As we've completed our first week of the spending zero challenge from Living Well Spending Less we've reflected on what we've learned so far.
The site has daily assignments, which have been awesome and helped me to stay on course and daily reset my mind. From cleaning our pantry (awesome!) to meal planning (which I'm not so great at) it has been fun.
Our assignment for today is to reflection and answer some questions, like any "AHA" moments, what our biggest struggle was, where were we tempted to cheat and so on.
So I'll dive right in!
The scariest thing about starting this challenge was not stocking up beforehand. In fact Ruth specifically addresses this as you commit to the challenge. *Deep Breath
We are really good at stocking up, especially as Costco members, and the idea of simply using what we already have on hand - YIKES! A little scary! But we've survived one week so far!
The biggest things we hope to get out of this challenge I've already shared, but to sum up is money savings and changing our mindset and habits.
The biggest struggle has been establishing what is "essential" with my spouse! Who knew that we'd consider different things as "essential"?! But seriously, after a few arguments and throwing myself a pity party, again, we survived the week. haha ;)
Surprisingly I was most tempted to cheat on entertainment! With a SmartTV it's become much to easy to say, "Oh! The latest episode of Once Upon A Time is only $2.99! Let's just order it" and having the TV linked to our Amazon account which is linked to our debit card - HELLO DANGER!!!
But overall this has led us to really open our eyes to how lazy and wasteful we've become with convenience! Holy cow! This is our big AHA moment that has bled into almost every area of our lives as we evaluate our spending. It creeps in and pretty soon you're not only wasting by grabbing a paper towel for every spill instead of a dish towel, grabbing a water bottle as you run out the door instead of filling up with fridge water, but you're frivolously driving around town, unaware of the gas your vehicle is consuming, using more toilet paper than needed (some of which your toddler tries to eat! so wasteful haha), you're eating more than is simply satisfying, and shall I go on?!
This challenge is opening our eyes and causing us to ask "Are we being intentional?"
And more than anything we realize how much this is a first-world problem! In third world countries they don't have to ask these questions as most are barely scraping by and yet so satisfied and grateful for what they have.
My biggest worry has been "Will our food last until month's end" where now it's more along the lines of "How can we teach our children about gratitude and being good stewards this month" (and hope that my spouse and I can agree on essentials throughout our remaining freeze!)
This month is more about changing our mindset. We have activities in a nearby town 3 days a week and I didn't realize that every time I'm there I run through a list in my head, "Do we need anything from...
The Dollar Tree
the grocery store
My brain does a little checklist and I felt odd this week driving back home without stopping to shop anywhere.
My phone apps alert me DAILY that Shutterfly has a 50% off deal or FREE 8x8 Print if only I pay for shipping. ThredUp has 20% off if I order today! Zulily has daily deals that only last a few days so get it NOW!
It is crazy how the world screams at us to spend spend spend.
We walked around our neighborhood today and saw garage sales and I had to fight the urge to "just go browse and see if there's anything we need" (ahem! want)
There is such urgency placed on us for immediate gratification to get the "best deal NOW"
To take a time out and a step back is allowing us to truly see these things.
So a lightbulb goes out in our guest bedroom. Do we need to replace it right this instant? Or can it wait?
We are learning a ton and it's only week one!
Stick around to see what else we learn through this spending freeze and thanks for joining!
I'd love to hear if you've done something of this sort and what lessons you learned?
P.S. A few delights this week: we've been so blessed by friends, not only supporting us, but treating us!
One good friend brought me a coffee treat from Starbucks <3
While another friend brought me a can of pumpkin since she'd heard we only had one and were saving until Thanksgiving. She said "No one should have to ration pumpkin during November!" LOL
These two were just a glimpse of the amazing community we have here. We love our "Framily"