Buy Nothing Challenge – January Update

We are doing a buy nothing challenge for a whole year. Mainly to think about what we’re all spending in this consuming world, while we really don’t need all this stuff. And also to spend less and minimize. In this blog post I will let you know how we did in our first month.

Food € -459.77

While food doesn’t count towards the buy nothing challenge, we do want to spend less on groceries (which also include hygiene and household products) and pick up food. Cooking at home is usually a lot healthier and much cheaper. We do like to go out to a restaurant once in a while without our children, to make some time for each other. We don’t aim to spend less on that, since we already don’t go out to eat that often.

Takeaway food: € – 47.50

We have eaten takeaway food 3 times this month, which is less than we are used to. We do love it, but since it’s really no healthy food, we don’t want to do it too much anymore. Three times per month is acceptable to us.

Restaurants: € 0.00

We didn’t go out to eat this month. With December 2018 close behind us, we didn’t feel the need to do that this month.

Groceries: € – 412.27

We did not meet our new goal of € 400, but exceeded only by a little bit, so I’m quite happy with this month. The groceries aren’t just food, it also includes household and hygienic products. These are all expenses from the supermarket.

Gifts: € – 3,67

We became aunt and uncle again! My husbands sister gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, so we did sent out a gift card to congratulate them.

Household expenses

These include our normal monthly expenses for things like insurance, energy, television and phones. Since we moved to this house (February 2018), we don’t have cable television or a home phone anymore. We only pay for an internet connection and we have a subscription on Netflix and Videoland (dutch streaming service). We also both have a cell phone.

If we manage to save on one of these things, I will let you know. We won’t turn down the heating to save more or get rid of Netflix. We do like to live a (reasonably) comfortable life, plus the challenge is more about thinking before buying instead of aiming to save as much as possible.

Children € – 51.27

For the children, we have some monthly expenses like daycare and diapers. I won’t include daycare in the list, because we just need it and we can’t lower the costs for that. We also have to buy clothes once in a while for the boys, because well, kids grow pretty fast.


Clothes: € – 15

As I already mentioned in the earlier blog post, we bought a bag of 2nd hand clothes for our youngest, because all of his pants had holes in it. It was only € 15 for 8 jeans, some t-shirts, a vest and a jacket. And all the clothes look very good, so I’m really happy with that.

Diapers / wipes: € – 18.27

We only had to buy new nappy pants that our oldest wears at night. For the youngest, we still had enough diapers. Since the baby wipes were on sale, I bought some extra. We are busy with potty training, so hopefully we can stop buying diapers in a few months.

Babysitter: € – 93

We went out two nights without the boys, so the babysitter came to watch them for a couple of hours. Both nights were free activities actually (without taking the gasoline into account). We went to a free lecture about raising kids and we had a game-night (board game Risk, you know it?) with family.

Car seats: € + 75

We sold two car seats, as the boys grew out of them, but we also bought 2 new ones. We were able to sell them for a good price and sold them for € 150, while we bought the 2 new ones for € 75. That’s a nice profit!

How did we do our first month?

It wasn’t really hard actually. Well, it is just the first month now of course, but I feel like we can do this fairly easy, and without regretting to ever start this challenge. My husband doesn’t buy much anyway, so it’s a piece of cake for him. I do notice that sometimes I think about stuff like, “Ohhh we can use that”, or “let’s buy that”, or… “Wait, we’re doing a buy nothing challenge!” And then I think about the item and realize we can live without it.

I think this challenge really helps in thinking before buying. When I was in cheap stores before, I did buy all kinds of things. But the little things combined actually do cost a lot. One just doesn’t realize it, because it’s a little bit of money each time.

I already start to notice that my mindset is changing a bit. When I see something I would like to buy nowadays, my reaction is more and more like, “Wait a minute, this equals a small investment!” And then I don’t even want to buy it anymore, because more money invested helps me to reach FI sooner, which is the ultimate goal. Maybe I sound a bit extreme now, but I actually do think like this a lot of the time. Maybe I’m just going crazy! We’ll see in a year how I’m doing, how much my mindset has changed and if I really did go crazy :lol:

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. It’s interesting to see how the challenge is helping you approach expenses differently. I really identify with your last paragraph: My state of mind has been similar over the past few years. To be honest, it gets tiring after a while. If only we could earn enough passive income to buy things (not luxuries, but at least small things that make us happy) without needing to think about it…

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