No Spend September: Week 3

week 3 no spend September

Week three of No Spend September has come and gone, and it was another busy one. Early in the week, some friends and I decided to book a trip to Iceland next month, and I could not be more excited! I have wanted to go to Iceland for years, and I came across an airline deal that was just too good to pass up. I think I’m most looking forward to just seeing everything—the landscape, the cities, and hopefully the northern lights. The problem is, I have an unfortunate tendency to buy a bunch of stuff in preparation for big trips. I manage to convince myself that I need a new carry-on bag, or more comfortable sandals, or waterproof pants, or a sun hat, or an eye mask, or fancy headphones—you name it, I’ve probably thought about buying it. This time, however, I decided things would be different. Most of the time, I end up going on the trip and realizing that I would have been just fine without those purchases. So this time I’m going to try to stop myself from buying them in the first place.

I don’t think I realized how difficult this resolution would be until my friends started talking about all the things they needed to buy for Iceland. One friend bought a new water bottle—one of those fancy metal ones that keeps your beverage hot or cold all day. Another friend bought a cute new beanie to stay warm. Both bought new hiking boots. After talking to them, I was convinced that I needed not only a new water bottle, a beanie, and hiking boots, but also a new jacket, fleece-lined tights, and one of those quick-dry towels. I know, I know, I have a problem. After I really thought about it, though, I realized I do not actually need any of these things. Yes, it will be cold out, but only around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It gets that cold (and colder) where I live, so I already have clothes suitable for the weather. Yes, we will be hiking, but not for days at a time, so I don’t need all the professional gear required of a multi-day trek. And yes, the boots might be useful, but now that I think about it, my mom (who loves to hike), probably has some that I could borrow. Plus, the hot springs we plan to visit probably have towels available for rent, if not for free. So between utilizing what I already have and borrowing or renting the rest, I really don’t need to buy anything new. Problem solved. No money spent. Planet saved (sort of).

Besides planning for Iceland, I also finally got around to sending my friends a wedding gift last week. The registry was pretty depleted at that point, so I ultimately decided on everyone’s favorite gift: money. Although I didn’t technically give them an experiential gift, I at least gave them the option. Maybe they will spend it on a kitchen appliance, or maybe they will put it toward their honeymoon. At least I can be pretty certain it will go toward something they actually want or need. Although it wasn’t an option for this wedding, I really like how some couples have started using registries that let you contribute to things like their new home or backyard garden. This way guests can give a gift without burdening the newlyweds with a bunch of stuff they don’t need. The So Kind Registry is especially awesome for this—you can register for gifts of time and experience like household help and childcare, or even second-hand items.

Finally, my week ended with a job interview on Friday. With the forecast calling for temperatures in the 90s that day, I had no idea what to wear. Somehow, most of the interviews I have had in the past have taken place during cooler weather, when my long sleeve button-down and wool blend suit were perfectly appropriate. In my panic, I almost bought a completely new outfit for the occasion, but even under these circumstances, I wasn’t ready to give up on No Spend September. Instead, I went through pretty much all the clothing I own until I found a sleeveless silk blouse with a monochrome pattern that I thought just might be subtle enough for a job interview. I wore this with my suit pants on the way to the interview, and then I waited until I made it safely inside the air-conditioned office before I put on the jacket. The outfit was a success, and although it’s too early to say for sure, I think the interview went pretty well too!

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