No-Spend Month | What I Spend In The First 10 Days of January
I am currently 10 days into my no-spend month.
How has it been so far? I’m sure you’re wondering if I already broke down and went on a spending spree. Oh well, you’re about to find out!
If you haven’t already read my first blog about this project, you can catch up right here.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I want to say that it’s been a beautiful 10 days, full of amazing experiences. Being my birthday week and all. I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing boyfriend who took me out TWICE for my birthday, so it’s safe to say I’ve been spoiled. I feel very grateful.
My dad and his girlfriend also visited Dubai for the first time, and we had a great time together going to different tourist spots and trying some of my favorite restaurants!
Doing a no-spend month my way
I also want to say that I am doing this challenge because I want to get out of the habit of buying and spending tons of money on “stuff”. I want to start saving my money to invest in bigger things and I want to live below my means so I always have enough for a rainy day. But I don’t want to give up the things I really care about. So you might read this blog and think it’s gross that I have a budget of 2000 AED/$545 (AED = United Arab Emirates Dirhams) to spend on experiences during a “no-spend” month, or that I have a discretionary food budget of 1500 AED/$408 left after paying for ALL my meals Sunday-Thursday. But these are the rules I made for myself at what works for me. Depending on your situation you are free to make your own rules and plan your budget around what you feel will work for you.
Let’s dig into the meat of this blog: Those first 10 days of my no-spend month.
During the course of the first 10 days, there have been a few instances where I was tempted to spend unnecessary money on food and drinks. But every time I thought about why I felt the need to order food instead of cooking, or if I really needed that cappuccino to-go. And most of the time, it made me realize what I wanted was just that; a want, not a need. During the week I have had to make a trip to the mall, and if I hadn’t been doing a no-spend January, it’s safe to say I wouldn’t have come out without swiping my credit card a few times. The stores are sneaky, and the January-sales are there to make us spend money even after we overspend during Christmas and the holidays. And some of the offers were very tempting, and they definitely would have lured me in if I hadn’t made this commitment to do a no-spend January.
No-spend month, not zero-spend month
If you didn’t read my previous post about doing a no-spend month, I want to clarify. This is not a zero-spend month, but a time for me to limit my expenses to only necessities such as my bills, food, and transportation. I do have a budget, but it is quite generous, so the goal is to try and spend less than what I budgeted for, in the following categories: food, experiences, shopping & beauty.
I am allowed to spend normally on food and groceries, as long as I don’t go over budget. I currently get food delivered on weekdays which is a part of my budget. On top of that, I have a 1500 AED/month ($408) to spend on groceries and household items.
- I am not allowed to spend on takeaway coffee on a work-day of fewer than 5 clients (7,5 hours)
- If I am home I am not allowed to order take-out instead of cooking.
- I can’t go shopping for any type of groceries or household item I already have in my house. I need to use up whatever I have before I go out and buy more.
I can still go out to eat or treat myself to experiences, as long as I stay within my monthly budget for going out. It is currently 2000 AED/month. However, normally this budget includes shopping too. So it will be my goal to spend considerably less than that on this category.
However, this month is a bit expensive. My dad visited Dubai and I wanted to take him to some of my favorite restaurants. I will go out tonight and celebrate my birthday with some friends. And I want to go to my friends’ birthday party next weekend, which she throws in an expensive beach club. All in all, these events and experiences will come to around 750 AED. I am planning on limiting my expenses in this category to only that. But if something else comes up I might consider going. Only if it fits in my budget. My goal is to keep this category as low as possible. Under no circumstance can I spend more than 2000 AED.
I will spend zero money on shopping this month. Unless I run out of something absolutely necessary. That can’t wait until next month to be replaced.
My beauty expenses will only be staples. Such as going to the salon for waxing, treading and getting my nails manicured. No extra treats like massages, facials etc.
If I run out of any of my necessary staples at home, I am allowed to replace them. But first I have to use up everything I have of that type of product in the house. For example; I am running out of my regular toothpaste. But I have a bunch of little mini toothpastes lying around the house. So I will have to use them up before I go out to purchase a new one.
The same goes for all other beauty product such as shampoo and conditioner, serums, sunscreen etc. Even if what I have at home is not a version of the product that I necessarily love, I have to finish it before I can purchase a replacement.
Am I beating my to-go coffee addiction?
To be completely honest with you, I’m still very much a go-to coffee addict. But I am trying to go for the cheaper options. If I go to a coffee shop to sit an work, I will still splurge on a cappuccino, but I will go for the smallest size. At the gas stations, I will go to the cheap coffee machine and get my caffeine-fix for 5,25 AED for a cappuccino instead of at the Starbucks counter (where a cappuccino costs 15,75 AED) and I will think twice before I go purchase another cup throughout the day. I would say I’ve cut my to-go coffee expenses by 50-75%. Which I’m happy with for now, and I will continue with this new mindset for the rest of the month.
At home, I even alternate between instant coffee and the more expensive “Nespresso” Capsules (I say “Nespresso” because I get my capsules from Carrefour’s own brand at only 1,30 AED each compared to almost 5 AED each for Nespresso’s own!)
2412 AED on coffee!
My total spendings on groceries and coffee over the first 10 days of no-spend January totals to 299,49 AED.
Out of that amount, my to-go coffee expenses stand for 67 AED. That’s 22%. Which still sounds like a lot. It’s 6,7 AED per day totaling to 201 AED ($54,72) if I continue to spend that amount every day for 1 month! Over 1 year that’ll be 2412 AED ($565,65). On takeaway coffee! And this is the amount I’m spending now, being careful and thoughtful before purchasing another cup.
Is it worth it? I am always out of the house, going from place to place. And coffee really makes those long days easier to handle. I still think it’s a ridiculous amount to spend on coffee. But I’m not really to fully give up that costly habit. That’s why I made the rule that I am still allowed to get my coffee-fix on days when I have 5 personal training clients or more. But on shorter work-days I have to just stick to the cup of coffee I bring with me in the morning.
Looking at the numbers like this is pretty scary and it makes you think about how those tiny daily purchases really add up to a lot of money over Tge weeks and months.
My total spending in the first 10 days of my no-spend month:
- Groceries & Coffee: 299,49 AED / $81,53
- Breakfast in At.Mosphere: 272,5 AED / $74,18
- 0 AED
- 0 AED
I will continue my no-spend month until the end of January. Then I’ll update you again and make a decision if I want to extend my no-spend or if I’d like to go back to my old spending habits.