Being a student, money is one of the biggest stresses in my life. At the end of October, my finances were in a pretty terrible position, despite having a part-time job and a student loan. So, I decided to set my self a challenge not to spend any money in November…
Obviously, I couldn’t spend no money at all, otherwise I would have died and become homeless. The only money allowed to leave my account was £35 a week for a food shop, the money for our rent and my £52 a month phone bill (which thankfully went out really early in the month). I was only allowed to spend money outside of our weekly food shop on essentials – ie. if we ran out of milk or loo roll. I also said at the beginning of the month that spending money was also acceptable in case something essential broke. This meant no little trips out to Homesense just to ‘have a look’, no meal deals from Sainsburys and no little outings to Boots to get shampoo and walking out with £30 worth of make up and no shampoo. No, this meant living within my means. These were my rules. And I managed to stick to them…ish.
After a little blip on the first of November (Cult Beauty released the new Huda Beauty palettes and I just couldn’t resist…) the first seven days were pretty easy. I packed myself lunches to take to uni with the food from our weekly food shop, avoided my cheeky pre-9am lecture Starbucks visits and didn’t even venture into Zone 1 so I didn’t need to top up my Oyster card. On day 6, our kettle broke but that was fine; tea is an essential to me and thus a new kettle was purchased. I didn’t even really notice that I wasn’t spending money, apart from my bank balance was a little healthier. I got paid from a pretty massive sponsored post that week as well, which also helped boost my bank account. Everything was going smoothly but I was itching to spend money. My John Lewis wishlist was starting to fill up and I was desperate to buy everything on it. But I refrained. Go me!
A week had passed and I’d managed to save £200 which I think is seriously impressive. I spent this second week of November also not spending anything. I really impressed myself. I believe the only money in this week that I spent was a top-up food shop at ALDI. Johnny and I were running out of essentials like milk, cheese and bread and so we went out and I paid for the food but it only amounted to around £20 which I didn’t think was too bad – especially as we did nab ourselves a few naughty treats alongside the bits that we actually needed. I was really happy with how my bank balance looked; I was being really good at not spending money. But was it too good to be true?
Okay… so… I may have been a little naughty. I ended up spending £18 on myself that week. I bought a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick. It was Kim KW, a shade I’d wanted for so long, and I went into Peter Jones Sloane Square pretty drunk (I’d been at a blogging event with an open bar…) and the counter just called my name. I couldn’t help myself. However the lipstick was super pretty and by the I’d saved over £300 so the £18 on myself didn’t seem too bad. I also had to buy some Christmas presents that week. I had Johnny’s all ready to go in an Amazon basket and I got a notification saying that there was only one left in stock of the main present he wanted so I just took the plunge and bought all of his presents in one go. I don’t really count this because it was necessary and if I’d missed out on getting him what he’d asked for because of a rule I’d made up myself then I’d have been gutted.
The final week of No-Spend November was the hardest because Black Friday fell in this week and my friend Lucy and I decided we wanted to go see if we could pick up any bargains on Oxford Street which, as you can imagine, was heaving. I also managed to pick up a coat from Missguided that I’d been lusting after for ages in the sale – it was £45 reduced to £22 so how could I refuse? – meaning that I broke it again. I feel pretty bad, but for the whole month I only spent £40 on myself which is really good considering how bad I used to be with spending money.
Doing a no-spend really helped me realise what unnecessary expenses could be cut from my life. I no longer buy a Starbucks every time I walk past one. I no longer buy myself lunch – I always make it at home. Small things like this are really what mounts up and I’m glad that for a whole month I cut them out as I managed to see that I didn’t need them. Have you guys ever done a no-spend? How did it go?