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.
Photo Courtesy of The Balance
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!
Photo Courtesy of Geo Marketing
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!
Photo Courtesy of Bike Radar
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!
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."