticking with something for a month, but beyond that it gets difficult. New habits, new routines, exercising, frugality – I can do all of those things for a month, but then things fall apart. I want 2017 to be a year of saving/paying down, and that is going to require more than one month of not spending.
No coffee shops, but that’s an easy one. We scaled back our coffee shop spending last summer when the girls started horseback riding. I got a gift card for Christmas, and I go occasionally for work, but this isn’t a three times a week thing like it used to be.
No clothes until May. With the girls growth spurt I bought them both quite a few clothes in the last month. They have more than enough to get them to warmer weather. Same with me. I’d really like to get to May before purchasing anything new.
Eating out. I meal planned for the whole month and you guys, do you know how awesome it is to know (and like!) what you’re cooking for dinner every night? It’s been amazing. The stupid thing is, I know how much meal planning benefits us, I was just burned out on it. I thought it would be SO hard to do it for the whole month, but it wasn’t. And it means every week I don’t have to dread the task because it’s already done! I think we’ll be able to make it through the month easily with no dinners out except social events. I also meal planned smarter this time, using cheaper cuts of meat and recipes I know we like so there is less waste. Last year we spent more in January on groceries, than we normally do on groceries plus eating out. That was dumb. I’ve also pulled a few recipes I know I like to take as lunches. It helps that it’s cold out and I don’t want to leave the building.
Needs vs wants. The girls are very much involved in No Spend January and we talk about it quite a bit. They both needed new ballet shoes, so we bought them. But, when we went to Target we stuck to our list. Speaking of Target, I’m shooting for two trips for the month. I stocked up on creamer and coffee when I was there so we don’t have to go back again next weekend. I’m also shooting for two Amazon orders outside of our Subscribe and Save orders. The UPS guys will have some extra time on their hands, but I’m guessing they’ll appreciate it.
I’m hoping this month is a good reset for all of us and that I can carry that new mindset forward. There are definitely things I want more than another pair of black pants, and I need to remember that when the urge to shop hits!