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How To Have A “No Spend November”

Lifestyle

It may be hard to think about saving money just before the holiday season starts. However, a good financial cleanse may be just the thing you need to put your fiscal affairs in perspective. If you’ve been a little bit lackadaisical with your spending budget lately or you suffer from financial procrastination, joining the “No Spend November” campaign may be the cure! While it’s understandable that there are essential expenses that must be paid, such as your rent/mortgage, utilities, gas and groceries, there are other expenses that most certainly aren’t vital to everyday survival.


Put your spending habits and financial savvy to the test! Just by following these five simple rules for 30 days, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and have extra money in the bank as your reward for the sacrifices you have made all month long.

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Plan Out a “No Spend” Budget

If you already have a budget in place, you’ll need to take some time to go through your expenses and make a few temporary adjustments. The first thing you should do is write down how much you spend every month. There are two categories to list your expenses under: essential and non-essential. Carefully consider what actually is essential. For example, how much do you really watch cable TV? How much would you be able to put into your savings with temporarily downgrading your cable service? If watching TV isn’t that important to you, maybe try taking the option of only internet service for 30 days. After listing all of your non-essential items, put your new “No Spend” Budget into action!

 
Don’t Fall Victim to “FOMO”

While you may have a vibrant social life, don’t let “FOMO” (fear of missing out) get the best of you. If your friends are going to lavish restaurants and swanky lounges, why not get creative and find other ways to stay social in November. There’s a plethora of free things you can do on the weekends. Do your research and look for local venues that are hosting free concerts and other fun free activities. If your friends want to have a night out, maybe ask them to join you and challenge them to participate in your “No Spend November” challenge. Host a pot-luck themed night where your friends can each bring a homemade dish as well as their favorite libations to share. Cutting down on eating out and drinking expensive cocktails doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun!

Resist the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Other Discretionary Expenses!
 

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If your daily routine consists of stopping at your favorite coffee shop every morning, you must resist the temptation! Instead, try brewing your own coffee at home and tote it to work. If you like flavored coffee, you’ll be surprised that your local supermarket may have a flavored creamer to your liking at a fraction of the cost. Other discretionary expenses such as take-out lunch, fast food dinners as well as happy hour appetizers and drinks, can all add up to hundreds of dollars each month. Eliminating these expenses aren’t only good for your wallet, it’s good for your health too! Also, beware of those enticing coupons offering you “deals” if you holiday shop early. Delete them immediately and stick to your holiday shopping list and budget after you’ve completed your “No Spend November” challenge.

Exercise and Save!

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You may not realize how much you actually spend on gas just by making local trips and running errands around town. Consider walking or biking to your local stores if they are close enough. Not only will you be getting exercise and feel invigorated, you’ll be saving money too! While you may need to fill up your car with gas for your commute to work, why not ask someone in your office who lives close to you to share a commute.

Fight off Temptation

If you want to have a successful “No Spend November,” fighting off your temptations and cravings will be key. Your family and friends may ask you to join them in shopping and lunch dates on the weekend, but this will only put “stuff” in front of you with lurking temptations everywhere. If you are invited for a night out, you may have to temporarily sacrifice a few weekend nights, but going out will only tempt you to spend money and before you know it, you could be buying a round of drinks! Sometimes alone time can be good for the soul. Catch up on reading that juicy book you’ve been trying to get to or watch a movie on Netflix with a hot fresh-popped bag of popcorn!

If you feel a spending temptation come on, take a step back and look at your budget and how much you have saved so far. Think of all the hard work you’ve already put into your “No Spend November!” If you haven’t taken a look at your credit score in a while, this may be a good time to start planning your budget for the upcoming New Year and to continue some of the good habits you have adopted during your “No Spend November” challenge!

3 Min Read
Lifestyle

Tempted To Dial Your Ex: 5 Ways To Know Whether Or Not You Should Contact An Old Flame

Thinking of ringing up your ex during these uncertain times? Maybe you want an excuse to contact your ex, or maybe you genuinely feel the need to connect with someone on an emotional level. As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I was surprised at the start of the coronavirus quarantine when friends were telling me that they were contacting their exes! But as social distancing has grown to be more than a short-term situation, we must avoid seeking short-term solutions—and resist the urge to dial an ex.

It stands to reason that you would contact an ex for support. After all, who knows you and your fears better than an ex? This all translates into someone who you think can provide comfort and support. As a matchmaker, I already know that people can spark and ignite relationships virtually that can lead to offline love, but lonely singles didn't necessarily believe this or understand this initially, which drives them straight back to a familiar ex. You only need to tune into Love Is Blind to test this theory or look to Dina Lohan and her virtual boyfriend.

At the start of lockdown, singles were already feeling lonely. There were studies that said as much as 3 out of 4 people were lonely, and that was before lockdown. Singles were worried that dating someone was going to be off limits for a very long time. Now when you factor in a widespread pandemic and the psychological impact that hits when you have to be in isolation and can't see anyone but your takeout delivery person, we end up understanding this urge to contact an ex.

So, what should you do if you are tempted to ring up an old flame? How do you know if it's the wrong thing or the right thing to do in a time like this? Check out a few of my points before deciding on picking up that phone to text, much less call an ex.

Before You Dial The Ex...

First, you need to phone a friend! It's the person that got you through this breakup to begin with. Let them remind you of the good, the bad and the ugly before taking this first step and risk getting sucked back in.

What was the reason for your breakup? As I mentioned before, you could get sucked back in… but that might not be a bad thing. It depends; when you phoned that friend to remind you, did she remind you of good or bad things during the breakup? It's possible that you both just had to take jobs in different cities, and the breakup wasn't due to a problem in the relationship. Have these problems resolved if there were issues?

You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you.

Depending on the reason for the breakup, set your boundaries for how much contact beforehand. If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

If you know you shouldn't be contacting this ex but feel lonely, set up a support system ahead of time. Set up activities or things to fall back on to resist the urge. Maybe you phone a different friend, join a virtual happy hour for singles, or binge watch Netflix. Anything else is acceptable, but don't phone that ex.

Write down your reasons for wanting to contact the ex. Ask yourself if this is worth the pain. Are you flea-bagging again, or is there a friendship to be had, which will provide you with genuine comfort? If it's the latter, it's okay to go there. If it's an excuse to go back together and make contact, don't.

Decide how far you are willing to take the relationship this time, without it being a rinse and repeat. If you broke up for reasons beyond your control, it's okay. If your ex was a serial cheater, phone a friend instead.

If there was abuse or toxic behaviors in the relationship, don't even go there. You can't afford to repeat this relationship again.

As life returns to a more normal state and you adjust to the new normal, we will slowly begin to notice more balance in our lives. You want to come from a good place of reflection and not let bad habits make the choice for you. Some do's and don'ts for this time would be:

  • Do: exercise ⁠— taking care of you is important during this time. It's self-care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: shower, brush your teeth, and get out of your sweats.
  • Don't: be a couch potato.
  • Don't: drink or eat excessively during this time. Again, remember to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Do: think positive thoughts everyday and write down the 3 things you are grateful for. Look at the impact of John Krasinksi's SGN. It's uplifting and when you feel good, you won't want to slide backwards.
  • Don't: contact a toxic ex. It's a backward move in a moment of uncertainty that could have a long term impact. Why continue flea bagging yourself?