Does anyone feel like they just finished the Boston Marathon? Or just finished reading The Iliad? However grueling it was for you, I hope you are all undeniably proud of yourselves for making it an entire week spending ZERO DINERO! For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, we just completed our first (yes, you heard me) week-long spending freeze challenge, as part of our Focus on Finances month. But before I recap how my spending freeze week went, I must introduce our next week-long challenge…ooooh and it's a goodie…
The “Say no to 7” Challenge!
First off, if anyone has been following along on the calendar for the month, you'll notice it said “say no to 3” originally. I'm updating it because seeing how well everyone did on the spending freeze, three is just waaaaay too simple!
The basics to the “Say no to 7” challenge is to do just as it says…say no to 7 things this week (at least one thing per DAY) that you want to buy, but put back and say “no!” to instead!
It could be as simple as putting back an item at the register at the grocery store, saying no to the cute shirt on clearance that you want but don't need, or finding an ingredient substitute for a recipe that you have at home rather than running to the store for the ingredient you're missing (…and walking out with $50 in other things…). Read more about the challenge rules below.
With the spending freeze challenge I wanted all of us to learn/prove to ourselves by experience that we don't HAVE to run to the store and spend money any time we need something. We can get resourceful, creative, use what we have, borrow, or just plain go without. And guess what?… It didn't kill a single person! (Trust me, I would've heard.)
This week I wanted to give us all a challenge that would piggy-back the last one. To help us avoid the “Wheew! The spending freeze is over, now I can go SHOPPING, baby!”, make-up-for-lost-time, Supermarket Sweep race-to-the-finish shopping spree (remember that show??).
Here are the rules to the challenge:
- Every day for one week (Jan 12 – 18, or whatever 7-day window you choose), make a conscious effort to PASS on at least one expense per day that you want – but don't HAVE to – spend money on.
- Try to push yourself! Get out of your comfort zone!
- Try to grow from it. The purpose of this challenge is not to make you suffer, and show that frugality is all about giving things up (because it's NOT!), rather it's to show us that we don't have to indulge ourselves in 100% of the things we want to buy, all the time. It's ok to say no! Sometimes it's even pretty easy!
At the end of the day it's the slow and steady, simple conscious decisions – not accidental or impulsive ones – that lead us to incredible lives; being able to do more, have more, and live more than you ever thought possible (regardless of how much money you make).
So join in this month!
Remember to post pictures of the things you're saying NO to this week. Instagram has been an incredible support group, we're having a rip-roaring time over there! Facebook has also been a great place to share ideas and make new friends. So stop on by, and be sure to use the hashtag #FocusOnFinances for a chance to win $100 from TenCap coaching this month!
Now, as for my spending freeze review…
I loved it. It felt good. It simplified my life. It kept me home – which actually led to #HurricaneHilda completely taking over my life (go to Instagram to learn who the heck Hilda is) but it was ok because with FBC only a few days away, I really really needed to be home to get stuff done anyway. I focused more on playing with my kids, rather than taking them to a play place or going to Costco to “get them out of the house” when they're bored. And, of course, it saved us $190 (or weekly budget for everything) which will go straight to savings, since our debt (except our house) is paid off.
To be completely 100% honest, the challenge wasn't too tough for me. It took lots of organization and planning ahead, and even some shuffling and rearranging, sure. But the sting, hurt, and angst over saying “no” and not buying things I wanted to buy isn't part of my life like it was before my “aha!”, pivot-point moment of my life where I decided to stop getting by, and start getting ahead.
I've learned that it's easy to say no to big stuff. “No, we shouldn't spend $10K going to Hawaii this year. Maybe next year.” “No, we can't buy a new car.” “No, let's not buy the boat right now.” But it's the trips to target…the excessive grocery shopping…the eating out…the “I'll just go to such and such store and just look around” (and end up buying $50+ worth of stuff) errands…the drive-throughs…the full-price movie + snack + drink every friday night that are hardest to say no to…
…but those are the “no's” that will change your life at the end of the day.
I hope you all participate in the “Say No To 7” Challenge this week, follow on Instagram and Facebook to play along. Love you all!
P.S I have no idea where the “comfort zone” pic is from, email me if you know where credit goes!