No spend November has been a struggle, but in a good way since I am aware of how I spend and why I spend my hard earned cash.
I am one of those people that if I have easy access to something, I remember it, but if I hide something away or keep it one to two steps away from accessing, most of the time I forget it. What is it I'm forgetting? Everything. For instance, if I keep a storage bin behind closet doors I am far less likely to go through it and donate/sell the items compared to if I leave in the middle of my bedroom. The closet doors give me an extra step that may not be too much effort for some but is enough for me to push off getting that bin and doing something with it.
The same rule applies to my money.
A month ago I put a silicone pocket on the back of my phone case to hold my licensee, credit card, and two other things. In theory this is great because everything is in one convenient place - too convenient of a place.
Before the pocket, whenever I was window shopping on my phone and would test out if a coupon worked I would not have my credit card in reach (because I never save my credit card information online) so to actually complete a transaction I would have to go downstairs to grab my purse, or sometimes to my car. There has never once been an item online I desperately needed enough to go to my car for credit card info. Therefore impulse buys were never an issue, until now.
Essentially the silicone pocket does not prevent the impulse buys since my cards are technically always in my hand (if my phone is in my hand). So why not take the pocket off, or not have my credit card with me? Since I am so forgetful in the short term I want to make sure I have it on my for groceries, but that reasoning is starting to have less weight now that I noticed my spending habits with this phone pocket.
On the plus side the set it and forget it rule works wonders when using it for savings. One site that works off the same principle, called Digit, calculates an amount per week that it determines I won't miss and places it into an out of sight out of mind savings account. If you sign up through a friend your friend automatically gets five bucks, so if you want to start saving sign up today through my personal link.
Money spending is a science, it just needs to be broken down into mini pieces and handled that way for any progress to grow. Don't make your money easy to access and it'll have time to accumulate into an emergency fund, or whatever you need.
Digit is a free texting-based service, so it always keeps you up to date on your automatic savings.
If you know me you know I love a deal, and boy oh boy the deal I found could not be topped by any other part of the wedding. David's Bridal dress on sale – $99 (originally $550) My Maid of Honor's dress was the same price as mine - unreal.
Sometimes finding the deal takes a lot of planning, thought, and research, but for me I threw out all I wanted in a dress (ivory, short, has pockets, like the picture on the right) for this dress that happened to be on sale that I could not stop petting. Did you know that was a thing? If you pet your dress (like a cat or dog) that's a good sign. Let's just say it was soft (organza anyone?) and it was mine the same day.
Sadly this post will not have any pictures of the dress since I'm going to try my hardest to keep it a secret from the groom. Let's just say, I rock it, and you'll see me rock it in April.
This was the vision I had in my head – I went with the complete opposite look
I wish this post would be filled with phrases like "I'm doing it! Haven't spent a single cent! I could throw out my credit cards!"
Alas, those would be lies. I was tempted by the major post-Halloween candy sales, and seduced by deals on Christmas gifts that I could not pass up on.
Where to go from here
Not spending for an entire month is completely possible, but I didn't do it. Instead I am taking this month as a training month; a month where I can feel out where the holes in my metaphorical bucket of money are and I can move forward knowing how to stop the leaks.
One major leak is weekends. I have been able to not spend a dime during the week, but once the weekend hits, I go grocery shopping, and then hit one or two stores up for their promotions.
Another leak is online shopping. One way to reduce the easiness of online spending is not saving your credit card information in those accounts. Another is to unsubscribe from the email lists. I was doing really well at that until I bought some luggage (60% off, and since I've never had official "I'm-an-adult" luggage, felt it is a long-term purchase that will be used for the next decade or two, or more!) and those Christmas gifts from sites that are sending me promo emails up the wazzoo. Look through your email and instead of trashing tons of store emails/newsletters, just unsubscribe by finding the link at the bottom of the email. If there is no unsubscribe option they breaking the law and should be reprimanded – you have the right to opt out.
Lastly I plan on making homemake baked goods and upcycling other items I own for Christmas gifts this year and next. Then my hard-earned cash can be put towards retirement, and student loan debt instead of items that will sit in the back of someone's closet for years.
How do you try to save? Any homemade holiday gifts you love making? Let me know in the comments below.
What a challenge it has been.
Every store email has a link to unsubscribe at the bottom of it. It is unlawful for them not to. Click it and be free of pesky marketing!