Intentional & Minimal | The No Spend Challenge I Want To Take On This Year

If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough…On one level, we all know this stuff already…The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.
— David Foster Wallace

Intention. Mindfulness. Freedom. Gratitude. These are words that have been lingering softly against the inner corners of my mind since 2019 started. Words I want to embody as the beginning of this new year unravels. The world moves quickly. Always rushing, thinking less, going with whatever gets put in front of us, living the way we are taught. Living by advertisements and anecdotes and being slaves to money and things and objects.

Shopping isn’t on my list of hobbies. I think I want something until I get into a store, try something on, remind myself I have enough clothes at home, and then leave. Same goes with home decor and beauty products. Many people make jokes about not being able to enter Target empty-handed but one of my skills is being able to walk in and come out with nothing.

Fast fashion is fleeting. Popular trends come and go in waves. Home decor changes with the seasons. Marketing makes us think we need things we don’t. I keep on my toes so I don’t fall into that trap but it can be hard. Knowing psychology and how marketing works makes things easier and I’m grateful to understand where my desires stem from. It’s often misplaced and I want experience over things. My house is cozy, my closet is full, my bookshelves are stacked.

We don’t need more things.

When I vowed to working towards a minimalist lifestyle, buying less naturally came with it. My goal is to go 30 days without buying any new, non-essential items. For me, it’s achievable since I’ve been able to go long periods of time without buying new and try to always thrift first. Lately, I’ve been finding my closet dull and boring since I’m so used to everything. Instead of buying something new, I’m challenging myself to play around with the pieces I have and create completely new outfits. My closet is diverse and it’s time I start working with it rather than against it.

I’ve seen people set their goal to an entire year. However, I think it’s more achievable to start small and work towards a larger goal on a month-by-month basis. Starting with 30 days is a small and achievable beginning goal. It’s not too overwhelming and will give better insight into spending habits to decide if you want to continue the no-spend challenge.

Disciplining ourselves in our habits is how we create more mindful, grateful, and intentional lives and can replace them with better habits.

Reasons for a No Spend Challenge

  1. Minimalism

    Minimalism is about intention, improvement, purpose, and simplicity. It’s not only external, but internal as well. The no-spend challenge doesn’t bring anything unnecessary into our home and allows us to be more intentional in our mindset.

  2. Produce less waste

    The amount of waste that comes with what we buy is huge. By limiting what we buy, we also limit our waste in packaging.

  3. Budgeting & Finance

    If you’re in debt, looking to save for something, want to become better at budgeting, or have an understanding of your family’s spending habits, a no-spend challenge can bring you better responsibility with your money.

  4. Self-control & discipline

    Saying no to impulsive desires isn’t an easy task in our culture desperate for us to consume. This challenge is not only for physical purposes, but to improve our internal selves.

  5. Awareness & Understanding

    Focusing on our life habits and understanding where we spend our money and why gives us the opportunity to change and reset our habits into new ones.

  6. Immunity to marketing

    Saying no to marketing brings the power back to us. Not many people are aware of how marketing affects us and in how many different ways it affects us. Life has become an abundance of advertisements and it can be tricky to navigate it.

  7. Freedom

    Self-control, self-discipline, letting go of impulsive habits, being aware of our habits, being immune to advertising is all freedom from the modern world which is busy, impulsive, manipulative, and constantly yelling at us to buy things. No spend reminds us to be aware, intentional, and free.

Rules

These are my rules and they may vary slightly for yourself.

  • No shopping for clothes or accessories. I have a full closet, enough shoes, and enough accessories.

  • No buying new make-up products, hair products, or skincare products until I’ve used something up entirely. I have everything I need and then some.

  • No buying unnecessary media. I have books I need to read in my home already + I can borrow from a friend or from the library.

  • Create a weekly budget and meal plan for groceries. Use what’s in the pantry.

  • Personal grooming will be limited to dying my hair only.

  • Limit one coffee date outside the home

  • My exceptions are: school supplies I don’t already have (i.e. textbooks & a new notebook), travel fares (i.e. gas for trips), activities for my son, bills & groceries (these obviously need to be paid, however, I am considering giving up my amazon prime & adobe monthly subscriptions), and gifts for people.

examples of non-essentials

  1. Clothes

  2. Coffee outside the home

  3. Take-out/going out to eat

  4. Beauty products

  5. New technology

& many more!

A no-spend challenge helps reorganize our lifestyle habits into better ones. Living with intention welcomes more wholesome experiences into our lives. Most purchases I’ve wanted to buy and have chosen not to buy has left my memory very quick. I hope you’ll join me in a little self-discipline, intention, and mindfulness.

Do you think you could do a no-spend challenge? Have you done one before?