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My path of financial willpower (and right past T.J. Maxx) 

There will always be bills, but financial restraint

There will always be bills, but financial restraint makes them less scary.  Credit: Matt Robertson

For the past three weeks, my husband and I have been spending money only on needs versus wants.

We've been paying our rent and our utility bills. We're paying for day care, which could easily be mistaken for another rent payment, and we've been buying groceries at the supermarket, where the list often includes more boxes of diapers than we'd like but we're potty training now, so we're working on it. 

And that's it -- that's where the buck has been stopping. 

So many people have asked us what we're going to do with all this newfound money, all that we're saving now that we've given up lunches out, dinners with friends, manicure appointments and beard trims at the barbershop ... now that we've stamped a big fat 'no' on any type of impulse buy?

Oh, what to do with it all?  Sigh ... pay bills, because ... life. That's the truth. More than half of the $621.88 we saved so far by doing the No Spend Challenge went toward paying an unexpected $400 PSEG Long Island bill. And the rest of the money? We used it to make $100 payments to two of our credit cards.

This is all good news! It means we had enough money in our bank account to cover an unforeseen expense and had enough left over to make two credit card payments that were much higher than the minimum required.

What would we have done otherwise? We would've had to dip into our wallets and grab a credit card to pay the power bill, accruing more debt.

If I'm able to continue on this path of financial willpower, restraining my every urge to run into T.J. Maxx,  and my husband is able to do the same by closing his laptop and logging off his Amazon Prime account, then before you know it ... we won't have any debt at all. 

Okay, so maybe that's a little  over-the-top, because my dear husband came with student loans. But you know what I mean. 

Having enough money set aside to cover unanticipated expenses or to tackle existing debt are two reasons why the No Spend Challenge appeals to so many people. And if you happen to live in a high-cost living area, like we do, the challenge starts to look really sexy. 

On the first day of the challenge I thought, "What was I thinking?" Now, I'm thinking, "Why didn't I think of doing something like this sooner?" 

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