Our No-Spending Week

We made our final contribution to my IRA for 2010 last week, and it feels great.  Still another month and a half left in the year, and we’ve finished contributing to our HSA and both of our IRAs.  In order to fork over the final lump of cash to my account, we focused on spending as little as possible on everything else last month.  We set a lower-than-usual goal for our credit card (we charge everything to that card, so it’s an easy way to keep track of our spending), and found that we had reached our self-imposed limit a week before the end of the billing cycle.  So we just stopped spending any money at all.

On November 2nd, we spent $10 at the nursery to buy a bag of ladybugs for our cold frames.  Then we didn’t spend anything else until yesterday (after the end of the credit card billing cycle), when I walked to the grocery store to buy some baking supplies.  We had seven straight days with no spending at all, which meant that we were able to keep our spending exactly where we wanted it for the month, and contribute the final payment to my IRA without too much stretching.

Not spending any money for a week turned out to be easier than it sounds.  Since we work from home, we don’t have to leave the house if we don’t want to.  Of course, we’d get cabin fever if we really didn’t leave the house, but we’ve got all sorts of places that we go that don’t involve any sort of opportunities to spend money.  The library is about a 30 minute walk from home, and there are a couple of parks that our son loves to visit that are also within easy walking distance.  Most days, our son and dog and I head out for a walk just to walk – no destination in mind, we just get out and enjoy the day.  Our cars never left the garage during our no-spending week, and we didn’t have to make any effort for that to happen either – we just walked or biked wherever we needed to go.

It helps that we have a pantry and freezer full of food.  We made a trip to Costco last month, and we also have a lot of food from our garden stored for the winter.  So there was no need to shop for groceries either.

And we long ago stopped shopping for fun, so there was no temptation to make random purchases.

We had a great week, and we really didn’t notice at all that we weren’t spending money.  A couple times it crossed my mind, but to be honest, our life over the last week was pretty similar to what we do on a normal basis.  Have any of you focused on going several days without spending any money?  Do you find that living a simple, uncomplicated lifestyle makes it easier to skip spending without cramping your style

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  1. Emily Anne says

    I go two or three days without spending any money pretty often. I work nights and weekends and often try to not spend any money on my days off. It makes a huge difference at the end of the week. I’ve never gone a whole week- it seems quite doable if you don’t need to leave the house, although we have to buy a gallon of milk for my daughter every 3 days or so now.

  2. says

    i often go days without spending any money. i work in a school, so there isn’t any opportunity to spend there, not that i’d want to anyway. people often comment on how my bi monthly massages and trips abroad are extravagent, i argue they are financial tradeoffs.

    for example, i don’t drink coffee and rarely go to cafes. i bring lunch (and breakfast) from home. i buy second hand (or swap – even better!) almost all my clothes. we drive a 20 year old truck and a bought with cash 8 year old prius. we live without fancy cell phones (we have prepaid), we’re on the verge of cancelling cable and we use the library first. it really is the small things that add up.

    i really enjoy your blog. it makes me feel like there are other people with the same money ideas as me.

  3. BigNan says

    When we first got married, my husband and I noticed that we kept running out of money. So we decided to keep track of everything we spent – even small purchases. And lo and behold, it was the small purchases that were killing us – a newspaper here, a cup of coffee there.

    That was forty years ago, and I still keep track of all purchases. (The computer makes it a lot easier than it was in 1970, with paper and pencil.) By the end of each year, I have a spreadsheet that breaks down our spending by categories. The information makes it easier to make decisions about cutting expenses, etc., and is a great aid when I do the tax forms.

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