As I mentioned in my latest post, I did a No Spending challenge in March, and I’m pleased to say that it went really well. I was not expecting to spend zero money (there were some expenses I couldn’t avoid, such as my phone bill, as well as things I deemed as necessities, such as groceries); my goal was to spend as little as possible, mainly relying on the fact that I could get free food from work and I wanted to see it if I could live off it and how long I would last.
Here’s the verdict:
- Groceries I spent $84.79 on groceries, however I forgot to separate actual food from things like soap or dishwashing liquid. Things I missed from my diet that I couldn’t get for free at work included milk, nutritional yeast, bananas and oats.
- Coffee/eating out I spent $97.80 in meals out, $23.50 of which was coffee (well done, me). I’d like to point out that, with the exception of one dinner for our anniversary, I would have been happy to avoid eating out altogether. However, I do live with another person who was not happy to be dragged into my No Spending challenge. Let’s just say if I had been by myself I would have spent $56 in meals out.
- Op shops I did not set foot into an op shop until the CubaDupa weekend. I decided to cut myself some slack for this festival as I freaking love CubaDupa and I didn’t want to punish myself too much. Let me just mention, I had been on the hunt for a desk lamp and a mid-season jacket, and I managed to find them both second hand for a very good deal. I thought it would make more sense to just get them despite my challenge rather than wait and spend more money on them/never find them again the following month. So I ended up getting a super cool lamp at a garage sale for $5 and an amazing vintage corduroy jacket for $49. I’m not mad at all.
- Other shopping I had been thinking about getting more reusable menstrual pads as my mooncup has been feeling a bit uncomfortable lately. I got my period a few days ago so I had a look online to see if I could find some deals on pads. This is where I bought the pads I’ve been using and I noticed some where on offer so I got myself some more. Since it was 31st March I didn’t see a difference in waiting one day for my challenge to end.
- Health I did very well for the whole month of March until I got tonsillitis last week and only decided I need antibiotics the day before Easter, when my GP was obviously closed, so I had to go to A&E and ended up spending $104 for a visit. I would have happily avoided that (and tonsillitis).
- I didn’t spend anything on sport or experiences, and I spent the usual on my phone ($19) and transport ($40 - this I could probably cut down if I didn’t live so freaking high uphill).
As much as I’m happy with how I’ve done, I can’t deny that there have been some challenges:
- On March 12th, I ran out coffee. I was very sad that I couldn’t use my two-person plunger that I’d been having every day to replace my Starbucks fix, however I did not repurchase any coffee just to see what would happen. And I survived. I also slept better.
- I missed breakfast food. I get lots of greens and bread at work, and I have been known for having unconventional meals first thing in the morning (cold pizza, anyone?), but I do love a big bowl of oats or muesli for breakfast. I tried going without for a while until I gave in and bought some.
- I guess the biggest obstacle of all was doing this challenge with someone who didn’t want to do this challenge. Giac had to put up with me pointing out how much we were spending as opposed to how much we could have been saving up for a whole month. And although he did an amazing job at supporting me, at times I had to give in and pay for stuff. Which is fair enough.
I’ve picked up lots of shifts in March, ending up earning more than I’ve ever had since I started working. I’m not going to talk numbers, so let’s just say last month I’ve spent 43.43% of what I’ve earned. Since I’ve confirmed that I can limit my expenses, I’m going to continue my challenge in April, however with a few tweaks. Because I found that completely depriving myself of things like coffee or a treat from time to time, in spite of giving me an immediate sense of pride and satisfaction, also makes me feel miserable in the long run, I’ve decided to give myself a budget. I think I’m going to try with $25on coffee max. I’m going to cut Giac some slack and maybe eat out once a week. I guess I could grant myself one treat (which is probably going to be a book). Also there are a few expenses that I know are going to come up in April (we are signing up to a half marathon and I would also like to get a swimming pool pass, plus I want to get more involved with CoLiberate and prioritise my mental health), but that’s all good. March was meant to challenge myself and understand what's important; April will be focused on taking care of that.