As I mentioned in my previous article, 'Don’t challenge, experiment’ I don’t like to use the word ‘challenge’. It’s a word filled with pressure and possible failure. Nobody wants to fail, so why put that pressure on yourself? By giving yourself a reasonable time frame to try something new, you’ll have more chance at succeeding. This article follows on...
When I had my first baby, reality hit and I was forced to find out what I really needed to live off. It took me only a few weeks to realise we couldn't really afford to have a child. My partner and I were down to one income, trying to live and pay everything from his income. It was hard and a smack in the face but after surviving it, it taught me what I only needed to live on. It taught me how I didn’t need extra things to fill my life. I had a baby that would now fill it, which helped stop me spending money on unnecessary things. After a while it became ‘normal’ and 18 years later I still know what I NEED to live.
I get satisfaction from knowing bills will be paid on time and I’ll be one step ahead of my money, not falling behind because I’ve spent too much on other things. I can now have everything I need plus more because of it. I’ve learned how to get what I need and want on a low income. I’m able to go on holidays and do everything I love to do, all because I became aware of my money.
Since I started this blog, I’ve learned that a lot of people don’t want to talk about, think about or even deal with their money. They want to be able to live life without a care about their finances. We’d all love more money. This would enable us to what we want, when we want and how often we want. But life just doesn’t work like that. Things don’t just operate by themselves, you need to be in control of every aspect of your life including money.
When it comes to money, there’s no quick fix unless of course you come into a
large amount but even that wouldn’t sustain some people’s lifestyle.
The answer is, simply becoming aware. One way to become aware is by
experimenting with your money and try to stop spending it. This doesn’t mean saving every dollar you earn, that would be easy. No, you will still need to pay for things each time you’re paid. Unfortunately costs for living still need to be paid.
A ‘No spend’ experiment is more thoughtful spending of your income. Like every other aspect of your life, you’ll become aware of your outcomes from the actions you take. This experiment might be an easy way to find out where you’re going wrong. Give it a try (with your own rules) if you’ve been putting off starting a budget or tightening up your money, this is an easy way if you don’t know where to start.
Most of the time we look after ourselves by watching what we eat and feeding our family healthy food. We know what the outcome will be if we aren’t careful about our eating. For some reason most people don’t like to keep a close eye on their money like they do other areas. They don’t like to feel restricted or controlled by their money. The truth is, by not being ‘controlled’ with spending, you are not controlling it! Look at your money the same way you do with food.
‘What you put in,
is what you’ll get out of life’.
We all have different incomes so we can’t all follow a set of challenges and all expect the same results. It will be completely different for everyone. An experiment is individual to each person or family according to their income amounts and payments that NEED to be paid each week. It can be as easy as starting for 1month. This might inspire you to keep going for 2 months, 1 whole season or even longer.
NO SPEND EXPERIMENTS ARE GOOD FOR:
You. You're responsible for your own spending so you're in control of your money. You can try a ‘No spend’ by yourself, with your partner or as a whole family. Talk
to everyone and explain what will happen so there’s no wondering, whinging or
arguments along the way. If no one else wants to take part, do it alone and show your family the results and how everyone will benefit even more if they're all willing to take part, or at least make it easier for you.
To not spend any extra money other than your necessary living expenses for a period of time, set by you. This could be for 1 pay period, 1 month, 1 season or 1 year. It’s entirely up to you.
When ever you choose. A time with less social activity or no plans will be easier. Maybe
over Winter might be easier when most people hibernate. What ever time is a good time for you.
By writing down all necessary living expenses you will need to pay and only paying these. No extras like eating out, drinks with friends, clothes or home décor shopping. Avoid all temptations to spend beyond what you need to live.
Because you're sick of wasting your money and it will be a massive eye opener. It will
point out the relationship you have with money and highlight areas you can work on. This experiment brings to light a whole lot more than you think. Not only about yourself but everyone around you. You’ll learn and become aware.
All you need to do is try to not spend any extra money other than what you NEED to.
Things you’ll have to spend money on are mortgage/rent, groceries, fuel, car repayments and bills. Everything else is just unnecessary spending that you can do without, even if only for a short time to experiment. There shouldn’t be a whole lot to be conscious of cutting out, obvious things like eating out, drinks with friends, clothes shopping and buying things for the house. I’m sure it can all wait until your experiment is over. Or until you become aware.
