A Self-Imposed Spending Ban

Hello again! It’s only the 4th day of January and I’m back to share a bit more with you. I know I talked about some 2016 goals but there’s one I wanted to mention because sharing it will help with accountability.

Last year I read a book called The Year Without a Purchase by Scott Dannemiller which talked about one family’s journey to refocus on the important things in life (relationships, family and service). They had rules about what could be purchased – consumables, mainly, and experiential gifts (since this covered family and/or relationships).

A friend of mine mentioned a book she’d read called Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup whose focus is on living purposefully. Apparently some months she challenges readers and herself to spend zero (though I haven’t looked into it to see if it means literally no money out) for a month.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my spending. I don’t necessarily overspend (we stay within our monthly income) but I haven’t been doing a great job of purposefully saving and I think it is because I have not been as diligent with monitoring non-essential purchases.

I think if I considered purchases in terms of whether it was more important than saving for a short- or long-term goal, it would help me to choose the goal over the immediate gratification. I know that I am able to delay gratification, but it helps to have a specific goal or purpose in mind.

So I thought it would be helpful to me to not spend extra money in the month of January. It would help me to see how much “extra” money we really do have after bills and help us to set reasonable timelines for future, larger purchases.

I thought it would also help me to keep track of items I am tempted to buy this month that are not necessities. I can reassess in February if they are still important enough to spend money on or if they were passing fancies.

I’m kind of excited but also a little nervous. I mentioned this goal to a friend and she said she was doing the same thing but had already decided to not buy extras all year. It’s nice to know I have someone to keep me company on this journey. She asked my thoughts on eating out. I have not made a set decision on here. I think if it’s eating out to catch up with friends that’s not terrible. Generally our family doesn’t eat out or do take out more than once per week, though I’m sure to others that may be extravagant. So I’m on the fence still here and we’ll see what happens I guess. When we have a meal plan in place each week that generally prevents us from phoning it in (which is usually on the weekends).

I’m curious to know if anyone else has ever done something like this. If so, what were your rules? How did you do?

Also, feel free to ask me how it’s going. It’ll help me stay on track!


2 thoughts on “A Self-Imposed Spending Ban

  1. Yay!!

    When we did living well spending zero in October, we did nothing extra and I ate from my fridge, freezer, and pantry. If I needed 1-2 times to supplement a meal, I purchased it. We also needed milk, veggies etc. I believe she allows $20 or so a week for those items. You continue to pay bills obviously but we didn't purchase from target, Amazon or anywhere else. No Starbucks unless it was a gift card we already had and no eating out. It was super fun. She recommends doing it 4xs a year although we do well to do it twice a year!

    I can't wait to read the first book!


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