This is the fifth January that I have done a No Spend Challenge. While some people live this way all the time, others think it’s impossible.
It is possible and with the right mindset, it’s actually relaxing and fun. There is a trick to get myself into the right mindset and it involves nothing more than pen, paper and a few minutes of brainstorming.
You see, I always sit down a few weeks before the challenge begins to make a list of all the things I can do in my free time that don’t involve spending money. My list includes tried and true things I enjoy like reading, going for walks, bubble baths and playing with my camera.
I also list small projects that need done like tidying up the kitchen cabinets, cleaning out the freezer and organizing my clothes and accessories. I tend to purge unwanted stuff during this time, aiming to send at least one or a few items a day either to the trash or the giveaway/yard sale pile.
When you have to face the excess stuff you own, the idea of shopping for more stuff is less appealing. Read that again. Every item you own is something you chose to bring into your home and probably really liked at one time. If you’re an impulse shopper, you probably own more stuff than you even know and much of the stuff you own is nothing more than clutter.
Cleaning out the cabinet where I store extra sheets and curtains was a staggering lesson in excess. I own about a dozen sheet sets for one bed because they’re different colors and fabrics. Some aren’t very nice anymore but I’m holding onto them anyway.
More importantly, a few weeks ago I purchased a set of curtains when the identical curtains were in my linen closet all along. Luckily I figured it out and was able to return them before hanging them.
Many Americans are blessed with more than they can use and more than they even realize they own. Why keep buying?
This reminder to be grateful for what I have and to stop buying what I don’t need is a powerful way to start the year and to save money. Want to try your own challenge? Today is a great day to start!