Medium,  Money

The No-Spend Month

Taking consumerism to a new low.

If only I had a cool VW bus piggy bank to collect my money in this month…

Well, I could go buy myself a Volkswagon bus piggy bank, but that would be precisely against the point.

That’s because his month I am challenging myself to a no-spend month.

Yes, this is a little different than what I usually write about here. But it also revolves around a topic that I think is super important, and it’s a way to keep myself accountable.

I’ve realized in recent years — particularly since the start of the pandemic — that my consumerism has catapulted to new heights. When there’s not much to do outside in the world, online shopping is, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), always something to do. Despite the fact that I have five perfectly good sweatshirts to wear while lounging (or working) at home, I need another one. Despite having too many pairs of socks to count, I need a new set of Scandinavian wool socks. Recently, I’ve been starting to question myself when these thoughts go through my head, and I’m beginning to fully recognize that my spending habits have gotten a little bit crazy.

While I know that this is entirely my own fault, I also understand that my mindset around spending is in part driven by American culture. Specifically online culture, which I have participated in a lot more since that first pandemic lockdown happened in 2020.

Influencers on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are literally paid to tout the newest designer brands and review flashy technology before it even becomes available to the masses. Even those content creators I follow who are not fashion bloggers or technology reviewers make money from sponsorships where they are promoting their new favorite jewelry brand or meal kit service. Truthfully, I don’t blame them. We all want to be compensated for our work (and content creation is work — don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!)

The question I’ve been asking myself recently, however, stems from all this constant promotion of consumerism:

When will it stop?

That’s where a no-spend month comes into play.

My goal was to start a no-spend month in January and kick off the year with a refresh, of sorts, for my bank account. I was only going to purchase the necessities — groceries and other household items like toothpaste and toilet paper (but only once I was running low or completely out.) I had everything planned out and ready to go on New Year’s eve, and then proceeded to come down hard with COVID on January 2, sending all my plans flying out the window.

After that rough start to the new year, I decided to try it all over again in February.

And here we are.

What is a no-spend month?

If you’ve never heard of a no-spend month, you might be a little confused. It’s the idea of limiting (or altogether halting) your extraneous expenses for a month. It’s supposed to help you realize where your money is going every month, and hopefully help you learn how to live with less.

For me, it’s a way to consciously counteract the consumerism that I encounter day-in and day-out. It’s a way for me to save money rather than spend it and (hopefully) stop some bad habits in their tracks.

The idea of having a specific time frame (one month) to challenge my spending habits is appealing to me because it gives me an end goal. I am, unfortunately, terrible at making goals for myself. Part of this is because I tend to make goals about things that are beyond my control (I can’t really guarantee that I’m going to get a literary agent this year, even if I query every single agent on the planet), and part of this is because I tend to create goals that don’t have an endpoint. With a no-spend month, the timeline is clear, and it’s achievable.

Why write about it here?

To keep me accountable, for one thing! I am planning to write weekly articles about my progress, breaking down how the week went and if I am sticking to my goal or not. There will undoubtedly be weeks or days where I simply fail at this no-spend month thing. I aspire to succeed (obviously), but I know that I’m human and that I will undoubtedly take a few missteps here or there. That’s all a part of the journey, and it’s something I am going to share here.

I always thoroughly enjoy following along with these sorts of challenges on various social media outlets. I love hearing about other people’s days, the obstacles they face, and how they overcome them. So that’s what I’m going to do here.

I’d love it if you followed along (and don’t worry — I will still be posting some of my regular writing or cat-focused content this month, too!) Maybe you can even embark on this no-spend February journey with me. We’ll keep each other accountable and encourage each other when it feels rough. Deal?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.