The Month of No

July: The Month of No

As I reflect on the first half of this year and anticipate the next half, I keep finding myself simmering on the topic of no.  In particular the topic of no when it comes to spending.  

Spending and getting has become the norm especially as the the hurdles to both have been lowered consistently throughout the years. Two day shipping, groceries delivered to your house, and the like.  While these services can be helpful when we find ourselves short on time, I can't help but feel that it has gotten out of hand. 

Add this to the soup of social media and you feel like you are being sold minute by minute. I float in the boat of promoting my business so I see the value in it, but there is a veil that isn't always lifted. Is Sarah recommending this dress because she makes a commission on my purchase, or is she recommending it because she really loves it?  

But then there are the ads. The slick ways they sneak these in are becoming harder and harder to detect. They walk and talk like everyone else, but then you see that little word: "sponsored". 

To understand consumption though we need to understand our feelings about buying stuff, and the fastest way to understand our own feelings is to unplug from the rhythm and watch what comes up. 

So what is a month of no, specifically in relation to spending? 

It is a pledge to unplug from unconscious spending for thirty one consecutive days.  

What makes the cut?

  • Monthly bills (rent/mortgage, utilities, etc)

  • Groceries

  • Fuel

  • Household basics such as lightbulbs & batteries (but only if they must be replaced)

What doesn't?

  • Excessive groceries (if it isn't on the list, then it isn't purchased)

  • Quick food fixes (Starbucks, chips at the gas station, ice cream from the farmers market)

  • Eating out

  • Haircuts/Manicures/Day at the spa

  • Experiences (concerts, etc)

  • Clothing/Shoes/Jewelry/Purses

  • Gifts

  • Books

  • Anything over the standard basics.

Why am I doing another "No-Spend Month"?

On the surface, this appears to be about money, but it actually has far deeper roots than that. To start, this is about gratitude for all the beautiful things that I already own and possess. Instead of becoming disenchanted with my stuff, I want to cherish it and actually use it (or wear it)!

Another is to rein in the unconscious desire for more. To become aware of where these desires are coming from and what is triggering it. Perhaps it the fashion bloggers on social media. Or the slick ads promoting a new-whatever-that-you-must-get-right-now. By unplugging, we create space between the urge to want and the act of getting. There are many lessons and ah-ha's to be found in that corridor.

Lastly, this is about looking for ways to enjoy life without unconsciously spending to do it. Instead of the ease of the paid experience, I'm making a list of all the Free Fun in town.

If you are interested in joining, or just interested in hearing how it is going, then I would like to invite you to join me.

I'm hosting this informally and very casually in the closed Facebook Group. The only thing you need to do is ask to be a member. No email sign-ups, no forms to print. Just a group to join to sit back and watch, or to jump in and try it with me.

Throughout the month, I will be sharing insights about whatever is coming up for me. Maybe the free concert was a total snore and I want to go back to paid versions.

Just remember the rules around a month of no are designed by the person participating, and they are fluid. For example, you could participate without your family or kids joining in. Maybe you want to try it for just a week. Whatever you decide, it is all good.

If I could look into a crystal ball, then I would guess the happy side effects will be more money in my pocketbook, less inches around my waist, and less stress on Mother Earth.

Are you in?

Jennifer Burnham