No Spend in January

Hi guys, nice to see you here. I’m a little late for the monthly update. I was just very busy living life, which always comes first in my household. It makes me a horrible blogger, I know. But now we’re here, you probably want to know how my first month of #nobuy went. You probably already got a glimpse after the first week when I posted about it, but what’s a week worth, right?

I won’t post a day by day update as I did after the first week. It makes more sense to give you an overall summary. Since I budget the hack out of my money, I know exactly what impact the #nobuy had on my budget. So that is what I’m going to show you.

Spending

What you see is a an overview of my spending during the last twelve months. Orange is all related to housing. Purple is all wants including entertainment. The rest is other random essentials like insurances, taxes, transportation and such. As you can see, I still have some spending in the wants category. These are not fails, these are activities that fall within my entertainment allowance.

What catched my eye?

I’m European and Europeans don’t share their financials details as much as Americans do. Therefore, I won’t share too much details in numbers, think in hundreds. I also think it isn’t necessary in order to show the impact of the #nobuy: The impact of a third. My spending went down about a third of my previous spending. A third! To be honest. I was shocked. I feel like I was a hypocrite minimalist. Or, maybe I wasn’t even a minimalist at all.

The statistics of one year spending could do all the work for this post. But I also think it’s necessary to do deep dive into what seemd to make me a bad minimalist. I looked at my spending habits over the past year more closely to see if I’m really as bad at minimalism as I got the impression of. The answer is no.

There is something else going on.

The money saved in January is less than what my jacket had cost me last year. Yes, it’s a very expensive jacket. Nevertheless, the jacket is worth every penny as I can wear it all year-long no matter what the weather forecast says. It’s my only jacket that I wear every day. The money was spend very wisely. Based on the minimalism principles that jacket is a winner.

The reason why my spending went down so much was not because I’m bad at minimalism. It was something else. See, with minimalism you switch from mindless spending to intentional spending. But minimalists still spend and things aren’t necessarily cheap when these well thought through things have to meet all your wishes.

Also, and maybe even more important is that defining a need is tricky because it’s personal. It’s subjective. With any item in the world you can make yourself believe that this particular item is a necessity. You can always decide that some random item is either useful it or brings you joy. There is no one out there that can decide that for you. What you think is a need is not based on general objectives. You can be a hoarder thinking you are a minimalist. You can be a big spender, thinking you are a minimalist. You can be a prepper, thinking you are a minimalist. And you are as long as you convince yourself that all the extra stuff adds value to your life.

What you define as a need depends on your standards.

I could have kept my old worn out jacket that never kept me warm for an extra year to get me through winter and wear a trash bag when it would have rained. I would not think of it. I could have lived with one pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a jacket and one pair of shoes. I would not think of it. I could have started running instead of buying expensive inline skates. I would not think of it.

There are so many luxuries we, in western society, think are needs while in fact they aren’t. So the lesson learned is that as a minimalist you get rid of the unnecessary wants. When doing a #nobuy you lower your expectations. Guess what?

Having no expectations doesn’t lead to deprivation and disappointments. Having expectations does.

The less expectations you have, the happier you will be. Lowering your expectations, however, is a pain. That’s why this month felt like a year. It felt like a huge accomplishment. Which is absolutely ridiculous. As if not buying shit in a month is hard!? Well, you might have experienced once yourself, it is hard when spending is the only thing you know and see in a material world. You expect to be able to spend it all and you are expected to do so. Not meeting these expectations leed to fomo and similar bad feelings.

I still had moments when my inner child cried like a baby for wanting unnecessary stuff. Stuff I would have transformed into needs or add-values if I wasn’t on a #nobuy. Things I expected to add extra value to my life. That inner child is a spoiled brat. My minimalist version managed to make her shut up every time drama joined the scenery. Like, once during the month, I entered a fast fashion clothing shop convinced that I finally became immune for such crap. Then, there it was. The most gorgeous pair of trowsers on sale for just €6. Spending that less would not even count, right? Wrong. I walked around the shop for about 30 minutes just to remind myself that it’s about the not spending instead of the amount of money. “Staying strong will be rewarding” I promised myself.

Now think of what happened that day a little longer. I spent 30 minutes deciding whether I need a piece of crap I didn’t need two seconds earlier. 30 minutes spent puzzling over something I didn’t even know existed. 30 minutes racking my brains about a new item I had several of. Four to be exact. “Off course you don’t need it! Go get a life! Do something useful with your spare time on this planet!” After some tough love, I put the pair of trousers back and left. No regrets were created.

Same happened when shopping at the online Nike store, the Fair Trade shop, the book store. It even happened in the health shop. FYI: The good shops are the worst, actually. It’s easier to justify good buys than bad. Anyhow, I know I could stay out of the shops but, as said, getting rid of habits is a pain. Plus, avoiding places that are tricky is not the solution. You need to face your weaknesses.

Did I fail during the first months?

I’m happy to announce that I didn’t spend money on crap and I didn’t overspend! And it feels like I need to win an award for it. 1 month down, 11 more to go. Let’s stop the brainwashing!

Are you doing a #nobuy? If so, what are your thoughts of it? I would love t know.

 

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