Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A No Spend Week

Last Saturday I wrapped up a no spend week. I like to do this occasionally as it seems to reorient my thinking about spending, or rather, mindless spending. The idea is to pick a week and don't spend a single penny for that entire week. For many people this is pretty difficult as we tend to spend money randomly throughout the week and not even think about it--candy from the vending machine at work, a latte on the way to the office, lunch out, handing money to the kids as they request it, etc.
I started my no spend week on the Sunday before Christmas. Sunday was fine as I stayed home all day thus I didn't go anywhere that required an outlay of cash. Monday, the start of the holiday week was also a stay at home day as I didn't have to go to work so I basically stayed home and got caught up on work. Tuesday I stayed home by choice--the hubby asked if I wanted to go with him and walk around the mall while he got the oil changed in his car. I declined because the only thing that going to the mall was going to do was make me spend money. Wednesday was a little trickier. I had a couple of work related meetings to attend. At the first meeting I had to make a conscious effort to NOT go to Starbucks as this is a habit when I go to this particular meeting. Then I went to a second meeting. After this meeting I was waiting for the city bus to get back home but it was cold outside so I wandered into a store in a strip mall mainly to keep warm. They had sales! I couldn't buy anything! Any other day I would have bought a snack to eat while I was waiting (it had been a long day and I didn't have lunch) and if there were good sales, I probably would have bought at least one thing, but I resisted the temptation to spend and waited until I got home to eat. At the bus transfer center there were a couple of kids asking their mom for change for the candy machine; ordinarily I would have given them a couple of quarters but, again, I had to resist because it was a no spend week. Thursday was Christmas eve. All of my Christmas shopping was done so I didn't NEED anything but it is a habit to check out the sales on Christmas eve day just to see if there is any good day-before-Christmas sales. Again, I stayed home just to avoid the temptation to spend money. Friday was Christmas so it was basically a bonus--nothing was open so I actually couldn't spend money. Saturday was the most difficult. I almost always go shopping the day after Christmas and pick up heavily discounted Christmas wrap and Christmas decorations to use next year. I went for a walk instead and didn't go anywhere near the stores just so I wouldn't spend money.

So that's it. A week in which I didn't spend even a penny. It does take a bit of thinking ahead if you are going to do a no spend week. Do you have enough gas to last the week? Do you have enough food? Do the kids have their week's worth of lunch money ahead of time? But the way a no spend week changes your thinking is well worth the effort. This week I am much more aware every time I pull out my cash to buy something. Do I really need it? Do I want to let go of my heard-earned money? Can I wait until next week to buy this item (something I though a few times during my no spend week)?

If you want to save money, or just make yourself way more aware of how you spend your money, try a no spend week challenge yourself!

1 comment:

  1. I may have to start out with a no spend weekend. Will you try this again? How do you think you would fair if you hadn't stayed home for most of the week?