No Spend Challenge
Tue, 01 Dec 2020 03:21:50 +0000
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:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Thank you so much for tuning in, and stay tuned to see how I go!