The meaning of $5

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Image from Pixabay via Pexels

Want to hear the most ridiculous way I spend five dollars a month? I signed up for a professional G Suite account so I’d have an official email address for a brand I was developing over two years ago. And then in mid 2018, I put a pause on that brand so I could write my book without distraction.

In the meantime, I also streamlined my budget. I canceled my MLM direct sales account that cost $17 and change a month in membership fees. I canceled one gym when I started at a new one after I moved. The usual stuff.  My goal was to have as few line items to deal with as possible.

Except for this G Suite account. I kept going in and messing around with the settings, and I thought I had it taken care of. But the next month I checked my bank account one fateful payday and saw another five bucks gone for something I wasn’t using.

Finally, I’d had enough. I wrote it down on my monthly to-do list: CANCEL G SUITE ACCOUNT. And I promptly forgot about it. Until the charge hit my bank AGAIN. And I managed to remember the email address (on the third try) and password and looked up how to cancel the account. Once I found it, I canceled, and I should never spend five bucks on that particular waste of money again.

This is all well and good for me, as a privileged person with a random five to spare at any given time. I keep a buffer of $50-$100 in my checking account for unforeseen expenses so they won’t affect my budget lines. But not everyone can do that.

Over 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Now, I’m sure some of them can afford a random five dollar mix-up now and then, but not everyone can.

Then start thinking about overdraft fees (punishing people who don’t have money by charging them more money they don’t have) and service fees for paying bills over the phone (which precludes people who don’t have internet access or reliable transportation from paying their bills effectively). Think about people in food deserts with high markups on healthier, fresh food options. How much is $5 in grapes, vs. fruit cups? How much is $5 in whole grain brown rice, vs. ramen noodles?

My challenge to you: Do something good with $5 today. It can be for yourself or for someone else. Just don’t spend it on a G Suite account you’re never going to use. Google doesn’t need your money.

Consider some of the privileges you have, and find a way to get five bucks to someone who doesn’t have them. If you’re white, send five bucks to a person of color. If you’re straight, donate to that queer crowd fund thread you see going around Facebook. If you’re cis, set up a recurring Patreon donation to a trans creator.

Here are some Patreons and other links you can donate to (and please leave yours in the comments or shoot me an email so I can add you to this list).

 

 

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How to Love Yourself in the Age of Social Media

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

This is a guest post. If you are interested in guest posting for Born Again Minimalist, please use the contact form to send me an email. 

Social media has become ingrained in our everyday lives. It’s a powerful tool that enables us to connect with friends and family, voice our opinions, expand our knowledge, and network with individuals around the world.

While it’s true that social media plays an integral role in keeping us connected with society, too much of it can have a negative impact on your body image, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat the adverse physical and mental effects linked to excessive social media use. Here are a few ways to love yourself in the digital age:

Prioritize Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Well-Being

Remembering to regularly practice self-love is hard enough, and adding social media to the mix can further inhibit your ability to see yourself for who you truly are. That is, only if you let it.

Loving yourself involves setting aside time to care for your mind, body, and spirit, both on and offline. When you incorporate self-love into your day-to-day routine, you can create a positive self-image and feel comfortable in your own skin, without needing to rely on others for validation.

Instead of focusing on the number of likes, comments, and retweets you receive, try one of these more productive ways to boost your confidence:

Tidy Up Your Newsfeed

Follow body-positive accounts that motivate and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Conversely, unfollow any accounts that encourage self-comparison or make you feel discouraged or insecure.

Take More Selfies

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Research shows that taking selfies can lead to higher self-esteem, so grab your phone and smile for the camera. Then, share your selfies with your network, or keep them to yourself to look back on and admire.

List What You Love About Yourself

Take time to jot down a list of all the things you love about yourself, such as your talents, accomplishments, or physical attributes. Keep your list to refer back to on the days when you need a self-esteem boost.

Nourish Your Body

Provide your body with care and attention, whether it be through eating healthily (which does not mean dieting), exercising in a way you enjoy, sleeping, or meditating. A healthier body makes for a happier you, which is why you should tend to your physical needs. Taking a multivitamin rich in biotin will help keep your hair and nails strong and can even improve your skin over time. Keeping up on your daily wellness routine will ensure you always look and feel your best.

Temporarily Disconnect

We often get so caught up in the online world that we forget what it means to truly live our lives. Going on a digital detox can be difficult, especially in a society that places such a high value on social media, but taking a hiatus may help you discover new ways to feel validated and worthy. You’ll find that, once you put your device down, you’ll also sleep better at night and have more time to do things that genuinely make you happy.

