I feel like I still have a lot to learn, but man, it's been so great. Exploring what it looks like to do more with less, to not complicate things, and to just enjoy what I have.
About a month and a half ago, when summer started to wind down and fall was beginning to be upon us, I started thinking about how I wanted to end the year.
Last year I ended with Dressember, and while I will be doing that again this year, I wanted to take it one step further.
I mentioned often in my blog posts that this year, I'm trying to focus on three specific areas of simplicity: stuff, money, technology.
And while I have a tendency to be hard on myself, and think that I am totally failing at life and this simplicity thing, I have to admit that it has gone pretty well.
I mean, I got rid of SO much stuff, I am saving more money than I was back in January and at times, I am on my phone less. Except when one of my interns turns me onto a new iPhone game.
Then it's bad.
Thanks a lot SarahJ...
But, this idea of spending less continues to intrigue me.
I look at my grandparents, I look at my friends in other countries, I read WAY to many articles on BuzzFeed... and I notice how happy and content people can be when they use what they have and spend less money.
I notice it the most in my own life when I am on vacation, or when I am traveling. I notice I am much more mindful of what things costs. I pay attention to what I do or don't buy. And I tend to use more cash than I do card.
It never fails, I am always surprised by how much money I have left over and how reduced my spending habits become.
So... how to translate all of that to the last month or two of 2016?
Cue "No Spend November."
(If you don't know what it is, then just get on Pinterest, and you will wish you had never asked)
Originally, I was going to cut out all extra expenses for 30 days.
And while that might be a good idea in the future, we are coming up on the holiday season and I still would really like to go out with friends and immerse myself in some of the local festivities.
So, instead of a total spending freeze, I broke down my monthly expenses to see what the average weekly spending should be.
And then I lowered it 20%. Not an exact science by any means, but 10% felt to minor to feel the difference and 50% seemed unrealistic. So I found something in the middle.
For the next month, I am giving myself $120/week in cash to spend on groceries, gas, spending money, etc.
Once it's gone, it's gone. So I have to be strategic. Innovative. Scrappy.
The only exceptions for using a card are:
- if it's a purchase already in my budget (i.e. cell phone bill)
- if it's an emergency (i.e. stranded on the road, medical, etc)
- if for some reason I cannot pay with cash. (And if that is the case, I take the cash amount and reimburse my account)
My goal for the month is two fold.
I want to be a little more disciplined in my spending and see how I do with less.
And, I want to identify the areas in which I can be more generous with my finances.
I am realizing more and more that so many people have far less than I do.
So, if I can be more frugal and give back, I think that's a good thing.
Especially since Jesus said a little something about that in Luke 11:5
Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted on my #nospendnovember