Sunday, March 15, 2020

Week Two 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 two!

Week of March 8-14

So far so good. Bills have been paid and lingering credit card balances I had were paid off. This week, the urge to shop hit me early on... but I got through it.

Day 8: It was another lazy Sunday. I didn't sleep in as late as I had hoped, but I had a good day overall. Over coffee, I watched cartoons with the husband. Afterwards, I lounged around and read a book for a while and decided midway through that I could enjoy the last few chapters in the bath. I treated myself to some self-care in the form of a bubble bath and a bubbling face mask while I read and recharged. The highlight of the day was cooking a simple but tasty and healthy dinner before winding down for the night with another book.

Day 9: I had a very bad day at work and spent most of the time from 8:30am to well after 5pm feeling angry about the developments in a series of meetings I'd had. I decided to channel my displeasure into something constructive by touching up my resume and applying for a new job elsewhere. Afterward, I wanted pretty badly to shop for books, but I decided to look at my credit card rewards instead. I didn't order any reward gift cards or even touch any online bookstores. Honestly, it was a hellish day and it was hard to avoid shopping to take my mind off the day... but I made it through in the end.

Day 10: It was at least a better day than Day 9. Work kept me occupied most of the day as usual. Other than that, I talked to some friends about art projects, doodled and wrote poetry in a sketchbook, and thought of names for a minizine idea I'd like to pitch to the Creative Healing Space once I got to talk again to the friend who founded it. After unwinding from work, I put together a healthy dinner with meat and vegetables from my Imperfect Foods box and enjoyed some TV and chatted with the husband. I also made some time to play a video game (Stardew Valley) which was really relaxing.

Day 11: I had a slow day and ended up comparison shopping for a color laser printer to purchase once the no-spend month is over. I wound down from work by taking a walk through the neighborhood. Dinner was red beans and rice in the crock pot, which I put together over my lunch break so it was ready for the usual dinner time. Like day 10, I spent time chatting with my husband about things that were on our minds. We ate slowly and enjoyed an episode of a show we've been watching, and by the time the episode was over it was almost bedtime. I'm noticing more in this no spend month that slowing down makes time so much more enjoyable.

Day 12: My plans to see a concert later this month dissolved in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. I found some new shows and movies to watch. I spent a chunk of the night doing chores, which was fine. I do like to have the house in order so chores tend not to be very boring to me. The day overall was kind of a non-day, and the disappointment of the concert being cancelled weighed pretty heavily on me. However, one of the bands I was going to see announced that a merch shop would be online soon so I had that to look forward to. After all, I still had some money I'd been saving since February to spend at the concert.

Day 13: I spent most of the day looking forward to relaxing on the weekend. After work, I cooked a healthy dinner, and came up with a to-do list for Saturday and Sunday. With the concert cancelled, I decided to use the money I had set aside from February to buy merch to support the bands like I would have in person. To end the night on a happy note, the husband and I stayed up late and watched another movie together.

Day 14: I slept in late and spent a chunk of the morning baking and cleaning the kitchen while chatting on and off with my best friend. The husband and I watched cartoons over coffee and generally lounged around all day. In the evening, we cooked another healthy dinner with foods from the Imperfect Foods box we got back on Day 6. The night ended with some quick chores, playing with the dog, and watching another movie. Lazy days are definitely necessary, and they're good for no-spend challenges. For me, it was important to balance the tougher days with an easier one.

I won't lie and say this whole week was easy. Throughout the week, I was faced with a day that made me angry, and another that left me sad. I did have the temptation to shop but I think I did a good job resisting it. I had a lot of opportunities to think creatively, and came to the realization that slowing down and making an event of anything I do (like cooking dinner) makes the days more fun. Because some plans have gotten cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, I've had to find more things that I can do at home. The no-spend month did feel like a real challenge this past week, and I do have a small shopping list to take care of once April hits... but this week at least showed that I do have willpower even on bad days. There are only two weeks and a few days left to go, and I'm going to make them as fun as I can.

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