Like many others in the frugalsphere, I’m embarking on a No-Spend November. There will come a moment in every person’s struggle for financial independence when the whole project seems insurmountable. We may ask ourselves what the point of financial independence is in a world where rampant inflation and income inequality destroy the dignity and survival of billions.
On a personal level, so much of our spending is connected to sharing with friends and family– gifts, dinners, drinks, entertainment– and it’s just easier to see our loved ones happy than deny them those things. My own struggle for financial health is tied up in my very difficult fight for mental health and overall wellness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This stuff runs deep.
It’s gotten really hard lately to have hope that I can achieve financial independence, which is why this No-Spend November is so important to me. I’m challenging myself to make disciplined decisions with a clear goal in mind. In other words, to consistently use proven tactics toward a goal of rebuilding my emergency fund and adding to my debt snowball.
Big Picture Goal: Financial Independence!
Small-scale Goal: Rebuild my emergency fund by saving $1000.
Strategy: Reduce expenditures and increase cash flow.
- Utilize a cash envelope system
- Blog for public and personal accountability
- Sell unwanted items on LetGo and Craiglist
- Meal plan and meal prep
So what are my rules for this month? I’m allowed to spend money on goods and services that are necessary for my health and my job. On top of that, I am allowing myself a reasonable exception for meals while I’m traveling for work. I have at least two work trips coming up this month, and I won’t be able to a ton of food with me. I’m allowing myself to spend at most $12.00 a meal for these trips because I will be able to get the cost reimbursed from my employer.
Here are the things I’m counting as “necessities” for this month:
- Utilities- gas and power
- Internet- need for work
- Car Payment
- Car Insurance
- Student Loan payment
- Credit Card payment
- Parking– often difficult to avoid paying for parking in LA, and paying is cheaper than a ticket!
- Food to cook at home
- YMCA membership
- Doctor Co-Pays– not anticipating any of these
- Prescription Medications– refilled recently, so I’m not planning on money for this
- Sensitive Skin Shampoo from Lush– I’m almost out of shampoo, and this is the only stuff that doesn’t make my head break out in hives