Plant-Based January / Decluttering / No-Spend Challenge💰

HAPPY FIRST POST OF 2019! As much as I appreciate the long blog posts looking back on how great the year was, I don’t have time to reminisce. I’m ready for a fresh new start, and new challenges to tackle. After completing 25 days of vlogging, I’m ready to tackle 25 days of blogging! I’ll be writing 25 posts in January! I’ll have six days of free passes, but I’m taking on a few challenges this month, and want to keep you posted on my progress daily! I’ll be participating in plant-based January, decluttering challenges, and the no-spend challenge. I’ll talk more about each one to explain how I’m going about them. I think Instagram and social media have taken over the daily connection and communications of blogs, and instead of posting daily on there, I want to connect here. ♥️ 
I’m extremely excited about Plant-Base January. I have about twenty recipes flagged in my cookbooks for me to try out this month, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts and recipe pictures in the daily vlogs. I’ll share which recipes I’m trying, the swaps I’ve made, and basically what I ate that day along with all the other stuff. Someone asked why I wasn’t doing a “vegan” challenge in January. Well, being vegan is a lifestyle. I have so much respect for people who follow the vegan lifestyle because it goes beyond food. To be a vegan, you pay attention to what your clothes are made of, what products you wear, and so on. I do not have the right to classify my challenge as “vegan.” Will the food I will be eating be vegan? Of course.

I enjoy and eat a lot of plant-based foods, and because I follow a dairy-free diet, I’ve had so many plant-based alternatives that I love. I know this is going to be easy for me because I don’t really crave meat as much anymore. I’ve never gone completely plant-based for longer than a week, so I’m very very excited to see how I feel after this. 
The declutter challenge has already begun.
Do you follow the Minimalist on Instagram? They have pretty awesome plans for getting rid of clutter. My friend, Meighan, sent me their Instagram handle because she followed one of their plans last year. The bottom photo is from this morning’s clean out. I cleaned out my art drawers, bathroom cabinets, and the bottom of my shoe closet. It’s insane to think that this stuff was in one small spot in my house. I cannot wait to tackle a new closet or room every day. It’s mind-blowing to think about all the things laying around my house that I haven’t touched in years. Getting rid of all of these things now is going to make it much easier for when it’s time to pack everything up and move one day. They say to start small, but I’m more of the go big or go home type of girl. I love starting big. When I first moved into my place, I took up the guest bedroom closet, my closet, and the office closet. Over the past year, I’ve eliminated my items to just my closet, but I know there are so many items I can toss. So where are they going to? Some of the boxes will be dropped off with the Red Cross, and a local church that my neighbor works at. They collect items for the homeless shelter.

Some of the things I tossed this morning were multiples of kitchen accessories, expired products lurking around the bathroom, and a bunch of pieces I haven’t touched in years!
Because I’m going to be working so hard on decluttering and minimizing my things, I want to make sure it all stays that way by limiting my spending. I’m not afraid to admit that I buy some pretty stupid stuff sometimes. I’ll buy things for blog props, or for trips, or things I end up never touching. This kind of mindless spending is going to stop this year, and I’m going to focus on saving, and spending my money on things like experiences and only the necessities. It’s impossible for me to survive without spending, so here’s what I’m allowed to buy and what I’m not allowed to by.

MY RULES

  1. Bills. Duh, but wish I could do a “no spend” on this one 😂
  2. Groceries – but I’m going to be better about saving when I shop and not just buying the most convenient thing. I need to make lists and stick to them. I’m going to save money by making more recipes and meal prepping, but it’s easy to get carried away with new products. I will budget each grocery trip and do my best to stay within the budget! These are things you will see in the daily blogs.
  3. Travel – I can buy experiences. It’s what I do during that trip that will make or break this challenge. I know buying mugs and t-shirts is great when you’re out on an adventure, but years later, I never really care about the things I bought. I will say no to souvenirs! Dining at restaurants, hotels, activities, trying new coffee shops, and experience new places on trips are fine with me. Again I will try to budget and bring my own snacks while traveling to save as much as I can. The less I buy, the more I’ll be WINNING during this challenge. One of my habits is to buy new clothes before trips, and that is going to be a big no-no for me. I will use what I have.
  4. Gym Membership – I need to use it more.
  5. Pets-ok so no more pet clothes.
  6. Necessities – toilet paper, soap, shampoo, vitamins, face wash, makeup basics, cleaning products, gasoline, and that’s it.
  7. Work-Related Items – no more blog props because I have enough to use. I may need ink, batteries, or pay for membership costs. I have been looking for a new lens for my camera, so that may also be a purchase, but it’s for work and can be validated. My job sometimes involves me trying out new products from companies or clothing. I’m going to continue to do my job and try new products. The problem will be keeping me from buying more if I love it so much!
  8. No more Starbucks just because. If I’m out of town or on a road trip, sure, but not just because I’m out and about and feel like it. I have a perfectly fine Nespresso machine at home that I can use.
  9. Gifts – This one I’ve been thinking about. I love to gift people things on their birthday and holidays. I need to budget out my gifts better, shop cautiously, and maybe dive into more meaningful/homemade gifts. You’ll have to let me know what you think about gifting during the no-spend challenge.
  10. Fun – I will allow myself a small budget for books (after getting through the ones I have) and maybe a few puzzles because Kyle and I love putting them together. I will also continue to get my hair done monthly because my hair will turn into a mop if I don’t. It’s already a mop and I get my hair done regularly. You don’t want to see it without care! Oh, and tennis balls.

