No Buy Challenge Thoughts

February is the shortest month. It’s also the month we chose to exercise the No Buy Month Challenge. A spending fast if you will. The idea – to purchase only essentials – gave me a boost in evaluating my spending habits. Again, I don’t engage much in pleasure shopping. My spending indulgences generally involve a vacation. Even so, I learned more about what makes me tick by intentionally opting not to shop.

Exercise my right to control spending.

I’ve explored the idea of joining running groups. Seems like a great idea, but time conflicts abound. A common area workout facility is one condominium perk. A $100/year fee to use the room, $45 for running shoes before a 20% off coupon (bought before February), and a free Couch to 5K running app are all I need. Half way through an 8-week running schedule, I’m able to maintain an exercise routine without adding to my monthly expenses.

Bibs are not essentials.

There are so many products for baby that tug at the heart strings. “Like My Status” bibs would have normally joined my basket even though my mission was initially only cereal. They called me by name; reminding my that those white bibs we’ve been rocking since birth are a dingy representation of their former selves. The challenge challenged me to justify that expense. Final conclusion: bibs are not an essential expense. I tried a little vinegar and lemon juice to reclaim the bib’s former luster! (Still working on that one.)

Entertainment options are enticing.

I had to say no to a few chances to hang out in style. Fela, the Off Broadway musical about the political struggle of Nigerian composer – Fela Kuti,  was in town for just one week. Have I mentioned I love history; especially history set to fantastic music and dancing. The Chicago Auto Show also rolled into town. Good friends, back in town for a birthday, invited us out for a good ol’ get-together. My dance card is generally pretty sparse, but February offered a plethora of party options. I passed on Fela and the Auto Show. The birthday celebration included tickets and a meal – compliments of the host (gotta love friends who invite AND pay!!!). So we celebrated and I stayed true to my goal.

I did have one challenge that worked itself out. I originally wasn’t sure how to handle an invitation to speak for a paid gig without purchasing business appropriate attire. One could argue the outfit was essential since I’m still battling this post-pregnancy weight. Turns out, the even was canceled and so no decision necessary. All in all, the challenge provided a great opportunity to look at my spending habits to ensure I’m being most effective.

What did you learn, if anything, during the No Buy Month Challenge?

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