Hey friends! A lot has happened since I first announced my No Spend Year in this post in mid September, so it’s about time I post an update. Let’s start with some exciting news…
The Job Update
Shortly after I publicly committed to my No Spend Year I learned that my job would soon become full-time! I was ecstatic when I learned this for two main reasons. Firstly, I love my job and had been hoping to increase my hours. Secondly, I knew it would mean my monthly salary would increase, which would (and has!) immensely helped my student loan repayment efforts.
Without going totally cuckoo on you, it didn’t escape my attention that more money came my way right after going public with my intentions to become debt free. In No Spend Year Facebook groups I noticed a number of other people had similar experiences. Law Of Attraction much?
Going full-time has meant I’ve had precisely no time to work on my blog. This is why I haven’t posted any updates since September. I’ve been working Monday to Friday and really needing the weekends to myself. Now that I’m in my third month of working full-time, I’m learning to find time to squeeze my blog back into my priorities. For example, I’m writing this as I watch the evening news. I’ve given myself the goal of working on my blog for at least fifteen minutes per day. This helps SO much, because it gets me through the hardest part – sitting down and starting. Every little bit really does add up to something.
The No Spend Year Update
So, here comes the confession! I have not completely stuck to my initial No Spend Year restrictions, and here’s why. My partner Michael and I are spending the winter in London, and I am not well prepared for the freezing weather. In hindsight, committing to not spending anything on clothes for a year was quite unrealistic. A normal person has a wardrobe with clothing that has accumulated over years and I don’t have that. I live out of a suitcase and brought hardly any of the winter clothes I used last year with me.
Having said that, I am still committed to my No Spend Year. I’m only purchasing the items I’ve planned out for the cold weather section of my suitcase capsule wardrobe – and nothing else. I still haven’t made purchases in the other areas of my life like entertainment or beauty treatments. Also, I’ve sold some of the things that I’ve been carrying around but don’t really wear to offset the unplanned costs.
The Suitcase Capsule Wardrobe
As important as my No Spend Year is to me, I absolutely despise being too cold. I’ve spent a lot time in the past year planning out a suitcase capsule wardrobe that all fits together, covers my needs all year round and adds up to less than 20kg. The result of that is a list of around 50 items (all clothing and shoes) that are good quality and all mix and match. I already own most of it, but every purchase I’ve made since my No Spend Year started has been an item that is on that list, and will keep me warm in the London winter and that I’d been planning to buy for a long time.
You’d think I would’ve figured this all out already since I’ve been traveling or living abroad more or less constantly since 2011, but I haven’t. When I started this process earlier this year my suitcase was a hot mess of crappy clothes that didn’t fulfill my most basic needs (like being warm in winter and comfortable in summer). I’ll be sharing more about this project in future when it’s more complete.
Expenses I’ve Been Saving
So far my No Spend Year has mainly meant never taking an uber, not having my Spotify subscription, not going to the salon, not going to the gym, not going out on date nights and only getting books for free at the library. The temptation has been so real!
Since we’re currently living in London not taking ubers hasn’t been much of a sacrifice as we’ve either just walked or taken the tube.
I have missed my Spotify subscription and in it’s stead I’ve opted to create a couple of YouTube playlists. One to play during yoga and one compilation of my favorite songs to play in my downtime. When I’m out walking or on the train I’ve opted to listen to free podcasts, which I’ve actually really enjoyed and learned a lot from. So, listening to podcasts will be a new habit I continue long after my No Spend Year. One of my favorite podcasts is Self Helpless, their topics are always intriguing and the girls are down to earth and funny.
This has been the most difficult area by far. I really miss getting my eyebrows threaded as I’m just not a good plucker. First world problems, I know. I’ve also stopped getting my IPL treatments, which I’ve had conflicting feeling about as I know it’s important to keep this up in order to see results. I may invest in this again in the new year as I’ve found Groupon deals in my current local that are very good value, and as I’ve just hit my first $5,000 of repayments I’m using this as my first milestone treat.
The best thing to come out of my No Spend Year is my new habit of home HIIT workouts. Instead of joining Michael in the gym (and therefore buying a membership), I’ve opted to do HIIT 4-5 times per week and I’ve never sweated so much in my life! I’ve been using The Body Coach TV, and I’m absolutely loving it. I feel like I’m getting much better results than I did in the gym, and it hasn’t cost me a cent.
If I wasn’t on my No Spend Year, Michael and I would be going out to movies and generally just enjoying London. Instead, we’ve been cooking for ourselves and staying in. I actually haven’t minded this as much as I thought I would. Part of the reason for that is I don’t yet have a proper winter coat and I would be uncomfortably cold going out in the evening. But mainly, I’ve just enjoyed being a homebody. I’ve also joined our local library instead of buying books on my Kindle. I’ve been reading Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. Highly recommend!
The Repayment Update
Now for the fun part! When I planned out my No Spend Year, I didn’t know how much I’d be able to repay each month. I had penciled in around $750-$1,000 each month, hence why it was going to be at least a year. However, now that I work full-time it won’t take me year. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be completely debt free by my birthday in July!
In September my loan was $21,935.57. Since then it’s accrued over $200 of interest (ugh). In November I made a repayment of $2,500, and this month I just made my second big repayment of $2,500. So my current total is $17,141.38! Getting my loan under $20,000 feels like a great way to round out 2019.
Are You Following My No Spend Year Journey?
Having this series on my blog is keeping me accountable. Knowing that I’d need to confess to any slip ups has prevented me from a multitude of spending sins. If you’re keen to keep following along, sign up for my newsletter here (and feel free to check the boxes of any of my freebies that you want to check out), and I’ll pop into your inbox and let you know when a new post is live.
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