Hello all! Quick catch up in case you’re new to this space or didn’t read my previous post (which you can find here). Starting on January 1, 2020 I would be completing a no-spend challenge. My plan is to do the challenge for 6 months and then reevaluate. At that point I’ll either continue for the rest of the year, downgrade to more of a “spending diet,” or I’ll stop completely (which honestly I don’t anticipate).
The basic framework of a no spend challenge is spending money only on needs, no wants, for the 6 months (or more). The definition of a need is honestly different for everyone, barring some obvious line items such as rent or food. So, these past few weeks I’ve really marinated on the concept of wants vs needs and thoroughly debated what I can truly consider a need and what I can give up (aka wants) for the duration of the challenge. Y’all I got really specific when it came to some things on my list. Some were super easy to give up, but others I had to really consider. Lots of needs, lots of wants, and lots of items falling into the situational gray area in between.
So, without further ado, and for the sake of accountability, I’m going to share that list with you all today!
Here we go!
(Note: An asterisk * indicates a gray area and it will be further explained at the bottom of the list)
- Car maintenance and repairs (plus savings for registration)
- Cell Phone Service
- Health: Doctor, Dentist, Optometrist, medications, vitamins
- Continuing Educations (for Paramedic License)
- Chiropractor & Massage (because of tension and headache issues)
- Gym Membership
- Hair Dye
- Amazon Music
- Art supplies for paintings (but only as I need it)
- Social Budget*
Needs will also include any item I use frequently if I run out of it, but only if I run out. ie. Shampoo, Toilet Paper, Bubble Bath (aromatherapy to help with headaches and much cheaper than bath bombs), etc.
- New clothes
- Bath Bombs
- Costco (membership ends 8/2020)
- Disney + & Prime*
- New Makeup
- things because they’re on clearance
- Craft Supplies
- Almost everything on my amazon wishlist
- Eating Out
The Gray Areas
- Tolls: Austin is littered with toll roads. I live just east of the city and it’s seriously difficult to get anywhere, especially on the north side, without hitting tolls. I’m going to be further challenging myself to avoid tolls and find creative backroads to get where I need to go. That being said I will occasionally allow myself to go through a toll if a time crunch or situation requires it.
- Hulu: I have access to the Xfinity app through my parents and can watch most network shows available on Hulu using that. Currently some of the Hulu original content, as well as Letterkenny, are keeping me from pulling the plug though, we’ll see…I have to weigh this one further.
- Disney Plus and Prime: I haven’t been to impressed with Disney Plus so far and haven’t found it to be worth it (yet). I’m going to let my subscription go through January so I can finish the Mandalorian then I’ll cancel. Then as far as Prime, my plan lasts through July 2020 and I that time I don’t plan to renew it.
- Social Budget: This is something many cut out but I find that my current life situation calls for more of a cutting back than cutting out. I’m dating currently and want to be able to contribute to the costs of dates occasionally (because honestly, no one wants to be with a mooch). I’m also living in a new city and therefore give myself a small budget for social activities so I can hopefully make friends and build a support system. Life is far too lonely without close friends nearby. Also under this heading is a small budget for eating out. I have a traditional monthly goal setting session at Panera that I’m not willing to give up, and I also want to give myself the freedom to buy into a meal with the firefighters I work with (usually $5) a couple times a month.
- Redbox: I have a bunch of redbox codes I’ll allow myself to use because they’re already paid for, I just won’t be buying new ones.
- Travel: As I mentioned in my last post, I have one definite trip to Washington planned during the challenge as well as a possible trip to Alaska to visit friends (using airmiles) and a possible roadtrip to Dallas to visit my cousin. If all these occur I will just be approaching them from a super frugal perspective and incorporating as many parts of the no spend challenge into the trips as I feasibly can.
So there you have it. I realize I have a lot of gray areas but really, as we all know life isn’t always black and white. I’m laying these all out here today so, like I said, I can keep myself accountable and y’all can too. I’m also putting this on here as a reminder that some spaces in my wants vs needs are flexible, but even that flexibility has limits and I need to stick to the bounds I set for myself.
T-minus 10 days and counting. Then the fun really begins!