Mindful spending and the no spend challenge

There’s been a bit of radio silence here at London Minimalists for a week because it has been a crazy week.
For those of you who don’t follow us on Twitter, I’ve embarked on a no spend challenge and will be writing about it for the Guardian. The first article went up on Thursday (26 Nov) and the challenge started on Black Friday (27 Nov).

You can read the full article on the Guardian website but the gist of the challenge is I can’t spend any money other than on my bills or essential food and toiletries for a whole year.

The good people of Twitter (my personal Twitter account is @mmcgagh and the London Minimalists tweet @LDNminimalists) and the readers of the Guardian have given me a food budget of £30 per week. Frank isn’t doing the challenge but he has agreed to do the food challenge part so our joint budget will be £60 per week.

(NB. We did our first shop on Saturday and only spent £38 but the remaining £22 won’t be going on any luxuries like wine or chocolate.)

The story has been picked up extensively in the UK and I spent the weekend on radio and TV shows and have a couple more to do this week. Like I said; a crazy week.

In all the manic rushing around, what has been the most brilliant thing for me is all the support I’ve had via this blog, Twitter and email: people telling me that they read the article and it resonated with them and they want to get involved.

There are people who have agreed to give up buying clothes or gadgets, or not spend anything at all, for different timeframes: some a day, some a week, some a month.

The timeframe and how much you give up doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter if you don’t give up anything at all, but what does matter is that people are thinking about what they spend.

I’ve been guilty of mindless purchasing for a long time and it’s a hard habit to break; a coffee here, a book there, you don’t think about it.

Now I’m planning on breaking that habit for good by doing something that’s extreme. It would be great if others want to get involved, or just share their tips on how to survive the next year – I think it’s going to be just as crazy as the first week!


29 thoughts on “Mindful spending and the no spend challenge

  1. I’ll be following along with interest. As you know I am doing something very similar. My other ‘Blog A Year Without … Clothes, Books and Housekeeping Money’ will be going live in the New Year charting our progress along a similar path. It will be interesting to see how we both manage, although I’ll not have the eyes of the media on me …. thank goodness 😉

    Good luck, I have every faith in you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck with your challenge 🙂

    ‘ve just read the article – and then started to read the comments…. I get really annoyed by people who feel the need to comment without having read an article properly – or even at all, in some cases! 😦

    I hope you won’t let any idiotic comments put you off. I look forward to reading about your challenge over the following weeks and months 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done I have been following your blog for a few months and have really enjoyed it. This is quite a challenge but sure you are up to it! I totally agree with Mrs G, some of the comments on the Guardian article are bizarre, mad, and by people who are not used to having a health care system. There are lots of amazing free activities to do in London so you will discover whole new sides to the city. What an adventure 🙂 I am looking forward to hearing about what you find.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is awesome! I will be doing the same thing starting January and will be in good company as you engage in your challenge too 🙂 For inspiration, check out the blog blondeonabudget.com. Cait Flanders is on her second year of shopping ban and has some really great posts! Good luck and I’ll be thinking of you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish you well, M, and will be interested to read about what (if anything) you miss, what you don’t and how you feel the challenge changes you! I can’t think of a better day to start than Black Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m writing my “rules of engagement” for my shopping ban on Jan 1st and find that I’m really nervous! I already consider myself a minimalist, but am surprised at the feelings of panic that are starting to arise. Clearly, I focus on security through access to spending. This is really making me think. Are you finding some of the same things?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tracey, definitely a worrying moment. I think part of it is that minimalism can be done behind closed doors but a spending ban is public. It is nice to have the security of being able to spend but equally liberating to not have it. Good luck, keep me updated on how you’re getting on. M


  7. Could you provide a link here to your Guardian article(s)? I’m not a subscriber, so their search doesn’t function for me, but I’d love to read about the challenge you’re undertaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So I guess this is you coming out of the minimalism closet?!

    I also read the article and started to read the comments, but stopped as they were making me too cross. Interesting how many people are defensive even though nobody asked them to do the same thing…

    Good luck, I’ll be following with interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey! Just read your article in the Guardian and I will follow your challenge with great interest. Do you have Instagram? If not it would be a great way to have more followers! Charlotte, Montreal, Canada

    Liked by 1 person

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