As May comes to a close, I thought I would share with all of you the results of my no spend challenge. Earlier this month I challenged myself to not spend money on any "stuff" that wasn't already pre-determined to be an expense this month. That meant that I was allowed to buy the birthday gift that was on the list, but not also throw a new tank top for myself into the cart at Target and pretend it never happened. If we ran out of dish soap, I could buy more, but I needed to restrain myself against buying some new dish towels just because. So as this month comes to an end, I can say that I did a pretty good job of not spending money on junk- but I did buy a few things for myself that weren't technically on any list.
I had time to think about a few things this month related to my spending habits. The first thing is that I shop when I'm bored. I definitely noticed the itch to go out and "get stuff" when really I probably should have just taken the kids for a bike ride instead. (And so generally that's what I did. Yay for not shopping!)
But the second thing that this challenge helped me to come face to face with was the fact that I have no problem spending a few dollars on something that I don't really need, but I have so much trouble really putting down money for something that I really want. Case in point: art supplies.
This month I found an art class, I signed up to take it, I bought the necessary supplies, I paid for the class, and I am learning how to draw. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time but never given myself permission to do. When I talked to my husband about it he said, "I thought you were going to do that months ago," and he's right. But I just never felt like there was room in our budget to justify spending it on something like art. So in a way, this class came along at just the right time.
The art class has been great, I have learned so much in just 3 weeks. I already see myself looking at objects differently, noticing how the light hits them and where the shaddows fall. But more than that, it has allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and TRY something that I have always just said, "Oh, I'm not good at that."
I feel fortunate that money did not have to stand in the way of it- but I think I also realized that I was using money as an excuse to put it off because I was scared of it. It felt good to dive right in, force myself to sit through the uncomfortable feeling that I get when I try something new, and just go for it.
So, next month, I don't know that I plan on putting myself on such a strict spending diet, but I am planning on continuing to be mindful about what I buy and why I'm buying it...or what I'm avoiding and why I'm avoiding it. I mean, I can't continue to deprive the world of these amazing still life sketches can I?
P.S. Please do not laugh at my 4th grade art skills.