Well, folks, this is it. We’re officially 4 weeks in to our No Spend Year, and I am struggling a bit at the moment. I’ll get to why shortly, but for now, let me start with the good news. We are both motivated by the progress we’ve made. While we began the “No Spend Year” on January 1st, we have been attacking our debt since November 27th. The real big payments began in the end of December, almost exactly one month later. Since that time, we have paid $8,700 to our loans. Of that sum, I myself have paid $4,666.
Seeing our progress motivates us to keep going, and I must say, we are both extremely satisfied with our lifestyle. It’s not as though we are hurting or want for anything. Quite the contrary, I appreciate what I have even more now that I have buckled down and am not spending money willy nilly. I continue to use the majority of my allocated Fun money for alcohol and candy (hey, can you really blame me?). And tonight, we cashed in on our once a month date. We had some gift cards left over from Christmas that we used to see a movie (La La Land, which was fantastic) and have dinner (Red Crown in Grosse Pointe, also fantastic). All in all, it was a great night.
We’ve been focusing more on activities that are either free or very low cost that bring great joy and enrichment to our lives in the rest of our free time. We each applied for a library card, which we will pick up next week. Last weekend we had some friends over to play euchre and saw a Pink Floyd light show at the local science museum. Today, I suggested we make more trips to the DIA since it is free for local residents. I’ve also been drawing and writing regularly, while Alexis plays video games and is building a Smash channel to improve his skill level. We are both fulfilled.
Now for the challenge that I struggle with. I regularly cull my wardrobe to keep it to a minimum of clothes that I truly love, that fit well, and are in good condition (no stains, rips, or tears, etc.). My wardrobe mainly consists of black, white, gray, navy, olive and burgundy. These colors work well together, and don’t get me wrong, I love them! But lately… I just feel like I need some color in my life. It may very well be the time of year; by the time the end of January rolls around, I am completely over the drab, cold, gray winter days of Michigan and ready for some sunshine!
The thing is, I’ve been a bit obsessed with wearing black and gray for quite a few years now. Pretty much year round. And while that feels very chic and Parisian and all, bright colors just breathe new life into my spirit! I am craving them lately. I want to be saturated with fuschias, deep blues, corals, emerald greens, and saffron yellows. I did a lot of online “window” shopping this past week, and I have picked out some clothes at a modest price that incorporate my current wardrobe. These would create many more outfit combinations, and (I realize I am justifying here, but bear with me…) I most certainly can afford it, thanks to some recent overtime I’ve worked. But here’s the thing. I made a commitment to follow the No Spend Year, and this would be in direct violation of that. It is most definitely a want. In no way, shape, or form would this be considered a need. I also told myself that I would spend any extra income I managed to generate this year toward paying off my debt faster.
Part of me feels as though I deserve this small reward, but the rest of me recognizes that that phrase, I deserve it, for what it is: a sense of entitlement. This is problematic to me, because feeling entitled is what got me into a mess of credit card debt in the first place. I must stay diligent because, although I know better now and have no desire to return to that place, I feel as though it could easily happen again. Feeling entitled could also easily lead me to spend money that is better spent paying off my debt.
It’s also worth noting that I did treat myself. One luxury I refuse to give up is having well-manicured nails. While I have foregone the expensive salon treatments (which, to be fair, I always knew were a waste of my money), I used a portion of my additional income to invest in an at-home gel manicure kit and a variety of polishes. I now maintain my nails entirely by myself. This not only keeps money in my bank account, but also gives me a greater sense of pride. I cannot believe I ever wasted so much on something I can do just as well on my own! (For reference, a gel manicure at a salon costs around $40 including tip where I live, while I can do my own for $5 and that cost will actually decrease over time.)
I’m leaning heavily toward getting the clothes I want, despite feeling disappointed in my weakness so early on in my spending fast. The good news though is that no matter what I decide, I am making conscious decisions with my money. I am fully aware of my actions and their consequences.