TRY: The Month of Spending Less
Welcome to my first experiment: The Month of Spending Less.
For the month of March I will be embarking on a no spending experiment inspired by the book The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.
In the book The Year of Less, Cait takes on a challenge to do a shopping ban for one year. During this year she takes inventory of her belongings, realizes what possessions mean to her, and discovers more about our psychological triggers and how consumption has a hold of us. The book is not just about spending less, it is also about growth as an individual and about how our past can affect the habits we make. If you want to learn more about Cait Flanders you can check out her website. Fun Fact: Cait will be in Victoria March 24th and I am going! The event is free, so please join me!
In Cait's book she talks about developing an approved shopping list and a not approved shopping list in order to clearly define what it is you will be spending money on. Below are my lists for my month of spending less.
Approved Shopping List
- Taking my friend to tea for her birthday.
- I can buy things that I absolutely positively NEED to be replaced, that I can't go without, and that can't be made with something I already own.
I am limiting myself to a goal of spending no more than $50 on groceries for the month of March. Often with food I tend to get a feeling that I need to stock up or make sure I have enough backups which comes from a place of fear. Or I will buy convenience foods like chips and candy. This leads to overspending on food that I don't actually need to have at that time or that I could simply just go without. So instead I am limiting myself to buying fresh produce and using up what I already have.
Note: $50 on food is a lofty goal, but I have a lot of stuff in my pantry already. In my budget I tend to spend $150 on groceries a month, and then at least another $150 on eating out. Recently, I also had to replace a bunch of basics like flour, quinoa, beans, and potatoes. I also have some things in my freezer which I need to eat. Realistically, all I should need to buy is fresh produce which is why I have set the goal so low. And if I fail, that's okay. I know I am an ambitious person.
Not Approved Shopping List:
- Takeout coffee
- Eating out at restaurants (apart from the one birthday tea)
- Clothing and fabric
These are the areas in my life where I spend the majority of my money. Each of these categories are not necessary for my life. I can make lunches and coffee at home, I can go to the library, and I have more than enough fabric in my closet that I need to use up first before buying anything new. I am pushing myself this month to understand why I spend so much money on these items. Is it convenience? Impulse buys? Do I feel like I am lacking something?
I have struggled with living over my means for quite a while. I have struggled with trying to figure out how to manage my money throughout university while living with depression and the too easy feel good fixes of retail therapy. I have struggled with trying to find a job after graduation. I am not great at managing my money which is why I am challenging myself to become more aware about how and why I spend my money on certain things.
Each week throughout the month I will post updates about the challenges and the wins. Stay tuned for the next update on March 8th. Let the month of spending less begin!