Limiting screen time allows you to separate from your virtual identity, relieve yourself of social pressures, and evaluate your social media habits from a new perspective. To begin shifting your focus from social media to yourself, try the following tips:

Start Small and Build Up

You might feel uneasy in the first few hours of a detox, and if you’re someone who is dependent on your device, taking a break may seem near impossible. However, you don’t need to jump into it immediately. An effective way to ease into a detox is by first limiting your screentime during set hours of the day and then gradually work your way up to full days or even weeks.

Set Personal Ground Rules

Separating yourself from social media could entail a variety of things. Plan out your detox by establishing which social media platforms you want to avoid and for how long. Then, share your plan with friends and family so they can help hold you accountable.

Leave Your Devices At Home

A great way to ensure you stay off social media altogether is by leaving your devices at home. By doing so, you’ll eliminate distractions, give your full attention to the present moment, and connect with others on a more personal level.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Think about the last time you scrolled through your Instagram feed. Did you feel envious? Did you feel inspired? Self-comparison is inevitableespecially when it appears as though everyone else is living a picture-perfect life.

However, it’s important to remember that social media is a highlight reel where people showcase themselves in the best possible light. It’s not an accurate representation of reality, but rather a collection of the most idealized aspects of our lives. Though it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap on social media, holding yourself to unrealistic standards can be debilitating to your self-esteem and sense of worth.

Instead of sizing yourself up against those you see online, take time to recognize and embrace your own worth by implementing the following techniques:

Practice Positive Self-Talk

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Photo by Binti Malu from Pexels

Give yourself support and affirmation by repeating positive and encouraging messages, such as “I am capable of achieving anything I set my mind to” and “with grit and determination, I can achieve my goals.” Keep in mind that, rather than being deceptive, positive self-talk is a way to acknowledge and celebrate your abilities, strengths, and worth.

Dismiss Negative Thoughts

Look inward to identify the root cause of your negative thoughts, and work toward transforming those thoughts into a more positive outlook. If you need help combating negative thinking, refer to a self-help book for guidance. Also, keep in mind that what you see online does not make you any less worthy or important. Remember: You, and only you, define your self-worth.

Loving yourself in the age of social media can be difficult, as it requires you to make a conscious effort to focus on loving yourself and filtering out the negative noise online. However, with the right mindset and drive, you can utilize social media to boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Sometimes people don’t like peaches

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“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita Von Teese

Unfortunately, sometimes somebody can develop a latent allergy to peaches. They liked peaches at first, but peaches are no longer on the menu.

I recently went through the weirdest breakup of my entire life. It was mutual, which was surprising, and we continued cohabitating while I find a place to move to, which was… awkward.

I am logically aware of the fact that we simply grew apart and are no longer what the other needs or wants in a partner, but the inherent feelings of rejection involved in a breakup, even a mutually agreed upon one, sucks.

I think my partner developed this “peach allergy” around February. If you recall, that was when the conversation about my weight happened, after he had enough to drink that he had eroded the filter that had prevented him from saying anything for the three weeks I’d been in recovery. I stood my ground and refused to go back to diet culture, and soon afterward I received and read “The F*ck It Diet” by Caroline Dooner, which changed my whole world. My partner got the audiobook and listened to most of it until he gained a modicum of compassion and context around my situation regarding diet culture. He hadn’t realized how much women hear terrible messages about their bodies from childhood and subsequently get trapped in disordered cycles of yo-yo dieting and over-exercise.

I honestly gave him a pass on that one, because he apologized, saw how his words had harmed me, learned more, and worked on his own body image issues to stop projecting them onto me and our sex life.

After this happened, his substance abuse continued and escalated. We had gotten into the habit of buying a bottle of wine each on a Friday or Saturday night from the local grocery store within walking distance, but my partner eventually started making a couple cocktails on top of his bottle of wine. This led to sexual dysfunction issues (colloquially referred to as whiskey dick) and the eventual alienation of my other partner who no longer felt safe coming to our home after his drunken behavior violated her boundaries. We both told him how his behavior had been harmful, and he said it wouldn’t happen again.

When I said, hey, your drinking is kinda freaking me out, please let me know if you plan to get drunk so I can make arrangements to sleep elsewhere on those nights, he stopped drinking at home. And instead began to get high every day. First it was cartridge vapes, then a dry herb vape, then smoking two bowls in two hours between dinner and bed. The final straw for me on the cannabis usage was when I was having a major pain flare and was unable to take my muscle relaxers for any relief because he had asked me to drive later so he could wake and bake, and then he got high without me actually signing off on the plan. He found me crying from pain and apologized for not thinking, and assured me it would not happen again. An honest mistake.