When I feel like spending? Here’s what I’m going to do. 

-put on a podcast and go for a walk with my dogs
-try to tag along to the gym each night with Kyle to walk on the treadmill (getting out of the house helps)
-make a cup of tea or coffee and watch a Netflix
-go do laundry or start straightening and cleaning the house
-bake something
-play tennis
-read a book or do a puzzle.
-ask to borrow. If I need a book to read or a new dress to wear. I’ll try to borrow one or use rent the runway (if I have to)

Overall, I’ll do anything I can to not spend anything. I don’t want to make my life miserable or unenjoyable, but I have a feeling I’m going to feel so much better by not buying new rugs, new throw blankets, wall decor…and don’t get me started on throw pillows!

That is all for today, see ya tomorrow!! – I have my NYC recap/Christmas Recap/and some awesome recipes coming your way this week! xo

Questions for you!

  1. What was your highlight of 2018?
  2. Which challenge are you on board with?

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Love this!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Jen

    I am totally with you on the no spend train! It is shocking how much I spend on nonsense or things that aren’t important. I have my monthly budget all ready for the year. I’m trying the envelope system for savings and one of my envelopes is spare cash specifically for gifts/holidays, because I totally agree with you that I can go overboard with gifts!

    Reply to Jen
  • Ckreugs

    Hey Taralynn, My friend recently told me of a friend of a friend of hers that went vegan and it significantly decreased her endometriosis pain. Would you mind sharing your thoughts and experience on this once you’ve done your vegan month? I’m curious to see if it would be helpful, but also extremely cautious when people make claims about diets completely “curing” them of significant chronic pain.
    Love your blog!

    Reply to Ckreugs
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I hate the “curing” thing too, because I doubt eating a plant-based diet has cured anything of mine, but I haven’t had the normal pain this month during my period which has my mind absolutely blown!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lee

    This is awesome! And is motivating me to move in these directions. Is the no spend challenge for the whole year? Or just January?

    Reply to Lee
  • Taryn

    I’ve been thinking about gift giving too! I decided this year it’ll be more about experiences. My friend wants to take an art class and I’ll go with her my treat. Or see a movie I’ve been dying to see and pack a cute homemade grab bag of her favorite candy. Then I want to take a picture of it and make a homemade shadow box…someone did that for me once and it was amazing. So it might cost the same, but it’ll be way more fun. I also heard of people giving “Happy Day boxes” as birthday gifts. So you give it to them on their birthday and they open it one day during the year when they’re having a tough day. It would be just a cute homemade box filled with notes and pictures and $1 store section stuff from Target. Since birthdays are overwhelming sometimes, this would be a gift when it matters down the line 🙂

    Reply to Taryn
  • Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    I can’t wait to read more about the plant based january! I am plant based with the exception of eggs and honey in my diet and am trying to be 100% this year. Looking forward to new inspiration from you!
    As a stay at a home mom, I’m trying to do a no spend month because sometimes I will buy things we don’t need for sure. I think hardest for me is not buying “extras” when I’m at the store (even the grocery store!) because I love finding cool new items to try!

    Reply to Heather @ Polyglot Jot
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Heather!

      So happy I can bring some fun new content to the blog this month!! I’ve totally laid off the eggs this past winter/fall because of the stomach aches I get and breakouts! It was a high sensitivity food on my test, so it all made sense.

