Two years ago when I was trying a new thing each month (or at least attempting to, COVID did ruin that a bit), I chose No Spend November for my new thing. Basically, No Spend November is a money-saving challenge where you don’t spend any money except on the essentials for the entire month of November.
Now everyone has a different list of what is essential to them. For some people, that Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks coffee in the morning is essential. For some people, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc are essential because they provide entertainment for them and their families. For others, getting their hair and nails done once a month is essential to their self-care. So what is essential to me might not seem essential to you, and what is essential to you might not seem essential to me.
So what are my essentials?
- Food (obviously)
- My medical insurance
- My cell phone bill
- My storage unit (until I FINALLY move into my own place and don’t need it anymore)
- My medication/daily vitamins
- YouTube Premium (which is paid with my cell phone bill, but is essential to me)
- The occasional venti matcha green tea frappe from Starbucks (I’ve cut back on them quite a bit, but still need one every so often)
- Hygiene products (but I shouldn’t need to buy any of those since I have backups for everything)
Also, I am currently working on paying off some medical debt, which isn’t technically essential, but is something I need to do to improve my credit score. So I will consider this a necessary evil (though evil might be a strong, but overall appropriate word for it).
And yes, even though books are an important part of this blog and my existence, I have plenty of books I still need to read/finish reading that I feel like I can go one month without adding any new ones to my shelves and still have plenty to read. So for the sake of this challenge, books are not essential (and I feel like I’m blaspheming by saying this, but it’s true).
So my goal for No Spend November is to not purchase anything that isn’t on my essential list. Though this post will be up on the last day of November, I will keep track of every purchase I make throughout the month of November for all of you to see (and possibly judge). I won’t go into the amount of money spent, but I will be fully transparent about everything I spend money on. So if I slip up and buy 5 new books, I will be honest about it. If I go out to eat with friends or my boyfriend, I will be honest about it. If I buy tickets to a concert, I’ll be honest about it.
So here is how my No Spend November went:
November 1st: Medical insurance and Venti matcha green tea frappe from Starbucks (After 2 really stressful work days in a row)
November 2nd: No spend
November 3rd: Dinner.
November 4th: Food, 2 products I was running low on, and I put $4 toward our a work lottery ticket (we didn’t win).
November 5th: It was a friend’s birthday, so we went to a flea market in Daytona. I bought a virgin Pina colada smoothie because I was thirsty and some incense, a Sage essential oil, and some sage bundles for cleansing (I’m moving soon and want to cleanse my new apartment before moving into it.
November 6th: No spend.
November 7th: Deposit on my new apartment and dinner.
November 8th: I purchased vitamins and toothpaste because I was running low/ ran out of it. I also bought a back up of one of my favorite cleaning products, which is hard to find! I bought some snack foods for work… and then came the unnecessary purchases such as a lip mask, new PJ bottoms, and this last one will be necessary once I move into my apartment, but could have easily waited. The item that is the unnecessary necessity is a hard boiled egg cooker. I also purchased my boyfriend a dress shirt off Mercari since he doesn’t have an account. He gave me the cash for it immediately after I made the purchase, so it’s like I didn’t spend any money at all! (But for the sake of total transparency, I’m adding it).
November 9th: No spend.
November 10th: No spend.
November 11th: I bought my bike today, which is a necessity because once I move, I will need to rely on it to get to and from work, grocery shopping, etc. I also bought a new phone because my old one was way past needing to be replaced (like it should have been replaced months ago). I bought a screen protector and case for it as well having to purchase the wall charger for it (which was dumb). I also bought a Venti matcha green tea frappe from Starbucks. My roommate got a new job, so I bought her a Starbucks cup as a congratulations (and to replace the one she had before that broke), and I bought her son a stuffed Tails from Sonic because he has really been loving Sonic lately and it was too cute not to get for him!
November 12th: Did my grocery shopping for two weeks worth of breakfast and lunch for work. I purchased fertilizer for my plants to help some of them along. Also purchased a scalp massager to hopefully help with the headaches I’ve been having and a gift set of Lavender scented sleep products that I know I’ll use! I also bought two pop socket rings for my phone and I’m awaiting their arrival in the mail. I couldn’t find any I liked in stores and I hate normal pop sockets, so I hope they arrive soon!
November 13th: No spend.
November 14th: No spend.
November 15th: Starbucks for me and my roommate (as a thank you for picking me up on a weirdly scheduled work day). I also paid my cell phone bill.
November 16th: Purchased some sushi for lunch and a few essential items I needed.
November 17th: Bought a future homeware item, thank you cards for an upcoming work event, some snacks…. and four books that I absolutely did not need, but they were all under $10 and I couldn’t pass them up!
November 18th: Disney + payment (which I forgot I still had… oops).
November 19th: Popcorn and drinks for movie night with my boyfriend.
November 20th: No spend.
November 21st: No spend.
November 22nd: Some new work clothes, my energy vitamins, a shirt for my roommate’s kiddo, and Starbucks.
November 23rd: Paid for my storage unit (won’t have to do that again because I move soon), bought a bike lock and better bell for my bike. Also bought my roommate’s kiddo a bike bell because he wants one for his bike. Also got some snacks and drinks for Thanksgiving.
November 24th: Bought some new skincare items to help my skin out.
November 25th: Bought some additional skincare items (I’m really trying to get my skin to a better place).
November 26th: Did my grocery shopping for 2 weeks worth of lunches and some breakfast items and snacks.
November 27th: I probably could have waited on this one, but I purchased a tv and walk mount for my new apartment. Honestly, the Black Friday deals were too good to pass up and I know that though this could have waited, I would be paying more if I waited. So this was a current-unnecessary-but-in-the-future-necessary purchase. I also bought Starbucks for me and my roommate, bought two storage totes for my books (2 was surprisingly enough for the rest of my books), and some sweet tea (because I love sweet tea and was running low).
November 28th: Bought a piece of furniture for the new apartment. Bought new pajamas, some cookies, two new hair brushes (one for when my hair is straight and one for when it’s not), I also bought some light up spokes for my bike so I’ll be more visible at night if I’m biking somewhere. And I purchased two new lip products because I had to throw a few out recently and I like having lip products on hand, especially moisturizing ones!
November 29th: No spend.
November 30th: Bought myself Starbucks and a Rice Krispie treat (stressful day at work) and two beauty products I’m almost out of.
So there you have it- that is how my No Spend November went! I know I had way more spend days than no spend days, but I don’t feel like I purchased too many unnecessary things, and the things I did buy that weren’t a necessity were mostly for other people!
I probably could have waited on the television and other items for the new apartment, but I saved myself money by purchasing them when I did, and at least I know I’ll have them when I move. So admittedly, I’m not super proud of how this No Spend November went, but with the changes that are coming up for me, I feel it makes some sense.
I hope everyone is having a great week! Let me know how your week is going!