No Spend February/Old School Jams Wrap Up
Well friends, No Spend February is official over today. I think overall it was a rousing success for our family.
As with any time you voluntarily put yourself on a “fast” of any kind, there will be some regression right away. I know I have some items in my Amazon cart ready to check out. Felix, our UPS driver must think we are on vacation or something. I wonder if he missed us? Do you think he is worried about us? Some of the items are necessary (my shampoo bottle has been making empty fart noises for the last week), and some are more “wants” than “needs”. Many items were simply deferred until No Spend Feb was over, so the actual savings are not truly realized. I would say about 35% of the money we saved over the last four weeks will simply be spent in the first few days of March. But, we saved enough for Troy to get a new windshield, which he has desperately needed for awhile now. I think this will be his second or third windshield in three years. 🙁
The beauty of a voluntary spending challenge done by choice, is you always get a sense of relief when it is over. For many years, no spend months were by necessity due to the uncertainty of our finances. It is also a nice breath of fresh air to clamp down on your finances, because it makes life a bit simpler for a few weeks. There are fewer choices to have to make every day when it comes to buying things. “Well yes, I did want that cute top at Target, but nope, can’t do it”. It is like wearing a uniform to school or work – you may not like it every day, but most mornings your life is more straight forward because of it.
For me, not spending extra money for 28 days also helped things come in to focus. For one, I realized I really enjoy going out to eat. We didn’t do it that often to begin with – maybe two times a month – but I really missed it because it combines things I love. As a socializing extrovert who loves to eat, dining out is my happy time. Knowing that I don’t have to do any of the dishes likely sweetens the deal a bit.
It also reinforced my belief that some of the time, spending money is simply done out of boredom or guilt. When you tell yourself “no” to buying an item that you really don’t need in the first place, you are forced to look for alternatives. Those alternatives come in the form of, “what else can I do for entertainment” or finding a solution for replacing broken or worn out items. We are a very consumer-driven and disposable society, and it is nice/necessary to take a step back and think about fixing something or doing without for a bit. The joy of instant gratification is often fleeting, but waiting for something you truly love can be powerful.
The Old School Jams series of the last month was an effort to get back to my roots on why I started this blog in the first place. Thanks to your questions and suggestions, I was able to cobble together quite a few posts that I hope you found helpful. I know I didn’t cover all the topics that were requested, but I figure I can sprinkle a post in here or there going forward to make sure all are addressed eventually.
If you did a no spend month, I would be interested in hearing how it went for you!