There’s something dreary about this time of year.
The party season, with all its excesses and its pressures, is coming to an end. In its place comes the prospect of months of long days at work, dark evening commutes and cold, wet weekends.
If an image comes to my mind, it’s the photo I took, above, on Dartmoor at the beginning of this year. What should have been a stunning walk in one of the UK’s most beautiful places ended up being one part pointless and one part creepy-as-hell.
That’s why I’ve never really understood New Year’s resolutions. January is miserable enough without trying to get through it sugar-free, or by committing to taking early-morning runs in the drizzle each day.
You only feel like a failure when you inevitably find yourself hiding under your duvet one morning doing shameful things with a family-size bag of Revels.
Instead, for 2018, I’m hoping to set myself challenges in a different way.
Taking my inspiration from a talk by Matt Cutts (who was himself inspired by Morgan Spurlock), I’d like to try a series of 30-day challenges for each month of the year.
I’ll put no pressure on myself to stick with the habit after the month has elapsed. If it works for me, I’ll carry on. If it doesn’t, I can ditch it with my head held high.
For my first month, I’m going to try something which has been intriguing me for a while now: a shopping ban.
I’ve followed with interest as Michelle McGagh dived into her no-spend year, Cait Flanders completed her epic two-year shopping ban and other bloggers tried similar challenges, like trying not to buy new clothes for a year.
But as a reformed consumer who rarely goes shopping any more, I’ve always assumed that I don’t need to follow suit.
I’m now putting my smug assumptions to the test. Can I save a pile of cash by trying a shopping ban? Will it all be a piece of cake? Only one way to find out!
The rules for no-spend challenges can vary, so here are the groundrules I’m setting myself for January:
All purchases will be banned except for the following:
- Groceries and essential household products (think loo roll)
- Utilities and bills
- Basic travel costs
- A £20 monthly entertainment budget, not to be used on any physical goods
I’d be interested to know if people think some more rules (or more exceptions) should be on the list – thoughts, anyone?