The Aftermath of The Nothing New Challenge

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Earlier this year, we took a 3 month challenge and attempted to buy nothing 'new' from the August thru October. Both my wife and I enjoyed the challenge and are talking about attempting another one in the future! 

With our challenge ending last month, I decided to look at the month of November and see how the 3 month challenge affected our spending and affected our decision to buy new stuff. We definitely purchased more 'new' stuff in November, however, I don't believe that it was outlandish.

Let's jump into the spending report, then we can compare restriction free shopping to our buy nothing new challenge.

November Spending Report:

  • Auto: $309.82
    • Gas
    • Tolls
  • Cash: $15
    • Used for Misc. Expenses
  • Clothing: $134.17
  • Dining: $539.75
    • Includes date nights
    • Took family out to dinner
  • Daycare: $860
  • Donations: $310.06
  • Entertainment: $148.20
  • Purchased Tickets to Nebraska Basketball Game
  • Gifts: $200
    • Daughter's First Birthday
  • Groceries: $1,183.17
    • Had family visit
    • Includes food for my daughter's birthday party
  • Health & Fitness: $11.73
  • Household: $188.18
    • Propane/Household Cleaners/Flushing Handle for Toilet
  • Insurance: $146.90
    • Homeowners Insurance
    • Extra towards Escrow for Insruance
  • Medical: $1,033.75
    • Had my Wisdom Teeth Removed
    • My daughter had her 1 year appointment and an appointment for an ear infection
    • Chiropractor appointments for my wife
  • Mortgage: $1,235.06
    • Interest
    • Taxes
  • My Kids: $130.94
    • Clothing
    • Diapers
    • Birthday Party Decorations
  • Utilities: $460.71
    • Streaming TV Service
    • Internet
    • Water
    • Electricity (Earned $100 discount)
    • Natural Gas
    • Cell Phones
  • Vacation/Travel: $89.24
    • Hotel stay in La Porte for our Half Marathon.
    • Included 2 rooms (one I booked with points).
    • My mom can to visit and she watched my daughter during the run.

GRAND TOTAL: $7,016.68

Well, I see a trend with our spending. We are coming in somewhere close to $7,000 each month. This can be frustrating to me, but I also see that a lot of the spending comes from items that are out of our control. 

  • August: Auto Repair
  • September: Auto Repair
  • October: Washer and Dryer
  • November: Wisdom Teeth Removal

The Good News: Our grand total of $7,016.68 of spending is under the 3-month average of spending during the buy nothing new challenge. The Bad News: I know that our December spending is going to look terrible. We have another car repair bill coming up and it will sting.

However, let's look at the positive! During the course of our 3-month challenge we spent on average $7,355.04 per month and November was lower that two of the months in the challenge. This is great news, because it means that we didn't run out and purchase everything in sight. We stayed true to ourselves and didn't change our spending habits.

Did we stay away from buying anything new in November?

In the month of November, we didn't have any restrictions and we did not shy away from buying new stuff, including stuff that would have been exempt during the challenge. 

The exempt items purchased were:

  • Diapers ($46)
  • Handle for Flushing the Toilet ($6)
  • Propane for grilling (actually exchanged) ($14)
  • Household Cleaners
  • Unmentionables

With no restrictions and no rules we were allowed to buy anything. We could have went on a shopping spree, but we didn't. Even though we didn't buy everything in sight, we still ended up purchasing items that weren't allowed during the nothing new challenge. The items are listed below:

  • Houston Astros World Series Shirts (2)
  • Carseat (1)
  • Christmas Ornament (1)
  • Christmas Lights (4)
  • Birthday Party Supplies (5)
  • Clothing (1)

By the end of the month of November, we purchased a grand total of 14 new items. These 14 new items cost us a grand total of $421.71. We would have spent less than $7,000 without these purchases, but I don't feel like we went overboard with our spending.

My daughter had grown out of her car seat and we needed to get her a new one for my wife's car. I had a few strands of Christmas lights from the 90s go out and decided that it was finally time to purchase some new strands of lights. 

For my daughter's one year birthday, we had a lady bug theme and purchased napkins, plates, decorations and ribbon for this theme. Really, the only thing that could be questionable in the 'new' purchases is the Houston Astros World Series shirt. We really didn't need them, but it was the first World Series in the history of the Astros and we got to experience it! 

How did November compare to the Three Month Challenge?

From August to October, we bought 6 brand new items (an average of 2 new items per month). We more than doubled the items this month, because we had no restrictions jumping from 2 per month to 14 this month.

A Lifestyle Change

Sure, we purchased 14 new items in the month of November, but we also found ways to buy used stuff. My purchased some clothing at a used store. This was not a challenge to see if we could do it, but instead we wanted to change our spending habits to set ourselves up for a successful financial future. 

What steps could you take today to change you spending habits?


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