Monday, November 3, 2008

Day 1: Saving Cash: The Two-Week Experiment

What's the best way of saving cash? Don't spend any money for two weeks. That's what we're doing. Starting last night. Well, we have agreed to continue to pay our bills and to buy toilet paper if we run out. But since it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, it's not as if we stocked up on anything to make it through the two weeks. We plan to eat our way through the cupboards, freezer, and fridge. Fortunately, we have a pre-paid farm-share of vegetables that we get every Wednesday, though I think that may be ending soon. Also, we have decided to continue with our weekly delivery of fresh farm milk and eggs which we pay for weekly. So right off the bat we're fudging a bit.

We talked to the kids about it this morning, and even more tonight at dinner. They are pretty interested in the idea, on this first day, anyhow. We have agreed to pay for any necessary medical costs, but so far that's about it, aside from regular utility and the mortgage. Are we being unpatriotic on the eve of elections to freeze our spending? I am sure some in our capitalist society would say so. But I think it's a great experiment, and will likely be good for our savings account as well.

I didn't think it would be too hard to begin. I dropped my son at pre-school, and was ready to head to the YMCA where we have a monthly membership, so no need to pay. But I realized I forgot my water, and though my first thought was to go directly there and buy a bottle at the Y, I realized I had to go home to pick up my own free water bottle. On the way back to the house, I was also tempted to stop in at Caboose Café to grab a muffin, because I somehow had forgotten to eat breakfast. Since I was headed home to get the water, I knew I had just enough time to make some breakfast at home. I was pretty surprised that I had been tempted by purchases 2 times before 9am.

The rest of the day involved no temptations. A friend came with her children and shared her delicious homemade apple pie, while I made espresso for us. Thus, we avoided buying a snack or coffee. We talked a bit about the plan, and I admitted that I was a bit worried about the fruits, since I thought we probably only had a can or two of pineapples and mandarin oranges. She kindly and wisely offered a trade… Her family had been apple picking a few weeks earlier, and she still had a little stash of apples, and I had an overabundance of greens (kale, swiss chard, etc) from my veggie farm share. A deal was quickly negotiated.

My husband and I picked up the idea last night when a friend in visiting from Seattle told us about another friend who vowed to purchase nothing for a month. He wrote about it for Reader's Digest, so I'd like to try to check out the article. In the end, he apparently did spend about $100 for the month on groceries. I also read about a family recently who bought nothing new for a year. A whole year! They did buy second-hand items, though I assume purchases of food and toilet paper weren't used… I'll have to read up some more on this. Anyhow, I found both stories fascinating and worthy of a try or consideration, if for nothing else, then to reevaluate one's spending habits from time to time. One day down, 13 more to go…


Katy, Planet Perspectives said...

I just looked up the Reader's Digest article. It was written by David Hochman, and it was in the October 2008 issue. I haven't read the article yet myself but will try to get a copy.

Scout798 said...

Its so funny ... I do this every now and then when I feel like I lose my perspective in life and get a horrible case of the 'gimmies'. I'll do it for a week ... or for a weekend ... Go you guys! - Jessie