contentment challenge

A Lesson in Gratitude: No-Spend February

Sometimes I feel like it’s so easy to just click: add to cart and that ease takes away from my ability to recognize what I already have. We have decided to challenge ourselves to a no-spend month! Today, I’d love to explain why and how… and then encourage you to join me!

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Sweet wedding photographer and boss babe, Nancy Ray, does an annual Contentment Challenge and while it wasn’t on my radar to participate back in January because we just had so much going on, with hindsight, I should have! Our month of no-spending is essentially a take on what Nancy encourages others to do for her challenge.

In full transparency - we had tried to do a no-spend month back in September but just a few days into the month I got very sick with what was either a very rare, undetectable virus or a flare of an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder. I didn’t eat for nearly a week and then very quickly our goals to not spend unnecessarily went totally out the window when my hunger came back accompanied by weird cravings. We ordered a lot of takeout, I bought a few new cozy sweatshirts from the Target lounge-clothing department and I spent randomly without paying much attention.

I admittedly do have some bad spending habits like when I just need to get out of the house because working from home causes some really intense cabin fever, I make the 8 minute round-trip drive to Dunkin for a sweet tea. I’m slightly addicted to buying clothing and while I have recently become very committed to buying thrifted clothes to reduce textile waste, I still find myself constantly browsing and adding things to my cart. We just redid our dining room, kitchen, laundry room and small downstairs powder room so there was pressure to make these spaces feel finished hence a few trips to Target and HomeGoods.

January brought us two expensive car repairs/maintenance needs, a new camera body for me when my beloved primary body went in for a shutter replacement and didn’t make it back home due to a complete failure of the main board, house updates in four different spaces and a few other things. So, in February… we are saying no.

For the month of February, we will be saying no to spending unnecessarily on things like clothing, accessories, household decor, takeout, restaurant meals and general stuff.

Obviously there are always some necessary business expenses like postage and monthly subscriptions to my gallery delivery service and client management software, I have a wedding in Pittsburgh where we will definitely go out to dinner so that’s already factored in, we’ll be grocery shopping as normal and if anything comes up that is an absolute need, we will of course spend (with caution). We hope to take this time to be grow in our thankfulness for what we already have. There are some trips that we’d like to take this year and our savings accounts could use some attention so our primary goal (beyond not spending) will be saving and better managing our income.

In preparation, I’ve gotten my Galentine’s Day orders in and stocked up on dog treats! I hope you’ll consider joining me for this month of no-spending or at least take a look around your home and have gratitude for what you already are blessed with and have worked hard for.

If you’ll be joining me, pop on over to my Instagram story and tell me that you’re in!!

I’ll share the results of our no-spend month come March!