Sunday, March 29, 2020

Week Four of My No-Spend Month

It's my goal as a minimalist to make all aspects of minimalism feel more accessible. It's certainly not a lifestyle for everyone and that's perfectly fine. However, I love the benefit minimalist living has on my finances, and I wanted to keep sharing how my No-Spend month is going, week-by-week. Here's week four.

Week of March 22-28

Reading over last week's recap, I noticed how depressed I've started to feel since social distancing measures started. I decided to commit to making week four better as much as I could. I did okay some days, but others I definitely failed. Not spending a lot of money this month has been fairly easy, but there are some things I've missed out on and a couple of things I couldn't pass up this week.

Day 22: I had a good start to the day with homemade peanut butter cookies and fruit for breakfast, then watching TV over coffee with the husband. After lunch, I decided to put a sweatshirt on and take a walk around the lake. I strolled for an hour and fifteen minutes, playing Pokemon Go and talking to my best friend via a voice call, then texts as the wind got too strong. Unfortunately my evening did not end on a high note; I got an email saying my Imperfect Foods delivery was cancelled, so I had to go into town to get groceries. Shopping amidst the whole coronavirus panic was not an enjoyable experience, and the quantity of food I got to match what I'd be missing from Imperfect cost about 30% more than Imperfect. But, I secured food and was able to work on a meal plan for the week.

Day 23: This was the start of my second week working from home, and it definitely started to feel like the weekdays and weekends were blurring together. I tried to make the most of the dull moments of the day by baking lots of bread and buns. My Imperfect Foods customization window opened again so I picked out what I could, hoping that this order wouldn't get cancelled like the last. I finished up this week's meal plan using only what we had on hand, to err on the side of caution. Dinner was fun to make, as I'd made chicken fajitas. Unlike Day 22, my night ended on a higher note.

Day 24: I used what would have been my normal breaks at work to make a batch of whole wheat sandwich buns; I made the dough in the bread machine then divided it and baked it in the oven. After work, I played some Stardew Valley then heated up some leftovers for dinner. With TV on in the background after dinner, I worked on a little art project in one of my sketchbooks. The creativity was a welcome relief from the overwhelming ennui and depression of the past week's circumstances.

Day 25: Stardew Valley continued to bring me some after-work joy. Once I finished a couple days in the game, I made an experimental and delicious dinner. The husband and I ate together while we watched some TV. I got a notification that one of my favorite musicians added merch to his shop. I still had a lot left from my concert budget, so I picked up two limited edition items. With so many tours cancelled, I hoped I could still support my favorites by getting things from their shops. I did go over the budget I'd initially set, but given the circumstances I think it was fine. My night ended with excitement and anticipation of the band merch I ordered. Knowing that I could do something to support a favorite artist made me feel good.

Day 26: After yet more Stardew Valley after work, this was a day for getting some necessary shopping done online. We ran out of dishwasher detergent, and a homemade alternative didn't get us the results we'd hoped for. Apparently people panic-bought a lot of dishwasher detergent, because it took me several hours searching a few sites to find something suitable. On top of that, I spent much more than I had hoped because the minimum order quantity was 6 bottles. Ouch. I also needed to bump up the shipment date on my pets' food because the kitten started to run low on her crunchies and the dog was running out of treats. But I felt good knowing that I got some necessary items on the way.

Day 27: Yes, I played more Stardew Valley after work. However, I also had an accountability walk-date with my best friend who's trying to lose weight with me. We spent some time talking on the phone as we walked through our respective towns, pausing every so often to spin PokeStops in Pokemon Go. I walked for just over an hour. Once home, I took a warm shower (it was pretty cold outside on the walk) then got dinner going. I ended the night watching some TV with the husband, then talking for a while about our various stresses and the virus situation. Talking helped me feel better about everything going on, and I called it an early night for a Friday.

Day 28: After a good, long sleep, I spent a lot of the day watching TV and playing Stardew Valley. I got a few chores done, primarily in the kitchen by getting some dishes washed and cleaning up the butcher block table for another round of oiling soon. I ended the night happy from baking a double batch of peanut butter cookies while watching some TV.

Baking has been my therapy lately, keeping me happy and occupied and staving off depression from social distancing. I've also taken advantage of having games to play like Stardew Valley and Pokemon Go. Although I did go over my "support bands" budget from the money I had set aside from the end of February, it's an expense I am not willing to beat myself up about. More of my "fun money" in April will go to supporting bands I love since most of their upcoming tours were cancelled. I have just a few more days of the no-spend month to get through and I think they'll go well. The month so far hasn't been without its ups and downs, but the no-spend challenge has definitely been worthwhile.

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