No Buy Month
One thing that people do often have trouble accomplishing is saving money. The intention is there, the desire is too, but the follow through is where it falls short. People take a month off from drinking, or they commit to going to the gym for a month. There are always benefits to taking a break from what can be a detrimental behavior. The same hold true with money.
A “No Buy Month” is a good way to take a break from reckless spending. Commit to one month of not buying luxuries. None at all. You can buy food, necessities (search deep, you know what a ‘necessity’ is) and pay your bills. Anything beyond that you don’t buy. Don’t get your nails done, don’t get your hair cut, buy a Playstation, get ice cream, spend $50 on drinks for a night out. You’d be surprised by the amount of money that stays around when you don’t dish it out for anything more than the absolute essentials. It all adds up very fast and cutting out frivolous stuff will show you what you can do without.
A lot of people choose February as a good month for this because it is the shortest month. Start small. No need to say a year of no spending, that’s not reasonable. But one month of strict ‘no buying’ can start a good trend for you.
Let’s not call it a New Year’s Resolution. That was last month. This is just one month of hoarding cash as best you can. Each dollar you hang on to, or use towards paying off debts is a point toward your high score. Like Mario collecting coins.
You can do it. Today is February 1st. Start today.
Here are some simple rules.
1. Cancel things that aren’t necessary. (Hair appointments, nail appointments, fancy dinner out, etc) For people looking to get out of debt and finally get ahead, this sacrifice is important.
2. Find no cost alternatives to costly extravagances. Libraries have books for free. Instead of buying, borrow. Your taxes are paying for those libraries, you might as well use them.
3. Let people know that you are trying to save money. They will understand. Often times people want to save money, but socially feel pressured to go out, or not be left out of a big costly situation. You might also spur a change in your friends.
4. Don’t pad either side of the month. You might want to buy something knowing you can’t for the following month. This defeats the purpose because you’ll end up spending the money on the 31st and the 1st of the adjoining months.
5. Packing meals instead of going out to lunch. Sure, it’s not as exciting, but when a meal out costs several dollars more than one you pack yourself you can quickly add up all of the extra money you get to stash away.
The overall objective isn’t to stop spending all together. It is a simple recalibration of your desire to buy-buy-buy. If you do it right, you can gain a sense of what you need versus what you want and you can start getting ahead when it comes to your finances. And that feels really good.
Need to clean a bunch of crap off the floor in a hurry?
Just throw a blanket over it! Problem solved!
Here is one “solution” to a mess. A quick “solution”.