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No Spend Year - 2022

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

So last year, it was one of my goals to make 2021 a no spend year. And although I didn't overspend and in fact spent less than in previous years, it still wasn't the successful shopping ban that I had planned. There were a few reasons for it, reasons that I plan on tackling in advance this year so I can stick with the plan I had intended. Just in 2022 instead. And one of the main things was not being absolutely crystal clear on my personal rules, as well as not having any accountability or check ins. You'll see coming up next month that my goal check ins will be much more detailed, so I'll have a space to track my spending (among all my other goals too), plus I'll have the blog itself and you readers as accountability. 


So in order to consider this goal a win and give myself an A at the end of 2022, here's what I need to accomplish:

Rules for the Year

Spending allowed on:

  • Bills, which include electric, gas, water/city utilities, security system, TV/wifi, Netflix (though I'm starting the year with a Netflix gift card I asked for for Christmas, and that should cover the first 8 months), and health insurance. And anything car related like insurance and registration, but often my mom pays for these and in exchange, I pay when I take her dog to grooming every month and watch him for 6 months out of the year and pay for all the dog food and vet visits. It evens out.
  • Gas for the car, because I don't drive around randomly or for fun, so I'm never constantly filling up. Not something I overspend on. And other car needs like oil changes (probably due for that soon, now that I think about it...) and if I absolutely must pay for parking. My allowance in this category for something not totally necessary is two car washes this year.
  • Groceries, including household supplies like tissues, toothpaste, and vitamins, but I do plan on tracking this better and utilizing sales along with proper meal planning. And less waste.
  • Getting my hair done. I get highlights and I only do it twice a year. And it costs me exactly $400 for the year.
  • Dog expenses. Food, groomings, vet visits, all that fun stuff.
  • Cat and wildlife expenses. For the feral cats of course, which is just food. And I buy oats, nuts, and seeds for the birds, squirrels, ducks, and geese. The opossums get our scraps and leftovers. What can I say, I love animals.
  • Medical expenses. Obviously, any co-pays. And any medical needs like Advil or cough medicine - not like I'm buying those things for fun! I won't be adding any experimental vitamins or supplements. I know what works for me and what I need, so only the essentials unless recommended by my doctor.
  • Repairs. Should something get a tear or my phone stops working, I can get it repaired instead of getting a new one.
  • Gardening. We ripped out the giant bush/tree things in the front that I was allergic to and now I need to plant something new and we want to make it a black and red garden. Plus mulch and plants for the back. Things I hate spending money on but my mom loves this project so it's like spending on 'bonding time' really.

Absolutely no spending on:

  • Candles
  • Books, e-books, cookbooks, magazines
  • E-content, like Etsy downloads and online courses. This also includes phone apps, though I've rarely paid for any since owning a phone. But I'm trying to make a complete list here.
  • Planners, pens, other stationary
  • Home decor and other home items like dishes, towels, organizational bins, etc.
  • Coffee outside the house, unless I'm using a gift card.
  • Makeup, skincare, or haircare. I should have everything I need for the year other than when skincare or makeup runs out. I can only replace something once it's actually run out - so no experimenting or buying extras that aren't part of my current lineup. I specifically asked for Ulta gift cards for Christmas for this purpose. And no spending on getting my nails done or buying more supplies to do them at home. I have what I need to use up for the year and plan on getting new Dazzle Dry polishes for Christmas at the end of the year.
  • Clothing and accessories. Which would include underwear, shoes, scarves, jewelry, purses, etc. I think I'm all set but may need a pair of sandals for the summer. That would be the only allowance in the clothing category.
  • Witch supplies, unless it's absolutely necessary for the podcast/YouTube/patreon. I tend to expand the definition of necessary and write it all off as a business expense but that doesn't mean I'm not still spending money on it. 
  • Eating out/ordering in
  • Drinking
  • Entertainment
  • Junk food and sugar. I get John some snack type crap food at the grocery, which is fine for him, but off limits for me this year.
  • Halloween decor. A tough one for me! But I think we have everything I particularly want for decor and party purposes, and I don't want to get anything else until I display everything and see a real need. If there's anything new this year from my favorites (Spirit Halloween and Grandin Road) that I love, I'll put it on my birthday and Christmas wish list.

My allowances:

  • I'm allowed to spend on fun things like drinks/entertainment (street fests, date night, lunch with Betsy, a bar crawl here and there) only if I use 'free' money in some way. This means gift cards or money I earn online like through Swagbucks.
  • I'll need things to furnish the new upstairs: a king size bed, sheets and a comforter, a desk and desk chair, and possibly nightstands. Maybe a couple other things, but that's to be expected when adding on an entire new master bedroom and office area. But no decor items! Strictly the furnishings part.
  • Limited spending on hosting. We host Halloween (though it's been very small and low key the last two years, for obvious reasons), and we may host the 4th of July. There are obviously costs associated, like food, drinks, and ice, but my aim is to keep these costs low, use what we have, and not lump everything into 'hosting essentials' like random Halloween home decor.
  • Limited spending on goals. I have other goals this year that will cost money. Like getting married. Even without a wedding, at the bare minimum we have to pay for the marriage license (a bullshit racket in its own right, but that's a post for another time). There's also a few things on my 101 list that will cost money. But I still plan on keeping these expenses as low as possible.
  • Limited spending on gifts. I'm usually pretty good at finding deals so I don't spend a lot anyway, but since John is hard to shop for, I tend to go overboard at the last minute. I'm setting a budget for everyone this year and sticking with it. Under $1,000 for sure, but I'm aiming for under $500. I'll have a better idea and a more definite budget as the year progresses.

The Carrot and the Stick

Here's where I'm changing up something important: the cost of not following my own rules. You would think that since it's my money that I would automatically be driven to follow the plan. This is not the case. In all goals and goal setting, you need to know how you operate best to stay on track and I know that I'm (a) extrinsically motivated, meaning that I NEED outside accountability because I'm incapable of answering only to myself and (b) pressed by the stick, not the carrot. I'm much more likely to get things done if there's a punishment looming rather than a prize or just the pride of a job well done. Procrastinators will totally understand me, because you too have the instant gratification monkey and panic monster in your brain (best TED talk ever), and get stuff finally completed at the last minute because there's a real threat if you don't, like getting fired or failing a class. 

So my stick: having to donate the matching amount of whatever I spent that didn't follow my rules. $1 candy bar? $1 to charity. $40 dress? $40 to charity. Now, we donate anyway, donating itself is not a punishment, and we will still do our regular donations this year. But having to give extra that's based solely on the amount I spent on crap I didn't need? That will sting. Like Jay-Z said, if you can't afford to buy it twice, you can't afford it. To make it sting a little more, I'm letting Steph pick the charity at the end of the year. And we do not align politically so she could totally pick the DNC and I'd have to do it. Talk about motivation. (She wouldn't, she has much smaller/closer to home/more productive charities she always talks about, but still! Ball would be in her court.)

My carrot I haven't decided on yet, but there will be one. I'm working this year on rewarding myself for the things I accomplish so maybe I can learn to be more carrot-motivated. But I haven't worked out yet exactly what those rewards will look like. If you have any ideas, I'm all ears.


And that is my no spend list. Let me know if there's anything I forgot, because it's entirely possible. I looked at my last couple of months of spending to help me figure out the rules, but I could have missed some categories. Trying to be thorough here! Are you curtailing your spending at all this year?

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