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My No Spend Attempt

9 May

Ok, so, if you look at No Spend challenges in a very black and white sort of way, I failed. I however, choose to acknowledge the grey in life and think I didn’t do so bad.

no spend challenge

I set for myself a No Spend challenge, it was to last two weeks, and officially ended yesterday. I was allowed to buy gas for my suv, as well as food / household items as needed. Oh, and pay bills, obviously lol.

In that two week period I had two opportunities to donate to charity, one to the Edmonton Food Bank and one to the Vancouver Food Bank, and I donated to both. Neither of those donations fit in any way, shape, or form, to the short list of acceptable purchases but I have no regrets.

I also paid the entry fee for a virtual marathon. This one is a bit trickier. I had intended to wait until the end of my No Spend challenge to buy my entry but found out last week that it was the last day for the early entry fee, which meant that after that date it would cost more to sign-up. I suppose I could have just said I wouldn’t do it, or I could have waited until my challenge was over and paid the higher entry fee, but, well, no. I wasn’t going to miss doing this with my friends, and why would I wait a week and pay more for something when I could buy it that day and pay less?

The No Spend challenge was meant to help get my spending back in line with my budget, that doesn’t mean I stop looking at the bigger picture and spend less on a certain day only to spend even more 8 days later. Sometimes logic is what is in that grey space.

So yeah, technically, I broke the No Spend rules. Ok, not even technically, I did break the No Spend rules but not in a bad way. Not in a I bought more books, or clothes, or some other random item that I don’t really need but I’m bored and saw it online and impulsed bought it way. I donated to charity, and bought something I was going to buy anyways on a day it was a cheaper purchase, how can that be bad?

This is why I tend to shy away from No Spend challenges, and similar things I see in the budgeting world. They don’t always lead you to making the logical purchase, or they may restrict you from an opportunity to help someone else.

To me, I think the better way to go about curbing your spending is to stick to the budget you gave yourself. Maybe you don’t budget, and ya know, if you don’t and that works for you, cool. For me, I budget. I set myself an exact amount of money to be used for gas, food, household items, and other categories. My problem is lately I’ve been going over budget by buying more online, things I never would have bought before, partially out of boredom, anxiety, because outside of work I do nothing and interact with almost no one, and somehow that has led me to increasing my shopping. Not good. Shopping is not a coping skill. I need to stop treating it like one.

Which is why, for the next two weeks, I’m not putting myself on a No Spend challenge, I’m putting myself on a Stick To Your Freakin Budget Challenge. Much more my style, don’t you think? 😉

 

No Spend Challenge

23 Apr

My landlady, in a joking way, texted me saying she thinks I may have an online shopping problem.

I got all excited because I thought that meant an item I bought online last week and have been anxiously waiting for had arrived, but realized it can’t be that item because I am signed up for text notifications and hadn’t received one saying it was delivered. So I started to text her back to let her know the list of things I am waiting for only to realize the list is uh, let’s say, substantial, and having to type it all wasn’t going to make me look good.

I fully understood her joke when I got home and found not one but three packages waiting for me.

Three! It’s like a random personal Christmas out of nowhere. And it really is out of nowhere since all three of these packages took way longer than expected to get to me. Something online shopping teaches you, if you aren’t shopping with Amazon Prime that is, is patience.

The first package I opened is a t-shirt from one of those annoying ads you see on Facebook. It was cheap, and cute, and I decided to buy one t-shirt to see what their quality is like. The shirt fits, and smells horrible, so it is now in the hamper and we’ll see how good it looks once it’s been through the wash. I hope it stays cute!

The second item is stamps. Yeah yeah, I know, the post offices are still open, why was I so incredibly lazy and unwilling to go in to one to buy stamps? I actually have a valid reason for this! The post offices by me are tiny, and in the backs of small stores, and I am supposed to be avoiding places like that to decrease my chance of exposure and by extension risk to the seniors I work with. I thought buying stamps online from Canada Post would be the easiest purchase, and fastest delivery, since ya know, they are the ones delivering them.

