THE COMMITMENT SERIES: NO SPEND JANUARY

Happy New Years!!

I hope you guys are motivated and determined to tackle those goals and resolutions more than ever.

My Word of the Year for 2019 is COMMIT. Too often in the past I've set goals or started projects only to review them at the end of the year and tell myself that I'll tackle them eventually. I'm sure I'm not the only one with goals that I made back in 2015 still on my to do list. Well, I'm no longer okay with that. It's time to hold myself accountable. If I set a goal for myself I am committing to getting it done.

THE COMMITMENT SERIES

Throughout the year I plan to bring you along with me as I focus on each of my goals and resolutions. This will include things like meal planning for a week, yoga and fitness challenges, drinking more water, reading challenges, relationship challenges, financial goals, and so much more. I'll track my progress in my instagram posts, stories, and blog posts so be sure to follow me for updates. I'm expecting it to be raw and real, with highs and lows along the way. My hope is that you'll be inspired to join me with each challenge or at least be motivated to accomplish your own goals that you've set for yourself.

The first resolution I'm tackling? A No Spend Challenge. And it's starting right away.

I"m purposefully starting the year with a no spend because I know I end up spending a lot at Christmas for gifts and entertaining. December is always a very expensive month. I try to set strict budgets for myself and while I generally don't go too crazy, the added spending that happens around the Holidays is always a bit hard to swallow. This makes January a perfect month to spend less and balance everything out.

First off, what is a no spend? It can be quite broad and mean different things for different people. Generally a no spend challenge involves spending nothing or at least very little in a certain category or categories for a designated time. I've attempted maybe 2 or 3 no spends in the past and I will admit that I have been successful only once. It really is a challenge. I'm all about that "treat yourself" attitude. Life is too short! It's true, but that doesn't mean you should spend it on crap you'll just throw out in a few months.

So how does it work?

BE PREPARED

Preparation is key to a successful no spend month. If you're following along with me go ahead and grab the No Spend Challenge insert from the shop first:

A5

Personal

Pocket

With your insert in hand, think about what your rules will be. Be as clear as possible so there is no confusion throughout the challenge. Trust me, if there is a loop hole, you'll find it. Assess your current spending habits. There are some categories that you'll have to spend money on (ie. gas, groceries, rent, etc.). Often that's not where our bad spending habits lie so don't worry too much about these. Here is what my approved spending list looks like:

APPROVED

  • Groceries

  • Grooming (hair & nail appointments)

  • Toiletries (only if I run out of something)

  • Gas & transport

  • Bills & Utilities

  • Entertainment (Netflix & Spotify)

  • Rent/Mortgage

  • Business Essentials

  • Gifts

  • Books

  • Pet stuff

The key is to focus on areas of weakness that you find yourself unable to say no to. What do you have way too much of? What budget do you overspend on every month? Be honest with yourself and get detailed. For instance, I tend to spend a lot on accessories, books, and clothes. However, reading more in 2019 is one of my goals so I will allow myself to buy books within a set budget. Here's what I'm not allowed to buy:

NOT APPROVED

  • Cosmetics

  • Clothing

  • Shoes

  • Accessories

  • Decor & Furnishings (other than a bed frame)

  • Crafts

  • Notebooks & Pens

  • Mugs

  • Candles

  • Takeout Coffee

This challenge is about being more intentional and mindful about your spending. My purpose here isn't to save a certain amount of money. It's to start breaking the habit of impulsive buying and spending just to spend. It's about showing yourself that buying that one item won't bring you happiness or solve your problems like you maybe thought. It's about being aware of how much you spend without even realizing it in some areas of your day to day life. You have to be hard on yourself but you also have to be realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure by creating rules that you know you just won't be able to stick to. A no spend can also be a little spend if that works better for you.

