Before anyone starts asking if I would like some cheese with my w(h)ine, I want to chronicle some positively charged thoughts on how I plan to annihilate all this debt.
To the naked eye, I’m actually one of those high-energy people that’s always cheerful and enthusiastic. The debt struggle is something that lays beneath and only gets shared on platforms I’ve learned are the most accepting of my struggling side, my not-so-sunshine-and-rainbows side. So I’m here to pause the grey clouds for a minute and share a baby step that I’m really excited about!
It’s nothing new or earth-shattering, but I’m ready to re-start a plan. I tried my 160 Days of Nothing New when I started the blog and it didn’t pan out. I’ve obviously spiralled out of control and with it got caught in a downward spiral of emotions, but I’m ready to start a new challenge.
It’s August 1st today and a civic holiday here in Ontario, which I think is a great time to stop and reflect about how I am going to embark on a Low Spend August! As I mentioned, nothing earth-shattering about this plan, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been confident enough in my self-control that I can embark on a goal and not fail epically in the first few days, and I’m very excited to get started.
So here are the rules. I have allotted $100/week to use, period. So over a month, I have $400 for my phone bill, my portion of the water and electricity bills, groceries, and any “living” expenses that might come out of that, including entertainment (rent is excluded from this total). After my portion of the bills and groceries, this leaves me with roughly $20 a week to my name. Needless to say, this means I’ve completely eliminated any room for shopping (which was the plan!) as that $20/week will likely go to bus fare to see mama bear on the weekends and any food/dessert I may contribute to family dinner, for any needed living expenses like toiletries, and if there’s any left over, to see friends for tea or coffee. No clothes, no shoes, no dinners out, and no cocktails. Just the necessities.
The big win here is that my SO has decided to do the $100 challenge with me (albeit begrudgingly). SO is the type that strongly believes in the “I work hard so I should be free to spend my money to enjoy myself” type, and he’s also of the camp that thinks frugality is deprivation. It’s definitely been an uphill battle to conquer my own spending demons whilst living with someone that doesn’t believe in frugality, or even budgeting, for that matter! However I’ve been pushing how frugality is the exact opposite of deprivation as it opens so many more doors to freedom, and whether he has taken that to heart or in hopes of making me stop waxing poetic on how we should together eschew consumer culture, has decided to start the challenge with me. I’m hoping that with the two of us on this together, we’ll be successful and we’ll see we can still live rich, rewarding lives without excess spending.
I’m planning to keep myself busy with studying for my work course, planning and cooking meals, exercising at the gym in my apartment building (I’m not a fan of exercising, but it’s another focal point for improvement for me), cycling around the city, and exploring what free events are going on in dowtown Toronto. I’m actually really excited to explore free ways of enjoying August, and expanding my horizons to think of what would give me satisfaction and enjoyment that doesn’t involve buying anything. It takes more work to discover those moments than it does to just meet friends at a bar or to relieve boredom at the mall, and I’m truly looking forward to the challenge.