No Spending For A Year?

I ran across a blog last night that really piqued my interest: Shopaholly. Holly made a deal in 2008 to not spend any more money on things. Well, I suppose it is a little more complex than that, no more clothes, excess toiletries, books, media, ect.

And as I browsed the interwebs I found that there are A LOT of people who have taken the “plunge” and decided to not spend money for an entire year. Here are some links to a few for those of you who are curious:

Bye Bye Buy

My Year Without Spending

A quick Swagbucks search reveals a few more stories, but those were the ones I found interesting.

The idea of not spending for a year seems intriguing to me. But, that seems kind of hard right?

Not buying anymore clothes, shoes, purses, books, DVDs, belts, hair ties, stuff for the kitchen, stuff for the apartment, stuff for… the sake of stuff.

And then I realized, with the exception of clothes and shoes, I’ve already been doing this.

Since February (when I started using Swagbucks), I haven’t spent a dime on DVDs, books, or anything that I need that can be purchases through Amazon (including electronics). I use my Swagbucks to pay for these items. (If you’re curious about how you can earn Swagbucks, I’ve written a little primer here that could help)

I haven’t bought anything aside from flowers for my apartment and a few baking tins in the past 8 months.

The big unnecessary expenses that I have aren’t the “junk” anymore – it is the clothes. I’ve bought quite a few new dresses, shirts and a pair of shoes in the past 6 months. All of them had a purpose and none were unreasonably priced. But that is where my expenses come from.

I haven’t even spent money on crafts in the past year, because I have such a stock-pile of yarn and quilting material at home to use.

So I’m toying with the idea of making this be one of my goals for 2010: No extraneous spending for a year.

I figure this will help in saving money, but also in assessing how important possessions really are to me. I also have a feeling I’m probably not understanding how MUCH extra spending I really do.

This is an idea that I’m toying with and would love your comments or suggestions.

6 thoughts on “No Spending For A Year?

  1. I’ve toyed with the idea of that too. I’m really scared to try it because I don’t want to be sooo restricted that I lose some of my freedom. I guess that’s why I create little “no spend” goals like when I gave up shopping for Lent and how I’m giving up shopping now until after the holidays. That seems more manageable and not so… intimidating as one year. I am considering giving up shopping until I am debt free though. Let us know what you decide!

    1. Yeah, it is quite a scary thought!

      Maybe the best thing to do would be to implement a one month “trial period” to see how it goes. But for some reason this feels like too short of a time, yanno? Cause if I REALLY want a pair of shoes, I can easily just say to myself “Wait until next month!” – but it is a lot harder to say “Wait until next YEAR”.

      I think the specifics of how it works would vary for each individual person. I mean, even in Holly’s case she still bought an iPod/Nike thing at 6 months in and allowed herself to buy new running shoes if she needed them.

      I have a feeling it would be much easier in theory than it would be in practice. =)

  2. I loved Shopaholly’s blog as it was a challenge. She set some boundaries and set about living and writing about how it affected her over the year. And how it really changed the way she thought and lived. She wrote really well and I followed her for about 6 months of it. I think the interesting thing is setting out on a quest – and seeing how coming up against it makes you feel and think. Therefore, just ‘not spending very much’ while practical and realistic, is not a challenge in the same way. I have another friend who is ‘buying nothing’ and lists her ‘transgressions’ if she has some – such as being caught out and having to buy something. She is allowing herself all food, and all experiences as this is a stance against over accumulation of stuff for her. She can buy cosmetics etc but only when she is about to actually run out. It is an interesting thing though. Have you heard of No Impact Man? its a film about a chap who sets himself the challenge of making no impact on the environment for a year. there is a trailer somewhere on youtube. it looks very interesting! Not that I am going to go that far!! There was another one called Operation Night Brace – which was about a couple who wanted to pay off debt as quickly as possible. It was wonderful because it was a journey and a love story as well. (they moved into her mum’s back room for 6 months and lived off $25 a day……) But – well – the story is in the challenge. So whatever the challenge is…….. go for it!! and tell us all about it!! Ther

  3. I did it for 6 months to pay off my car…but a year…sheesh. I don’t think I could do it.

    You know what though, it gets easier after awhile. I had planned to reward myself with a $500 clothing shopping spree afterwards and I spent like $150 bucks. I just couldn’t force myself to spend so much anymore. I wanted to save that money rather than spend it….so, maybe it is a good way to really alter your habits? (not that you have a problem with spending now…but you know what I mean). 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for offering to send me the supplies! I just sent you an email, that is soo nice of you.

    In general, I don’t ever agree with extreme-ism. I think it’s unsustainable for people to stop completely shopping forever, so I don’t see what the point is in doing it for a little while, especially when they’re doing it just for the sake of doing it. It doesn’t teach people anything about exercising a realistic degree of self-control. However, I totally understand why people cut themselves off when they’re working towards a specific financial goal and shopping is getting in the way of achieving it. I still think that this approach isn’t the most desirable because it’s not a long-term behavior modification strategy, but I do understand why people do it.

    I just read Judith Levine’s Not Buying It, which is also about not shopping for a whole year. Her goal was to gain some insight into consumerism, not necessarily to be frugal. It was an interesting book, you should check it out. It’s pretty heavy on the politics, though, so if you’re not into that, it might be sort of dull (I’m a total politics nerd, so I really liked it!).

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