There are many savings and no spend challenges available on the internet to help you reign in your spending, get out of debt, build an emergency fund, and up your game to reach financial independence.
Check these out for example:
– David’s, Zero Day Challenge
– Jaime’s, 52 Week Money Challenge
– Nicole’s, Fun Saving Money Challenges for 2018
These challenges can motivate you and give guidance where needed. They’re useful resources for those just starting out or for when you need a bit of inspiration.
While I’ve personally not participated in these, we’ve worked hard at simplifying our life, minimizing our spending on stuff, and boosting our savings. Every time J$ urges us to increase our donating or savings I do that though. Hmm, the power of the Mohawk maybe?
Recently my friend, The Happy Philosopher, posted this article, New Experiment: Buy Nothing for 1 Year, proclaiming:
HP’s Parameters and Plan
Parameters? Yep. He’s got “exceptions and disclaimers” (condensed below) as well as a plan.
- He’ll buy himself no “stuff” this year.
- Anything consumable or related to hygiene or household products doesn’t count.
- He’ll maintain or repair what he already owns.
- Replacement items are allowed.
- Experiences don’t count.
- Virtual stuff: This is a gray area. A DVD is certainly not allowed, but what about Netflix or eBooks? He has Netflix and a couple of other subscriptions and won’t count those, but will disclose any new ones, and explain them.
- Gifting: It’s still stuff. If he gives away something consumable (food, wine) or even flowers, it won’t count.
- Greeting cards not allowed.
- Borrowing allowed.
- Renting tools and other stuff is allowed.
- Animals, the jury is still out.
- Gifts: Not allowed to accept. Exception if it is something like a free tee shirt from a race – but he’ll eliminate TWO items just like it for every one item he takes in.
- Home improvement: Ok if it is a necessary repair.
My initial thoughts were along the line of I already do something like this, just move along. But at the bottom of his post, HP shares his plan and welcomes others to join him or share their experiences:
“I will publish an update every month or two so you can follow my progress. Anything that is not clearly food or obvious “grocery store stuff” I will disclose. I will tell you why I got it, why I feel it is or is not justified by one of the above categories, and you can be the judge.
I’m not sure where my/our pain points will be quite honest, but it will be a fun project. If you want to join me, I would love the company. If you have ever done anything like this tell me about your experiences in the comments.” ~ The Happy Philosopher
Own Less Stuff, Produce Less Waste, Save More Money
Originally, I thought I’d just share some of my experiences. Like how we make charitable donations, give financial gifts, or provide concert tickets or movie passes instead of stuff for presents. Or I’d share our clothing expenses from last year.
Of the $527.76 spent on clothing and shoes, only the $74.19 were true expenses for me. New shoes for FinCon, because holes. The purchases made on 5/27/17 were for some replacement shorts for my husband and special-occasion items for my daughter and son-in-law, spurning this post on saving money by stopping shopping.
But now I’ve decided to join along too. Why? Because HP’s experiment isn’t about spending less or saving more. It’s about interrupting the automatic desire to consume. And to be more “mindful of every purchase.” I invite you to read his original experiment for more context.
While I believe John and I do a decent job of this already, I know we’re not perfect. And we’re still guilty of too much waste – plastic food containers, tea bags, and the occasional water bottle or K-cup – sorry!
As we continue the elimination of ‘stuff’ from our home – really, Amy, 18 Santa Bears? – I’m dreadfully aware of the additional junk/trash we are contributing to the planet.
And so I’m going to be more mindful of every purchase from not only a ‘less stuff’ point of view, but also from a ‘less waste’ perspective this year.
I’ll continue my usual buy nothing ways, only replacing items that break or wear out. With the standard and replacement purchases that we do make I’ll work towards less plastic, less cardboard, less paper, etc.
This will take some advanced planning to ensure thing like the reusable shopping bags are always in the car, water bottles are filled for road trips, and food scraps end up in the compost pile.
Like HP, I’ll publish updates throughout the year. I welcome your participation too.
Will you join us?
Join at any time. No need to wait for a new month or a new year, just start today. No hard rules, no grand expectations, and no judging (unless you want that!). Just an invitation to be more mindful of what you bring into your life by and a request to pay attention to the waste.
Bloggers joining in thus far:
- Happy Philosopher
- Dads Dollars Debts
- Countdown To Tranquility
- Dr. McFrugal
- Buy Nothing 2018
- Smart FI
- Kiwi and Keweenaw
(You don’t need to be a blogger to join!)
Journal your progress and share it via a comment on one of our updates, an article on your own site, a guest post here or on another blogger’s site, or shoot me an email. I’d love to cheer you on!
Related Post – Not A Sacrifice If You Don’t Value It (And So What Anyway)
Have you done a similar experiment before? Any tips for less waste? Please, let us know in the comments below!