Live a month without spending
Do you know what customer friction is? According to “Internet”, it is everything that hinders the process of buying a product. How many times have you gone out and bought something and just because you had to enter your own email and password to log in or had to physically enter your credit card number, you gave up the purchase ?
And I never went back to buy it.
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These companies know us better than we know ourselves. We buy “stuff” that we don’t need. If we really needed it, spending 30 seconds typing in a password wouldn’t stop us.
Want to save more money? Do you want to take advantage of this retirement savings? Look no further than shopping apps on your phone that have almost eliminated all customer friction. My God, we even have a major warehouse in central Arkansas going up right now that has taken the friction out of having to wait over two whole days to receive an online purchase.
If we want to win this spending war, let’s stop fighting loyally with “budgets” and commitments to do better.
Instead, let’s fight dirty. Let’s do a “no-expense” month.
Remember last week we talked about the 100% rule? Is it easier to do something 100% of the time than 98% of the time? It’s because of decision fatigue. We can apply that to expenses and, folks, the results are there – these types of non-spending periods are pretty effective in reducing expenses.
I’ve seen customers, friends, and strangers on the Internet go through “No Buy July” or “No Spend ‘No’vember,” but I’ve never been intrigued. It actually freaked me out. “What if” statements would pour in. What about Black Friday in November? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, has it made a noise? If Black Friday is on and I don’t buy anything, right? “
Thanks to you, I gather the courage to face my fears and I will officially enter a month without expenses corresponding to the start of the school year on August 16. I call it the “back to school month with expenses”. I can’t imagine a better time to do something like this. We will be on a schedule. We will have regular family dinners. Of all the seasons in a year’s life, this is the most routine.
Who should join me in this challenge? I am in the crowd of “curious savers”. As you may remember, I am a saver. I save from top to bottom. In other words, in our home we save first and then spend the rest. But, gentlemen, have you refueled recently? My life has suddenly become much more expensive, and we are feeling the pressure. My concern is that we end up knocking on the door of our savings rate to maintain our lifestyle.
If that’s you, consider this challenge. In other words, while simultaneously maintaining a payment-based savings system yourself, it adds a bottom-up budgeting process focused on controlling spending. Inevitably, additional savings will increase the conversion funnel.
My goal is to have a moment to rethink our spending with a fresh eye at the end of our spending free month. I believe that expenses are just opinions that become facts when they are repeated over time. Maybe our old expenses will get a seat at our table on September 16, or maybe we’ll decline to send out an invite once it’s all over.
A month without spending can have particularly big results for people trying to hit a retirement savings rate or pay off their credit card debt. You have the option to erase expenses, reduce your savings or financial goal, and then, at the end of the month, top up the expenses to their appropriate level.
Hope you can join me in some version of this challenge.
Here are my rules. Yours may be different.
We will cut all unnecessary spending from our budget for 30 days, until September 14th. What we can spend money on are the bills that run our homes and cars (including savings in our savings accounts for insurance and taxes), groceries, our subscriptions newspapers and the replacement of basic necessities such as toothpaste.
What is the boot? Our streaming subscriptions, impulse buys, the Starbucks run, clothes, gifts, movies, entertainment, dining and all those little things that are clearly so important I can’t even name them by the time. I write.
In theory, we are going to ‘save’ money, but there is no such thing as saving money unless that money is physically saved and put into some sort of savings fund. long term. If the savings are invested in short-term savings, it simply becomes a deferred expenditure, until the next time the urge arises. It might be a fantastic idea to make it a spending challenge to focus later on your real passions and priorities, but I challenge you to be bolder and shift your savings into, uh, savings.
I’ve heard of people doing this challenge, but it was a private message from Sarah Luz that blew me away. She spent a month without spending inspired by “The Contentment Challenge” with Nancy Ray from the Work and Play podcast. Sarah realized this was a perfect opportunity to get that remaining 3% into her Ideal Retirement Savings Percentage. More importantly, when her contentment challenge was over, retirement savings were here to stay, but her expenses? According to his estimate, about two-thirds are missing.
Now she has a habit of placing items in her Amazon cart and waiting three months. Most of the articles are no longer searched after the time period.
Intrigued and maybe keen on the idea? Let us arm ourselves for the battle.
I have compiled a number of tips from various bloggers and podcasters with their recommendations on how to survive the month without spending.
Remove passive temptations: Unsubscribe from marketing emails from your favorite stores, stop following influencers who are constantly offering products, or even take a break from social media.
Do not go. Literally don’t go to places where you might be tempted to buy stuff. Pick up your groceries online. Oh, and do you issue an injunction to ban the 1,000 yard target. My favorite meme of the year is “I saved $ 178.94 today by not going to Target for the deodorant.”
Create friction. Delete your shopping apps. Remove autofill on your phone for credit card information. Make it HARD to spend money.
Clean. It may seem counterintuitive, but the less clutter there is in our lives, the less we are tempted to spend. Use this month to find your interior minimalist.
Hope you will join me in some version of a no expense period. Remember, you have to make the rules. To inspire you, here are some variations in case my version is not acceptable:
• No expenses for clothes.
• No spending on beauty products.
• Clean the freezer / pantry on weekends.
The goal of no-spend is to shake up your spending but also to change your mind, change your habits and dig to the necessities. It turns out that adding a little friction in our life can be a very good thing.
Are you “in it?” “Email me if you plan to go a month without spending, and we can compare the notes on how it went.
Sarah Catherine Gutierrez is Founder, Partner and CEO of Aptus Financial in Little Rock. She is also the author of the book “But First, Save 10: The One Simple Money Move That Will Change Your Life”, published by Et Alia Press. Contact her at [email protected]