Well, the day has finally arrived: November 1st means no more No Spending Month! For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is a month-long challenge to spend no money other than the bare necessities (rent, bills, gas, minimal groceries). But you know what the funny thing is? I didn’t spend a penny today either. Funny how this might influence my purchases for the next little while.
You are probably all wondering how it all went, and whether or not I managed to survive not spending any money for a whole month. Let me tell you that it was not easy, especially when your friends invite you to go out with them. But on the bright side, as soon as I explain why I couldn’t go out with them, all my family and friends were very understanding and often came up with other stay-at-home activities we could do together to avoid spending any money. And truthfully, I don’t think I would have made it through the whole month without giving up if it wasn’t for all the amazing people in my life.
Let’s talk more about that for a second: the people in my life. Have you ever thought to yourself “Oh my God, how did I ever get so lucky?” Well that’s how I feel about the people in my life. And the funny thing is that these people – yes, I’m talking about you! – haven’t changed in the passed couple of weeks; what did change is that I became more aware of how caring and generous you all are. I don’t know when – well, ok, it actually happen a couple of dozen times – but it hit me. These people are absolutely incredible. They are so wonderful, what would I possibly do without them? They have helped shape me as a person and have influenced me in so many different facets of life. They are part of what makes me, me. And for that, I want to take the time to say thank you. Thank you, even if all you did was buy me a coffee. Thank you, even if you just offered me your leftovers one day. Thank you for offering to pay, even if I said “No, thank you.” To you, it might seem a little meaningless, but it profoundly touched me to see all these acts of kindness throughout the month, realizing what a great support system you all are. I couldn’t possibly pinpoint every single moment, but that’s only because there were so many that I was overwhelmed and could not keep track of them all. You are honestly what helped make this challenge a lot easier.
Of course, I won’t lie to you and say that this was a piece of cake and that I managed to meet this challenge with nothing but grace. Nope. As most people do, I caved. I “cheated” a total of seven times. And I did keep track of this, so here’s the list of things I spent money on (that I wasn’t supposed to):
- Beverage at Second Cup – I picked the cheapest one, I couldn’t use their wi-fi without buying something.
- Beer at Old Triangle – Meeting up with a friend to talk about music and writing, I couldn’t resist
- Vegetarian Burger at Harvey’s – I was tight for time between two volunteering events and didn’t even have time to stop home to make a sandwich, so I found a coupon and went to Harvey’s.
- Filet o Fish meal at McDonalds – I just caved. Period.
- Bagel and Muffin at Tim Hortons – Woke up late for volunteering, needed to eat breakfast.
- 2 shower curtains at Dollarama – The cat decided my No Spending Month was the best time to destroy my shower curtain. Twice.
- Latté at Second Cup – Meeting with an old friend before heading out on my cross Canada road trip.
A total of seven items. Am I disappointed? No, not really. Half of the time, I accepted the fact that I had to choose between spending a bit of money and not eating. And the point of this challenge isn’t to starve yourself – ok, well maybe starve yourself of material gains.
All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself, especially because I actually ended up spending less money that I had budgeted for my basic necessities. The only groceries I bought during the month were as follows: salmon, cucumber, avocado, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini, pudding. That’s it. However, my roommate did help out a lot with this. She had loads of seafood in her freezer, which was great to add to some pasta dishes, and she always offered me some raspberries that she would buy at Costco. Oh, and did I mention she even took me out to supper to East Side Mario’s? I literally almost cried. I should also mention that my mom bought the supplies for Thanksgiving supper so that definitely helped a lot as well.
The hardest part was probably the last week, also known as PMS week. Thank God for two things: Halloween + My brother. Volunteering at the zoo for Boo at the Zoo meant free food, half of which was junk food. Hallelujah! That, plus we had 4 bags left over from Halloween and I gobbled them all up that same night. As for my brother, well he is just a gem. While he was visiting us this past week, he bought and fed me Kraft Dinner, twice. My mouth is drooling a little just thinking about it right now.
ANYWAY! I will admit that I’m glad the challenge is over. There were a lot of times that I struggled to say no, but I am also glad that I was able to persevere all month long. It was worth it in the end, especially when I look into my bank account and don’t cringe quite as much as usually. I would definitely recommend it if you’re up for the challenge!