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No Spend Challenge

Tue, 01 Dec 2020 03:21:50 +0000

No Spend Challenge

Happy December everyone, and welcome to my first No Spend Challenge in over two years! 

When I first moved to New Zealand I did heaps of No Spend Challenges and money tracking , mostly because I either didn’t have a job or I had jobs that didn’t pay very much, so I was sort of forced to be very frugal and intentional with my spendings. 

Good thing I’m a sucker for saving and very passionate about keeping track of my expenses, because yesterday I received my first salary since I started working part-time and, oh boi! I knew what it was going to look like, but the reality of it is that I now have to be even more deliberate about money coming in and money coming out.

So I thought what could be better than a No Spend Challenge!

These are the rules and guidelines I’ve set up for myself:

  • Necessities
    These are things I can not not pay for, which are rent (weekly), bills, phone, and Spotify (monthly). Yes, I do consider Spotify a necessity: I have tried to delete my Premium account to save some money in the past but it made me so sad that I couldn’t listen to all the podcasts I follow, plus I have a deal through my phone contract where I only pay half price so I don’t feel bad for it.

  • Food budget
    I will allow myself $100 a week for food (if you live in New Zealand, you know this is not a lot), and this will include everything, including eating out. I am fortunate enough to work at a grocery store where I do occasionally get free food, so I will make sure to take advantage of that. This has been my food budget for the past two years anyway so I should be sweet.

  • Extras
    There are always extras: bike repairs, medical bills, presents, emergencies. I will allow myself $50 a month for extras (which might be revised as I’m not sure it’s realistic, but we’ll see).

  • Transportation
    I am going to either walk or bike everywhere unless it’s pouring down with rain or I’m running late, in those cases I will take the bus. But I will try to only take the bus not more than once a day (so for example if I take the bus to work I will have to walk back). This is what I’ve been doing since I live in my current house so again, nothing new.

  • Cafes
    My best work environment is at a busy café (preferably Midnight Espresso). In order to justify spending money there, I will both make it a date (invite a friend and get work done together, or just catch up), and make it count (order a meal instead of just coffee, which I can easily make coffee at home, whereas when I eat out I often get enough food to last me for two meals). This will be included in the $100 food budget.

  • Treats and hanging out
    Let’s be clear, I’m not aiming at not having a life at all. I still want to do stuff. I have recently gone back into swimming, so that is likely to happen (but I might get a 10-entry pass to save money). When I want to hang out with friends, I will suggest that we do something free like going for a walk (luckily summer is coming!).

  • Books and op shops
    These are my two Achilles’ heels. I think the only way for me to not buy anything second-hand is to stop myself to enter op shops altogether. I will also not allow myself to go on TradeMe or Facebook Marketplace - after all, out of sight, out of mind. As for books, I will not allow myself to buy any books until I finish all the ones I already have. (HA! Let’s see if I can stick with this one.)

This time round, I’m not giving myself a deadline: I will keep this challenge up for the unforeseeable future. However, I will constantly check in with myself. I will try to be strict until the end of the year, and then see how I’ve been doing and take it from there.

A special thanks for Amber aka The Fairly Local Vegan for being my main inspiration every time I take on a No Spend Challenge (find her here and here).

Thank you so much for tuning in, and stay tuned to see how I go!

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