No-Spend November: Week 4 & Wrap-Up

No-Spend November is a month of resetting spending habits, reevaluating priorities, and overall just making better decisions. In this post, I've detailed how my last week and change of No-Spend November 2022 went.

November 22-30

My goals and resolutions for the month are all about making more mindful use of my time and paying off lingering CC debt from a long summer season of travel. Last week I described how I was feeling stressed by the artificial limitations I put on my money, which ended up being a theme for my last week and change of No-Spend November.

Here's the wrap-up!

Day 22: (Tuesday) My boss was busy after work so we didn't work out. I left early so that I could spend time on my treadmill at home. I wound down for the night by cooking dinner with my husband, and watching some TV.

Day 23: (Wednesday) I had a migraine all day long, and did not do much as a result. I did, however, decide that I wanted to wipe out my remaining CC debt with some money I had in savings. I held back enough savings to cover my health insurance's maximum out of pocket, and enough more to cover two car or home insurance claims as an emergency fund. The rest, I transferred to my checking account to not only pay off bills but pay for my remaining tattoo work through the end of the year.

Day 24: (Thursday) Thanksgiving Day meant I had the day off work. I spent time getting ahead on laundry, and planned food to make for Friendsgiving on Friday.

Day 25: (Friday) I decided to take the day off work so I could prepare food and run errands for Friendsgiving. I did spend some money this day--about $30 for hair dye for myself and a new friend, and some more on wine and other beverages to serve with dinner. Normally, I would have gone without dye for this month, but my color was fading faster than I anticipated so I needed to find something better. I also have a hard time not picking up the tab automatically when I have a friend who needs the same sort of thing I do. Friendsgiving dinner went well, and once everyone left, I wound down for the night by just hanging out with my husband.

Day 26: (Saturday) I took the day slow and started to read a new book. I didn't exercise, which I regret. I did end up going to a clothing resale shop to see if they still had a gift I wanted to get for my MIL, and they did. I also found a much-needed pair of leggings and a sweater for myself. This last week was definitely the point where No-Spend November fell apart but I think the lessons I've learned are important.

Day 27: (Sunday) Well, if I thought Friday and Saturday made No-Spend November end on a bit of a failure-note, this day took the cake. I got a haircut because I was tired of my split ends tangling and making it hard to comb out my hair; and after the haircut I went to get some more dye for the friend whose hair I did on Friday. It ended up being a fairly expensive day. I resolved to only spend on necessary items for the last few days of the month.

Day 28: (Monday) After work, I did a weight training workout while watching a movie. My husband and I cooked dinner together, and I made plans to work from home for Tuesday since we were expecting snow. I placed and order for some cleaning supplies that we ran out of over the weekend. (I consider those pretty necessary and not a violation of No-Spend... I like to have a clean house.)

Day 29: (Tuesday) I worked from home and in my downtime I started to reread another book. Because I couldn't work out with my boss in person, I decided to take a nap after the work day and then committed to a 30 minute walk on my treadmill.

Day 30: (Wednesday) After work, I did a more advanced dye job for my friend. Once home, I made a quick dinner with my husband and we spent time just talking and watching TV before bed. I mentally went over the last week, thinking about how much I spent and on what, and reflected on which purchases were definitely worth it. Honestly, I think all of them were worth it, and I'll wrap up with some reflections below.

Lessons Learned

This No-Spend month was definitely not as successful as the first one I ever did. The final week was especially hard. Over the month as a whole though, I think I did okay and I definitely learned a lot about myself.

My successes:

  • Reduced my overall debt and improved my credit score
  • Lost about four pounds throughout the course of the month
  • Exercised more
  • Read more
  • Was overall more mindful of how I used my free time each day

My failures:

  • Shopped kind of a lot in the final week

Overall lessons learned:

  • A no-spend month is definitely great for resetting and reevaluating spending habits
  • I might try for no-spend weeks in the future since a month felt like too much
  • I had the means to wipe out my CC debt just sitting in my savings account, and really should have just used the savings to wipe out debt in the first place
  • Having the means that I do, and a comprehensive, carefully constructed budget in place already, a no-spend month ended up feeling very restrictive. I was actually starting to feel like a broke college student which was no good.

The way the no-spend month ended has me reconsidering how I am going to approach a low-spend winter. I think in November, I did a good enough job sticking to my resolutions and saw some positive changes. I likely will not do a full month the next time I do a no-spend challenge--instead I think I might do no-spend pay periods (2 weeks). Although I did falter with my spending in the last week, I feel like the month was a success overall. Did I do perfectly? Hell no. But I did well enough to learn, to be more mindful, and to stick to some important resolutions. I won't let perfection be the enemy of good enough. If you try a no-spend month, tell me how it goes!