Can you picture yourself not spending money during the month of January? I was inspired by Happy Simple Mom to embark on this journey one year ago and I haven’t looked back. I did the challenge last year and felt much better after putting a temporary ban on buying non-essential items; thus, I was able to detox from the Christmas debt hangover. Is this extreme? Maybe a little, but I assure you that this challenge is totally doable. In fact, you might actually enjoy it. Chances are, you probably already have a lot of stuff laying around your house for future DIY projects (Pinterest, anyone?). And if you are like me, chances are you probably forgot about most of the stuff that you already own.
Below is a list of 10 non-essential items that I will not be buying this month. I do not encourage you to ban essential items like groceries, gas, phone bills etc. because these things essential for a reason. Non-essential items include extra things that you can learn to live without, and this list will vary from person to person. Remember, what you choose to give up for January is entirely up to you! 🙌
January No Spend Challenge
Here is a list of some of 10 things that I am not buying throughout the month of January 2021! 💰
1. Coffee and Steeped Tea I love coffee from MCDs and Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s. Even though I can make MCDs coffee at home, I crave their coffee when I am running errands. I also crave Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s which is a bit trickier since I cannot replicate it at home. I have tried numerous times to replicate it but I have not found a good replacement for store-bought Steeped Tea. I am able to justify buying Steeped Tea in-store by using gift cards and Tim’s Rewards (buy 7, get one free).
In 2020, I used my Swagbucks Rewards to purchase $75 worth of Tim Cards. If reward programs like Swagbucks appeals to you and you are interested in signing up, my referral link is https://www.swagbucks.com/profile/hellokitty8404. It is free to sign up using my referral link and you will be helping me out too. It’s similar to “Buy Me A Coffee!” but doesn’t cost you anything! ☕💕
2. Junk Food I have been a junk food addict for as long as I can remember. I could live off of junk food instead of real food but my guilty conscience does not allow me to succumb to poor lifestyle choices. However, I do consume a concerning amount of junk food on a weekly basis, specifically sugary treats like candy and chocolate. There is nothing wrong with junk food in moderation, but I admit that moderation is not a word in my vocabulary 😂 For this reason, I will be making my own treats in the New Year. In the past, I have made DIY honey-lemon candy, protein gummy candy, air-fried BBQ chips, kale chips, Dalgona coffee, and chocolate mug cake.
3. Ordering Takeout We told ourselves that we would only eat out twice a month, but we do not keep track of our spending. I feel like we were eating out at least 4 times per month, not including the Tim Hortons runs. I realize that we eat out way too much, so during the month of January, we plan to cook our meals at home. Often, I find myself giving into hanger when I am running errands, my husband wants to celebrate a special occasion, our daughter is hangry too etc. Next time, I will pack snacks when we travel, even if we are just running errands.
4. Eating at Restaurants We eat out at restaurants once a month because we spend more on takeout, and this goes hand in hand with point #3. Still, there is no reason to eat out if we can learn how to create our favourite dishes at home. There is no need for physical cookbooks since I can [usually] find what I need on the internet.
5. Online Shopping I pride myself for having self-control when it comes to online shopping. I keep online shopping to a minimum and only use a couple of sites, at most. There are some products which I can only buy online, such as Natural Calm – Calmful Sleep Natural Sleep Aid (powder) which you can purchase at an unbeatable price here. Now that my shipment has finally arrived, I do not need to buy anything else for a while. Oh yeah, and I avoid Amazon because of bad experiences/scams from questionable sellers.
6. Dollarama This goes hand and hand with #2 and #7 because two of my biggest culprits when shopping at Dollarama are junk food and stationary. Dollarama has good quality stationary and I cannot fathom why anyone would spend full price on greeting cards. The prices at Dollarama range from $1-$4 per item and the quality is decent, unlike other dollar stores I have shopped at. I shop there 2-3 times per week and usually spend $20.00+ per shopping trip. It is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud.
7. Stationary Where do I even begin with this one? I ❤ stationary! I love sending mail as much as I love receiving mail. Snail mail seems to be a dying art, and I usually give up when so-called pen-pals don’t reciprocate at all. I know I set my expectations too high and need to work on that. I also have an all-or-nothing personality, so this year I ended up mailing zero Christmas cards. That being said, I still have a problem when it comes to buying stationary and I get carried away sometimes. Therefore, I am putting a ban on stationary and will use up what I have before I buy more. 💌
7. Skin Care Products Not only did I find some great deals during Boxing week, which you can read in my previous blog post, my mom also mailed me a bunch of skin care products from around the world for Christmas 2020. I definitely have an abundance of skin care products not limited to: face wash/cleanser from Japan, mini shower gel(s), a family-sized shower gel imported from Greece, body butters, body creams imported from Greece, hair care products from Korea, pain relief analgesics by Kalaya, and body yogurts. There is absolutely no reason for me to buy more skin care products unless I run out of something, which is highly unlikely.
8. Alcohol We are not big drinkers, so alcohol has never been an issue for me. Also, I am 19 weeks pregnant so I am not drinking alcohol anyways. I find it incredibly irresponsible for pregnant mothers to drink, fully knowing that they are harming their unborn child. For pregnant women who want something a bit classier than sparkling water this holiday season, there is a non-alcoholic beverage on the market known as sparkling fruit juice and it tastes delicious. I like how this beverage even comes in wine bottles which closely resembles champagne. This drink is a treat and not an every day indulgence. Cheers! 🥂
9. Miscellaneous Gifts I often spend money on others before I spend money on myself, and I like to buy “just because” gifts for my husband and daughter. I feel like this is my way of telling them that they are important to me. I know what my husband’s favourite candy and snacks are, for instance. He is aware that I am doing this January No Spend Challenge, and I am pretty sure that my daughter won’t notice. A friend of mine has an upcoming birthday, and because she lives in a different province, I want to send her something by mail. This might end up being an exception to the rule as I have no way of sending homemade gifts without paying ridiculously high shipping costs.
Finally, I encourage you to try this challenge during the month of January to kickstart the new year! I also encourage you to track your spending habits using a budgeting app or free PDF tracker so that you are able to see the progress that you are making. The results may surprise you! 🙂
If you need some extra encouragement this month, feel free to message me on my Contact Info Page. Please note that I mostly use email and WhatsApp. Also, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ and I will do my best to reply to your comments! ❤
Happy New Year! 🥳🥂