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The No Spend Month: Day 0

Since making my personal commitment to this form of insanity I’ve become uber sensitive to every dollar leaving my bank account. And the challenge hasn’t even started. What am I buying? Why am I buying it? Will I be able to buy it in a transaction dated October anything? Answer: Varies. Some of this preparation is really just deferment. Inevitably, there will be a flurry of transactions in late September and Early November to compensate for the non-consumer landscape of October. Except, late September hasn’t been that bad.

IMG_8552
FYI, I find pictures of eggs appropriate illustration for any number of topics. In this case, it was merely the fact that they aren’t purchased. Correlation enough for me.

I’ll admit Saturday involved a haircut, a latte, and a vist to the BFF. I will repeat none of those activities in October. The haircut and the BFF visit were required. The latte was just a fond farewell. See ya soon snooty coffee drink. October and I, we’ve gots plans!

For those of you playing along at home, go read Erica’s primer for the No Spend Month on NorthWest Edible Life. In fact, don’t even bother following my rambles without it. Values? Check. Why do this? Check. Individual concerns? Check. Money saving and goals? Check. Check. Just a little uncomfortable? Yes, indeed-y. If I do this right, I anticipate putting away an additional $1500 this month. That’s money I will divide between targeted savings account. It will make Christmas an easier pill to swallow. It will go towards a new car (should we ever need one). It will be tucked away until God knows when, just because. That right there is motivation enough.

More than that, this is about the mental process. Turning off the tap to see what happens. If I want to quit my job, if I want to change my life, I need to put my money where my mouth is and step away from the credit card. Embrace the discomfort of a lack of options. Get creative about entertainment costs. Be happy to just stay home. And even occasionally, take extreme measures. This is an opportunity. A trial run. Time to thin the spending herd. I’m ready. I’ve poured over my budget. More so than I do every month. Dog spending concerns me. Grocery spending concerns me. Since that’s about the sum total of spending categories for October, there’s a lot of concern.

I could write about our usual Sunday Spending. I did pretty damn well, if I do say so myself. But, I’m not going to. It wasn’t October. It doesn’t count. Today is a new day. A new month. A month in which very little money will be spent. But, not none. The money that is spent will align with my morals and values. It will be conscious. It will be less than usual. It will be uncomfortable. Bring it on.

This is what I tell myself. When really, I’m wondering how the hell I’m going to make it a whole month without buying the new Avett Brothers album? Which leads me to… Not prepared! I’m not prepared! I’ve got a quarter of a tank of gas, too much much beef, no chicken, and The Husband who questions the definition of ‘No Spend’. (Doesn’t that seem self explanatory to you?)

Ready or not, October.

No-Spend participants: What did you do to prepare for the hiatus? Are you looking forward to the challenge? Or dreading it? What’s your motivation for taking a break? What are you worried about?

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Comments

Heather
Reply

Well.. I’m not doing the ‘no spend thing’ but I did start a budget and am doing the ‘track what I’m spending on’ thing! Baby steps. (And my freezer and pantry doesn’t look a bit like yours!)

dogsordollars
Reply

Tracking can be de daunting enough. Don’t be hard on yourself or your pantry… I’m betting you’ll have a bunch of insight (and saved money) at the end of the month anyway, which is pretty much the whole point.

Trish
Reply

I’m not doing the no spend thing either, but I am at a stage of life that I don’t accumulate things anymore anyway. I know many people who , once they hit their 40s, just lose any desire to accumulate things (except, evidently, the real housewives of various cities). I now love getting rid of things. and I am so poorly organized that the only way to keep my house remotely orderly is to have less stuff.

dogsordollars
Reply

I agree with Karawynn that it is interesting to tie this to age. And quite possibly very valid, despite those “real” housewives. That made me snerk. :)

Not all my no-spending is ‘stuff’, much of it is food I probably don’t really need, treats my dogs don’t really need, being a little too free and loose with my dining bucks (also not a need) and my gas tank. I’ve actually become much more selective about stuff that enters my home… coincidentally enough, with age.

Karawynn @ Pocketmint
Reply

I’m not no-spending because my normal months these days (normal meaning ‘not traveling’, which I did an unusual amount of this past year) look an awful lot like a no-spend month, so it’s not such a big stretch.

I am doing a couple of other things, though, including a ‘more sober October’ in which I cut back on my wine expense. Not off, just back. And I did not stock up in advance, so I’m going into the month with just two bottles in the house.

Trish’s comment is interesting to me, because of course I *did* start getting really minimalistic just as I turned forty, and it had not occurred to me that this might be the rule rather than the exception. Hmm.

dogsordollars
Reply

Trish’s comments are usually interesting, but I agree. Age and the slow down of stuff… I can see that reflected in my own life.

This is the first I’ve heard of Sober October, and now I’m seeing lots of references to it. That is interesting! How did I miss the memo. My October will be sober by grocery budget necessity. I’ve got no separate booze (money) bucket, so eliminated it is. I didn’t realize that until just now. Oh sad. ;)

Erica / Northwest Edible Life
Reply

Round about 40 (or, in my case, round about when my husband turned 40, since I’m still a few years from that milestone m’self) I realized I had all the shit I ever wanted. In fact, I had so much shit I resented the shit I did have and had fantasies of burning it all in the driveway and living with a cast iron skillet and a pair of yoga pants. And then my desire for more “stuff” basically went away.

Viola. Minimalism and rejection of the consumerist lifestyle through total materialistic success.

By the way, “they’ve” done studies on this and *Mid Life Crisis* is another way people react to waking up one day at 40 and realizing they’ve just poured 20 years of their life chasing and catching something that doesn’t actually give them lasting fulfillment.

Lindsey
Reply

I have enough food in the freezer and cupboards to bring the 2 of us into the new year, if I need to. Part of that is due to the fact that I had a HUGE garden, 4 chickens and spent most of August gleaning plums, pears, apples and blackberries from free trees—and then canning, drying or freezing everything. (61 quarts of applesauce, 10 jars of spiced plum jam, 14 gallon bags of blackberries in the freezer…all free food, except for my time of course.) My worry is my dog, a huge one who eats about 100 pounds of commercial dog food a month. I will have to exempt him from the no spend rule. However, my addiction to buying books and DVDs, and our eating out, will be suffering this month. Just a week into it and we are both already feeling deprived. It is hard to look at how spoiled we are…

dogsordollars
Reply

This sounds like the perfect exercise for you! I excluded dogs from the no-spend limitation, but did set a much lower monthly allotment than they usually get. I’m having to pull out a few tricks to ensure they come in under budget. Have all the books, DVDs and meals out you want… next month! That’s what I tell myself. Then by the time it gets here, I’ve usually lost interest.

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