As you may have read, this year I’ve committed to reduce the number of days every month where I buy things. I want to get a better idea of my spending, as well as become more mindful of it, and of my consumption of things.
For January, I have committed to having at least five buy-nothing-days. This isn’t a big deal, but I wanted to start out small and easy. I’m going to add one day every month, until December, which right now is looking quite terrifying with sixteen buy-nothing-days pencilled in!
So how has January gone? Mixed.
First up, I definitely hit my buy-nothing target of five days, and in fact despite fears early in the month I actually hit this target by the end of the third week. Successful!
The first week was really hard, with only two spend-free days, which I had to work really hard to find. Week two was a near disaster: having a dear friend stay meant that we went out a lot and I spent on food for special meals, but managed one day. But week three settled into some kind of post-holiday normality, and I managed two with relative ease, and probably had a couple more (though I’d stopped counting) in week four.
However I have realised a few things. The resolution is completely new, and I’m not following anyone else’s suggestions, so at the beginning I had no idea of how it would work. I assumed these ‘buy-nothing-days’ would be completely spend-free. I’ve now realised now that, for me at least, that isn’t going to work.
I don’t want anything putting me off going swimming, or getting a prescription, or paying for physiotherapy etc. I’d actually quite like to increase the number of days a month I go swimming, which although cheap (£1!) does need to be paid for as-and-when I go, rather than on a membership. A healthy mind and body is very important, and frugal in the long run, so I’ve therefore decided to exclude spending on physical and mental health from the buy-nothing-days. I want to look after myself more in the coming year, rather than put in arbitrary boundaries which inhibit that.
I’m feeling some disappointment that the buy-nothing-days won’t look as money-free as I initially thought they would. But I think this is probably the best approach to take, and I am now looking forward to the coming months, and even the challenge of the final few, with a lot of hope. I hope your own New Year Resolutions are going well, and do check back this time next month to see how February’s challenge went!