A one month resolution. Not a full year, not 6 months, not even more than 31 days. One month. That seems to be the sweet spot. Short enough that it’s attainable, short enough that you can plan, long enough that you really wrap your head around it and most importantly, long enough that you can initiate or reset a habit. For our 2014 resolution, Keller and I would do one month resolutions. January was a no TV month. See we were not excessive by any means, but it was something that we wanted to reset, something we wanted to live without for a while. February was.. crap I can’t remember. I know March was no bread, which turned into no gluten for me, which turned into chaos. This was about the time we stopped. I don’t know if it was the gluten, or something else, but this was right about the time my body went A-wall. I stopped the challenge 2 weeks in, slowly adding in bread. I won’t get into the details, but it was not fun. Every time I ate, my stomach would hurt. I could only eat at home without feeling awful. Then summer came and resolutions were the last thing on my mind. Here we are at fall, which is all about new beginnings for me. Since there are no rules to this thing I call life. The rules I set can be moved around. So I can start a resolution up in October if I want to.
October was a no spend month. The rules around it were hazy, but it was basically anything I could live without. No clothes, no makeup, no office supplies, no halloween decorations (I know sad ), no halloween costumes (it gets real these resolutions), no retail therapy, and no online shopping. A whole ton of yes to hiking, yes to taking a walk, yes to writing in this blog, yes to reading a book and yes to less clutter!
On one hand this no-spend month made one part of my life SO MUCH EASIER. Actually, it made a few parts of my life a whole lot easier. On the other hand, I didn’t save the planet or cure cancer. My life didn’t change in any great measurable amount, but you know it’s those little things that make up the big things. So I will focus on the oh so important little things.
A) The decision process in shopping is rather laborious for me. Do you feel me on this one? I get the sense I’m not the only one with these crazy thoughts. It’s the “is this the item I have been searching for? That one sweater I got 4 months ago really worked out, maybe this will be just like that, or maybe it will be like that striped shirt I never wore and never will. How will I know if this truly will be the answer I am looking for?” I take my purchases seriously can ya tell? They hold the answers I tell you! This inner dialogue can consume me and really stress a girl out. By having a hard fast NO, it makes life just that much less stressful. Here are some examples, Dilemma: Do I need to buy the gel manicure kit from target, it will be glorious I tell you! Imagine all the colors! Answer: NO, and then 5 minutes later I completely forgot about the need for anything. While I chip away at the week old polish. Dilemma: It’s starting to get chilly out, I could use a new jacket, I really feel like I need to step up my cozy game. Answer: NO, I have jackets, plenty of them. I will live. You get the idea? So here comes the dramatic part. It helped me to think of others that are less fortunate. Bear with me here. If these moms, kids, dads and families from countries that are not doing so hot, are living life just fine with what they have. Then so can I. I would think of an image I had recently seen of someone in Africa, or Guatemala. Or even someone here in America. These people have needs and wants, and they don’t go buying gel manicure sets just because they probably can. They buy what they need, because thats what is important. Yes, I want to enjoy my hard work. I also want a reality check once in a while.
B) It came to my attention how much of my day came to thinking of things I needed to buy. Simply walking past stores, reading blogs, seeing instagrams. It was like a whole world I no longer needed to buy into. I started to notice so much of what we do as American’s is consumer based. I follow a couple bloggers I adore and I soon realized that all they post about are things to buy or what they recently bought or things they want. I don’t want to live in a world that makes me feel like I am always in need of the next best thing. I am content with what I have. I want to love what I have. Its all really good stuff.
C) I focused on spending less time shopping or seeing if shopping can fill my time, I spent quality time with the people around me.
D) I actually spent less money on other things. When I was grocery shopping for the camping trip, I went to buy the snacks, s’mores and beer. Instead of my normal routine, buy 2 different kinds of each item because more is better! I actually only bought what I needed, and you know what? No one else noticed. I didn’t have a bunch of extra stuff I didn’t need. Thats a lie, I bought too much beer and case in point (get it case? haha), I have a ton extra. (not complaining here)
E) The best part is that my budget at the mid and end of the month was so much better. It was FUN. I do my budget, I track every little thing I buy. I am an accountant, it’s what I do. Normally, it was a pain, moving money around and stressing at the end of the month because I was not within my limits. This time around I will meet my budgets and finally have a good step going forward.
F) Lastly, Unexpected items were not so hard. I was hit with a bill I was not expecting. Normally this would have thrown my Misc items budget out of whack and it would stress me out a little. This time around though, it was ok. I had the room for it.
My goal going in: October budget was to save some cash and see if I could really do it.
Results, I spent $1.29 on a makeup pencil sharpener (mine was left during house sitting) and Kelan bought me a planner, which was sort of not the point, but had he not been there I wouldn’t have gone for it anyway? Not sure, again these are my rules there are no consequences. I saved an unknown amount of money, but in the end I will admit it was not as much as I had hoped. I thought I would be swimming in money. While I am still in my limits, I am in no way a surplus. I will say my credit card was not touched once this month. Now THAT is saying something.
Lesson learned: Less is more.
Points: If 5 was winning at life. I’d say I was at a 3.5, you know because I bought the sharpener and didn’t totally cut out on eating out. However, that should probably be a challenge in and of itself.
November Goal: Drink 8 glasses of water a day.