Looking back, I have a hunch that he realized he wasn’t really satisfied with the relationship anymore once I stopped being the workout buddy girlfriend, but he was numbing himself to avoid talking about it. And I get that — because it feels really crappy to tell your partner you’re not into things anymore.

For the first ten months of our relationship, we had such a level of open and honest communication that it was one of the most fulfilling relationships of my life. It was a really important relationship for me as I processed my first year out of an abusive marriage. This partner was kind, and loving, and just what I needed as I found myself.

The breakup happened in tandem with the launch of my book. It was a very stressful week for me and I was planning a Saturday launch party. Thursday night, my partner asked if he could have a free copy for a friend at work. I said she could buy it, and he seemed a little taken aback. He said she was surprised it was on Amazon, and I asked why. His response: I’m not sure, but I told her it was really easy to self-publish on Amazon and you can get anything on there.

I have all the respect in the world for self published authors, and I would have self published Gaslighting if I hadn’t gotten a deal from a publisher, but I am not self-published, and this was not a case of “anybody just self publishing their stuff on Amazon.” I am hugely proud of my book, and it is extremely vulnerable to publish your thoughts for the world’s consumption, and this conversation was extremely jarring for me, and I told him so.

He apologized profusely and said he didn’t mean to undervalue my work. When I didn’t immediately forgive him, he said he felt hurt I was discounting all the support and encouragement he gave me while I worked on the manuscript. I slept on it, and in the morning I asked him if he’d expect a free copy of anything his friends did, and he said no. When I asked why he expected a free copy of mine, he said “I just need to ask for an honest flub.”

At this point, looking back at the last three months of honest flubs and boundary violations, I realized this partner just… didn’t like peaches.

In the three weeks between the breakup and my move to a new place, we had a lot of heart to hearts and I left the house feeling a modicum of closure. We reassured the other that when it was good, it was great. He confessed that he realized he didn’t like cohabitating with a partner. While I wish he had handled that realization sooner and in a more healthy way, I know that’s just how he’s wired and it’s not a reflection on me as a partner. He assured me over and over that I was a wonderful girlfriend and a great partner, we just drifted apart.

Of course, in the aftermath of any loss of relationship, there are a lot of emotions. I’m hurt, I’m angry, and I’m still confused about how you can go from loving someone to just tapping out of the relationship. But I know that the grief of a breakup is normal, and it will not last forever. It’s already fading as I move onto new things in life.

Plus, there are plenty of people out there who do, in fact, like peaches.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Create a Mindful Space in the Home

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Photo by Trent Szmolnik via Unsplash

Today’s blog is a guest post from Kay Pascale. Kay Pascale is a writer from Durham, NC. When she isn’t writing about home improvement or how to stay healthy, she loves traveling, running with her dog, and honing her photography skills.

A mindful space in your home is a sanctuary that belongs to you. This is a calm place for you to relax, meditate, and focus on getting away from the distractions of your everyday life. Creating a mindful space will also help to manage your self-control, mental health, tolerance, emotions, and mental clarity. Most importantly, a mindful space focuses on you, and that is something we all need more of. Here are a few steps to create a mindful space in your home.

Focus on Color

Most people don’t realize that there’s a direct link between the color of your surroundings and how that color affects your mood. For example, restaurants often use red, because red can lead to impatience and increased irritability, which are perfect for getting customers in and out of a restaurant as quickly as possible. Soft and warm colors, such as tan and light gray, may provide a calming effect while colors like orange and pastels can improve your mood.

Eliminate Blue-light Technology

Blue-light technology is commonplace in most American homes. TVs, computers, and our
handheld devices—including our phones—are all sources of blue light. The problem is that our eyes are just not very good at filtering out the debilitating effects of blue light. Beyond just the distraction of our devices, blue light can increase eye strain and lead to headaches or stress on your body which can make relaxation difficult. Not to mention, consuming blue light before bedtime can cause you to have trouble falling and staying asleep.

Limit Distractions

While blue-light technology is often the culprit of distraction, there are other distractions that are so commonplace they go unnoticed in our homes. According to House Method, creating a mindful space in your home means eliminating as many distractions as possible. For example, this could mean removing clutter to reduce stress and create an open space, reducing light levels, and cancelling out loud noises.

