Monday, January 18, 2016

No Spend and Empty the Cupboard-Two Strategies



There are lots of posts on folks doing no spend months for January.  I've also seen challenges for limiting spending to a certain amount, usually $10-$20 for the week. Sluggy over at Don't Read This, It's Boring posted a thoughtful reflection Why I Don't Do Spending Fasts. I equate her philosophy to a crash diet-all or nothing, usually resulting in no long term change of behavior. I've watched Penny Golightly empty her pantry, eliminating a lot of waste, her challenge to herself. She recapped her experience in a post from October, Empty the Store Cupboard Challenge-The Roundup, and links to the starting spot.

As in most things, I find balance works for me, with no absolutes or rules.I couldn't deny myself from spending for a certain amount of time, whether that is a week, a month, or as some are trying to do, a year, without feeling stressed and off kilter. My life just is not that orderly. Even if as Sluggy suggests people with no spend months often do, I just stockpile and spend the month preceding, resulting in no real savings, I would run out of some essential that I didn't plan well enough for, or misplace it in a long forgotten storage space. What could work for me, at least I feel determined in 2016 to make it work for me, is to modify little by little how I shop, spend, and consume, eliminating as much waste in food, clothing, utilities as I can.

I'll buy two new pairs of tights that are needed, second pair at half price so I can look presentable at work, and stay warm, but I won't buy six pairs. I'll take better care of the two new pairs, hand washing with the other items I hand wash, rather than lazily throwing in the washing machine. I'll more intentionally plan leftovers as part of the next night or two's meal, rather than treat them as an afterthought that may or may not get eaten.This is my biggest angst in the money and consumerism area-food waste is still too high in my house. I'll concentrate on the little things, the short game, in both reducing my spending on things of little to no value, and  use up and take better care of what I already have. I'll intentionally leave my money safely tucked in my wallet or better yet, at home when I go somewhere with no need to purchase anything, discouraging impulse spending, resulting in no spend days naturally. When I do spend, I'll work to stick to an overall budget over time, not passing up a good buy for a need, or to stock up reasonably. At least, this is my strategy in 2016. Where do you land on the no spend-stock-up strategies?

8 comments:

  1. I'm blessed, right now I'm having a problem with very full cabinets. I tend to be a minimalist so I want to donate a lot. We are trying to eat down the pile. It seems that every time I restrict myself I lose all control. If its a diet or money, I have to take a calm attitude.
    I can't do no spend anythings. Because every time that I tried this, I saw something that we needed cheap and then I see myself as a failure. Why set yourself up for that?

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    1. I have odd cupboards right now-full, but missing some basics, and odd items that I don;t recall buying. (2 packages of ice cream making mix?) We are keeping leftovers in check pretty well this weekend, and I sketched out some plans that hopefully keep us eating down what is already here, and buying the essentials until I can feel more organized. I agree-no need to set ourselves up for stress, but if it works for others, good for them.

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  2. I'm not very good at outright bans on things either - moderating and reducing always seems better for me than aiming for absolutes. That said, I did challenge myself a few years back to buy nothing new for myself for a year (gifts for others were allowed, but anything for me had to be secondhand) and I achieved that with such ease, it's a way of life now.
    Good luck following your strategy this year! xxx

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    1. As I would like to be a size or even two smaller in the coming months, I am probably not going to buy any new clothes either, other than undergarment, socks, tights that need replacing. Realistically, I have more clothes than I wear or need anyway, even though things are not fitting great because of the dozen pounds I've put on in the last year-first things first to get those off and feel good about the clothes I already have. I do plan to invest more time once I resume replenishing my wardrobe in more classic pieces, and vintage-things that will better stand the test of time, and buy fewer pieces.

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  3. A year or so ago I had a no grocery buying for 1 month personal challenge. I did it primarily because my pantry and freezer was out of control and I needed to use what we had rather than buying new. I am not sure another challenge i not in order. Even though I am not as overloaded as I was then, I still have many things that need to be consumed before I buy more.

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    1. Perhaps combing strategies, with my own terms of flexibility, for shorter periods of time is a good strategy for me as well. I'd like to do a better job planning out and executing said meal plan.DD#2 wants to help in the kitchen more, and if she knows ahead what to do, that will help her build skills and keep us all organized.

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  4. I'm trying to empty the freezer at the moment of all the yellow sticker reduced items that I bought over Christmas. It'll keep me going for some time! x

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    1. We just don't get the reductions you in the UK get but I would be tempted to really stock up if sa some of the 90% savings I've seen posted. Forced variety as well since hit or miss whats available it seems.

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