If you’ve been around here for awhile, you’ll know that I’m currently participating in a No Spend Year. I decided to do this for 2018 because I realized that I was spending money frivolously and needlessly. I was buying things that I didn’t need, and spending money on items that I didn’t really care about. I wanted to stop wasting money, and so that became my focus. I’m in my fifth month, which seems crazy to me. This journey so far has taught me what is important to me, and I thought I’d share some areas that I think are still important to put my money towards.
Here are five things that I have and will continue to spend money on:
It’s no secret that I enjoy junk food, but part of my No Spend has been to cut way back on that spending. As a result, I have focused more on the healthy foods. Rather than spending less money on pre-packaged foods that are cheaper, and often easier to put together, I try to cook as much as I can using real food. I load up on fruits and veggies every week and come up with recipes that incorporate those ingredients. It does cost more, but it’s much healthier for us. I’d much rather spend $6 on cantaloupe that lasts me through the week than $4 on chips. Not to mention, the healthier you are, the less you need to spend on doctor’s visits and prescriptions!
It goes hand in hand with eating healthy, but I think that a gym membership is a worthwhile expense. I’m in a No Spend Facebook group, and there has been some discussion about this topic. On average, I workout five days a week, four of which are at the gym. I do some at-home workouts, but those are infrequent due to the equipment and space available. We also have very real winters here, and there is no way I’m running outside when it feels like -40C outside.
A gym membership can definitely be a waste of money for some people, there is no doubt about that. If you have one, but never go, just cancel it. It’s way better than paying that monthly fee (no matter how cheap or expensive) if you aren’t using it. If you do use it, don’t feel bad about the expense. I love working out, and I love going to the gym. This expense is not even a question for me.
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think huge amounts of money needs to be spent on self-care. A mani/pedi at home can be just as relaxing as at the salon, especially when you include a nice soak in the tub beforehand. That being said, sometimes you just need to spend some money on it. There are many people who are skilled enough to cut their own hair at home, but I am not one of those. Due to my past experiences when I have tried to cut my own bangs, I will not be bringing scissors anywhere near my head. Haircuts, professional hair-colouring, and even massages can all be important in someones mental well-being. There is no reason that this needs to be cut out, but sometimes less costly alternatives are a great option. Groupons can be a handy way to save money but still treat yourself a little bit!
The biggest reason behind my No Spend Year is that I want to do things rather than have things. I want to be able to go on a vacation and not have to budget it down to the dollar. I want to have an event come up and be able to buy a ticket without a second thought. I want to have new experiences and lasting memories, not just another new top to wear. I believe that having experiences and participating in activities is an important part of a well-balanced and happy life. Go skydiving or sign up for that Paint Night. Spend the money and appreciate the experience.
Just like having experiences is important, I think it’s important to put money towards a hobby. Now, this can be a dangerous slope. If you enjoy knitting but have 5 years worth of yarn, you really don’t need more. What if you’ve used up your supplies, though? Buy more! Allow yourself to indulge (within reason) in what you enjoy doing. If you enjoy working out, sign up for these new classes. If you enjoy crafting, keep enough supplies on hand. Don’t deprive yourself of what you enjoy. In that same vein, is there a skill you wish you had like cooking or gardening? Don’t hesitate to sign up for a class! These are good skills to have and you are worth the investment. If it’s something that you honestly want to learn then it is not a wasted experience.
It’s good to save money and it’s good to cut back on expenses, but it’s not good to deprive yourself. You don’t need to go crazy and go all “YOLO”, but there is a middle ground between spending and saving. Cut out the things that you don’t care about, and keep what you do. Put your money towards what honestly makes you happy and gives you a better quality of life. Get rid of those expenses that are just fillers or that you use to try to make yourself feel better. Trust me, you’ll feel much better when you focus on what you truly enjoy.