      Ohhhh girl, you don’t have to tell me about the “extras” lol I get it.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Katie

    1) Graduating with my Masters in Education last month + becoming vegan in the summer!
    2) So on board with spending less and decluttering my house. You should watch the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix!! She helps people learn how to organize and declutter. I think you’d love it!

    Reply to Katie
  • Sarah R

    Taralynn,

    Girl, thank you for sharing!!! I’m stoked about these challenges because two of them are ones I’m really excited to try! I’m already plant-based and have been for over 2 years (I FEEL GREAT), so that one I dont really have to worry about. However, the other two I’m definitely going to try! I’m getting ready to move out on my own and live in a one bedroom apartment, so minimalizing will DEFINITELY be important. I’ve already cleaned out SO MUCH junk from my room that I, also, haven’t touched in YEARS!!! Also, the No Spend challenge is going to be of the utmost importance! I’ve always been pretty good at saving, but I’ve realized from cleaning out my room how many things I’ve bought that I barely use! I’m really going to be aware and limit what I spend (within reason, of course). Thank you, again, for bringing these ideas to light! Excited to see how your challenges go!!

    Sarah

    Reply to Sarah R
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Sarah!

      So happy you’re on board with some of the challenges!!! So happy you’re getting rid of the things you don’t use. Going into a new place is so refreshing and it’s great to leave all the old stuff behind!! Keep me posted on your progress!!

      xo xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Harriet

    Wow got to love how your diving into 2019 head on with these challenges! 25 days of blogging so awesome! I am on board with the no spend challenge! Definitely going to try my best. Also experiences always give you the best memories and a taking photo is free. The highlight of 2018 for me was getting my new puppy! Hope you have a great week!

    Reply to Harriet
  • Dominika Murnikova

    I love this post 😊 so inspirational … thank you … I want to be more organized this year and minimalized my things ..have a Nice day 🤗

    Reply to Dominika Murnikova
  • Jess

    My favorite thing from 2018 was participating in a 3 day clinic with one of my horses, with a clinician who I really respect. We learned a ton and I’ve been able to apply what I learned to my other horses, too.

    I’m very excited for your de-cluttering challenge. This is something I really struggle with. We have a very small house and way too much stuff. I put enough items to fill a Wal-Mart bag for donation tonight, but plan to start in the bathroom for more de-cluttering tomorrow!

    Reply to Jess
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jess!

      Awww what an amazing moment in 2018! 🐴 I love horses, so I think it’s amazing that you have them.

      Start with one room/closet/space each day! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Zoe

    My highlight of 2018 is that my youngest is officially potty-trained!!! Our goal was for 2018 to be the last year dealing with diapers & IT WAS! So, goal met & sanity saved. Win.

    I’m definitely in for the no-spend challenge. I’m a little more strict on it than you, but a lot of what you are cutting out I already don’t spend. I’m not a big spender to begin with, but November & December have been CRAZY due to gift shopping & general “I want that” feelings. So, time to just back off the spending. The goal is to buy only needed groceries for the meal plan & gas for the cars when needed.

    From January 13- February 13 my family is also doing “no sweets” because the holiday season has definitely had me in the mood for baking & I admit…I made way too much. My kids are particularly obsessed with getting desserts, so I’m hoping to curb the obsession. After February 13th, my goal for myself is no more than one dessert a day & preferably something like dark chocolate & nuts or fruit. Wish me luck! 😉

    So excited for you to blog more this month! I’m always checking to see if you’ve posted in-between Mondays!

    Reply to Zoe
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Zoe!

      What a great highlight! ❤️ Way to go!

      Great job on your no-spend plan! You got this.

      Just a quick tip on the “no sweets” route! Sometimes, it’s much easier to do that if you let yourself have a small piece of dark chocolate at the end of the day instead of nothing at all! Just something that’s worked for me 😃

      Can’t wait to keep the 25 days of January going! xo xo xo Have a great Day!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lauren

    Have you ever sold clothes and other items online? You could probably make a ton of money selling your stuff, since you already have so many followers. I sell stuff all the time; lots of baby stuff lately that my kids don’t need. It’s great to make some money back!

    Reply to Lauren
    • Taralynn McNitt

      That is so awesome you do that!! I’m way too lazy to do it, and I know that sounds horrible. I feel good about being able to donate it to a good cause 😀

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • lame

    lol you read a book on new years?

