Here I am, a day later than expected (botched the post schedule settings yesterday), looking back at my month of no-buy. And honestly, I feel like my no-buy month went pretty well overall.
February was largely about me being more conscious of my money. Besides being in a no-buy mode (with a few exceptions), I was also just generally watching my budget better. I am using one of those budgeting apps that assigns every dollar a category, and so each dollar I spent had to go somewhere. I was not actively doing a lot to change those numbers, but even being more aware has helped me in many ways.
I was a little surprised with how easy it was to avoid spending. After the first week or so the urge to browse Amazon and wander around Target faded, and for the rest of the month I did not have too many moments of irrational shopping cravings. I also spent less time in stores, which probably helped.
This past weekend, though, as February slipped into March, I caught myself browsing a couple of my favorite clothing stores. It was a mindless thing — I was sitting at the computer, and my attention wandered off of what I was doing, and I clicked through an online ad for a clothing sale, which made me wonder if Amazon carried something on the page for less, which led to a good thirty minutes of browsing and moving things in and out of my various online shopping carts. I was mentally ready to buy again.
Once I realized what I was doing, I also realized that February hadn’t been enough. My goal was not just to save a little extra money for a month; it was to break bad habits and develop good ones. Instead, it seemed like February was just a little endurance test and the part of me that likes buying new things was eager to put that month behind me and get back to doing what I always do. Clearly, I have not gotten rid of all my bad habits, merely delayed their gratification. That’s not good enough! in order for all this to be worth it …. [deep Russian accent] “I must break them.”
In addition, I definitely need to learn to do better with the money I am spending. I spent far more on groceries in February than I thought I would, and that was with cutting back on “treats as groceries”. I also failed to address the subscription situation, which is something I will have to look at moving forward.
As such, the no-buy experiment is extending itself. I think I will be using March as a staging month. I jumped into February pretty quickly, and as such wasn’t as well-positioned to do an extended no-buy as I could have been. So March will be my month to switch gears into a longer no-buy run — perhaps even to the end of the year. But more on that in another post.