If you find your wallet is looking a bit more empty than usual, this challenge is for you. If you are spending countless hours shopping online when everyone else in the world is sleeping, then this challenge is also for you.
No matter how much money you have (or don't have!) in the bank, it's a good idea to try out a no-spend week, just to see how it feels.
The Simple Rule:
Don't spend any money, except on necessary food or necessary gasoline for your car.
Of course, you'll want to pay your bills ahead of time. And maybe make sure you have plenty of laundry detergent and essential items to get through the week.
Tips for a successful week
If at any moment you find yourself thinking - I need that 'thing'. Ask yourself, "Can I wait until next week?" Or if that sale says 50% off, or a Buy 2 get one Free offer surfaces... just pause and ask yourself, "Will they ever have another sale again?" And the answer is ALWAYS yes!
Most everyone can likely relate to participating in a bit of retail therapy on occasion. I mean - just walking through Target FEELS GOOD, and it's natural to think that having those items around you brings that 'feeling' home with you.
But the reality is - you cannot buy "a feeling". Nor does retail therapy last very long. In fact, I think most of us would agree, it's pretty much over once you arrive home. The "high" associated with shopping comes right before and just as you are purchasing that item. Then, you walk out - and boom, feeling gone shortly after you hang that new piece of decor or throw that new throw on the couch. So for a week - we're going to resist.
If you are like me, seeing something on sale gives me that extra dose of justification of a purchase of an item that you had no idea you needed or wanted until you saw it. Seeing a discounted item is not a reason to buy it. So for a week - resist it!
If you are ready for a deeper cause for excessive shopping and buying - let's pause and reflect on the inner workings of the mind, or more specifically, your ego. Your identity.
Eckhart Tolle writes in his book, The Power of Now:
"The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history...None of these is you.”
None of those things are YOU. They are all outside of you. The ego is the barrier and facade that we all put out for others to see. When we associate our identity, with our home decor choices, or the car we drive, or the clothes we wear...we are lying about our real selves. We put our egos out first because we fear our real personage will not be accepted, will not be loved, nor treasured or cherished.
So next time you want that leather wallet, or that fall decor, or that new coat, or a bigger house... ask yourself, "Is this something I want because it will say something to the world, or uphold the picture I want to paint of myself and my life? Will this bring any true and lasting happiness to my life?"
If you shop because you feel it makes you happy... then I leave you with some more words from Eckhart Tolle:
“Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.”
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
“Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that other people have of you is inauthentic living.”
Happy no-spend week! I hope it opens your eyes - just as it did mine!
If you already do no-spend weeks - then try it for a month! I find that the first 2-3 weeks of a no-spend month are quite easy and effortless. For some reason, that 4th week or the remaining 8-10 days of a no-spend month are EXTREMELY difficult for me. Luckily, my husband offers me lots of encouragement and help to make it to the end.
Once, I walked through the grocery checkout line, and put a magazine on the conveyor belt to purchase, walked out of the store and got home, and then realized all of a sudden that I was supposed to be doing a no-spend month! This 'mistake' helped me realize the mindlessness that I had with regard to spending, and it shocked me to think of how easily I could forget that I had decided not to spend money!
Find someone around you who will help you remain accountable without judgment. Someone who will talk you out of the myriad of ways in which you justify your spending.
We all need help doing things a better way - don't be afraid to ask for it!
Good luck! :-$