I like stuff. I like buying stuff even more. Clothes, makeup, weird little (mostly cat-shaped) tchotchkes to keep on my desk – I love it all! But I’ve realized lately that I have entirely too much stuff. Stuff that I don’t use. And even though I have all of that stuff that I’m not using, I’m still buying new stuff. The madness has to stop!

That’s where the No-Spend November Challenge comes in. I’m starting a teensy, tiny bit early because I want to be able to shop after Thanksgiving. (I’m only human!) I’m also not going to be quite as strict with myself as some other folks. If I get too restrictive with myself, much like a crash diet, I’ll just end up going on a huge shopping binge by day four and giving up completely. I’m trying to seriously reduce my discretionary spending – not go cold turkey.

What’s Allowed?

  • Bills (obviously): I will pay them. Not paying them isn’t really an option.
  • Subscriptions: I’m not canceling any of my current monthly subscriptions to Birchbox, Sephora Play!, Netflix, Hulu, Weight Watchers, etc. I might finally take care of that Ancestry.com one though (I have no idea why I got it in the first place, let alone still have it).
  • Food: I’m not going to limit myself to only things I buy at the grocery store, because honestly I hardly ever go to the grocery store. But I am going to pack my lunch for work (which I guess means I will be going to the grocery store after all). I’ll also skip the Starbucks when free coffee is an option, try to eat at home more often and pack my own snacks whenever possible.
  • Self-Care: Dentist appointments, doctor visits, (previously scheduled) haircuts and my mani/pedis all fall under this bucket. Also, tampons. (I’m trying to save money, not live like an animal.)
  • Entertainment: I’m not going to cancel all my weekend plans. I’ll still spend money when I go out with family or friends.
  • Presents: Gifts for others are totally allowable and encouraged. I’ll still give my son his monthly allowance.

What’s NOT Allowed?

  • Make-Up: I will not buy any makeup for 30 days. This will be hard. If I run out of a staple, I will make do with other products I have on hand. Honestly, I could probably “make do” for about six months if I had to (but I might not be happy about it).
  • Shoes/Bags/Accessories: Yes, they deserve their own category.
  • Anything from Amazon.com: Damn you, Amazon Prime. You are my greatest weakness.
  • Books/Magazines/Movies: I’ll use the library or the streaming services I already have. I’ll read the magazines I’m subscribed to instead of picking up even more at the newsstand. I won’t rent from Redbox or Amazon, however I am going to allow a tiny loophole here. Actually going out to the movies with family or friends will fall under “Entertainment” and is allowed.

So what do you think? Can I do it? I’m going to keep a spending diary during the month to see where my money is going. I’m sure I’ll find the challenge very enlightening and interesting. And possibly horrifying.

Stay tuned for future updates on my progress!