New beginnings and a new challenge

New beginnings and a new challenge

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year. Like many of us, every year I succumb to the pressure of setting mental ‘resolutions’ to improve myself so that the following New Year I can feel I have achieved meaningful change. Like many of us, I fail. But that’s not because I haven’t changed, but because I have focused on the wrong things; nebulous, vague, existential things, rather than tangible goals to meet or exceed, which indirectly lead to wider progress.

That’s why this year, my first resolution of the year is to address my spending habits. Let me preface this by saying I am not in debt, and my spending has not caused any problems in my day to day life, this is purely an effort to rein in my discretionary spending so that I can achieve greater financial reward and security in the medium to long term.

And so I have decided to do a New Year – No Spend challenge. No discretionary spending for the whole of January, to reset my approach to buying and spending for the year ahead and beyond. I really hope you’ll join me and share your progress!

These are some of the things I’m looking forward to about a no-spend month: less stuff coming into the house; I do most of my shopping online so less packaging to dispose of; more time to do things other than shopping/buying; more money to save for things I really want or need; less guilt/stress over feeling I’ve wasted money on nothing; a chance to use and enjoy what we already have instead of always having new things; and a greater adherence to my goals of simple living and sustainability, the best thing is not buying.

I’m sure I will think of many more as I go along and I’d love to hear the reasons you are taking part in your own No-Spend challenge.

I think a really important thing to do is think of areas that are your spending ‘hot spots’, that is, the things you tend to spend money on but don’t necessarily feel the value or benefit. For me the main ones are takeaway coffees and treats/pastries when out and about. It might seem small but it fritters away money quickly, especially with the cost of things going up so quickly. I often find my working days tiring and stressful, particularly days when I commute to the office, and so I reward myself with those small things, but it adds up! What are your hot spots?

Last but not least, what are you trying to achieve with your No-Spend challenge? For me, it’s less about saving money to buy more things, it’s about spending less and getting away from the habit of shopping and spending as an activity in itself. I would like us to need to work less, which means getting used to spending less, paying off the mortgage quicker and generally living more contently with what we have already.

An important note: No-Spend refers to discretionary or leisure spending. Bills, financial commitments and necessities for yourself and others in your household are not included. If you have debts you may be able to service these more quickly if you cut your discretionary spending but you should take appropriate advice on how to manage your debt commitments effectively.

I also intend to set myself other goals. Projects to complete or books to read will help stop me frittering away my time on line, which often leads to browsing shops if not actually purchasing. Seeing what I can get done will be a great motivator in helping me see how I have been wasting not just my money but my time!

I’d love for you to follow my progress, but also to join in with me in whatever way makes most sense to you. If you subscribe to Modern Woman Old Soul you’ll get updates about how the challenge is going through my newsletter and news from the blog to your inbox.

Here’s to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling year, for you and your finances!

arrangement of plate with spruce branch for holdiay