Back to minimalism: a 30-day no-spend challenge

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Confession time: For being a self-proclaimed minimalist, I've been sucking at it lately. (Oh hey, yeah, this post is about minimalism, not nearo waste. Rejoice!)

I'm Overspending

Today is Wednesday, January 17th. Since the weekend, Saturday, January 13th, I've purchased or ordered these things:

  • 2 accent lights at IKEA
  • 1 LED pillar candle at IKEA
  • 1 6-pack of LED tea lights at IKEA
  • 1 8-pack of batteries for said tea lights (I know… 8 for 6…smh.)
  • 1 stuffed Bernese Mountain Dog at IKEA
  • A pack of 6 LED lightbulbs for those accent lights from Amazon
  • 1 replacement Magic Bullet cup for our Bulletproof coffee
  • A mattress protecter for storage
  • 1 upcycled wallet from Holstee
  • 1 5x7" gold foil Holstee Manifesto print
  • 1 doctor's co-pay
  • 1 prescription

That's not to mention the other purchases I've made within the past week or so:

  • 2 internet mattresses
  • 1 set of queen-sized organic cotton sheets
  • 1 pack of 2T onesies for the ever-growing Beans
  • 1 tube of 100% Pure mascara
  • 1 tube of W3LL People concealer
  • Cutting board oil
  • 1 pack of four cell phone ring stand holder thingies

It's out of control.

Here's What I Really Needed

Out of everything I purchased, I probably only needed the replacement Magic Bullet cup, the doctor's co-pay, my prescription, and the onesies for Beans.

However, everything else can be explained, and so far we are enjoying the stuff.

Minimalism Isn't About Buying Absolutely Nothing

Let me remind you that minimalism isn't about buying nothing; it's about purchasing things that will truly improve the quality of your life and bring you joy.

All of those accent lights will help us wind down in the evening.

The new larger mattress(es) have improved our quality of sleep, and a new mattress means you need a new sheet set, simple as that. (Let me note here that we will only keep one of the mattresses… it's a long and somewhat dumbly embarrassing story.)

The other crap? Well, I've enjoyed the cell phone ring holder thingie tremendously since I purchased it. I needed new mascara and concealer. I probably didn't need the upcycled wallet or the Holstee Manifesto print, but both stand firmly for the things I believe in (recycling, zero waste, and following your passion).

That said, all of this money could be better spent elsewhere.

No-Spend Challenges

There are tons of no-spend challenges out there on the interwebs. Cait Flanders has done a very popular one. Fellow blogger Britt of Tiny Ambitions just shocked the socks off of me and is doing a no-spend 2018.

No-Spend challenges basically mean you aren't buying anything out of what you truly need. Generally, this means you can buy groceries, toiletries (when you are truly in need of a replacement), and maybe things like new shoes if your old shoes truly bite the dust.

Let's Talk Money

Luckily, I'm in a financial position to where I can treat us to some nice things, and still put a healthy amount of money into savings every month. We can still go out to eat, and I can still treat myself to that Grande Americano every once in a while.

BUT, if I truly think about where we want to be this year, that money would be better off elsewhere.

We'd rather travel. We'd like to buy a house. We'd like to do nice things to celebrate our relationship. I'd like to set Beans up with a healthy 529 savings account.

So Here We Are

So here we are. I'm starting a personal no-spend challenge for at least the next 30 days.


True to other similar no-spend challenges, I will only buy:

  • Food
  • Incidentals (like diapers and toilet paper when we run out)
  • Gifts for others (for real things like birthdays, not just random stuff for shits and giggles)
  • Plane tickets, probably, because we already talked about going to Florida soon

That means no spending money on Stitch Fix (even if it does help me curate my perfect slow fashion capsule wardrobe). No spending money on that double edge safety razor I really want. No spending money on that suitcase organizer I'll inevitably want when we go to Florida. I won't buy Beans that ridiculously cute train set for no reason at all. No more buying too many things to help me along with my nearo waste journey.

A post shared by Jennifer (@jenny.pancakes) on

What About You?

Are you a shopaholic, or are you a recovering one like me, who strives to be a minimalist? Will you join me on a no-spend month?

I'll check in with you later to let you know how I did.

Cover photo by Ashim D’Silva