Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 7 – The Two Week Experiment Is Half Way Done, Or Is It?

A week ago today we decided to stop spending money for two weeks. In the end, if my husband's work expenses are reimbursable, we spent no money beyond the usual "bills" and we didn't even mooch much off our friends. I know we have saved a lot of money, but more than anything, I think we welcome the chance to reevaluate our spending habits and enjoy the challenge.

Tonight we asked the kids what we could do to save even more money. They suggested we start selling things to earn money – such as lemonade, cookies, and cupcakes. In the middle of our dinner-time discussion, we all ran off to turn off lights – and found six lights throughout the house to turn off. We all need to be more aware of saving electricity. The kids know we need to save resources, so they mentioned saving water. Our older daughter suggested we refill our water bottles with tap water (which we already do) but to only do so when we are really, really thirsty. We assured her that we will not be thrifty about drinking water from the faucet, but we could think about other things. She proudly announced that she took a 3-minute shower this evening, which was true. The conversation turned to heating the house. It was suggested that we shouldn't use the heat "unless we are freezing".

To stay warm in a freezing house, the kids suggested we could do the following:

  1. Wear socks.
  2. Wear a sweater or sweatshirt.
  3. Sit criss-cross (so your feet are tucked under and stay warm)
  4. Rub your feet, both with your hands, and by rubbing your feet together, because rubbing makes things hot.

Here's what we spent:

  1. Business lunch and parking – husband – probably reimbursable
  2. All normal utilities and mortgage as they were due
  3. Son's pre-school tuition and daughter's music lessons for the month of November
  4. "Discretionary" expenses that are paid for in advance – cable, cell phones, TIVO, Netflix, YMCA membership, Vegetable CSA Farm-Share, Milk and Egg Weekly delivery, etc.

Here's what we probably saved – about $500-$600 for the week:

  1. Daily lunches at work for husband – average $5 - $10 a day – so let's say $35 for the week.
  2. Dinner at our favorite local Mexican restaurant – around $60.
  3. Trips to Dunkin Donuts (for coffee only, believe it or not) – around $10 for the week.
  4. Double espresso with whipped cream – a few times a week – around $7 for the week.
  5. Grocery store purchases – I was going to do a "big shop" last Monday when we got this started, but didn't – saved about $200 probably.
  6. Pedicure – I love to have one after a trip to a hot, dry, sandy West African country - around $25
  7. Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings - $15
  8. Buying wine for company - $25
  9. Buying special food for cooking for company - $50
  10. Buying extra milk since we ran out early- $4
  11. Buying fruit (we actually bartered some kale and collard greens for fruit) - $3
  12. Buying eggs (we actually owe someone some greens for the eggs we got from them) - $3
  13. Clothes purchases - $50?
  14. Electronic gadgets - $50?
  15. Downloading music from I-Tunes - $10?

Scary. Depressing. But there's still hope for us... I hope!


Katy, Planet Perspectives said...

Katy here - I am embarrassed to say that we may have saved $500 in one week. Granted, grocery shopping was a big expense. But all the rest??? Oh my. We have some serious soul-searching to do.

Mandajuice said...

Isn't it amazing how much you can save just shopping in your own freezer/pantry! Since we've been meal planning more, I notice I'm throwing away literally ZERO food and still feeding my family really well for far less money.

Good luck! Going consumer-free is really hard.