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Friday, November 7, 2014

Can you go a week without spending money?

I'm not talking about not paying your utility bill, or skipping out on your mortgage payment. I'm talking about spending that looks like a cup of coffee at the corner cafe, a tank of gas for the car, a video rental, a new toy, a quick bite out for lunch or even the cart of groceries to get through the week.

I just realized this morning that I haven't spent ANY money whatsoever, for the past week. No gas for the car, no groceries, no extras, nothing. I'm guessing this happens more often than I realize. I just don't always think about it. How about you? Do you ever go a week or more without spending a single cent?

We live in a society where money appears to flow freely from pocket to merchant. Spending money seems to be the path to life's enjoyment, for many Americans. In my area, the mall and movie theaters are packed to the gills on weekends. This may be news to some, but shopping is not a hobby.

I think it is significant when we realize that the enjoyment of our own lives is not dependent on how much or how little we spend. We can find so much satisfaction with age-old hobbies like drawing, reading, playing games (as kids, my sister and I found ourselves enormously entertained for hours, with an ordinary deck of cards), or making music. And many of these past times won't make you cringe when you open the credit card bill next month.

It's Friday. I'm making plans for our family weekend. We won't be eating out, but instead, we'll work together, and have a good time at that, making our Saturday dinner (probably homemade pizza). We may get out the Scrabble board and see who's learned some new vocabulary. There's an art gallery in my area that I've been meaning to check out. That's on my personal plan for entertainment tomorrow afternoon. We won't be going to the mall, plugging our behinds into a theater seat or screaming our dinner order into the speaker at the drive through. I probably won't think too much about how little money we spend, this weekend. But when our financial goals are someday realized, I'll be glad we made the choices that we did over the years.


  1. love this!
    It probably happens less then I'd like it. I do go days but probably not a whole week. I think that should try and be a goal though.

    Love your weekend plans. Enjoy!

  2. Awesome! Yes, I often go a week w/o spending a penny. Refueling the car (I don't like to go below 1/4 tank) is my only necessity some weeks. Depending upon other bills, we may be making do with whatever groceries are on hand, the clothes currently in our closets, etc.

    1. Hi Carol,
      And with your Prius, you probably have more weeks than ever of not needing to fuel your car! Color me envious here!

  3. Good things for people to think about. Also, four thoughts came to mind while I read this:
    1. This is another variation on one of the best ways to not spend money--stay out of the stores.
    2. It isn't as important whether or not you spend money as it is to know what your budget is, keep track of your spending, and stay within your means.
    3. It's hard for me to imagine that there wasn't some grocery item with a good price that you needed to take advantage of and stock up on this week. You are so good of being aware of those things.
    4. Sounds like a wonderful family time. We used to a lot of things like that. I miss my boys.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      great points! Yeah, just staying out of the stores can save most Americans so much money. Nothing on sale earlier this week, but I found navel oranges on sale for 42 cents/lb in 40-lb case to pick up today. Most of the great grocery sales will happen closer to Thanksgiving, I think, for November.
      I know, some days I feel like saying, "hey, where'd everybody go?" Yesterday everyone was around in the evenings. Today, the house feels deserted, at times.

  4. I often go for a week without even moving my car. Since my job is being captain of this ship we call home, I putter around endlessly loving and caring for it. In fact, believe it or not, I just had the time of my life cleaning out my chicken coop and getting them ready for cooler weather. It takes me a bit to get started, but once I am going there is really no place else I'd rather be...the chickens scratching around the property, beautiful cool weather and a very happy chicken lady cleaning away.

    1. Hi Judy,
      you have found the secret to spending less -- finding joy and satisfaction in life's simpler pleasures. Well, done, Captain!

  5. We can go weeks without spending budgeted money, but due to hubby's travel back and forth we have to do gas weekly.

    However, we do a few things -- we don't go in at convenience stores. We actually pay at the pump. Cuts out impulse purchases. I do try to shop for perishables for a few weeks if possible. I also try to make sure if I do an unplanned run to the store it has to be for a really good price on things. All things I'm sure you do some version of.

    1. Hi Shara,
      Well, filling the gas tank for work really can't be avoided. It's like paying the utility bill or the mortgage -- gotta do it. I was just surprised yesterday morning, when adding our weekly expenditure entries to our budget ledger, that there were none! Sure made that job easy!

  6. I do it quite often now -- I just never even get to a store. But, like you, I don't usually think about it. I usually shop once a month for groceries, and then occasionally need to pick up an additional item or two. But otherwise I try to avoid stores as much as possible. Congrats to you for more and more times that you aren't spending any money at all.

    1. Hi Jayne,
      I have really come to dislike non-grocery shopping. When I do have to actually go to the mall (most often for gifts), I keep a list with details like sizes and description of what I'm looking for, so that I can get in and out as quickly as possible. I just don't understand the supposed fun in shopping without having a clue what you might want, or shopping just to shop. There are so many other much more fun and interesting activities to do with my time! And you of all people know that well!

  7. I love it! My solution is to stay out of my car. You're much less tempted to "stop in" and buy something if you're not driving around in the first place. I'm trying to remember the last time I got gas. Actually, I'm also trying to decide if I should go charge the battery in case I need to drive somewhere next week when it's supposed to be really cold! I think I've driven less than 500 miles this year.

    I generally only take the car out a few times per month when I need to get something really heavy like kitty litter - at which point I'll usually combine a bunch of errands at once. Otherwise I use my bike or feet to get me to the store (by "store" I mean grocery store, pet store or dollar store). There's a great disincentive to buy more than you need when you have to carry it all home!

    When I need something that can't be purchased at one of the above, I usually order it online. It's just easier and cheaper, plus it keeps me out of my car and out of stores where I might be tempted to come home with "extra goodies!" So when I think of something I need, I shop around online (usually Amazon is cheapest) and I stick it in my cart - but I generally don't buy it until I've got enough in there to qualify for free shipping. Plus if you let it sit in the cart for a while you're pretty sure that you actually do need it rather than just thinking that you do!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Also, with looking at stuff on Amazon, when I don't buy right away, I often get an offer in my email for a better deal on said item. I don't know if you've experienced this as well.

      You're still young now, but, some year (way into the future), you may want to buy one of those pull-cart things that you see in Europe and the UK so much in city/town, for bringing home stuff like cat litter, w/o using your car (if it's a reasonable walk from your house).

      As a single person, you can get by with only having to haul a small amount of stuff to bring it home. It's harder with a full family. At this point, getting 200 lbs of food home with me from the restaurant supply would be near impossible on foot. But some day, when the kids have moved on, bringing home just what we need may be a possibility on foot, for me. (That's so hard to imagine, but some day will actually happen!!)


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