I’m starting my five no spend months challenge on Wednesday 15th of July and I will blog about my progress weekly to hold myself accountable.

This weekend, while I was cleaning out the garage and the house I’ve been renovating and moving stuff around in for way too long, I came to an understanding. The understanding being that I didn’t want to be moving things around my whole life, and that I finally just wanted to know where my stuff actually is instead of searching boxes.

I’m also going to be ending the no spend challenge by half of December, just in time to get ready for Christmas and New year. With these two in mind, I think it will also be easier to stick to my goals because I will have a huge pay off of the no spend months.

This is what I will be doing :

  1. Instead of spending, I will spend my time cleaning and arranging stuff around the house. Keeping only essentials. So that I can start in a fresh, well organised home in 2021. Because, Let’s face it. Let’s just forget the whole 2020 thing. I didn’t think the Corona pause button was not that bad btw for me personally, because I didn’t lose a family member or a friend due to Corona and I made a lot of needed progress with renovating and organising. I have a garden with next door neighbours to talk with over the low fences, and a dog and roommates and so I had my social contact. It’s still an utterly shitty and terrifying virus, though. Especially with everyone wearing masks everywhere like they are actually sick. And although I am also privileged to be able to go spend some time at the Belgian coast. My roommate and I where planning to go to Porto and Espinho in Portugal, that’s where he’s from. We cancelled our plans to do so because of the recent outbursts of Corona in Portugal and because we feared not to have a really nice vacation time as it would be without the Corona virus to be cautious about everywhere we would go. So vacations are definitely also cancelled, which will make the no spend easier. If I would be on vacation in Portugal, I would definitely spend my money on shopping clothes, eating out a lot and what else. So now I’m forced again to stick to essentials.
  2. I don’t want to think about my clothes or buying clothes, but I do want to think about how to make the most out of the clothes that I own. I want to experiment with styling them GOOD.
  3. I also am not buying stuff for my vintage shop intentionally. If I happen to be somewhere, where they sell nice vintage stuff for instance in a charity shop where I drop off all my excess stuff, then of course I can buy what I like for the shop only. Only for the shop, not for me.
  4. I am making an exception to buy IKEA stuff. Yes, you’ve heard me IKEA. I used to love arranging my house with vintage stuff and with things thrifted but I’ve come to love IKEA stuff so much because… If your goals is to get organised, IKEA is the way to go. I won’t go crazy on this but the truth is, now that the structural work on this house is done. I still have a whole house to furnish, to paint, and to decorate, in order to make this house a real home. And yes, so also to organise in huge ways. There is literally no room organised. I still have to paint the hallway, decently . I did it half assed almost two years ago, but I also decided not to do anything half assed anymore. I have to get hooks and organisers for coats a bench for shoes in the hallway. I have to get a closet for clothes in the bedrooms, a couch, things to organise the kitchen more, a decent bed etc etc etc… We have absolutely nothing here. So I will be spending a little bit of money here and there on IKEA stuff, but nothing too crazy. I will probably spread my purchases monthly whilst keeping my money goals in mind. It could also be that I will just postpone all these things until after new year. Aka just paint and arrange now, and furnish later. Now that I’m writing this, it surely makes a lot more sense.
  5. Instead of spending I will try selling what I don’t use and downsize my belongings in a huge way. I think I really had a trauma from almost five years or renovations in total and dusting of all the stuff I own and cleaning. I just want to live in a house that is very low maintenance. It’s an old house, with still a lot of little and bigger projects. I want to make all these processes go as smoothly as possible, this will only possible by downsizing because I know that I will still be moving stuff around if I make progress from room to room. Oh and I lost my keys and the keys to the apartment at the Belgian Coast this weekend, before writing this post that I am now editing. I don’t have to tell you about the stress and the sleepless nights. I eventually found them in the garden, after purging and cleaning my whole house. I will tell my next husband to hid my keys if he likes me to clean and be organised. LOL. Again, even more proof to go on a minimalistic and better organised life route.
  6. I don’t want to search for anything anymore. I just want to know where it is. See previous lol.
  7. I want to spend my time on things that matter and make me happy. Like walks with my dog, in my garden, my vintage shop or this blog. See previous lol.
  8. I have rough financial months a head of me in fall. I want to fill up my 401K or in Belgium, my pension plan. If I want to cover it fully this year, I need to add 1200 euro to do that. ( Man, if only I had put 100 aside each month already. But it’s okay I can still cover it, not sweating AT ALL ) End October, beginning of November, there is car tax to be payed and house tax, that’s also about 1200. Then there is the electricity and gas bill. Last year I payed 1200 extra because we were heating our house with electrical heaters. I don’t want to think about all the vacations or designer bags ( not that I’m interested lol) that could have covered. I’m sure this year won’t be that bad, because I had a new heating system installed, but you never know. And there is still debt pay off from the renovations I started last year, and from the new car . It’s a Renault grand tour and I’m really proud of it. Not because it’s a Renault but because I went against my dad who told me to get a Dacia. Until I realised I would pay off a car I didn’t even like for 5 years, then the extra cash for the Renault suddenly didn’t seem that bad. I mean if I’m hurting already. Better be hurting for something decent, right. LOL. These are not super urgent because the low interest rates, but I still don’t want to carry it around for the next six years. I just want to say bye bye to it asap while keeping a large emergency fund. If I wanted to. I could pay the car off in 2 months because I have a really big emergency fund right now. I just wanted to feel way more secure and independent ( aka not depending as much on my roommates, boyfriends, jobs, etc…) not that I was depending, but I sort of felt very insecure that If something went wrong that I didn’t have it covered. And also because things went wrong last year in a huge way, and I made it, but I realised I did take a huge risk and not one ball could have dropped in the situation.
  9. I will be spending my time making Polymer creations, ( yes it’s a thing) and blogging.
  10. And we also have my 40th birthday to save up for, Christmas and New year et voila…suddenly we’re at 10 reasons why.

