This is the seventh day of my 28 Days of Spending Zero Challenge. To read all the posts in order, start with Day One or visit the Overview Page.
You’ve already made it an entire week! Can you believe it? Today as part of our journey we’re going to evaluate where we’ve been, and I’ll share my personal No Spending Mantra to help you internalize even more ‘you have everything you need.’
What was the biggest challenge for you? What was the biggest lesson you learned?
The very first time I took on a spending freeze challenge, I have to admit that I questioned my sanity a little bit. I wondered if I depriving myself was a smart idea or would it catapult me into a shopping frenzy. I questioned whether or not I would be able to make it an entire month.
Being on a spending freeze is hard. Sometimes you feel like it’s too restrictive (which, let’s be honest, it is)—or just plain crazy, especially when your friends or family members question it, laugh at you, or try to break you with temptations. What I’ve come to realize is those same family members and friends probably need a No Spend Challenge more than you do! Keep your chin up and just ignore them. Or better yet, invite them to join you to see for themselves how much they can learn and grow from the experience.
The fact is, A No Spend challenge is a little extreme, and that’s okay. Sometimes a dose of extreme (just like that healthy dose of disgust) is exactly what we need to gain a deeper appreciation for what we do have. Going a month without spending is definitely a growth experience.
When I did my first challenge, I suffered through what seemed like endless days of eating peanut butter and jelly and not much else. A few days into the challenge I was yelling at myself, proclaiming, ‘alright, I get it now I know what the difference is between a want and a need.’
It was starting to click for me. All the things I thought I understood I was understanding at an even deeper level. And I was modeling this great behavior for my daughter too in the hopes it would rub off on her somehow.
As uncomfortable as it may have been, I realized that Week 1—with all of its bumps and snags and weird meals was a success! I was learning to appreciate what I already had at the deepest level, and it was amazing.
Several years ago, I came up with a personal mantra I use that helps me to keep on track with my understanding of wants and needs. I use this mantra when I’m in a store and feel the urge to spend recklessly. It’s helped me immensely. Sometimes when I say it, I feel almost like I’m praying for the strength I need to stand firm in my commitment to keep my spending under control.
I share it with you in the hopes it helps you on this No Spend Challenge and beyond.
“I happily refrain from spending because I have everything I need and nothing I want.”
Print it out, laminate it carry it around with you or and frame it and put it somewhere you can see it regularly. Say it with heartfelt intent and when you need the resolve not to spend money. Over time your head and your heart will catch up with one another, and you’ll start to see the magic in saying these words.
Time for Reflection
And now’s the time for your reflections on the week. Take a few moments today and write down your observations. What’s been the biggest challenge in spending nothing? What surprised you? What would you do differently next time or in the future?
You may also want to ponder for a minute on the state of your finances. How much have you saved this week, compared to similar weeks in the past? Give yourself kudos if you managed to refrain from that fancy coffee drink or pass up a trip to the store.
Whatever lessons you take away from this week, now’s the time to write them down and keep track. Be honest with yourself about your successes and struggles.
I’ve even included a worksheet to help you document your journey! Download it here!