Add Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for medicinal reasons for thousands of years. Introducing essential oils into your mindful space is a great way to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and provide mental clarity. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, lemon, and cedarwood are commonly used in spas and meditation rooms for their therapeutic benefits. Be sure to check for pet friendliness before diffusing oils in a space where your pets may join you, as some oils are toxic to animals.

Make It Comfy

The purpose of a mindful space is to reduce stress and give you a place to relax. For some
people, a comfortable space may include soft pillows and a shelf of books. For another person, a comfy place may be a bed with a soft comforter or relaxing couch to stretch out on. Addressing your comfort needs is essential to creating your space.

Creating a mindful space in your home isn’t difficult and has a healthy rate of return. Focusing on limiting distractions, creating a mood-calming environment, and adapting to your relaxation needs are key. Whether you use your mindful space for stress-related emergencies or for daily meditation, a mindful space is a great way to enhance your mental and physical health.

Finding Inspiration and Creativity in Your Dreams

Today’s post is a guest post from Amanda Tallent. 

After a long day, one of the best feelings is climbing into a cozy bed and preparing to go to sleep. Even if you have a hard time going to sleep, simply laying down in a relaxed position can bring your body and mind much needed rest. Once you drift off into your slumber, your mind explores all kinds of memories and ideas in the form of dreams.

Dreaming can open up your mind to new solutions, motivations, experiences, and sometimes even fears. Dreaming has also been linked to improving creativity for those who can recall what happened while they were sleeping. Some dreams stick with us and others become faint memories seconds after waking up. To help record your dreams and find creativity in unexpected places, you can practice dream journaling.

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Image description: A person’s hand holds a thin paintbrush to create a blue watercolor shape in a space labeled “Draw or paint a character or location from your dream”

Dream journaling is a method of recording your dreams to help you decode them and apply meaning. Simply writing down what happened, who was there, what you saw, and how it made you feel can help point you in the right direction. The Sleep Advisor created these printable dream journal templates so that you can start your own dream journal.

They created different templates to inspire creativity, manifest success, and record your dreams. The creativity template asks you to record the colors and emotions of your dreams while the success template asks tough questions about your fears and challenges. Being more in tune with your mind and dreams will tell you a lot more about yourself and possibly even your future.

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Image description: A person holds a pencil over a template page for dream interpretation

Amanda Tallent is a content creator and creative writer. Her background in digital marketing has led her to cover unique topics ranging from lifestyle to business. Amanda is an INFJ who enjoys creating and bringing visions to life with a lot of careful planning. To connect with Amanda on LinkedIn, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandatallent/.

Can emotional abuse be sexual abuse?

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A black and white image of a woman covering her face with one hand and looking downcast. Her dark hair covers her shoulders and part of her face. Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas via Pexels

I got divorced last May, and in the midst of Justin Timberlake memes and shorts weather and anticipating my upcoming book launch, the anniversary of my divorce date looms near. And I am still mad at my abuser, which is frustrating because I thought I would have overcome all my trauma in a neat, tidy package by now.

The more I process out loud, in therapy and in online support groups and in conversations with my friends and in posts to my social media, the more the shadowy puzzle pieces of the seven years I spent with him click into place and are illuminated for what they really were.

It was not “irreconcilable differences.” It wasn’t “communication issues.” It wasn’t anything like that. He orchestrated our relationship, and my submission, from day one, and unpacking that level of abuse feels like a punch in the gut. It wasn’t love, it wasn’t happiness, it wasn’t anything I thought it was. I was preyed on, targeted, groomed, and controlled, and when I left, he was so angry about it that his entire facade fell apart.

I was scared of him for years, and went to therapy to figure out what about ME was wrong, was preventing me from trusting him, was causing these conflicts and doubts in my head about our relationship. I wish I could hold my former self and tell her that there was nothing wrong with her, and that the reason she didn’t trust him was because it wasn’t safe to.

When I first left him, I knew that he had been manipulative. I caught on to the cycles of treating me nicely, lots of sex and affection, lots of praise… followed by reminding me I was a lot of work, difficult to be with, and that he was the only one who would love me like that, whenever I expressed an interest in, say, sex without him watching porn the whole time.

When I was upset or doubtful about our relationship, he would say things like, “How can you think so little of me? There is a version of me in your head that you’re upset with that’s not the real me.” And I would go to therapy and ask what I could do to not be so anxious and distrustful. I wanted to be a good wife.

When mental abusers use sex to control

There are so many facets of our relationship that I’ve become more clear about since leaving. But the one that recently gobsmacked me is the sexual aspect of his control.

