Looking around at the stores and malls everywhere, it’s easy to see why shopping is one of America’s biggest sources of entertainment.
Carly decided to stop shopping for two weeks as a project for her Sociology class. Her assignment was to make a lifestyle change and observe how it impacted the people around her. She didn’t know it would make such an impact on herself or her marriage.
I have really bad spending habits, incessantly spending money I should be saving. It has placed a bit of a strain on my marriage as well, considering I’m married to a frugal super-saver.
After the summer we had, our savings account was dwindling. We had a $3000 plumbing emergency in our newly purchased house, bought a new truck, and subsequently had to pay the sales tax on said truck.
The first week of the project, I decided to spend my whole week’s worth of money on lunch with some coworkers. We had been talking about it for a couple weeks, and it was definitely worth it.
It was great to spend my money on something I really was looking forward to, rather than just another lunch. It was excellent.
The second week, I spent a little here and there, but still stuck to my budget. I was worried for all the things I’d be missing out on by not going to Target every other day at lunch or wandering around the mall after work to avoid homework, but I didn’t miss anything.
I got caught up on my homework, worked out every day with my husband, and really had more time to do things I enjoy because I wasn’t wasting time at the mall. I baked, I made candles, and visited friends. It was a highly productive two weeks, without spending money on needless things.
After the two weeks were up, we had already managed to put $300 in our savings account. That was enough to convince me to stay on this allowance/budget system. Not just me, but my husband is now on one. It’s been amazing for our marriage and my stress level.
I have more time to devote to my Bible Study, my homework, and working out. And I’m not as stressed out about money or time.
We have been able to put into our savings regularly, put a little extra toward my credit card, and enjoy the occasional meal out together, rather than an every-other day occurrence. We’ve also spent more time together, grocery shopping and going to Costco together, keeping each other (ok, me!) accountable.
I am happy to be saving more, but also to be less dictated by what I feel pressured to buy or have. I’m finding that I forget about most of these things I “need” by the time I have the time or energy to go get them, or I just put it on a list and save up.
More “No Spending” Projects
A benefit of blogging about our annual No Spend Month is hearing from others who try their own projects to save money, become more aware of their spending, and practice self-discipline.
Here are a few who are currently blogging about their experiences:
- We Take It Easy – blogging from Spain about limiting spending until the end of the year.
- Nourishing Days — limiting spending until the end of the year, including not shopping at the grocery store.
- Just Plain Joy — a limit of $300 for personal and household spending during November.
- (Update) Saving Advice — a limit of $400 for personal and household spending during November.