Good, Bad, and Ugly | My No Spend November Reflection

Hey reader,

Thanks for coming back and joining me here on the blog to catch up on my No Spend November results. It was a super busy and bumpy month, to be sure, with birthdays and elections and holidays and more.

The Good

The good part of my NSN is that I actually met all of my goals. To recap, my goals were:

  1. No spending on unnecessary items in the “other” category — online shopping, clothes, plants, decoration for the apartment, etc.
    • I successfully resisted the urge to buy plants, decor, clothing, and more this month.
  2. Limit takeout: 3x/week or 13 times total
    • Somehow, I managed to exceed this goal and only get takeout 11 times– I’m super proud of this. One piece of this that I’m really proud of is that Brian and I drove up to New Jersey around Thanksgiving, and we didn’t stop to get fast food during the car ride their or back. Usually, I feel like I “need” some food for comfort or sustenance during travel, but I resisted this urge for both trips, knowing I really didn’t need fast food.
  3. Exceptions: birthday/anniversary spending, early Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving spending, and normal exceptions (groceries, gas, bills)
    • These exceptions definitely helped me exceed my goals.
  4. Track all spending
    • Easy mode, thanks to my budget.
  5. Goal: 18 days completely without discretionary spending
    • All in all, I went 19 days without discretionary spending.

I’m also proud that I:

  • Avoided Black Friday spending altogether. Trust me, you don’t need this in your life.
  • All the plants, clothes, fast food, etc. that I talked myself out of buying because I didn’t need any of it.
  • Avoiding Amazon (almost entirely) for my Christmas gifts. I did find two gifts where using Amazon made the most sense, and I told myself I wouldn’t stop shopping on Amazon entirely until my Prime subscription ended after the holidays, so I’m okay with it for the time being. But for everything else, I was able to shop small.

The Bad

Now, a few things didn’t go to plan. Namely, I went over budget this month in my groceries and other category. Brian and I did a lot of cooking and baking for the holidays, my birthday, and our anniversary, which I believe are the culprits for why our spending is over. As for the other category, here’s what happened:

As I talked about in the last video for NSN, I spent $65 on a ButcherBox (technically in October, but it billed in November). Utilities came out to $43 this month, and then something unexpected happened: I got a $50 speeding ticket. All of this took me to $158, $8 over my designated spending.

I have to say, though, that I used to get really upset when I’d put a lot of effort into saving money and unexpected things would come up and I’d end up spending just as much. Now, I’m at peace with it all; I know to worry about the things I can control and accept everything beyond my control. And what’s more, I still went under budget for the month, given my low spending on dining and gas.

The Ugly

There’s one things this NSN highlighted for me that I’d really like to change in the future– about 70% of the money I spent on dining went to big chain restaurants instead of local ones, which are suffering more during this time. Now, sometimes I just really want some Chipotle or some Popeyes, and that’s not a crime. That being said, my goal for the upcoming months is to send 50% at local restaurant and 50% at bigger companies, as a starting point. There’s so much good, local food around DC, and I’d rather support small businesses with my dollars.

As always, No Spend Challenges are a fantastic way to set small goals and analyze whether or not our spending aligns with our values and goals. I’m so happy I did this challenge and documented it for you guys– I hope to do another one soon!

🙂 Rachel

Don’t ever go into a no-spend blind. If you want to try one out, it’s time to get my free budget template.

And if you need more guidance with goal setting, mindset shifting, and budget brainstorming, you can purchase my Money Map Workbook for just $9 –> Get Your Money Map Workbook

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