That being said, don't let go of one bad habit only to over spend somewhere else. In the past, I've given up spending on cosmetics only to realize I was filling that void by buying tons of groceries- something that was on my approved list. That really wasn't accomplishing anything. You need to be crystal clear about every aspect of your spending. If you haven't already, set budgets for yourself. For example, over spending on eating out isn't generally a problem for me so it's not written into my rules, but I still only allot $100 a month towards restaurants. That typically works out to only one night out. I'm lucky because my husband is a sweetheart and likes to take me out, but we really don't go out that often. This challenge will throw things at you that you never expected so be prepared.

Remember, everyone is different. You may have a family and kids where your spending looks very different from mine. You might have regular events you attend or traveling commitments for work. That's what I mean about getting personal with your spending. You'll have to reflect and be strict with yourself this month. Know the ins and outs of your habits and plan accordingly.

Set yourself up for success.

TIMELINE

Commit to tracking your progress every day with the insert. There's nothing more rewarding than crossing each day off and feeling that sense of accomplishment. If you've never completed a no spend before or think a month will be way too hard consider completing one week at a time. Determine what works best for you. I found in my past experiences that a whole month really started changing my habits when it came to spending. I definitely felt my thoughts towards purchases changing and felt less of a need to go buy something by the end of the challenge. Like I said before, if a no spend is too severe at first go for a little spend. Choose an amount you'll stick to each day. Either way, choose a timeline and commit.

FORGIVE & FORGET

If you slip up throughout the challenge, I'm encouraging you to get back on the bandwagon. I've already warned you this won't be easy. If you accidentally forgot your coffee at home and you absolutely need it in the morning to survive, I'm right there with you. Recognize your mistakes, commit to being better prepared tomorrow, and keep going. Nothing is worse than letting one slip up get in the way of you achieving something amazing. Something I've done in the past is for every day I've broken my commitment I add an additional day to the challenge. Set repercussions for yourself if you fail or rewards if you succeed. Whatever works best for you - just don't quit.

Mindset is everything. Don't go into the challenge expecting yourself to fail, but don't go in expecting yourself to be perfect either. Simply commit to doing the best you can do.

GET CREATIVE

It can be incredibly difficult when you have to say no to your friends who want to go out on a Friday night for happy hour. You don't want to miss out on the fun. I get it. FOMO is a real thing. There will be times you're faced with some roadblocks throughout the month and I find you have to be a bit more creative during the challenge to get through it. You don't need to commit to never seeing your friends this month or basically going into hibernation. Just be a bit more mindful about what you're doing.

Tips

  • Use up all of the groceries in your pantry before going grocery shopping. Think of it as a Food Network Challenge

  • Carry a smaller wallet, or commit to only buying with cash this month and keep a small amount with you

  • Avoid the shops you know to be your weaknesses if you can

  • Invite friends over instead of going out and ask them to bring something (you can get it next month) or use what you have

  • Look up free things to do in your city with friends and/or family

  • Visit the local library for free books, ebooks, and movies

  • Read books from the free section of kindle or kobo or read those books you've already bought that are just sitting on your shelf untouched

  • Create a Wishlist for items you find yourself wanting throughout the month - come back and reassess them once you're done the challenge. I'm guessing you'll find you don't want some of the items after the impulse wears off

  • Declutter your house and sell what you no longer want - There's nothing like the reality check of seeing how much stuff you already have

  • Commit to making your coffee and lunches at home - use meal plans to keep you on track

  • Outfit plan with what you already own - challenge yourself to come up with new outfits

  • When it comes to toiletries, cosmetics, notebooks, stickers, etc.... use up what you have

  • Borrow or swap what you can from friends and family If you don't have something that you need (movies, books, handbags, etc.) - it'll feel like you just bought something new

  • Get creative and make something with supplies that you already own or revisit old hobbies

Let me know in the comments what are some of your tips for spending less. What is one area of your life that you have trouble with when it comes to money?

And with that I hope you're feeling ready and excited to join me on this challenge! Be sure to tag me in any posts or use #EOEditsCommits so I can follow you along on this journey. We're in this together and I'm so excited to see what we can accomplish.

-Emilee

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