I must begin with an apology, I know this blog post is late – a bout of Bronchitis has knocked me a bit over the last few weeks – in some ways it made the challenge easier, in other ways, much harder. I’ll explain more later on in this post.
For me, the whole point in the no spend February challenge was to re-evaluate my spending. We don’t have a large disposable income, so I don’t revamp my wardrobe every few months or spend fortunes on dining out or high end beauty products. But I know I’m prone to the odd cuppa out, popping a candle / mug / notebook into my trolley at the supermarket, or buying little things which aren’t absolutely necessary and all add up. And not just in monetary value. My word of the year this year is SIMPLICITY.
I am aiming to simplify all areas of my life, rethink what is important to me, and get rid of any clutter, metaphorical and otherwise, and buying less is surely one of the first steps in that journey?
The month itself has been easy in some ways and tricky in others. For me it was always about intentional spending and I knew things would crop up that I hadn’t expected – school trips, a new car tyre etc. But I wanted to avoid all unnecessary spending, just to prove I could.
Overall, I did pretty well. There are 2 incidents that I wrote down where I definitely spent money on things that weren’t necessities.
My Grandmother had been in hospital since before Christmas after breaking her hip. Towards the end of January she also had a stroke and was moved to a hospital further away. One Friday night my Mum offered to have the kids so me and the fella could go and see her. It was a bit last minute so we hopped in the car. Only on the way back at 8pm did we realise we hadn’t even considered dinner. So we stopped at McDonalds on the way home (for we are the height of sophistication!) and if you want to split hairs…. I technically didn’t pay.
I have been crocheting a blanket for 2 years now. The plan is that it will be a chunky sofa blanket and recently I have got back into completing it. I realised that I was coming to the end of the wool supply and out of interest, Googled to find out how much new wool would cost. To my horror, I found stock was limited as the wool in that dye had been discontinued. Did I risk it and wait til March…. Or buy it while it was still available?? Proper first world problems right there. A quick Instagram poll later, most people said it would actually be a waste of money not to order more whilst it was still in stock, as I had already paid for the wool to make the blanket thus far, so I would be wasting money and wool if I couldn’t finish it. The wool cost me £20.
Half term was another challenge, I put together some no spend ideas in a blog post here after asking the children for their input. I allowed them one thing which they could spend on (within reason). A group of children from their school were getting together to go to the half term roller disco at the local leisure centre. My two have recently started going to the roller disco and had shown massive determination to keep at it, despite many tumbles and bruises. They decided they would like to go to this (cost : £8.40 with our swim school membership) and we combined it with a day with friends where we made slime!
The rest of the week was blissful. Because of being mindful about spending we didn’t plan a lot so decided what to do on the day. We visited the library, Betteshanger Country Park to build dens and drink hot chocolate (our pre-existing membership here meant free parking), completed some crafts for Valentine’s Day, and just spent time at home and visiting family. The children really enjoyed actually slowing down and it meant their return to school was restful, not more exhausted than when the holiday began.
Then I got ill. For the first couple of weeks there was no way I could even think about leaving the house let alone spending. As time has gone on and I am slowly improving, the lure of the internet has been my biggest challenge. Internet shopping because I see something I fancy on Instagram or an advert while browsing Facebook. But I resisted until March when I did order myself a top to cheer myself up. Always in the back of my mind now though is – “Do I need it? or just want it? What value will it add to my life long term?”
Overall, the month was a success. For the first time in a while I had money left over, not a lot, but I more than broke even, which is what normally happens. I had chance to de clutter, give some things to charity and re evaluate what our house really needs and what I want it to feel like (not look like). I spent more time on crafts, baking and spending time together, not money.
I’ll be continuing my journey to simplify this year, follow me over on Instagram and see if I manage it!!!