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I’m going to participate in a no spend (or low spend) year 2020.
I can’t believe I’m doing this and I can’t believe I feel excited! I know I won’t feel very excited when I see something I really want to buy, but I think this is going to be good.
Why am I doing this?
This is something I really want to do for myself. This is going to be a true test of my discipline and dedication to paying off my debt and improving my finances.
In 2019 I spent over $5,000 on “unnecessary” things. This includes clothes, travel, shoes, books, lotion, home decor, etc.
To be honest, I don’t think I really have a spending problem. I actually tracked every single dollar spent in 2019 and you can see the break down each month in my monthly debt/spending updates.
I don’t really have a money problem at all actually.
I have money anxiety.
Sure I have debt, but I have an emergency savings, my bills are always paid on time, I have a great full-time job, and an online business.
However, in my current situation (that I take full responsibility for), something needs to change.
- I need to increase my income.
- I need to try to decrease my spending as much as possible.
- I need to stop stressing about my finances.
And in 2020 I am determined to work on all 3 of these.
There is not a single day that goes by where I don’t think about my finances. I am constantly adding up my debt, figuring out how much I can pay off, calculating what I’ll have to pay for whatever. IT. DOES. NOT. STOP.
It has become a huge stress and worry in my life for no reason. Of course finances are tough for me right now, but at the end of the day I have a safe apartment and a bed to sleep in, I always have food to eat, and I know I have enough money to pay all my bills.
I feel I have been sabotaging my own progress by constantly thinking about my lack/need for money.
This is not only a no spend challenge, but also a money mindset challenge.
At this point I also realized I don’t NEED anything else. I have everything I could possibly need for the next year when it comes to clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, etc.
Anything else would just be unnecessary money spent and would create more clutter in my life.
My No Spend Rules
NO SPENDING MONEY ON:
- Home decor
- Supplements (BCAAs, protein powder, etc.)
- Notebooks, pens, etc.
- Electronics (camera, tripod, computer, etc.)
- Unnecessary beauty products (face masks, scrubs, etc.)
As of right now this costs me ~$1,500/month, so ~$18,000 for the year. My apartment lease goes through May but I don’t know where I will be living after that yet.
- Groceries (including going out to eat and toiletries)
I could easily save money by living off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and rice and beans. However, I’m not willing to sacrifice my health to save a few hundred bucks for the year. I do want to follow a strict budget for my groceries though. $250/month ($3,000 for the year) for groceries and going out to eat. This will also include things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and dish soap.
- Gas for my car
Obviously I need to pay for gas to drive. On average my gas is about $55/month or $660 for the year. I can’t really control the price here.
Obviously I have to pay my debts as well. My minimum payment for my car is $382.55 and for my students loans it’s $301.14. I owe about $6,500 on credit cards (mostly due to a balance transfer of my student loans). I want to pay off all of my credit card debt and a total of $20K for the year.
- Insurance and phone bill
I have to pay for dental, vision, and life insurance which is a total of $147.15/month ($1,765.80 for the year). My phone bill, car insurance, and money I give to my sister for our dogs is a total of $277/month ($3,324 for the year).
- Business expenses
To run my blog I have to pay for hosting, my domain name, G suite, e-mail services, Tailwind, and a couple of other things. This year I plan on investing in logo design. My business expenses should be about $1,000-$1,200 for the year.
I donate at least $50 every month to an animal rescue. This will be $600 for the year.
- Sinking Funds (gifts, medical/dental, vacation, car maintenance)
I put $200 total into my sinking funds each month. So yes this does mean I will still be purchasing gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
- Grow You membership (with Natalie Bacon)
I am part of Natalie’s group coaching program. I’ll be in her program through June or July (that will be the one year mark) which will cost me $294 or $343, respectively.
- Personal beauty products (when I run out)
This includes deodorant, my spf moisturizer, my perfume, body soap, body lotion, and shampoo/conditioner. ONLY as I run out though so nothing excessive. This should be about $300 for the year.
I have a subscription to Ritual vitamins ($32.40/month) and I also take vitamin C, B-12, vitamin D, digestive enzymes (with probiotics), vegan collagen, and omega-3. I may be able to eliminate a couple of these, but this should all cost about $500 for the year.
- Travel and other experiences (maybe)
I’m definitely going to Chicago in April. I’ve already booked the flight and the hotel, I won’t be charged for the hotel until April though. The hotel is $572 total and then I’m giving myself an $85 budget for food/transportation while I’m there.
I don’t know if I’ll be going anywhere else, but I don’t want to sacrifice experiences. I don’t go out much, but if a concert I really want to go to or something like that pops up, I’ll go.
- 2 professional massages (maybe??)
My amazing boyfriend already offered to give me massages so I can reduce how much I got to a MT. I used to go every 45 days or so because I workout a lot and massages are an investment in my body/health. However, I am willing to sacrifice for a bit. I MIGHT get 2 professional massages, but I don’t know yet. This would cost me about $200.
- A planner and notebook for 2021
I know this is silly to add here but I already know I’ll buy them at the end of 2020. Every year I buy a planner and notebook. This should be $20 or so.
How I am Preparing
The first thing I am doing is decluttering the things I already have. I want to get rid of things I don’t need/use and either donate, sell, or trash them.
Hopefully I can make some extra cash in the process!
I also want to create or print out some debt and spending trackers. These trackers will go on my vision board and inside my new life binder. I think trackers are so important for things like this because otherwise, it can be difficult to keep up with.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be planning out simple, cheap, but healthy meal preps. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I am horrible at budgeting for groceries. This year I really have to take it seriously so I’m going to have to focus on this area more.
So what do you think? Are you going to join me?
I hope you at least try 1 or 2 no spend months! This is going to be an exciting challenge that will test your discipline and require lots of drive.
If you want to follow me along this journey, be sure to subscribe to my personal finance YouTube channel !
*This article was originally published on LivinglikeLeila.com