After a restful November, and a fantastic Thanksgiving with my family – my first dinner with my family in 2 years – I’m back! And I’m issuing another challenge.
I am ::this close:: to a nice round number of ABLE contributions for 2021. This close is $225 away. It’s a stretch goal, but I want to contribute that amount to my ABLE fund by the end of the month.
To that end I’m doing a BUY NOTHING challenge for December in order to reach that goal. I made super adorable coloring pages and weekly trackers that are customizable to whatever goal you may have. I am providing them free. Here are pictures, but the images link to the PDF versions.
You can choose what you want each coloring image to represent – $1, $5, $10 – whatever your goal necessitates. The tracker can be used to track spending, what you’ve done to reach your goal, or how you creatively avoided spending during a Buy Nothing challenge. I tried to make them more customizable this time.
They are very winter/Christmas themed, because I made them for me, and that made me happy.
You may ask, “What’s the difference between a BUY NOTHING challenge and a push to HUSTLE and make money challenge like October was?” Honestly? It’s subtle. It’s about focus. Ultimately, the goals are similar, but how we get there is different.
In October, the goal was to hit $1,000 in income. This is the goal every month, but it’s usually behind the scenes. Of course – when it’s public and on display I pushed even harder to hit it. Which is why November was so restful!
It’s about focus. December will be focusing on being creative in order to avoid spending money, which is different than finding ways to get more money. Really, my life is always a combination of the two. Personal finance people will often tell you to stop looking at saving and start looking at making more money – and for 95% of the population that is most excellent advice. YES. DO THAT. For the rest of us, who are income capped due to health care needs and policy issues, we can’t make enough money to out pace our medical costs and are only penalized for earnings. For us, it really is about saving as much as possible, because our pie pieces will never be bigger – there is no larger pie, or larger slice available.
I’m hoping to exercise all my creative juices for finding ways to save and avoid spending. To that end, the most mutable of categories on a budget is always food. I will be eating from the pantry and the freezer as much as possible and endeavoring to spend very little. The first half of the month should be fine, but the second half may have interesting meals / creative recipes. I’ve already pulled, “back of the pantry items,” out and put them on the counter. That stuff that’s been in the back for a good long while, or close to expiring? I have that classic issue of if I don’t see it it doesn’t exist. Now I will see it every day, and all the time. I’ve also pulled out all the random packets of things – sugar, jam, ketchup and will attempt to use those up. The back of the freezer will also serve me well. I have an astonishing variety of veggie burgers with one patty left, malingering back there.
I will utilize my local Buy Nothing group as needed as well. November was FULL of donations. Between my family and friends, I filled my van 7 times and gifted literally hundreds of items to my group. This creates social capital, and I know my community will help support my needs, because I’ve done the same for them.
I plan to share all the interesting ways I get around spending money, the social capital I work with, the creative meals, and more each week. Look for Monday updates all of December. Follow the day to day for more detail on my Instagram page.
Exceptions to the BUY NOTHING CHALLENGE are things already planned for, free items, and gift cards/coupon promos. I can only think of one thing already planned for – my laundry soap is shipping on subscribe and save in a couple days. One of the challenges of being so sensitive to scent/ chemicals/ products, is not being able to use all the freebies/samples and stuff given away. If I could use it, I WOULD use it to save money and I’m always bummed I can’t, but do pass it on to those who can. I never turn down a free thing because I can’t use it – I get it in the hands of someone who can.
Here we go! Are you going to do a December challenge? I’d love to hear about whatever goal you are working towards.
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