I’ve been reading some no-spend challenges and I’ve been noticing that in their no spend months they spend on a lot more stuff than we do in a normal month. Just sundry things… they have justifications, but still…
We tend not to buy things we don’t need, but sometimes an entire month will go by without us getting anything other than the occasional groceries. It’s not like we’re doing a no-spend challenge. It’s not because we’re frugal or because we’re trying to be holier than thou, but simply because we didn’t have time and we put off purchases. Sometimes if you put off purchases long enough you no longer need what you thought you did. Some of these “emergency” purchases they just had to make in the month of February, well, we’re putting off until March because it’s just going to take that long for us to get to Target.
Yes, yes, I know that no time causes people to spend money on things too… but let me say that before we had a kid we didn’t have time to cook. After we had a kid we didn’t have time to go out to eat. We’re now very good at pantry cooking and Faster! I’m Starving! and Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen! definitely changed our lives (thanks, #2!).
If you really don’t have time and can live with a certain level of squalor, you’ll never actually get around to hiring that cleaning person.
Even if you have more time than you need, there’s still hope! We once lived in a series of 3 digit square foot apartments in the city. The smallest was 100 sq ft. The largest somewhere in the 300 range. We were pretty poor, but one thing that enabled us to save for a house downpayment on our graduate stipends was the inability to actually put anything in our apartment. Our first thought would be, “Is there space for this?” and then second would be, “Can we afford it?” You really get into the habit of not buying junk when there’s already no room. Some of our friends in the SF bay area were able to put a 400K downpayment on a house because they saved money not only on the small house they were renting in place of the larger one they could have been renting, but also because they couldn’t buy things to just store in the house.
So what is the bottom line here? If you really want to save money, you can do it unconsciously just by living in a small area and having a demanding job. Then every moment of your time will be too precious to spend shopping and every inch of space too valuable to fill up with junk.
What external effects change your spending for lesser or greater?