Comes down to 10 very good reasons to stop spending money NOW! ( These blogposts are written a bit in advance ) But to make it a bit more interesting and to make it a big 5 round five months number I chose Wednesday 15th of July.

These are the rules :

Buying only essentials, meaning food, water…doctor visits…But also not being to hard on myself with the food. Because, I’m already not eating out, so I’m definitely going to be eating nice and healthy and tasty food at home and will share the food porn on my instagramstories.

Not eating out. This is blah, I know…. But I figured… If I can do it in quarantine for 3 months, I can do it again for 5 months. Going out for a drink or two is totally fine. I mean it’s summer. I want to sit outside with a coffee or a cocktail… Just not spending 50 euro’s for a meal with drinks and coffee and desserts.

Not spending on clothes, make-up, beauty, jewellery. All beauty treatments must be done at home.

No buying for my vintage shop. I have a whole wardrobe full of clothes in the garage that still have to go to the online shop, so I’ll be pretty busy photographing and promoting these. Unless I find something really exceptional.

No dog grooming. I’ve actually gotten pretty good in doing it at home.

Using or re using what I have. For garden, kitchen etc etc. Using and re using clothes or restyling in a new way. ( Looking forward to that).

I actually was going to bring a lot of stuff to the second hand store, but I changed my mind to keep it for some more time while I progress in this no spend journey. I will just hang on to it, until things are more settled around the house and that I’m really sure that I don’t need it…. Eh. Revision. I donated and went back today to get a pair of shoes that I regretted donating. The people there looked at me like I was nuts. But in the end I went through my bags to get my shoes back. I know, I’m a bit crazy but the moment I didn’t have them anymore, It felt like they were the most special pair of shoes in the world for some reason. Will putt them on the blog after they went to the cobbler. I also kinda regret giving away a blue skinny jeans, because It was my only skinny. I wear straight leg jeans more now, and it wasn’t an amazing jeans. It was the high waist Topshop Jamie Jeans that I had for ages. After the challenge is done, if I miss it, I might replace it with a high waist skinny of a fair brand or a thrifted one. I wasn’t too crazy about the Topshop jeans, but I held on to it because it was my only blue skinny and I didn’t want to bother with buying another. We will see if I will really miss it.

The only place where I can spend is renovation stuff for the house…like paint and furniture to organise, but not go crazy. I’m going to evaluate if I really need it.

This is what I’m hoping to get from this challenge:

  1. More creativity
  2. Less time wasting
  3. More organisation
  4. More savings
  5. More debt pay off. I am not going to throw large amounts at my debt, because I’d rather have a large emergency fund. But I am planning to pay off my credit card debt of 1500 by Christmas.
  6. Knowing what my bare essentials budget really is. I mean, you have to be budgeting or living on essentials for a while to really understand your bare essentials budget.

Conclusion:

I think I can do this until Christmas. Five months, that’s not even a half year. And as long as I don’t feel like I can’t eat what I want, I think I will be fine. I still think it’s going to be much harder than it seems right now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t give it a try.

So bummed about the vacation though. I was so ready to go to Portugal, I had set up my budget for it, and I was ready to stuff myself with fish and drinking coffee all day and play volleyball on the beach with my roommates friends and seeing the Harry Potter library in Porto.

Have you done a no spend month or months ? If yes, how did it go. What where your main challenges?

Love, Maureen

Published by Catharina

Lover of all things natural

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