3 Things I Learned During My No-Spend Week

I think we’ve all experienced the stress of looking at your bank account and seeing less than you expect. Those late-night snacks at CityCo, Target runs, and impulse buys on Amazon add up and drain your wallet. And that is not even including the ridiculous cost of going to BU, which only gets more expensive every year. This was how I felt last month after the housing deposit and some irresponsible spending left my balance lower than I would like it to be. My solution to this was a self-imposed spending ban. After seeing this TED Talk, I decided to spend only what was necessary for one week.  Here are my biggest takeaways from this experience.

1. It will be really hard in the beginning, but you will get over it. 

Photo credit: Pexels

When you’ve gotten used to making excuses for impulse shopping, it will be really hard to stop cold turkey. I know I felt the urge to go into Target whenever I walked by or to browse my favorite online stores whenever I opened a browser. However, once I got into the habit of forcing myself to close all the tabs and just walk past, it got easier and easier. By the end of the week, I no longer felt those same impulses. 

2. You don’t need to shop as much as you think you do. ​

Photo credit: Pexels

America is very consumerist-oriented. Through advertising and cultural expectations, many people feel the need to shop all the time. Buying something new gives us a rush that we simply don’t get from using our own things, so we almost always prefer to shop. Going into the week, I thought I might have to go without things that I should have been buying. Instead, I found the opposite: I really didn’t need to shop as much as I had been. What I discovered was that I shopped mostly out of boredom and that when I occupied myself with other things and used what I had, I didn’t need to spend money. 

3. You will be a lot less stressed by the end of the week. 

Photo credit: Pexels

On Friday of the end of the week, I got paid. This time, instead of spending a lot of my paycheck soon after getting it, I was able to save all of it. This made me feel a lot calmer since I know that I have money in the bank if I have to pay a last-minute expense. In a world where 40 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to come up with 400 dollars to pay an emergency expense, this is a good feeling to have. By the end of the week, if I had to make a loan or credit card payment, I didn’t have to feel bad or worried about it. The same went for non-necessary expenses: because I had controlled myself during the week, if I wanted to go out with friends over the weekend, I wouldn’t feel guilty. 

Saving money is really important for having a stable future, and I am glad that I’m building this skill up. Because of my no-spend week, I feel like I have better financial habits. Since this experience, I’ve found myself saving more and being more content with what I have. If you’re like me, consider doing a no-spend week too. 

 

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