    Reply to lame
  • Jenn

    Do you have a good local library network near you? I read 50 books last year and didn’t buy any of them thanks to our library. Plus where I live, if the library near me doesn’t have what I want I can request it from our network and they’ll delivery it to my library for free. I borrow books on my Kindle this way too. Might be something to check out to help save some money ☺️.

    Reply to Jenn
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I actually just got a library card ♥️ I have a few books to read that I own now, but I’ll definitely be using it for the “no-spend” challenge! Thanks for the tips!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Lizzie

    This sounds so awesome! My boyfriend and I are trying to drink less alcohol, not go out to eat so much and plan more meals. He started the FODMAP diet to help with some gi problems anyway, so cooking at home gives us so much control. And I always love reading your blogs (some of your recipes are weekly staples in our house) and it’s great to see people consume less and waste less these days.

    Reply to Lizzie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Those are awesome goals, Lizzie!

      Hope he can get all of his issues figured out. The FODMAP diet is a tough process, but rewarding I’m sure! Good luck to him!

      So happy you enjoy the recipes! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Regan

    1) highlight! The greatest part of 2018 was being a church camp counselor for the first time in Estes Park, CO. Even though the timing seemed to be the worst in my personal life with stuff that happened with my husband and finances, God graciously allowed it to be so life-changing and refreshing. My girls are such a treasure in my heart and pursuing a Christ centered life with them is more rewarding than I’d ever imagined. The stumbling blocks we hit really can be minimized with the proper focus.

    2) challenge! I love your ideas here so it was hard to chose one. I think i’m a huge purger by nature but the no-spend challenge speaks to me because I have a secret Target problem. I know we all play it off as funny but y’all… it can really drag the budget down the wrong direction. I am going to work on finishing the food I bought instead of stocking up on certain things before i’m even close to running out. That means I’ll have to be more creative (which makes me so thankful for your blog!).

    Reply to Regan
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Regan!

      I’m so happy to hear that. God has a way of picking us up when we need it ❤️ Thank you for sharing that with me!

      Target gets the best of ALL of us 😂 I think I need to do that too! I never “want” what’s in the house and end up buying more. I need to do the same! xo xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jaxie

    I’m in!!!

    Reply to Jaxie
  • Jessica

    love love love this!! thanks so much for the ideas

    Reply to Jessica
  • Jennifer

    The highlight of 2018 for me – I have two! 1) Getting out of one of the worst jobs in the world and getting into a much better one 2) The amount of traveling I got to do. Dallas/Ft Worth Texas, Outer Banks NC, NYC, Duluth MN – and I have so much more for this year… Boston in March is next!

    I am SO on board for the no spending/decluttering challenge. When you mentioned it a while back, I’ve been mentally preparing myself for it! My plan is similar to yours when it comes to no spending since I waste so much of mine when I should be saving/paying off school loans, car loan, etc. For decluttering, my goal is to get rid of at least one thing per day! I know I’ll be able to get rid of a ton in the beginning, but by the end of the month I still want to try and get rid of at least one thing/day.

    I can’t wait to read all of the posts for January 😀

    Reply to Jennifer
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Jennifer!

      I remember when you made that move to a new job! So happy for you 😊 Love that you’ve been all over the place!! so amazing.

      Hahaha I’ve been prepping for these for the past three months!! I started doing the second hallway closet today and found a box of old dog toys (like 20) and could not believe we were keeping these for no reason! Just so excited to toss it all!!

      Thanks for stopping by! ♥️

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Emily L.

    Happy New Year! 🎊
    I love the no spend challenge! I may have to join you on this one! I have s cruise coming up and want to save as much as I can. I will MOST definitely apply the Starbucks rule for myself too! I’m terrible at just driving through and ordering coffee!

    Reply to Emily L.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I do the same! I think I love the idea of having a coffee while driving or shopping. I just need to make my own at home beforehand!! You’re going to have so much fun on that cruise!! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Jennifer

    Love all the challenges you’re doing and can’t wait to follow along! I’m on board with doing the decluttering and no spending challenges. I’m following funcheaporfree.com she has some awesome advice and guidance on budgeting and finances. Can’t wait to see all the new blog posts!

    Reply to Jennifer
  • Erin

    I’m a HUGE reader and the best thing I did in 2018 was make going to the library part of my weekend routine. I’d request books on Weds then on Saturday, make myself a cup of coffee and walk to the library to pick them up. It was a nice ritual I got into and I read so much more when I wasn’t buying books. Love these challenges!! 😁

    Reply to Erin
  • Catherine

    Best of luck! Just finished sorting out the study and got lots of give to the charity shop – feels good to get organised 🙂 looking forward to seeing how the next month goes for you!

