Tag Archives: no-spending week

Four One-Off Financial Tips You Should Test Drive

Last week we started talking about some financial goals for 2015. All of them are meant to be specific, measurable, and easy to get started – if you choose to. Last week’s were half hour, tops. Here are a few more suggestions that are one-offs to kind of test drive. All of these will have a significant impact on your finances for this year, and years to come.

Do a seven day no-spending week. We talked about that a few years ago, and I did it for two weeks – twice. I’ll link the story from back then, all of which are always on the yourmoneybook.com site. Essentially, gas up, fill up the fridge, and then spend no money at all for seven days. Pay your normal bills, but nothing else. I learned a ton about where my money leaks out. It’s well worth it, and not hard to do for just a week.  http://moneybookcdn.myblogspace.ca/?p=35

Try an envelope system for any 30-day period. Take the amount of money that you will need for groceries, and for money you spend on yourself for stuff like haircuts, coffee, lunch out, and the likes. Take two envelopes and put that amount of cash into the envelopes. For that one month, you’re only spending on groceries and “me” stuff out of those envelopes, in cash. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your spending habits. And when the envelope is empty – you’re done spending – and you’ll spend way less than you have been.

Put all your credit cards away for 30 days. No, I’m not asking you to stop breathing. I’m just asking you to see if you can break your stupid spending habits and addiction to credit cards – just for a month. Take your cards, put them in a plastic Ziploc bag, add some water, and put them in the freezer. Or put them in a sealed envelope and give them to a friend or relative that you trust. You’ll be amazed that you’ll spend a lot less money in that month. Plus, your credit card balance will love you for it.

Write down a list of all your debts from the smallest balance to the largest amount, in order. Pay minimum payments on everything but the smallest bill and attack that one with every dollar you can spare. Because it’s the smallest debt, it’ll take only a few months to pay that off in full. Then you’ve freed up all that money to attack the next smallest. It’s a debt snowball that gets traction really quickly. It really is that simple, and it’s a chapter in the It’s Your Money book.

It’s time to start our “No Spend Week”

This started with a story in the Washington Post a couple of months ago about a lady name Kate Wheelock and her family who made it a 14 day plan (and did survive).

Now, we’re always ahead of the curve so don’t be surprised if you catch Oprah now doing the same thing. But remember – we were there first!

Our plan is to go through a full week without spending any money. No credit or debit cards and no need for cash – you won’t need any of it. Pay your regular bills such as your utilities and other monthly obligations but that’s it.
So today you’ll need to fill up your gas tank and get to the grocery store. Yes, that’s it. Then you can leave your cash, credit and debit cards at home for the week.

Now as I’m more experienced by two days, here’s a couple of things:

You have to make the tank of gas last. Plan your errands, don’t do them, or walk wherever you can.

If you have kids – get them involved. If possible, take them shopping with you so they can buy into the idea that what you buy is what you get – period. If not, you’re just being weird again. You can also have them play along. Yes, make it a game and not a pain and you’d be amazed how your attitude changes. Give them an envelope and every time you and your son or daughter agree that today you would have bought this or that for them, the cash goes into the envelope, instead.

Kids learn quickly and real cash in an envelope vs. the chocolate bar that’s long gone makes a big difference. They’re visual – the chocolate bar is barely remembered but the cash is still there – as is the lesson of foregone treats or spending results in REAL money. Maybe all of us could use that lesson a little more often…

You won’t be seeing the inside of a restaurant. That’s not a bad thing anyway as they are usually 20% food cost and 80% ambiance that you’re paying for.

That’s the hard one for me so I’m expecting Subway and Domino to be really hurting for a while. The food you have in the fridge or freezer does turn into meals! But now you have to think vs. just going back to the store!

Whether you do it to just see if you can, or to find out if you can make it for a week without all that extra (and 99% unnecessary) spending, let us know. There’s strength in numbers and perhaps you can share some of your insights.
If you’re a Christian like I am, consider doing it for Lent this year as we approach the Easter season. Lent is from the Anglo-Saxen word to lengthen.

In the 1st century the Lenten season was originally six days, now it is the 40 days before Easter. I was actually inspired to make it two weeks after my Pastor’s sermon this past Sunday sharing his three items.

In the words of President Obama: Yes you can!

Join us and let’s stay in touch. Do remember that when you tell people why you brought lunch to work or the likes they’ll want to make fun of you. It’s always amazing how many and how often broke people want to give you financial advice!
Oh, and if you’re not participating: Why?

I don’t want to put you on the spot but is it that you’re afraid of what you’ll learn? Afraid to let go of those fancy coffees or impulse spending? Or afraid to fail? Come on – there’s no failure even if you make it one day! It’s between you and your wallet. It’s your money!

But would you at least give yourself a credit limit for a week? Make it $10 bucks and that’s all you can spend for the day. Gas, food, Tim Horton and everything…would that be something you’d consider?