Also called a “spending freeze,” a zero spending month entails exactly what its title says: you go a whole month without spending ANY money. Well, I thought to myself, this sounds like a fun challenge!
No, but seriously. Not only do I love challenging myself to living frugally, but there would be no better time than now to force myself to save money – mostly referring to the fact that I need to save money for my trip, but also referring to the fact that I have no job.
You might be asking yourself, “How in the hell do you go an entire month without spending any money?” And of course, the answer to that is that you can’t. But you can separate “needs” from “wants,” and realize where your money is actually going. So for myself, I’ve set up some ground rules to allow spending only on the following:
- Monthly bills (electricity, internet and phone)
- Fresh fruit & veggies (only as needed and preferably local) + milk, if needed
- Gas for planned trips (visit to Miramichi + visit to Sydney to get my cars inspection done)
That’s it, nothing else.
Now let me just point out that doing this is basically impossible unless you are an avid stock-piler. To quote myself “Hello, my name is Carmen, and I’m a stock-pile-aholic.” Obviously, you need to have food stored in your cupboards – even if it’s shitty food – to be able to survive one month not buying an actual grocery. For me, this is especially hard because I’ve never convinced myself to eat something specific – for example, leftovers – when I was in the mood for something else. But now, it’s time to kick it into gear!
Brain: You better not let those three slices of smoked salmon go to waste… Make yourself a sandwich with that shit!
Me: But it doesn’t taste good…
Brain: EAT IT!
But on the bright side, I’m running out of foods that I don’t like. It probably also helps that I did a brain-storming session on Monday and realized there were 10 meals – that I actually enjoy – that I can make with everything I have in the house! The only purchase I’ll have to make is one red pepper and one zucchini. FOR TEN MEALS! Did I also mention I’m currently visiting my dad and step-mom? Hello free meals! Although I did have to pay for gas to get here, it was a necessary trip to get the inspection done on my car. Free meals were just a bonus.
Speaking of free stuff, I need to take the time to underline the fact that I am surrounded by such wonderful people. I started talking to some friends and family about my choice of doing the Zero Spending Month and have received nothing but support. I recently had coffee with a friend to catch up, and he paid for my coffee. I also went apple picking with my step-sister, and she said she would pitch in for me. And just today, my mom said she would give me money to buy food to make a Thanksgiving supper. I am definitely blessed and infinitely grateful to all the amazing people in my life, and of course, that extends further than just the three people mentioned above.
So that’s pretty much where I’m at with this no spending challenge. I’ll give you guys an update at the end of the month to see if I was able to manage, or if I caved a few times and explanations why. Wish me luck!