No spending challenge: The final update

Hello, all. It's been approximately two months since I started my 'No spending' challenge. The goal of the challenge was to really get to know me, my spending habits, and how easy/difficult it would be to only buy the bare essentials (toiletries and food) plus a little for charity and experiences. The challenge was originally set at four months, June through October, but I have decided to shorten it to two, for two specific reasons. Firstly, it's a bit boring to write four articles that for the most part, would end up looking similar and I'm sure you would find it just as boring reading them as I would writing them. The Second reason is the thing I want to discuss today as I feel that this has improved the way I view my financial resources, and that is the power of saying no!.  

When I started the challenge on June 14th, I was quite alarmed by how easy I acclimatized to my new habit. It didn't make me not want stuff, being a minimalist will not stop you wanting that cool new phone or games console. What minimalism does do is add a bit of mental friction into the buying process. Instead of automatically buying, you question whether that thing will A) Add value, B) Bring pleasure. Is there a place in your life for that thing?. Most of the time there is not. But with the challenge, the answer had to be no to everything except those things that I could buy. As a reminder, here are the things I could buy.          

  • Consumables (Food + Toiletries) 
  • Experiences (Theatre + Books + Holiday's + Eating out + Movies)
  • Regular bills (Rent + Gym + Spotify + Web hosting + Haircuts + Travel)

My lifestyle will differ from most, so some things are specific. I love to travel, so paying for that is derive immense value from, and I love the theater. So, if I happened to be in a game store and saw a brand new PS4 pro, I would say "That's cool, but no! I can't get it". It's not that I don't have the money, I do, it's more about not actually needing it. You may think that my chosen acceptable things are a bit extravagant, like holidays and the theater, but it's important to point out that my goal was not to deprive myself of the things I like, but instead, to intentionally focus my resources on those things; eliminating everything else by simply say, No!.

I have been keeping track of every expense since June 14th ( beginning of challenge) up until now, and I haven't broken the rule at all. There have been things that I wanted, but I said no, knowing that it wasn't necessary. For example, the new Converse flynit sneakers, the Xbox one X. I can't say I will never get these things if there is a place in my life for them, but that is a decision for another day. Having taken this message of 'No' to heart, I feel I can bring this challenge to an acceptable end. It is these experiments and challenges that allow us to learn more about ourselves and our drives. It's a challenge that I'm glad I implemented and one I have learned from.