For our January experiment, Greg and I are taking on a month of No Spending, or a use-up-what-we-have month.
A few years ago when we were struggling a bit financially and trying to simplify, a simple rule really shifted our spending habits: no shopping. We didn’t buy anything other than the essentials for a whole year. It obviously impacted our financial state but it also helped us revise our relationship with stuff and consumerism. Over time, we’ve lightened the parameters and now we’re pretty comfortable with our current budget and shopping habits. That said, it never hurts to reevaluate those relationships or refresh a habit to see where we currently stand. (We’ve had a few unexpected trips come up so saving a little extra this month is certainly welcome. ;)
So for January we’re going to try to not spend money outside of a few essentials. Now is a great time to take stock of what we currently own and use up the leftovers from previous years before we start acquiring new things. To help with this No Spending challenge, we’re going to plan meals around the food in the freezer and pantry, supplementing with produce and staples as needed. Same for the bar ;) We’re going to use up any toiletries or candles that made their way into our lives. We’re going to play the games and read the books in our queue before ordering new ones. And we’re going to try to take advantage of some gift cards and the free activities offered by a few local memberships and also by nature.
This isn’t about deprivation as, after last year, this year is about life for us. We’ll still buy some groceries and eat out a few simple meals a week. I’ll still pay to ride the bus and perhaps fill the car with gas but we’re going to focus on enjoying what we already have as we make space for the new year.
+ Reflections on our December Habit: Advent: It was a festive month and we didn’t dread it at all! Our adult, experience-based advent calendar ended up being super fun and a great way to stay focused on the joys of the holiday season (and not on the difficulties). It was helpful to have a mix of smaller, easy options along with more involved ones. It also helped to pencil in options for each day so we could prepare if necessary. There were a few days where we got overwhelmed and didn't find the time to do an activity but there were also days where we did two activities from the list. Success, I see this being a yearly tradition!