For the past three months, Micah and I did not make any purchases except for things we needed for survival. We limited ourselves to groceries, basic home supplies, or replacing personal care products that run out (such as shampoo).
You might think this sounds crazy, or maybe this sounds like your usual mode of operation. We aren’t big shoppers, but we were intrigued to try an experiment like this for a while because:
- We were curious to see what will happen to our budget
- We wanted a real life test of how much $$ we REALLY need to survive
- We (and by that I really mean me) are learning to embrace minimalism more and more and not buying anything for three months seemed like a good way to jump start this new way of looking at our life
We kicked the quarter off with doing a thorough evaluation of our budget, and then trying to limit time in stores as much as possible. We started ordering all our groceries online, our personal + home product needs were already covered since we get everything from Young Living online, and if there was anything else we absolutely needed (think dog food and such) we used Amazon.
Disclaimer: We did make an exception on Micah’s birthday.
Well friends, the quarter is almost over, so here’s a round up of what I’ve learned.
Not spending money is not as scary as it seems
Looking back, this whole experiment was the scariest before it actually began. Going into this quarter, I was more than a little terrified. I had never tried to do anything like this before, even the idea of budgeting was strange, alien and extremely stressful to me (little did I know how much freedom there is in all of it!).
Once the new year rolled around, and my mind was already set that this is what I’m doing, I didn’t give it a second thought.
You gain A LOT of time
Turns out that endless browsing, online shopping, delivery scheduling, just quickly popping into stores and all the rest takes up a substantial amount of time.
It also occupies a massive part of your brain.
When you remove the possibility of any shopping happening in the next three months, you will find that you suddenly have a lot of extra brain space..
I don’t actually need at least 50% of what I buy
Not being able to buy any new clothes (or anything else than what’s needed for survival) really makes you think about what you need in life and what you can go without.
Not being able to buy anything doesn’t mean you can’t put things in your Amazon cart, right?! Well, 99% of the time, I would come back to that cart a week later and delete everything I had previously added to it, simply because I came to realize that I don’t actually need any of it.
Quality over quantity
During this experiment, I realized that I would rather buy something I really love, get the most out of it and only have to buy it that one time, as opposed to buying something I kinda sorta liked, therefore not using it as much, getting rid of it 6 months later only to replace it with a similarly redundant item next season.
Not spending any money also made me realize I have much more of it than I previously thought… if I don’t let it leak out by impulsive purchases and the like.
Spending money & purchasing new things is a joy that you should indulge in responsibly
For years, I would mentally chastise myself after spending any money at all. I had an impossible standard for myself, where the goal was always to spend as little money as possible. Yes, ridiculous I know.
Well, not being ALLOWED to spend any money, made me realize that this is not how a happy life is built.
Beautiful clothes, furniture and other items were put on this Earth for humans to enjoy them. But just like with any gift that we’ve been given, how you manage it is the most important part.
I’m not saying that you should become a shopaholic or that you can’t live a happy life without shopping. But if beautiful things bring you joy, then this is something that you should indulge in, with moderation. The same applies to alcohol, ice-cream, cookies or whatever else brings you joy.
You were made to feel, experience, give and receive joy.
There you have it. We loved our non-spending quarter experiment and maybe, just maybe… I might be convinced to do something like this on a recurring basis.0