    Reply to Catherine
  • Anonymous

    If you haven’t already jack fruit tacos/sandwiches are wonderful and easy! I try to eat more so plant based and never found a recipe for those until a vegetarian friend told me. I’m so excited for your blog this month! Happy new year!

    Reply to Anonymous
  • Stephanie Rae

    While I can’t (don’t think I can?) go 100% plant based, I want to incorporate more into my daily routine so I’m excited for the recipes you’ll create. I’m having severe heartburn issues every.single.day so I need to change my diet and get healthier and that needs to start now! Limiting my daily coffee/caffeine habit is going to be the hardest thing I probably ever do 😂 (I know you know the struggle!)

    And the shopping, giiiirrrllll same. I should probably even aim for an entire no spend 2019 if I’m being honest! My credit card debt is getting out of hand and I really need to purge if I ever want to see my floors again. Does one girl really need this much stuff?! Probably not and I’m mentally prepared enough now so I might try those numbers in reverse. 30 items today? Let’s do this!

    Reply to Stephanie Rae
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Stephanie!

      Lol I understand that struggle…I cut back a bit but only two cups a day!

      You should sell some of the stuff to pay off your credit cards! Could be a fun & rewarding hobby! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Meagan

    What about a clothes swap between your readers??

    Reply to Meagan
  • Shannen

    Love this! I’m on board with all three! (However, I may just do a couple really big declutter days instead of everyday… we’ll see)
    The biggest one for me is the no spend challenge. I’m the same way, I buy stupid stuff. And sometimes I never even use it 🤦🏼‍♀️ So that’ll be a tricky one.
    I’m looking forward to 25 days of blogging. I used to be avid reader of your blog, but I fell into a funk and stopped ready blogs, going on social media, ect. Now I’m ready to jump back in and I can’t wait to not only read your new posts, but also go back and read your old posts.

    Reply to Shannen
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Yay! ♥️ I think big declutter days are the best! I think the no-spend challenge will definitely help, especially with buying stupid stuff lol

      I totally get those funks! I get that way with Instagram lol

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Anastasia

    The highlight of 2018 was definitely getting my little puppy Owen. Although, he is an Australian Shepard so he isn’t really “little” anymore, lol. He has made my year so incredibly wonderful! It really is hard to be sad around him – he is always so excited and happy that it makes me happy as well!!

    I love these challenges! I am already doing a major decluttering of my closet this morning. And I will be exiting out of the H&M tab I have open with all the clothes I was going to order. 🙂 The decluttering / no spending challenge is so necessary for me. I spend on so many things I don’t actually need! I am also glad you mentioned bathroom products because I know I have about a million that have expired.

    I am also so excited about the plant-based challenge! I think it will make me feel healthier and leave me with more energy! I am so tired of feeling sluggish from all the holiday sugar!

    Can’t wait for those 25 blog posts in January!!! You are an inspiration!!

    xoxo

    Reply to Anastasia
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Hi, Anastasia!!

      Dogs have a way of turning our lives around! ♥️

      Decluttering is so rewarding! It’s good to walk away from a cart and put thought into what you’re about to buy.

      xo xo xo xo happy New Year!! xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Becca

    ❤❤❤❤

    Reply to Becca
  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Happy 2019, Taralynn! Hope you had a lovely New Year’s Eve! 🙂
    I love your goals this year. They’re all super achievable! ❤️❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Reply to Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
  • Tara Grosso

    All of this! I have similar goals and I’m 45. Wish I had begun all of this at your age!😊
    Libraries are a great way to read free books and you can give them back. Less clutter. If there is a new book you want the librarians will order it and put you first on the borrow list. They also have apps live Overdrive and Hoopla where you can borrow ebooks for free. Hoopla you can borrow 5 items a month…this includes movies, tv shows and audio books!
    Happy New Year! More plants less stuff!

    Reply to Tara Grosso
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Aww! You got this 💪 No matter what age, these goals are great! My mom is doing the no-spend challenge as well and she’s 54!

      YES! I got the library card and can’t wait to use it! Thanks for all the tips!!

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Annie

    YAAAAASSS to all of this! I’m over the moon about 25-days of blogging. You’re the best, Tara!

    Reply to Annie

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