No Spending: The cost of a dream and other expenses

I‘m living relatively frugal (compared to a year ago) nowadays. I haven’t bought a single article of clothing, bag, or shoes, not even a cup of coffee at the train station since starting my No Spending Challenge in January.

Despite that my savings account is declining every day and I’m expecting it to drain at the end of the month. So where the hell is my money going?

Here’s what my bank account says

Buying a dream for mother
Nanay have never seen the snow. She never, in her wildest dreams, thought she’ll be able to travel, let alone outside the Philippines. After she visited the Netherlands for the first time, she started dreaming new dreams. First was to see Keukenhof, the world’s most beautiful garden and then the snow.

But mom’s dream is not cheap. In addition to visa fees, insurance, tickets and pocket money (let’s say about €1,500 each time she visits), I booked her a little weekend getaway in Willingen, Germany, one of the smaller winter destinations near the Netherlands. Our weekend dented my savings account of another €400, an amount I’ll never regret one bit. Her happiness is worth every cent and every memory we make will carry me through grief when mother finally leaves us.

Truly there’s nothing more fulfilling than making someone happy, especially if it’s your mother.

A meal or two
In total, I spent €51 in eating out since January 2018, a special cake at this restaurant near a lake, watching water chickens (meerkoet) float by while talking to an elderly couple, and two meals at our favourite Zeeuwse restaurant Piet Van Oost. I haven’t been in a Michelin restaurant or anywhere where the meal is more than €25. In that sense I’m still following the rules of my No Spending challenge. I just cannot completely give up dining out.

I spent €27 on sport’s related expenses, €20 on the half marathon I didn’t run (ouch) and €7 on yoga try out. My knee pain was diagnosed as patellar chondropathy so I decided to forego the half marathon challenge, cut down on mileage and let my knees rest. There was a yoga studio near my house so I thought becoming more flexible would help me avoid further knee injury in the future. But I haven’t been back since the try out. One word, busy.


I’m not comfortable talking about charitable deeds. I guess that’s one of teachings that I embraced from the Bible.

Matthew 6:2 “”So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

The other teaching is to be generous. I’m not rich but I am lucky enough with a good job, a roof over my head, proper food on my table and enough money to spend on pleasurable pursuits. Others are not very lucky.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

By the end of this month I expect to have €0 in my savings account because of my kitchen renovation. And no extra money because of extra expenses. Having no money makes this challenge a lot easier but it’s also irritating. I don’t feel good when there’s nothing in my savings account.

Three more months to go but I think I’m going to extend.