Hi and welcome back.
I hope you are all having a lovely week and that the weather hasn’t stopped you enjoying all that you love. My week has been difficult as I am yet again, struggling with bronchitis. It isn’t something I have shared on my blog yet but I am a recently diagnosed asthmatic and I keep coming down with bronchitis which just floors me and stops me in my tracks. I don’t know what is causing it but I do know that dairy is exacerbating my asthma. I am trying to reduce my dairy intake so stay tuned for gluten free, dairy free recipes coming to my blog as my diet changes. I hope you enjoy them. For today, I want to share an update on my No-Spend Challenge I completed in 2018. It was a difficult challenge to say the least, and I have shared my story on my blog too. You can read my blog posts here if you are interested. It has been almost a year since this challenge completed so I want to share an update on my spending, what I have learnt and how I am shopping now the challenge is over. I hope you enjoy. C. -x-
So what have I learnt?
1. How to decide what items I want
I started my No-Spend challenge at the beginning of 2018 as a way to break my very dangerous (for my budget and the environment) shopping habit. I was hurtling towards financial issues but I just couldn’t seem to stop the impulse to buy an item if I saw it and even remotely liked it. I felt no joy attached to any purchase I bought; I would always be craving more. The big lesson I learnt from this challenge is patience. And it wasn’t just clothes. I felt this way about everything – books, jewellery, food – if I saw it and felt I needed it, I bought it. At the beginning of this year and as my No-Spend Challenge finished, I set myself a rule that I was allowed one pay day treat. If I saw an item while I was out and about or on-line, I would make a note of it on my phone and then, when payday came around, I would treat myself to something off the list. I quickly realised most of the items I had added to a list, I wouldn’t want to buy when I would allow myself to. This rule is still in place now and it is something I look forward to. I find it stops my impulse spending and holds me accountable for each and every item I buy. I also find I cherish those items more, because I forced myself to wait for them. Getting the item on payday, also means my budget doesn’t take a serious hit so I am winning on that front too. I have found some months there isn’t anything I have wanted to buy so I have added the money to my savings account instead. I use this time to invest in sustainable options too; my most-used purchases have to be my beeswax wraps and my bamboo lunch box. I use them daily to wrap food items in to take with me to work. They keep the food fresh and means I never have to worry about cross-contamination. Also, they look pretty and cute, so who can ever say no to that?
2. I can, and do, live comfortably with less
Another lesson I have learnt from the No-Spend Challenge is that I can, and do, live comfortably with less. I find myself very happy with the items in my wardrobe and can mix and match the basic items to create looks that I love and feel comfortable in. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I would go out in clothes that made feel uncomfortable, simply because they were not my style. I know my style now and have started to build a good basic capsule wardrobe. I don’t need to spend my weekends shopping for new clothes, I can enjoy the simpler things in life instead. I love being able to get out and explore my local area with my dog instead of traipsing round stores to clothes I don’t like and definitely do not need!
3. My challenge started with clothes, but has had far-reaching effects in my life
The next lesson I have learnt is just how bad my shopping addiction was to the environment. It still haunts me to think of the number of clothes I have thrown away if they got damaged or shrunk or got worn out. I have mentioned this in my blog post back in Spring where I explained how I was trying to be more eco-friendly. If you missed it, the link is here for you to check out. In that blog post, I shared my feelings on waste production and how worried I was after watching David Attenborough’s documentary this year. I started my No-Spend challenge to try and break my shopping addiction but its effects have been long-lasting. I am trying to reduce my plastic consumption and my shopping habits have changed drastically too.
I have moved to a shampoo bar from the Zero Waste Path Shop and use body bars as opposed to plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. It has been a fun journey to find the best combination for my hair and I love how much improvement I have seen to my hair. It is less knotted, is smoother and the ends are in a better condition too! It took time to make the change but if you are considering it, I would highly recommend the Zero Waste Path Shop Bars. They are easy to use and not expensive either.
5. I enjoy shopping second-hand clothing
I am looking into buying second-hand clothing and trying to only shop from sustainable and eco-friendly shops. It has been a challenge but most of my basic items in my wardrobe have been bought this way and I love them even more because of it. I have purchased a pair of jeans from a charity shop that are my absolute favourite dark blue skinny jeans that I wear all the time. I have also started shopping on E-Bay for second hand clothing and come away with a few beautiful items. My favourites have to be my second hand White Company White Stuff cream jeans and my new 100% silk grey top. I love all my items and finding these gems, gives me such a thrill that I wouldn’t have had if I had just bought them in the store. There is such a sense of pride almost, at finding an item you know you will love and cherish when it could have just been discarded. I don’t buy all my items of clothing from E-Bay and I have purchased a camel brown trench coat from Marks and Spencer who are trying to be more sustainable. You can find out more on their website here. I try to only support stores that are making a change in their production on clothing. I feel there is much to change, but together, we can make a difference.
6. My change in lifestyle is having impacts on others lives
This was something I wasn’t expecting to come from My No-Spend challenge. I have tried to be more eco-friendly and sustainable and my attitudes are impacting the spending of those around me. My friends are looking into shampoo bars and beeswax wraps, my in-laws are reducing their plastic consumption by buying less pre-packaged foods and my work colleagues are recycling more too. We are also all eating less meat and enjoying taking left-overs to work the next day for food. My favourite recipe of this year has to be my Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake and my family love it too! I started this challenge to break my shopping addiction and though I have come along way, I know there is more I need to learn.
So there you go, an update no My No-Spend Challenge and how it has changed my life over 2019. I am proud of the changes I have made in my life and look forward to all that is to come. If you are interested in this topic, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to share my journey with you and show how I shop in a more sustainable way and try to reduce my plastic consumption in a world where gluten is forever present. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where I am sharing my Autumn Essentials as the weather has been changing. The following will start my 12 Blogs of Christmas series which I hope you enjoy!
Speak to you next week.