In February, I was visiting a friend and we were talking about our spending habits and also a little thing she was starting called “No Spend February.” I knew pretty quickly that this was something that I needed to attempt for the month as well.
I liked the idea that February was a short month and that it wasn’t March, my birthday month, where I know the challenge would be nearly impossible. Coming off of January which is c a month of resolutions and goals, some met and some unmet, I was ready for a new challenge and no spend February sounded like the perfect one. Don’t forget I decided February was also going to be “Funuary” so this was going to be extra challenging, but FUN. If you didn’t get a chance to read our Celebrating the Little Things post check it out here and learn more about Funuary!
I will admit it I am a very impulsive shopper. My summer camp name was “Shop Til You Drop” if that tells you anything. I shop without thinking and when I was single I never really gave a second thought to my budget as long as at the end of the month I was still saving money, and usually I was. I never was one of those girls that would wait for a birthday or for Christmas to buy the things I wanted, if I saw it and it was in my size more than likely I would get it. Oh, and Target, well Target is another story. I know Target is a stumbling block for so many of us. I would do my grocery shopping at Target mostly because I knew I could get lost walking down the aisles of home decor and I would leave with at least a handful of things and almost always a new nail polish that was not on my grocery list. I absolutely love Target, but I now have rules that I set before I enter. I will usually text a girlfriend and ask them to check in with me after about 15 minutes and ask me to send a picture of my cart so that I’m not purchasing things that aren’t on my list. It is hard and sometimes I am annoyed with myself that I even have to do it, but it helps hold me accountable and that’s what I need as an impulsive spender. This is a habit I’m trying to kick because I realize how sinful my spending has become. Not only was I emotionally spending and making extra Target runs if I had a lousy day or if I feel like I needed a pick me up, but I also wasn’t being mindful of the budget that my husband had worked hard to create for us.
When we first got married I told Kyle that I wanted him to be responsible for our finances because I know that budgeting bores me to tears and talking about money is not one of my top 5 topics to discuss. Kyle has way more discipline than I do when it comes to our budget and finances, but then again he doesn’t get the whole buzz about Target. We don’t exactly keep a strict budget because when it comes down to it rules are so hard for me to keep and the budget talk always causes an argument. However, I realize that mostly this is an issue of pride, and it’s something that I am praying about and working on, and I’m sure many of you can relate.
January was a fairly expensive month for us especially after some pretty high vet bills when Gus, our goldendoodle, decided to chew on one of my inhalers. So, “No Spend February” seemed like an appropriate time. If you’re wondering what exactly this spending rest looked like exactly, here are the details of what it looked like for me…
I challenged myself not to spend anything that wasn’t necessary and attempted to stay home and cook rather than eat out especially when I’m just feeling tired and would rather just grab something quick. Now, if there was a birthday or a bridal shower or an event, I could spend money on gifts. On Valentine’s Day, we decided we wouldn’t treat each other to expensive gifts, but rather get each other a card and spend a night out at one of our favorite restaurants. I told myself that in the case of “experiences” I would be down to go, I didn’t want to miss out on any potential experiences such as brunch dates with out of town friends, or a meal with my coworkers which doesn’t happen often, but that I would try to offer a different option such as going for a walk or a run, or maybe offering to make cocktails at home that would be more cost effective. The last exception was for things that I use daily. I ran out of my concealer in February, which is one of my everyday products. Since I use this everyday, I ran into Sephora to pick one up, but where “No Spend February” comes into play is that I did not allow myself to browse the dry shampoo aisle, or to look at a new lip stain. February shopping was a lot more of “get in and get out” business.
I would say the area that I stumbled the most in was going out to eat. The weekends we love to eat out, so that was our biggest downfall in No Spend February. Also who knew National Margarita Day would include two trips to Mi Cocina in one day (oops!)?! It called for a day of celebration with my favorite drink, Mambo Taxis, once with my coworkers and then with my sweet neighbors who invited Ashley and I to dinner while the boys were out of town for work. I can’t say I regretted this decision to make memories and celebrate, but it did definitely break the rules! I did have some absolute wins during this spending reset, I didn’t purchase one article of clothing, jewelry, new make up, shoes, or new books. With Amazon Prime, I’m always tempted to buy every book that I have the urge to read, but this month I didn’t buy any I’m proud to say. With spring looks popping up in every store and all over Instagram it has definitely been tempting to go shopping and try on some new looks for the blog, but I didn’t take any shopping trips this month. I will say although this month was a challenge, it was ultimately very freeing. I felt no buyer’s remorse, no shopping guilt and I felt like I was able to shift my focus off the things that I want and on to creating experiences with my loved ones and practicing discipline. “Discipline brings freedom” and in this month I felt freedom from the guilt of spending too much and freedom from the impulse to have the newest thing. The Instagram and blogging world can absolutely tempt us that we “need” this amazing lip stain, this new top, these shoes that are on sale, but what I’ve found is that what we need is a heart check. What are these “things” doing to our heart? Whether I like to admit it or not, when I am less focused on things, I am more focused on Jesus. I was convicted that I am more materialistic than I would like to believe.
Kyle and I reset our spending this month and we also cleaned out our closets to give away the clothes and shoes that have been hanging around for years too long. It feels good to purge the things that we no longer need and to get rid of the excess that we so easily accumulate over the years. Although this month was an excellent practice, I will say that there were a lot of areas that I didn’t do as well as I would have hoped, I plan on trying again another month this summer and maybe planning for “no spend” months throughout the year to rest our habits and reset our hearts on things of Jesus rather than the things of this world. I love to shop, and I think I always will and that’s okay, but I am definitely going to practice being more mindful of my spending habits.