So, I’m one month into my year long limited spending challenge.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have tried numerous minimal spending challenges over the years–so work, others didn’t. Last year, I tried to do the no-spend days, stretched into hopefully no-spend weeks, and then hopefully a no-spend month. Throughout the year, I only managed to get in a no-spend week here and there.

My problems were two: impulsive spending on e-books, courses, and games; plus personal/professional development where I did buy a course here and there that were pricier than most.

I decided then this year, I would look at things differently.

Instead of trying for a ‘no-spend’ month and failing–I would simply try to limit the spending, by having items fall into one of two categories: needed/necessary or splurge.

Bills have always been automatically considered ‘necessary’, and are listed out at the end/beginning of months. I tally my running debt, transfer money, and schedule payments.

I also decided that I wasn’t going to cancel all my book pre-orders that I had for 2021–I did cancel a good portion of them, but not all.

With having the two categories: needed/necessary and splurge, it makes decision making a little easier.

So how did I do in January?

There were a couple of necessary purchases throughout the month: stamps, snacks (human and canine), personal products, and then two mini-splurge purchases.

Those mini-splurge purchases included some items for making jewelry (namely getting some chains for necklaces). I currently consider this a splurge–because I’m not constantly making jewelry. It is a hobby, that I am hoping to spend more time on during the current year.

The second mini-splurge included a e-course bundle. Now, I know that I stated that in order to get another e-course I needed to answer a few questions:

Is this a course that can help me figure something out either personally or professionally? Answer: probably. It is a five course bundle on developing a coaching business. While currently not a direction I’m thinking of going in–I couldn’t say no to the price of $11.99 for five courses.

Is it related to another course I already have? Would it complement it?

Answer: yes, I have several courses on entrepreneurship, and it would complement basically all of them.

Is it something that I should be focusing on this year, or can it wait a year?

Answer: maybe, but didn’t wait. The main reason is that the bundle wasn’t going to be offered again, and while each individual course was going to be offered–five courses at that price would have run me about $60–I got all five for a fifth of the price.

So, two splurges when I usually would have done a lot more throughout the month. The needed purchases tallied up–but that was because of them being fairly large orders. I’m hoping to only do necessary/needed orders hopefully every five or six weeks (that way there is a month or so when not as many orders are coming in).

In terms of the books that I had preordered for January they were:

Caught by the Wolves (Alpha Claimed #1) by Milly Taiden

His Broken Heart Antidote (McKnight Family #4) by Anne-Marie Meyer

His Romance Coach (McKnight Family #5) by Lucy McConnell

Shielding Jayme (Delta Team 2 #4) by Susan Stoker

Pushing up Posies (Grim Dating #1) by Eve Langlais

Shielding Riley (Delta Team 2 #5) by Susan Stoker

Barriers (Anderson Special Ops #3) by Melody Ann and John Henley

Captured in Ink: A Montgomery Ink, Boulder Novella by Carrie Ann Ryan

You Turn: Get Unstuck, Discover Your Direction, and Design Your Dream Career by Ashley Stahl

You Turn is my current non-fiction read, as I just finished up Burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski last night (review hopefully within a week).

So for my first month on the limited spending challenge, I’m proud of the fact that there were no impulsive e-book purchases, only a single e-course purchase, and a limited number of other purchases. While I may never totally embrace the textbook definition of minimalism–I’m defining it on my own terms and will continue to do so throughout 2021 and beyond.