Many people choose to “go dry” in January, which means no drinking alcohol during the month to "dry out" following a robust season of celebration. Full confession: I have never actually attempted to go dry in January. However, I do attempt my own version of “Dry January” as far as spending is concerned. Instead of cocktails, I am challenging you to see how much you can save in January by not purchasing a single thing that you do not need for the entire month. I am going to share some valuable tips to help you be successful.
THE CHALLENGE: FOR ONE MONTH, BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED. I DARE YOU.
If you have been shopping online this year, you probably signed up to receive emails (without realizing) and are being bombarded with daily offers of sales, limited time offers, or free shipping. Honestly, this is even tempting for me, as I am a sucker for a sale. It is my kryptonite. The following are three methods I have used to combat the emails and remove the temptation.
Unsubscribe! Go through your inbox and unsubscribe from retail emails. I have found that unsubscribing one by one takes a while, and even when I hit unsubscribe, I still sometimes receive emails, but I unsubscribe from most of the retail emails. You can also visit unroll.me to fully unsubscribe from email subscriptions. This is a website that will allow you to unsubscribe from them all at the same time. It may surprise you to see what you are signed up for. There are some stores that I want to receive emails from, like stores that I buy from when I do shop online. So I do not want to unsubscribe from them totally, but also do not want to be tempted by them. Create a folder so these emails can be automatically separated so they do not land in your email inbox and you do not see them until you choose to (which will be after January).
Take inventory. Go through your pantry and see what you have so that you do not overspend on groceries, and then strive to only buy the necessities for the month. Go through your closet and do the same thing, and do not buy another piece of clothing for the month. Go through your bathroom cabinets, and use up the toiletries you have before buying anything new.
Make a budget. I know you are probably sick of hearing this, but you never make too much or too little to have a budget. Once you have created your budget, you and your partner should hold each other accountable. If you do not have a partner, then have a friend hold you accountable.
Set your savings goals. Write them down. Goals that are written down have a much greater chance of being met. Then place the written goals somewhere where you will see them every day. Mine are in my office next to my computer screen. It is impossible not to see them and the reminder of what I am working towards makes it much easier to curb my spending.
Practice some scarcity and do without the luxuries for a month. Do not eat or drink in excess, and do not buy expensive foods. Not only will your pants fit better, but your bank account will be flush with cash.
If you take this challenge, then please email me in February at email@example.com and tell me how much you saved this month!