Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day 4: To Gas, To Bike?

Day 4, Evening, of the Two-Week Experiment

Well, we made it through another day of no spending, with only a little blip in the plan. The planned business lunch and necessary parking took place as planned in downtown DC for my husband, and I'm feeling confident I'll be fine whipping up something decent for my friend to eat at lunch tomorrow. Since we didn't plan on doing this 2-week experiment, we are starting to wonder about some upcoming desired expenses. I don't drive much in a typical week, and my car was pretty full of gas on Sunday evening when we spontaneously decided to start our spending blackout. My husband, however, drives about 20 miles each way to work, and then often has to go into DC for meetings in the middle of the day. He can sure put a lot of miles on our Y2K Bug in any given day. Luckily he gets great gas mileage on our little diesel Beetle. He actually considered riding his bike to work, but he's not necessarily a big biker yet, and with the back and forth with meetings, it could be nearly impossible to do. Car-pool? Not likely to find someone in his small firm who lives nearby. Public transportation? Doesn't exactly get you out to the suburbs near Dulles easily - no metro out there – and then getting back into DC would be tricky. So I guess we'll have to decide what to do. Maybe we'll just trade cars when he starts getting low, but the point of the experiment is NOT to run out of gas while taking the kids to school. So we'll have to keep an eye on the gas situation.

Hey, and just a reality check here. I know we are quite lucky to have a very decent stash of food on hand to keep us eating without resorting to dumpster diving. (I saw "normal" middle class people doing it on Oprah one day.) When I'm in Africa, whether it's Senegal, Benin, or Burkina Faso, I am always confronted by poverty, every day, several times a day. I don't live very far from it in Alexandria, but I am not confronted by it in the same way. Although there will certainly be personal financial rewards from our frugal living for two weeks, it is also a reminder of what it means to have, or not. I have already noted on my calendar when I can resume spending money to buy several dozen cans of beans and corn for my daughter's elementary school Thanksgiving food drive, which goes to families whose children attend school with her on free and reduced lunches. It will definitely be nice to spend some of our saved money on others who need it more than we do.

1 comment:

Ryan S. said...

After reading your blog about this for the first time last night, I told Joye about it, and I told her I thought gas would be your biggest obstacle. Looks like you may have to break the rule once just for a tank of diesel.

While I doubt I'd ever do exactly what you're doing, I can definitely see the benefit of not buying any food until absolutely out of food. I could see doing that maybe once a year, in order to get rid of those items that pile up and don't get eaten.

Of course another way to get rid of those items, is to donate them to a shelter.

Good luck with the commuting situation!