Welcome to the first full week of No Buy February! The goal is to not spend money this month on anything that is a non-essential. But whether or not you’ve decided to take on this challenge with me, sticking to a budget is always important.
We all know we should be fiscally responsible, but actually doing it is much harder. So, here is a list of seven things you can do to stay on budget or stick to the No Buy February challenge.
How many emails do you receive each day? And how many of those emails are actually relevant to your life? I’d say about 95% of the emails I receive on my personal account each day are from someone trying to sell me something. And the temptation they create is very real.
If the idea of unsubscribing from all of these mailing lists is too overwhelming, start small. Take an inventory of all the emails you receive and if you haven’t purchased anything from the brand or store in the last year, unsubscribe from those lists first.
Of course, since we all will spend money on things like clothes and accessories at some point, you might not want to bail on all of these lists. If that’s the case, go through and delete all of the sales emails without actually opening them.
Raise your hand if you and online shopping are BFFs? I live in New York City where nearly every store you can think of is a subway ride away and yet I still do most of my shopping from the comfort of home. It’s just so easy!
And that’s the problem.
But we can make it a little less easy. If, like me, you have your credit card information stored on your computer, delete it. Don’t think about it, just delete it. This way if you feel the temptation to online shop you will be forced to get up and find your wallet. That will give you a few extra moments to think about whether or not you really need what you are about to purchase.
This is the simplest tip on the list, but also the hardest to actually follow. I love shopping. Ever since I was a kid shopping has been kind of like therapy. If I’m feeling sad or depressed all I have to do is buy a new sweater and that retail high serves as a great distraction. And if I’m bored, well shopping is always there to fill the void.
But it’s also the easy way out, and the easy way to blow through your budget. So, don’t give yourself the temptation. Stop going into stores or checking out online stores.
If your typical route involves walking or driving past stores that often draw you in, find a different way. If you were planning to meet friends for an afternoon of shopping, grab lunch instead, or think of something else that you enjoy doing. Which leads us to number 4…
What do you love to do? What makes you happy? Besides shopping, of course.
It’s time to get serious about how you want to spend your free time. I mean, how many of us always say there are so many books we want to read but we just don’t have the time? And yet, how much of that time do we spend shopping or just browsing online?
Think about how much of that shopping time could be put to a more productive use. Think about what activities you enjoy that don’t involve spending money. Think about this as a time to allow yourself a little self-care.
If you do find yourself shopping, whether it be online or in-store, and you see something you think you have to have go ahead and walk away. Go home. Put away the phone or the computer. Think about it.
Force yourself to wait until the next day. If you wake up and still think this is something you have to have, then go ahead and buy it. By giving yourself some time to think you will weed out the impulse buys and the items you don’t really need or even want.
For nearly all of us it’s basically impossible to go an entire month without buying anything. That’s why this No Buy February is about non-essentials only. So, I’ll still need to shop for essentials. Of course, that will involve going into actual stores where there will be plenty of temptations (hello, Target).
The solution? When you do go shopping make a list of everything you absolutely need. Then once you get to the store, if it’s not on the list you don’t buy it. Simple as that. The list will give you a purpose with your shopping and keep you from straying.
How do you really want to spend your money? After all, that is the whole point of this challenge. Are you saving for the future? Trying to get out of debt or pay off loans? Planning a vacation? Saving up for a luxury or dream item?
Whatever it is, keep that reason at the front of your mind. It’s hard to work toward something if we don’t have a clear view of what that something is.
If it’s a trip you’re eyeing, find a picture of the destination and make it your screensaver. If you want to splurge on a new bag, put a picture of it on your fridge. If you’re trying to get out of debt keep reminding yourself how far you’ve come and how much further you need to go.
And if you’re simply trying to be more responsible with your spending, think about how good it will feel to be financially stable.
When we have a clear goal, it is easier to make our way through the struggle it takes to get there. So be honest with yourself. What do you want? The clearer you can make it, the more you will help eliminate the excuses that lead to excess spending.
What do you think of this list? Which will be the hardest to follow? And do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments below!
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