New Thing I Tried In November: No Spend November

Over the past few months I’ve become more aware of how cluttered and overwhelming my life feels. I’ve become aware that I make unnecessary purchases (which is why my fiancée and I have a candle stash that may never dwindle down) and this excess causes physical and mental clutter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself and my mental health, it’s that clutter triggers it. My New Thing I tried in April post was a step towards reducing some of the clutter in my life and being more mindful of the things I already have.

But we all have setbacks and if there is one thing this year has taught me, it’s that people panic and when they panic, they tend to overbuy things in anticipation of worst case scenarios. There were somethings that I definitely panic bought, which just brought more clutter and excess into my space. And when you have more stuff than space to put it in, no amount of organizing can make it better.

So in an attempt to stop excess items from entering my space, I have challenged myself to do No Spend November. So what exactly is No Spend November? It basically means that I won’t be spending money on anything that isn’t a necessity. So things like food, bills, and rent are a necessity, but other things like Funko Pops, candles, and books (I know, I know, this is a blasphemous statement for a bookworm to make, but it’s true when you have a large TBR pile like I do) aren’t a necessity. Other things that could be considered a necessity are personal hygiene products I run out of (like if I run out of body wash or deodorant), toilet paper, or cleaning products for our home. I’m also using this as an opportunity to look at things I’m subscribed to and figuring out what I can unsubscribe from because I don’t use it anymore.

I also decided to use this month to do some decluttering of things I’m never going to use or no longer make me happy and also make progress on my TBR pile. I have so many books that have been waiting months for me to read them and though I didn’t get to all of them, I made some progress on the pile. I am going to try (keyword being try) to avoid buying any new books until the start of 2021 in an attempt to get my TBR pile down to 10 books or less. We’ll see how well that works out because I did see a few books at work I want to purchase… oh the temptations of working at a bookstore are real!

So basically what I’m going to do is just list the days I bought stuff and what I purchased. If I slipped up at all, I’ll be fully transparent about it. One of the biggest things I’ve learned about this new journey I’m on is that slip ups can and possibly will happen. If they do, I’ll try not to beat myself up over it and be more mindful in the future. I know that I will never completely stop spending money on things I don’t necessarily need, but it’s not about that. It’s more about being mindful of the space I have, the money I have, and what I want to commit those two resources too. So with that in mind, here’s my spending list for the month of November!

November 1st- Food
November 4th- Food
November 7th- An autopay renewal for a subscription I’m not using. So I cancelled it.
November 8th- An autopay renewal for another subscription service that my fiancée and I do use. For anyone who’s curious, it’s Disney+ (they have all the Halloweentown movies, Hocus Pocus, and other favorites, so it’s a no-brainer to keep it).
November 11th- Food and a bubble mailer for something I sold online. The bubble mailer was a necessity because without it, I wouldn’t have been able to send the package out and make money!
November 12th- Laundry. We don’t have our own washer and dryer, so we have to use the ones in our complex, which cost money to use.
November 15th- Food.
November 16th- Medical debt payment. Starbucks (the green tea frappe was definitely needed after the weekend my fiancée and I had). Boxes for our impending move (or to be used for donations).
November 17th- Food. Paid my cell phone bill for the month. Bought some new face masks for myself and my fiancée. Admittedly, I made some unnecessary purchases as well. I bought 2 mangas for myself and one for my fiancée and I purchased some You-Gi-Oh cards for us. We had a rough weekend and I wanted to do a nice little treat day for us. It wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to do something nice for him.
November 18th- Boxes for our impending move (or to be used for donations). I bought two Venus Flytraps because I wanted another one and they are really hard to find! It wasn’t necessary, but I knew if I didn’t purchase them, I might not find another one for while.
November 19th- Food and drinks for work. Food and rinks for work.
November 20th- Food and drinks for work. You-Gi-Oh cards for me (not necessary, I could have waited. I don’t know why I didn’t).
November 21st- Water and snack at work. Pizza and garlic knots for dinner.
November 23rd- Medical bill payment. Medical appointment payment. Food and household neccesities (toilet paper being among them). Two bubble mailers (for items sold). Rent.
November 24th- Food. Shoes for my new job (they had to be a specific color and type, which I didn’t have). Candle for my mom for Christmas. Hand soap (which ended up being free with the candle purchase, so not sure if this counts). Some CDs and DVDs at Goodwill (going there was probably a bad idea because I always buy something there).
November 27th- Dinner (we were feeling too lazy to cook and I was tired after my orientation).
November 28th- Snacks at work. Lock for my work locker. Bubble mailer for an item sold. Book and journal to aid in my mental health journey (probably could have waited on these, but since my mental health has been really bad lately, I thought that getting them sooner instead of later might benefit me more in the long run).
November 29th- Lunch. Chocolate (I had a bad day and needed the chocolate). Laundry.
November 30th- Lunch. Pretzels for my fiancée.

So here are somethings I’ve learned from doing this-

  1. Money really doesn’t buy happiness. On the days where I bought something as a treat, it only made us feel better for a short amount of time, and then we were right back to feeling stressed, depressed, etc. So no, money doesn’t buy happiness.
  2. I don’t need things to make me happy. Doing this made me realize that I don’t need stuff to make me happy. In fact, I’m beginning to feel like I would be happy with having less things. So it might time to start decluttering again.
  3. We need to meal plan better/learn more quick recipes. Most of the time I bought food this month was because I was too lazy to cook or didn’t plan ahead properly. It always seem like when meal planning, we forget about a meal (either breakfast or lunch), so I definitely need to get better with that.
  4. I think more about my purchases now. Now that I did this for a month, it has made me think twice about the things I want to buy. Like do I really need that candle? No, I have a bunch at home I can use first. Do I really need that new notebook? No, definitely not. True, I still bought things this month simply because I wanted them and those were lessons. I’ll try to do better in the future.

    Have you ever participated in No Spend November? How well did you do? If you have never participated in it, would you consider participating? I would love to know your thoughts! I might challenge myself to do this again sometime next year, so let me know if you would like to read another post about this! Have a great week everyone!

10 comments

    • Haha, I see your point! I don’t have many people I exchange with and most of the time we wait until after Christmas to exchange gifts. So that wasn’t too big of a worry for me. Though I did get that candle for my mom… but it’s a scent that seems to be hard to find that I know she’ll love, so that’s why I made the exception!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed this post, Michelle. I am not a big spender but my dad is a real hoarder. He has my credit card as he does my shopping for me [the man is a saint] and before lockdown he went mad and bought so much food and toilet paper we are stocked up for a long, long time. I thought it was quite funny but told him to stop when our pantry became so full we could hardly get the door open. I have enough tinned mushrooms to make pizza every week for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My nana on my mom’s side had hoarding tendencies and so does my dad. Honestly, if it wouldn’t be for my anxiety, which is easily triggered by cluttered, I probably would have fallen down that rabbit hole as well!

      People are still going crazy hoarding toilet paper. Our local grocery stores and Walmarts have had to put a limit back on toilet paper because people are panic buying it again… It’ll all get used at some point, I’m sure, but toilet paper takes up so much room!

      And hey, at least no one in your house can complain there’s nothing to eat now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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