When I moved into his house, our sex life disappeared overnight. He always had a good reason. First he was upset about his divorce being final, then he was stressed at work, then he was not sleeping well, etc. And I was patient, and reassured him I loved him, and waited for him to feel better, for our drives to sync back up like they had when we had been dating.

According to him, me talking about our mismatched sex drives was pressuring him, me asking him to not fantasize about group sex or watch porn while we had sex was shaming his fantasies, and me suggesting we table the idea of getting pregnant while we worked on our issues was a slap in his face and the assertion that if I wasn’t sure NOW, we may as well never try.

He started Viagra to help things along, insisting that he had the mental desire for sex but just had some physical issues with the execution of it. He took 1/4 of a Viagra before bed, with the hopes that it would “be in his system” when he woke up and he could have sex with me in the morning. Spoilers: This is not how Viagra works.

Other reasons we did not have sex included:

  • He hadn’t slept well
  • He didn’t want to prevent me from my morning workout routine
  • He didn’t like evening sex, only morning sex (but see #1)
  • He felt I was punishing him by not providing (unreciprocated) oral sex

Finally, desperately, in an attempt to not totally screw up my life by having an affair to satisfy my carnal desires, I sat him down, told him I loved him, told him that I did not want to pressure him into sex, and asked if we could open our relationship.

He absolutely blew up in fury. He said things like:

  • If you get pregnant and it’s not mine, your options are abortion or divorce.
  • If you get pregnant in the next six months, even if we don’t open the relationship, I will demand a paternity test.
  • How could you risk our marriage by getting pregnant with another man’s baby?
  • How can I trust that you will use condoms?
  • For fuck’s sake, you should have had an affair.
  • You know this means I would be able to have another partner too.

He kept me awake past midnight, demanding to know why I had dared to ask him for this. I told him, “I can’t have this conversation right now, I am so tired and I need to sleep,” and he said, “You’d better wake the hell up then.” He wouldn’t let me end the conversation. Finally I said, “I guess I didn’t think it through,” and that was the only thing that made him relent and forgive me.

To my knowledge, he remains convinced that I was already seeing someone else when I left. The introspection it would take for him to realize that he pushed me to a breaking point with his sexual manipulation tactics is never going to happen.

After a year of distance from being in this day to day minefield of affection, I realize now that he had no issues having sex with me when he needed me to feel better about our relationship. When I was in my lowest lows, he managed to rise to the occasion. This was such a pattern that, when I finally told him I was leaving, one of his legitimate grasps at the straws of our relationship was, “Did our weekend of great sex confuse you?” To be clear, our “weekend of great sex” consisted of me setting a five minute timer for oral sex, asking him to continue after my five minutes was up, and then him telling me that I didn’t understand limits and boundaries, and this was another reason we couldn’t open the relationship. Because if I couldn’t be satisfied with five minutes of lukewarm cunnilingus, how could I be satisfied by protected sex with a new partner?

Realizing I was used

This part, the realizing that our sex life was never a fun and spicy time of physical affection and mutual desire, but rather a means to keep me on my short leash and happy about it… feels disgusting. I feel used, I feel dirty, I feel gross.

I struggle to call it sexual abuse. I don’t know if it qualifies.

But if I had known? If I had known that I was consenting to sex for the sole purpose of making my brain trauma-bond to the good times so the bad times seemed less painful? If I had known that sex was being used as a weapon to keep me in line, denied when I wasn’t performing my wifely duties of shutting up and looking pretty but freely given when I was at the end of my rope? I would have left him years earlier. And that feels awful.

You aren’t alone

In the year since I left my abuser, I’ve been sharing stories from survivors on my blog. Sometimes they’re mine. Sometimes they’re not. But I share them, and I continue to speak out loud about my experiences, because there is power in the story. For anyone reading this who has felt used, abused, and controlled… you aren’t alone. And you can be okay.

For help identifying or leaving an abusive relationship, please contact the Domestic Violence Hotline. 1-800-799-7233

 

 

 

 

Tips for a Meaningful No-Spend Challenge

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Before I became my fully evolved writer-self who championed the millennial cause, I really enjoyed writing about budgets and personal finance. Of course, these topics are definitely still related to the millennial experience, especially considering how many of us are juggling multiple jobs and side gigs to make ends meet or work toward financial goals. Today’s post is all about a monthly No-Spend Challenge.

