The Minimalism Experiment W1: No Spend Week
As my first step to living a Minimalist lifestyle this semester I started with one of the most obvious steps…not bringing any more stuff into my life. In order to accomplish this and gain some extra little benefits, I ruled this entire week “No Spend Week”. While this might not seem like much of a challenge for a student living at home, who’s only bills consist of phone payments and Netflix, it was definitely still an exercise in saving money, valuing the important things, and dissecting the pricy little habits that students often have.
Since the overall goal of minimalism is to focus on what you already have, the idea of not spending on extra items goes right along with it. Some people might consider this only for material items, but for this challenge, I directed it toward not only material items, but also consumables like food, and digital purchases.
No Fast Food
This is one of the biggest things that I think students (including myself) spend money on. It is great to have a treat every once in a while, but making it an everyday occurrence does little more than making your taste buds momentarily happy. Cutting fast food out of my diet is something that I have been doing for quite a while now, but when considering the move from a minimalistic point of view, there a so many benefits! On the average week I would estimate that I spend between $20-$50 on fast food and snacks. This adds up very quickly and can really leave your bank account feeling drained once you add other normal expenses on top of it. One of the reasons that I feel not spending money on fast food really resonates with the idea of minimalism is because instead of focusing on the items that you already have purchased at home in your fridge, you spend your time and money searching out other options that only hurt your health and hinder you from saving financially.
No Online Shopping
I am already pretty frugal as it is…but finding items on cheap online retailers is kind of a guilty pleasure. Websites like AOA, AliExpress, Hush, and Kawakii Pen Shop are part of a strange little addiction for me where I go to spend a few dollars when I am board and then don’t feel guilty about it because everything is so cheap. Cutting out this habit was really important for me this week. I know that I go to these sites because I am board and the items that I order are usually things I could most definitely live without. Being able to go through this week without even looking on those sites was a step in the right direction both for the concept of minimalism, but also for my bank account!
Hanging Out for Free
Obviously it’s fun to go out every once and awhile, but entertainment can be seriously expensive. My boyfriend and I usually like to just hangout at home, but this week we were able to find a few free things to entertain us. Instead of going out on Friday night, we went to our Universities Varsity hockey game, (Go Ridgebacks!), and on Saturday night we stayed in and watched the Leafs game! During the week we also took advantage of one of the movie passes that we received as a gift at Christmas and went to see a matinee of 12 Strong at the theatres. Even though we aren’t usually a couple that goes out too often to begin with, it was really nice to enjoy ourselves and not have to spend a dime!
At The End of the Week...
Another great aspect that has come from this challenge is practicing nonviolence. With every aspect of this challenge there is a way that that week’s actions can be tied to nonviolence. This week, the ability to not bring any other material items into my life only benefits the planet as they are not items that will eventually be sent to a landfill. The act of not eating fast food also means that I am not supporting companies that are known for not treating their animals fairly. After this week I feel pretty accomplished and inspired to move onto my next phase of my Minimalism challenge…Clearing the Physical Clutter.