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Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. If you click a link and purchase an item I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my opinion. Read the full disclosure here.

I can’t believe we’re six months into 2020 and I can’t believe 2020 in general.

In December, I decided to commit to a No Spend/Low Spend year and outlined some pretty clear “rules” for myself.

For all of 2020 no buying:

  • clothes
  • Shoes
  • notebooks/pens
  • home decor
  • books
  • supplements (protein powder, BCAA, etc.)
  • electronics
  • courses
  • or excess beauty products

I am allowed to spend money on:

  • Living expenses (obviously)
  • Groceries/Food out (with a budget)
  • Gas for my car
  • My debt
  • General bills (insurance, phone, etc.)
  • Donations
  • Sinking funds (gifts, medical/dental, car maintenance, vacation)
  • Personal hygiene (small budget)
  • Vitamins
  • Travel (I was supposed to go to Chicago)
  • Massages (2 max and this was a maybe)
  • A planner/notebook for 2021

My experience so far

Starting 2020 I had no idea we would enter a worldwide lockdown.

This was interesting because I intentionally wanted to reduce my spending for the year and millions of people were forced to reduce their spending as well. 

I think this pandemic made not spending easier, but I know a lot of people fell victim to online shopping instead.

To be honest I think this challenge has been a lot easier than expected.

Of course I have felt tempted to buy something and I even broke a couple rules (which I’ll get to in a bit), but it’s actually quite easy.

I’ve even gone to the store or mall multiple times and didn’t feel like I wanted/needed anything in those stores.

Here are some main points:

I was gifted a number of things

I feel like I cheated a bit because I’ve received multiple free products. As a small online influencer, I occasionally receive free products.

I think these gifts kind of gave me that “excitement” one would get from receiving a package for something they ordered.

I don’t think I would have bought any more than I have if I didn’t receive these products, but who knows.

I received multiple essential oil subscription boxes, BCAAs, protein powder, and iontophoresis machine, and a greens powder. My boyfriend also bought me a new mattress!

I’m doing this from a place of abundance, not lack

I follow the hashtag #debtfreecommunity on Instagram and a woman had posted about how stupid a no spend year/month is because it creates scarcity, stress, is toxic, etc.

However, I completely disagree because it depends on the individual.

I wanted to do the no spend year not only to challenge myself, but also because I know I have enough.

I have more than enough. 

Sure, I could have more “trendy” clothes or new home decor, but I’m content with what I have right now.

This doesn’t put me in a scarcity mindset because I’m completely aware that I’m doing this challenge. Instead, I think about why I want something before buying impulsively.

Society has adapted many people to overspending. Purchasing items is seen as “treating yourself” and I see that as more dangerous than anything.

I don’t think anyone needs to feel guilty about their purchases, but I think it’s important to recognize when you’re purchasing something just because.

My perspective has shifted

Since starting my debt free journey and even more throughout the last 6 months, I’ve realized how much I really don’t want/need more things.

I’m now able to recognize items that I probably won’t love in the future.

I’ve sold multiple articles of clothing this year that I spent hundreds on 2 years before.

I have gotten more creative when there is something I want. For example I cut up some old leggings to create biker shorts.

I also needed small plates or dishes for a couple of my plants. I could have bought some, but instead I asked my dad for some who had an extensive collection.

I have been thinking about my future A LOT more during this journey. How I want to be financially independent and how much I want to save or give and so on.

Buying something new can be exciting in the moment, but it doesn’t last.

Things I wanted to buy

I wanted to buy a few things over the last few months that I looked at but did not purchase. I’ve been trying to keep track of these things.

Workout clothes – I love workout clothes and I haven’t bought any in over a year. I looked around on a few of my favorite brands but I know I won’t be buying.

Specifically I really wanted biker shorts! I’ve been walking outside a ton and it’s too hot for leggings but my short Nike shorts ride up. 

What I did instead is cut 3 pairs of leggings into biker shorts that I was going to donate anyway!

A book on Ayurveda – Earlier this year I got really into Ayurveda and found a beautiful book all about it! If I wasn’t doing this challenge I totally would have bought it on impulse, but I’m glad I didn’t!

Shoes – Target had a BOGO free sale on these sandals that I love. I already have one pair from a couple years ago and I wanted more of the same but in different colors. They were literally like $10 too but I resisted!

Things I did buy

I bought a few things that I didn’t absolutely need and I spent money on things I didn’t plan for.

The biggest expense was the car I co-signed on (watch this video for all the details). I paid almost $3K by the end of it. I don’t consider this “unnecessary spending” though.

Same goes for parking. I’ve paid for parking a number of times, mostly due to hospital visits ($34).

I purchased stamps ($5.50).

I’ve spent more on business expenses so far this year, but I don’t really mind because it’s more of an investment.

I bought 2 Fitbit bands ($10.78) because mine broke.

I bought 2 courses that are relevant to my niche though so I consider this an investment as well ($19.98).

I purchased BCAAs ($19.48). Earlier this year a company had sent me some actually. However, I ran out and wanted more because they help with my sweets cravings. This was a rule breaker.

I got a car wash ($10) but I used the money in my car maintenance sinking fund. I usually always get a free wash after my oil changes but I haven’t needed an oil change because I’ve barely been driving. My car was DISGUSTING though I have to take care of it.

I did buy some blackout curtains for $60 but I ended up returning them!!

Lastly, I bought some hair oil. I needed shampoo and conditioner and the same brand I was buying had a hair oil in the same scent and I smelled it and it smells like straight up cupcakes and I love to smell like a walking bakery so I bought it. This was also a rule breaker.


Overall, I’m so glad I’ve been doing this.

Despite the minor slip ups, I’ve saved a significant amount of money through this challenge.

If I hadn’t started this, I probably wouldn’t have paid off as much debt as I have and/or not saved as much.

I think everyone should try a no spend challenge at least for a month! 

*This article was originally published on LivinglikeLeila.com