Choose a timeframe you’re comfortable with to have a ‘No spend experiment’. Be realistic when choosing your time frame or you’ll give up within the first week.
THINGS YOU MAY DISCOVER FROM A NO SPEND
If you’re expecting to fail, you probably will. That’s why it’s called an experiment. Don't feel bad or conquered. If something doesn’t work, learn from it, change how you do it and try again. We all have different incomes and what may work for one person or family won't for another. People hate restriction and control but the funny part is they don’t realise they’re letting their money control them by their choices. You can change any unfortunate discoveries along the way to great changes and outcomes by forming your own money experiment.
*Discover what relationship you have with your money and what it means.
*Be aware of where you spend the most money.
*See how much it really costs to be social and how much you need if you want to sustain this part of your life.
*Why you don't like discussing money with anyone.
*Realise how much you carelessly spend on yourself.
*That is costs a lot to do what you want.
*That you probably don’t plan or think ahead.
*Where you’re going wrong, therefore what you can do to save money.
*How much you really only NEED to live.
*Where you can cut back permanently to get more from your money.
*That you can get more from your money.
*You are actually able to do more in life.
*You CAN afford that holiday you want to go on, you thought you could never afford.
*Your life will open up to other possibilities.
As the incomes come in, pay what you need to and say ‘no’ to everything else. Tell your family in advance that you’re experimenting with money. This way everyone is aware that ‘no’ will be used often.
Try your experiment for just 1 month to start with. I know it’s possible to live on 1 income and if you can't, you’re spending too much in areas of your expenses which might need reducing. If you have 2 incomes coming in, bank one. See how long you can do this. You could save a few thousand in just 1 month! If you’ve had kids you’ve probably already had to live this way before and know you can do it again.
If successful in 1 month, try 2, a whole season, 6 months or even a year. You’re in control of where it ends up and for how long.
Your experiment will open your eyes to many things. How much you only need to live. How much your lifestyle costs. How much has been wasted and what you could be doing with it instead. You may save enough to start paying off any debt or pay more off your mortgage to own your home sooner.
Imagine not having to pay any repayments (home or debt) ever again! You then have the potential to use that money to invest or purchase an asset that can make you even more money.
*It’s only an experiment and if it doesn’t work, refine it.
*Don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself credit where you can and be confident with controlling your money.
*Set small achievable outcomes, to succeed and move on to bigger experiments.
*Try different things, at different times, in different order and refine areas according to your income.
*Live off 1 income for a while and save the other (if partnered) or pay off debt, fast! Then use it to save or invest.
IDEAS AND TIPS FOR A ‘NO SPEND’ EXPERIMENT.
Unsubscribe from store emails and other junk you receive into your inbox. Tidying up a messy and tempting inbox to clear your mind is one less thing to worry about or side-track you.
Declutter and clean out areas of your house. Giving your mind less to worry about so your experiment is an easier task. A messy house is a messy mind. Sell unwanted items to start your savings as part of your experiment.
Go through your wardrobe. Find items you've hardly worn instead of buying new items for a while. Download the styling APP ‘Finery’ to get the most out of your
Get in your garden to propagate and divide plants. Re-pot these and give them away as gifts while experimenting so you don’t have to find more money but would still like to
give gifts during this time.
Line up all of the TV series and movies you’ve wanted to watch for years. You’ll finally be able to watch them while cutting back on socialising and eating out for just a while.
Do the sums to work out how much you only need to pay each week. See where your potential leftovers are to save or use to pay off debt.
Experiment over a month or time where you know you won’t be doing much socially, to avoid spending (we all have a few months a year that are a little easier).
Figure out where you spend the most money and avoid these times or places. We all have spending triggers so try to not encounter them. Stay away from shopping centres and stick to supermarkets instead.
Each week write a list of your necessary payments/costs. Divide your money to where it needs to go and cross them off once paid. You’ll get that paying satisfaction on living costs instead of buying unnecessary items to get your ‘fix’ and you’ll see how much you only need to survive on.
Have written plans and stick to them. Pre-plan what you’ll eat if you’re going to be out for the day (work or an outing). Take food with you instead of buying.
Invite friends over for socialising and drink at home. Use your own stash and have a cocktail night. You’ll save money and use up your extra alcohol that you never get
Find free activities and things to do on the weekends with friends or your family. Go camping for a cheaper holiday, this will get you out of the house if you feel like your experiment is keeping you at home too often.