My No-Spend January Recap: How Did It Go?


Guys, a no spend January was a ballsy move if I do say so myself, but it was one that needed to happen.As you’ll recall if you read my initial post on the no spend January, you’ll be very familiar with how desperately I overspent last year and the fact that I am INTENT on doing better this year.

But you know what? The best laid plans… 🙄

Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as all that. I did actually manage to be successful in some places but I was grossly impulsive in others. Let’s look at the details, shall we? And then I’ll break down the numbers for you at the bottom.


How'd it all go down?

January 1 - Day One - D DAY: I attempted to buy a new, pretty journal after watching Bridget Jones Diary while majorly hungover and tired on the couch. Fortunately, I posted it to Instagram and everyone immediately yelled “no!” and kept me in line so that I could not thwart myself before even starting.

THANK YOU, Insta friends. Can you even believe the nerve of me? Day one!? I don’t even remember why I wanted to journal daily - I have NEVER journalled daily. Highly unlikely I’m about to start at age 34, don’t you think?

January 2: Said I would cancel Netflix, but it didn’t totally work because the cycle had just started, so I cancelled but continued to enjoy Netflix until January 22. I presumed to myself out loud, that to make it “fair” to the challenge, I would cancel it until February 22 instead, ergo still saving that $12 or whatever it is.

But I think you can imagine what happened. And if you want me to spell it out, well here it is. By the time January 22 rolled around, I was 2 seasons deep into Life In Pieces and just couldn’t give it up midway like that. So ya, I failed at the Netflix cancellation. I failed HARD, friends.

January 5: I used a Starbucks gift card for a date with one of my besties and successfully window shopped with no desire to actually buy (I think in huge part because of the influence of Marie Kondo, which if you follow on Insta, you likely know I’ve been obsessed since I also binge-watched that on January 1st along with most of North America).

January 7: Successfully cancelled Spotify when I went to use it in the car and remembered I had said I would cancel it for the month. Only missed it one other time in January, but mostly was fine to substitute podcasts for music, or listen here and there on Youtube.

January 9: Booked a trip to Portugal.

January 10: Cancelled a trip to Portugal.

Photo by Andy Nichols

Photo by Andy Nichols

January 12: Therapy and the requisite post-therapy treat of either ice cream or A&W (in this instance, A&W). It was a huge hit at $200 a session, but obvi mental health is worth every penny (and should be more easily accessed through benefits, IMO).

January 19: Friends were visiting in town so some brunch and some ice cream were had, because friends don’t always get to visit and fuck it!

The rest of the month things started to slide a little bit. There was a sub and gelato one day when I was super sad and had no wine. There was a shared pizza with a friend when she brought wine by and I had no groceries to offer. There was some gas money for a day in the mountains and then another trip to A&W, and there was the purchase of an app without having thought of it.Then there was the very planned cost of our night at the Lodge and the Nordic Spa in Kananaskis, which did end up being a little bit over said budget...

And the final absolute nail in the coffin: Impulse buying 2 tickets to President Obama’s speaking event here in Calgary in March. I would love to go but really can’t justify the cost so I’ve put them up for sale on StubHub and I’m hoping to make my money back.


Photo by Andy Nichols

Photo by Andy Nichols

So did I succeed at all?

Well, yes. I didn’t spend any money on clothing, for the first month in a very long time. HUGE win! I didn’t buy random shit on Amazon or get Daisy random toys or clothes. I didn’t buy alcohol out at lounges or the wine shop (though others certainly helped me on my way). I didn’t spend on extra gym sessions or fitness classes though frankly that should have been the one cheat I allowed myself, certainly not all those others.

Anticipated Spend in a Normal Month:

$505-983 based on budget and average spending over the last year, respectively

Actual Spend This January:

$476.35 (if I can claim back the Obama tickets, that would drop to $230.35)


Summarizing the experience

I really struggle with spending, apparently, and the immediate gratification of fun things to do. I am happy to miss out on some things, but inevitably will overspend in either continual, repetitively small amounts, or in large “experience” items.

I am impressed with myself though that I was able to control about a million impulses over the course of the month, and bought ZERO clothing. I know I already said that, but it bears repeating.

Would I do a no spend month again?

You know what, I think I would. As my friend Karen mentioned, at the very least it’s helped me be more mindful and considerate of those smaller ways that money sort of drips away. But I’d maybe make different rules and get more specific with myself on certain items.

How did you do with your own no spend Januarys!?

And do you guys have any tricks for saving money that you think could help - like legit tips, please don’t recommend skipping the Starbucks, I gave those up ages ago ;-)

My No-Spend January Recap.png