10-months of Not Spending…?

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Chanel’s Little Black Jacket Exhibition (2013)

It’s pretty retarded how I’ve made this experiment sound as though I’ve a great revelation of sorts, but it isn’t. It’s obvious that I’m also not the first person to be writing about ‘not spending for x-amount of time experiment’, yet posts like this still intrigues me to no end.

The truth is that our excessive spending behaviour is a modern-day illness that requires curbing. Discipline it enough and there’ll be lesser financial advisers around to help us manage our money issues (incidentally, the first step you’ll need to do is to pay for consultation…).

When topics regarding ‘cutting back on spendings’ are written on a weblog platform, most people pigeonhole it to just fashionable items (clothes, shoes, bags) that only happens to fashion bloggers, but in actuality, it’s really everybody’s problem, because we all spend: food, books, art, furniture, etcetera.

And suddenly you realise that you, though just another face in the crowd, is not off the hook either.

So here I am, a nobody-famous-on-the-world-wide-web, facing my spending demons because I’m broke, again. Though this time round, it is not for the same reasons as to why I was broke many years ago. I’ll spare you the details because this matter-of-fact statement encapsulates that mindless period of my life fairly well:

“A lot of young people try to impress the world and buy too many things,” the doorman said. —Fight Club (Chapter 5)

But yes, I’m broke again. And the reason is really all because I, obviously still a complete child with no sense of reality, decided that since my parents have never set foot on an aeroplane (despite the first commercial flight starting in 1914) that I would do the honours of sending them on an all-expenses-paid family trip to Japan for 2 weeks at the end of 2016…

While it’s an endearing move from a child to her parents, it’s not quite sensible, is it? Because this bold action meant that I ended up emptying out every single cent from my bank to make the trip happen.

The alarming thing, however, is that I’m not the only one (not that stating this fact makes me feel any better). Because of our impatient nature, our money attitude is such that we would only save up to the exact amount that we would require (for a trip or to make a purchase), stop and then spend it all away, almost immediately, resulting in a very dry bank. For most parts, unless there’s an actual goal, we usually just don’t bother with savings, because it’s just too difficult, and frankly, a “terrible waste” (all that savings for an elusive uh-oh situation and you don’t get to touch it before then?!).

“If you don’t know what you want,” the doorman said, “you end up with a lot you don’t.” —Fight Club (Chapter 5)

Needless to say, I did not look forward to 2017.

Just to be clear: while this money behaviour I had was terrible, I don’t regret my decision of the trip; not many people are so fortunate to have both their parents healthy and still happily married. Sure, my money vaporised within 2 weeks, but it was worth the smiles on my parents’ faces, and the gurgles of the excitements in their voices.

Anyway, 544 words later, I’m still broke and so this experiment stays. The rule is simple and is exactly as stated in the title: ‘10-months of not spending’. Yes, this experiment also stretches towards taxi rides and junk food (guess I’ll have to drink more water during my hormonal cravings days) but excludes experiences (I’ve never joined a night-time marathon before!).

I have to stress that the point of this experiment isn’t to be a scrooge and deprive myself of spending my hard earned money (pretty certain I’ll be using a different currency in my afterlife), but rather, to be wiser with my money; not to spend frivolously, to save as much as I can for 10-months, and allocate these savings carefully into sensible sections: e.g.: rainy day funds, to purchase gifts for loved ones, bill payments, etcetera, so that I’ll never have to face an empty bank account again. I know, I know… Saving, especially if it’s for emergencies and not that new Gucci loafers, is rather uneventful, but I don’t really want to risk another episode of panic attacks because I haven’t saved enough for my upcoming annual insurance payment.

Being an extremist when faced with a challenge, I’m quite stubborn determined to have a successful experiment. Below are 5 additional things that I’ve done:

  1. Assigned a separate email account that functions solely as a receiver of e-mailer subscription and discount codes
  2. Placed a fixed amount of money (food) in my purse that will last me for one whole month and leaving my bank cards at home
  3. Immediate payment of bills once my pay arrives
  4. Immediate transferring of money into specific savings account once my pay arrives
  5. Saving 10% of my pay for the end-of-10-months purchases (necessities)

The nice thing about this experiment is that when it all comes to an end, it’ll be November; that’s when the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales comes in and that’s where I’ll be able to make purchases with a good bit of discounts! Of course, if I do need to replenish necessities within the 10-months, I’ll just have to do it. But for most part, this experiment would see me finishing some long bought products, shopping within my room, clearing out things I’ve been hoarding and re-evaluating my general needs/wants.

I do wonder if I would miss shopping during this experiment and if this no-spending behaviour would carry on naturally once the 10-months are up. And though I’m determined to succeed, will I really or perhaps I might just fail… Who knows?

Meanwhile, here’s to not spending, I guess. Cheers!

In case it wasn’t obvious, Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel, Fight Club*, is one of my favourite books to read—especially when I find myself in a desire to consume materialistic goods. I’ve also always insisted that my friends watch the movie* (for those who are too lazy to read have limited hours in a day) because of the stellar cast.

Now you should, too.

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