No. That thinking is incredibly wrong. After you buy them you get an email saying they will process your order in three days. Not have them to you in three days, or in the mail in three days, but that they will take three whole days just to process the order. Oh, and they come from Ottawa, case you were wondering, so three days to start processing the order, then delivery time from Ottawa, they took almost two weeks to get to me.

But that’s ok, because patience. It is a virtue, it is a thing best practiced over and over…and over…

And over yet again by the book I ordered that finally arrived. That one took about a month.

But really, what does delivery time matter, right? They all arrived eventually, if somewhat embarrassingly on the same day, and I now feel like maybe I am buying too much stuff.

I don’t think of myself as someone who tends to randomly purchase things online, I will look, then talk myself out of it, but looks like two times I didn’t talk myself out of it…I’m leaving the stamps off this list because I do actually need them, so what’s with all the shopping?

Before you say two items isn’t that big a deal, I have more things on their way to me…oops?

Looks like this is the perfect time to start a No Spend Challenge.

April 22 2020 a

What is a No Spend Challenge you ask? It is exactly what it sounds like. For the next two weeks the only things I will spend money on are food, gas for the suv, bills, and $8 I owe a friend who is doing a fundraiser. It doesn’t have to be for two weeks, you can set any time frame you want, I’m choosing to ease myself in to this and picked a short time frame to start with.

I’m leaving myself a teeny tiny loophole, due to the pandemic, that if yet another emergency situation pops up, I mean c’mon, we haven’t been swarmed by locust yet so there are still some ways things could get worse, I may expand the list to random emergency items I can’t think of at this moment in time.

This means no more online shopping when I’m bored, or feeling a bit sad, or anxious, or because something cute caught my eye at random (*cough* t-shirt *cough*). To make it more likely I will succeed at this challenge I need things to do when I feel like shopping, distractions to stop me from hitting that checkout button.

So far I have come up with reading one of the many books that are in this apartment, writing cards or letters to people, exercising, trying to read the cat’s mind, cleaning (let’s be honest, this one probably won’t happen but I feel like it is expected to be on the list), and practice my knitting (I am learning and need all the practice I can get). Did you notice what all these things have in common? Well, except for trying to read the cat’s mind that is.

Hands. They are all things that will keep my hands busy. Busy so they can’t be tapping the screen of my iPad or typing on my laptop, busy so I am physically engaged in an activity that will not only keep my brain somewhat occupied but also my body. I find if I can keep one of those two busy I am less likely to engage in a behaviour I am trying to avoid, if I can keep both busy I do an even better job of it.

If you have any suggestions for things I can do instead of shop feel free to share them!

April 22 2020

Striker thinks spending more time petting him is an excellent way to stay busy, so looks like I’m adding that to my list…the top of my list if Striker has anything to say about it!

The Death of Math

13 Mar

I budget, as in sit down with a notebook, bill tracker, fun coloured pens, and a calculator, every paycheque and do actual math kind of budget.

I have a love hate relationship with the whole budgeting deal but whatcha gonna do? Somewhere along the way you become adult enough to realize you should properly track your money and that means budgeting.

This whole being an adult thing is such a scam. 😐

To make it suck a little less I use tools I like, because they are cute or in a fun colour or because they make me smile. It might seem childish using brightly coloured gel pens to track my bills but since I don’t recall being told I have to adult in a boring way I choose to adult my way. Which is more cute than boring, and yet still functional…mostly. 😉

Which is why I was sad today when working on the numbers to have my cute calculator die.

Don’t mind the ratty looking savings challenge behind the calculator.

Not all of it stopped working, just the addition button, so ya know, a mildly important button. 🙄 It even feels different when you push down on it so I guess something inside shifted? I dunno. I’ll probably never know, unless I get stuck in self-isolation at some point and am so bored I take the calculator apart…let’s hope that doesn’t happen ok?

It’s not the end of the world, I can use the calculator that’s in my phone, and at some point brave the shops to find a new cute calculator. But for now, in this apartment, I declare math dead (at least for that calculator) and I’m swapping my notebook and bill tracker and fun pens for a cup of tea and a cuddle with the cat. Buh-bye math, see you in a couple weeks!

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