Originally posted by credit.com earlier this month, I’m revising the plan for a more topical take on reduced spending for the millennial burnouts reading this blog. Of course, you can always tweak the plan to make it fit your own needs!

No-Spend isn’t really “no” spend

First off, it’s called a No-Spend Challenge, but you’ll still be spending the usual cash flow on necessities like rent, utilities, food, and transportation.

When planning your No-Spend challenge, you WILL spend on: shelter (rent/mortgage), insurance, internet, phone, utilities, business expenses, personal care items (menstrual products, toothpaste, etc.), and groceries. But you WON’T spend on: eating out, coffee shops, clothing, unneeded cosmetics or toiletries (i.e., if you still have a bottle of shampoo in the cabinet, don’t go buy a new one this month), home decor, hobbies, entertainment, or toys.

Why No-Spend?

A No-Spend challenge is a way to streamline your spending so you can put more toward a savings goal, debt payoff, or other financial objective. But you can make it your own, if your budget is so tight you’re really not spending much on those “luxury” categories in the first place.

Alternatives to the No-Spend Challenge

If you like the idea but don’t have the financial wiggle room to change your spending habits, try the following alternatives:

Use It Up Challenge: Don’t buy any new item until you’ve completely used up the current one. A bar of soap, your cabinet stock of facial cleanser (guilty – the discounts at Marshall’s got me), a tube of toothpaste, or even a dish towel with a hole in it can all be used up completely before being replaced.

Pantry and Freezer Challenge: Cut spending on groceries by using up the food in the freezer and pantry. If you’re a stocker-upper who never seems to actually use those stocked up items, take a week or two to limit your grocery spending to only fresh produce and perishables, while you use up your existing stores of frozen meals, grains, canned goods, etc. in the kitchen.

One Week Challenge: If you can’t swing a whole month of No-Spend, try just a week or a weekend. Or don’t, I’m not the boss of you.

Tips to stick with it

I always enthusiastically start a No-Spend month and then end up allowing this or that, and before you know it, oops, I spent what I normally spend in a month on eating out or haircuts or whatever. Here are some tips to keep your spending at bay for this temporary challenge:

Unsubscribe: Take shopping apps off your phone, unlink your cards from your shopping accounts, and unsubscribe from sales list emails.

Think it Through: When you’re itching for an impulse purchase, think about it for at least a minute first. Write down the item, why you want it, what you could do instead of buying it, etc. — by the time you’re done, you will likely be able to walk away from it. Keep a list so you can buy items after your challenge is up (if you still even want them).

Do Free Stuff: A quick web search for “Free things to do in (your city)” will open up a whole new world. The library has events on a regular basis, museums are usually free to the public (or have a free day for local residents), and the spring and summer is a great time of year to go exploring local hiking trails.

Make it Work for You: If you really love the experience of shopping or getting a treat for yourself (no judgment, I regularly have Treat Yo Self moments), make the No-Spend Challenge work for you. Host a swap meet with friends – everyone can declutter their homes and meet up to exchange art, clothes, decor items, and more. This way, you get the experience of new, cool stuff without spending a penny. Or you can have a garage sale, but that is less fun than hanging with your besties all day.

Get the guide!

Download this worksheet PDF to help you find your motivation for a No-Spend Challenge and check off all the days you meet your No-Spend goals:

No Spend Challenge Worksheet PDF

Acknowledge privilege

If you’re able to do a No-Spend month, of course you should support your own financial goals like debt payoff, saving up for a meaningful purchase, etc. However, it is extremely important to check your privilege. Financial know-how can’t be boiled down to just “skip your daily latte and stop getting fast food.”

For people in food deserts, who straddle a benefits gap, or who otherwise struggle to make ends meet, a No-Spend Challenge is not an appropriate way for them to meet their needs. In addition, their small coffee or muffin at a cafe might be the only way they let themselves have a small piece of indulgence. Luxuries are not only for the well-off, friends. Everyone deserves to live well and have a moment of peace.

If you are privileged enough to have the kind of income that makes a No-Spend Month a huge financial boon, consider rehoming some of those dollars to people in need. You can donate to the Reparations Emergency Fund by Nice White Ladies, which helps black women and femmes who need emergency support for shelter and other needs. Or support a charity of your choice to help marginalized populations.


PS. I mention the benefits gap in this post, a topic I also cover in my upcoming book, “The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation.” This book helps people unpack the claims around millennials’ destruction of society by providing a mix of data and stories, plus advice on how to get ahead in a society that blames you for everything. Check it out and find pre-order links at bornagainminimalist.com/book.