I am seventeen days in to my No Spend April challenge.
These first week reminded me of this yoga pose called Pigeon Pose that always gave me initial grief, followed by an odd sense relief. The first bit feels doable, and then swiftly becomes horribly uncomfortable. Then a painful, almost tingling/burning feeling sets in to your muscles as you contort them into a position they are not familiar with, and they quiver and twitch to adjust. Then that sensation of being exposed to something so hot it turns into a numbing cold – you know the one – sets in, and you start screaming in your head that you can’t take it anymore. Then suddenly, you reach a breaking point where everything feels eerily great and it’s bizarre that it does, because you know you’re technically engaged in a position completely foreign to you and if you move even a half inch the pain might set back in, but it also feels … really nice. You realize you can do this, you almost can’t believe that such intense pain has led to this almost sublime feeling, and you start thinking you can hang out in this pose for a while. That, my friends, is days 1 to 11 of No Spend April.
This challenge has given me a very unexpected and also very liberating sense of freedom. No more agonizing over if I should spend or not. No more calculating my balances as nothing is going out. I used to stare at my debt balances every couple of hours, as if I was harbouring a secret hope that they would miraculously disappear if I checked in on them just one more time, and then again one more time, and again one more time…. My thoughts are now completely released from all the time I spend wondering what to buy, no more hunting, no more justifying and no more guilt over the push and pull of to buy or not to buy. This is freedom. This is lucidity.
I’ve embarked on a No Spend Month.
I’m not going in guns-a-blazin’ and I’m not standing up and shouting it from the rooftops, as I’ve tried and failed before (and documented the epics fails on my blog, for all the world to see) so I’m flying under the radar, hat in hand, head down and focused on the work ahead. This time around feels more somber, more serious. However I feel more motivated than ever before.
So to keep this short and sweet, these are my green lights for the month:
- Bills (utilities, insurance, etc)
- Budgeted grocery allowance
- Monthly transit pass
- Emergencies (I have a $500 emergency fund set aside, but knock on wood, I hope I don’t need it)
That’s it, folks! It sounds Spartan, and it is. However I don’t feel I’m depriving myself whatsoever. I have more than enough creature comforts bursting out of every cupboard and closet in my home, so that I am constantly surrounded by luxury (when I look at my normal Western life as someone who would be labelled “low to mid income” versus the majority of the rest of the world’s inhabitants, I truly do live in unabounded luxury) so I have nothing to want for. If anything, this forces me to actually enjoy everything I already own, as opposed to mentally dumping the love I had for an item immediately after acquiring it and shift my focus on the shiny new thing I want just moments after purchasing the last thing. The hedonic treadmill is a very real thing in my psyche, and I plan on eliminating it.
So although this No Spend Month concept isn’t new or original, I do plan on documenting it as a way to keep me on track and accountable. I hope to write what I did on all these no-spend days that allowed them to be no-spend, that way I have a template for if I want to continue No Spend April into No Spend May (and beyond!) and it perhaps can be a source of ideas for anyone else wanted to start this challenge.
Wish me luck!