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#NoSpendNovember: Reflections + Lessons Learned

#NoSpendNovember

Photo via Unsplash

As the #NoSpendNovember challenge comes to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the past month. It was a learning experience for sure, and I plan to take some of the lessons I learned with me. Here’s a quick and easy breakdown of how things went!

How did I feel throughout the month?

I went into #NoSpendNovember a little anxious, to be honest. I know that I tend to shop when I’m bored, and wanted to break myself of that. For the first week or so, it was tough. Work wasn’t terribly busy, and the weather sucked, so it was hard to re-route my brain when I got bored. To combat this, I spent time at the library, walking outside, and cleaning. None of this is very exciting, but it got me through.

As the month went on, it got easier. The job I had that required going on Amazon ended, so that temptation was gone. I focused on writing for the blog more, exercised more, and got more work done. Instead of going to Target, I went outside for some fresh air. By the end of the month, I now feel like I have a better handle on things.

How much did I save?

I’ll be honest here – I don’t know exactly how much I didn’t spend because…I didn’t spend it. My spending habits aren’t very consistent, and since I work freelance, my paychecks aren’t either. I’d say a safe prediction is about $200 over the past month, which isn’t a lot – but it’s something. I also didn’t work as much as I usually do, so I know it would’ve been a lot more if I had a regular schedule.

Did I ever break my #NoSpendNovember rules?

I did a lot better with this than I was expecting to! Here is how I did with each “rule” I set for #NoSpendNovember:

Stay off my Amazon account

I would say I behaved about 80% of the time. I did have to use Amazon for a copywriting gig, but once that ended, it wasn’t too hard to avoid it. This past week, I only went on a couple times to check for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

Unsubscribe from marketing emails

I’ve unsubscribed from as many marketing email chains as I could this month. I’d say I’ve gotten off around a dozen or so, and I’m continuing to do this as the month goes on. There are so many on my personal and blog emails that I just don’t use anymore, and it feels good to get rid of them. My inbox is much happier!

No beauty-related purchases

I happily achieved 100% success on this one! I didn’t buy a single beauty-related thing this month! To help with this, I took my own advice and used my stash, and found that what I have is definitely plenty. I plan to continue this for December, then I’ll probably be due to stock up on some essentials (shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc.).

Do more DIY projects

Okay, so I fell short on this one. I didn’t get any DIY projects done this month, but I plan to do them in December instead.

Sell some of your shit

I had ThredUp send me a cleanout kit this month, which I’ll fill up with clothing I want to sell through their site. I’ll consider this a success if I can get my bag filled and mailed out this week!

Once a week coffee day / One grocery trip / Black Friday exceptions

I did pretty well on sticking to only the exceptions I made for myself. The weekly coffee shop trips were productive, and I only made a couple extra grocery trips. I didn’t shop at all on Black Friday, but I may pick up a few things online for Cyber Monday.

The only time I truly broke with the #NoSpendNovember challenge was to buy a sweater and dress shoes for a Thanksgiving party we were invited to last-minute. I don’t own “party” clothes, so I let myself off the hook this once. It only cost me $40 for both (thanks to Marshalls!), and the rest of my outfit was stuff I already own, so it wasn’t too bad.

What did I learn?

I learned that challenging myself to spend less during the holiday season is ROUGH. This would have been so much easier to do in August or September! But I guess that’s the point of making it a challenge, right?

I also learned that so much of my “extra” spending has to do with boredom. Replacing those bad habits with good ones really worked, and I hope to keep it up!

What will I take with me moving forward?

I plan to do this challenge more often in the future, but instead of a whole month at a time, I might do one week every month instead. This seems a bit more manageable for me. By the end of the year, I will have done 3 months with no spending, rather than just one month!

I also want to focus more purchasing things I truly love, rather than what “works” at the time. Over the next few months, I’m planning to really purge my life of things I don’t love or need. It’s time for me to let go of jeans that don’t fit, notebooks I never use, and kitchen junk I have no space for. This challenge put me on a path to simplify my life. I can’t wait to put it into practice!

Chasing Views

Chasing Views

(Clockwise from top-left: Twin Falls, Rattlesnake Ridge, Poo Poo Point, Snoqualmie Falls)

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.”
~John Burroughs

Hiking lately has looked a lot different for me. Instead of heading out on the same old trails, I am exploring more challenging trips. Aside from the killer views, I learned a few things about myself along the way:

I’m slow. Like, really slow.

As a solo hiker, I thought I was an average hiker in terms of speed. As it turns out, I’m not. I’m embarrassingly slow. Sometimes I’m slow because I’m not ready to handle the trek (as was the case with Poo Poo Point), and other times it’s because I would rather stop and enjoy the view (as was the case with Twin Falls). I’m learning that racing to the top is not my style. I’d rather wander and see things than race to the top with my head down.

I’m too hard on myself.

I hiked up 3 mountains this year, yet only summited 2 – and that one I didn’t summit still pisses me off. I got a bit lost, a bit tired, and had to give up. I know that I should appreciate what I accomplish, and not focus on what I didn’t. I also know it was an important lesson to listen to my body instead of risking getting hurt or really lost. It still makes me mad that I can’t do everything I want to do, but I’m getting better about it.

Hiking is great therapy.

Whenever life sucks donkey balls, I like to head outside. It is a great way for me to get whatever is bothering me out of my system, and to physically push myself to exhaustion. It’s a great outlet when I need one. However, I worry sometimes that I’ll start associating hiking with being upset or angry because that seems to be the only times I do it now. I did that with bike riding in Ohio, and grew to dislike it somewhat. Guess that’s something I need to deal with.

Heights bother me now.

When hiking Rattlesnake Ridge with a small group recently, I discovered one reason I’m a slow hiker might be a mild case of vertigo. After about a 1,500 foot climb, I found myself dizzy, out of breath, and nauseated – which scared the crap out of me. Since then, I’ve done a few 1,000ft+ climbs and the same thing happens each time. I have done much longer hikes with shorter ascents that don’t do this to me, which is why I think it might be vertigo and not just an in/out of shape thing. Maybe this flat-land Ohio girl isn’t meant to climb mountains? If you’re a seasoned hiker and have any ideas of how to help, I’m all ears!

The views are always worth it. Always.

Even if it takes me forever, I’m angry with the world around me, and I’m dizzy as fuck, it’s always a great feeling to make it to my destination. Being rewarded with a great mountaintop view or a beautiful waterfall is worth the shit I put up with to get there. It’s also a consolation to know the trip back will be easier (and usually downhill)!

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Afternoon Glow’s 1 year blogiversary! I almost forgot about it completely, to be honest. I’ve been so busy lately with job hunting, blog planning, and doing about a zillion loads of laundry (does it ever end?). To celebrate the occasion, I’m sitting in my new favorite coffee shop and reflecting on the past year.

The blog started out as a space for me to share everything going on with my life. It’s included posts about cooking, home decor, beauty, hiking, and the occasional “reflective rant.” I worked with amazing brands, was featured on a few different sites, and made connections with people that will hopefully stick around for years to come. I had insanely inspiring runs mixed with weeks  of silence. There are things on here that I’m proud of, and some that I’m not. While I sit here and look back on it all, though, I’m more proud than not!

I’m looking forward to sitting down soon and narrowing down the blog’s focus, and figuring out what I want to accomplish (besides free stuff…though I’d hardly turn it down). I am inspired by my usual online haunts, and some of the amazing things they’re doing in the online and offline lives – and I want to join in the fun! This next year on Afternoon Glow is going to be a big one…I can feel it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and a safe and amazing 4th of July! I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m sure it’ll involve a trip to the beach for some fireworks!