It’s about time I did an actual no-spend challenge. After all, a fast isn’t truly a fast if I’m not abstaining.
For one whole week, both Ian and I attempted to not spend a single dollar. After a visit from his parents left us with a full fridge, we decided that it was the perfect time to start a no spend challenge.
Jane’s No-Spend Challenge:
Day 1: Breakfast: oatmeal. Lunch: leftover lasagna. Dinner: leftover Indian food. Since the day before I went ham at a grocery store in Chinatown, we had some snacks to satisfy sweet & sugar cravings that kept me strong through the workday. A friend of ours asked if we wanted to meet up for lunch but willingly rescheduled to the following week once we told him about our challenge. A co-worker gave me a bag of plantain chips; they were delicious.
Day 2: Breakfast: oatmeal. Second breakfast: office cereal (I found a stash and couldn’t resist!). Lunch: leftover lasagna. Dinner: Falafel at Mamoun’s! A friend was visiting the city for work and treated us out to dinner on her per diem. I did end up paying a $15 copay for a doctor’s visit that had been on the calendar for a month. I also discovered that my prescribed medications would have an additional $75 copay (wtf). I think the spirit of the no spend challenge is still intact, even if money left my wallet for that.
Day 3: Breakfast: two eggs. Second breakfast: office snacks. Lunch: leftover lasagna. Dinner: hummus (I wasn’t very hungry because I snacked so much during the day).
Day 4: There was so much snow, I didn’t leave the house! I was only tempted to shop online once and I didn’t buy anything.
Day 5: Another snowy day, so I worked from home. Ian whipped up a giant batch of noodle soup the night before which lasted quite well for me throughout the day.
Day 6: For the first time in my life, I made rice porridge! I grew up eating this as a kid and I feel like successfully making it marks off an invisible checklist somewhere. Ian and I also went to go see a movie (The Lego Batman Movie, if you’re curious), but we used a pair of movie vouchers so it was free.
Day 7: After six (sort of) successful days of not spending money, the last day was a breeze. I made more porridge and also finished off the last of the groceries from the fridge.
Total spent: $0, or $90 if you include healthcare expenses.
Ian’s No-Spend Challenge:
Days 1-4: Pretty much the same as Jane regarding breakfast and dinners, but I lucked out on a lot of my lunches by getting them free from work.
Day 5: A friend suggested we go snowboarding after a big snowstorm. I hadn’t gone since high school so I didn’t resist the opportunity. The first expenditure of the week: $120 for gas, rental, and lift ticket. Another $16 for dinner on the way home.
Day 6: Snowy Saturday without spending money!
Day 7: Jane and I spent the day indoors and as a treat (read: I caved) I bought some Insomnia Cookies to wrap up our weekend. $21 for a six-pack and cookie sandwich. Judge all you want—it was delicious. 😜
Total Spent: $157. Challenge failed 😓
While Ian didn’t fully participate in this cash fast, it was nice to work towards a common financial goal. Some parts of it were less than ideal – for example, we were running quite low on toilet paper, and I wouldn’t let Ian purchase more until after the 7 days were complete. On the other hand, we really did a good job clearing out leftovers. Every so often, it’s nice to have an empty fridge. On occasion, I still find things that are long expired hiding in the back of a shelf, so it’s nice to know what is and isn’t available every once in a while. (Less wasteful, too.)
I took on this challenge in particular because I made a very large purchase of a pair of new boots in the first few days of the month that essentially wiped out my miscellaneous expenses budget for the month. Because I recognize my dance and rent expenses on the first of each month, I panicked when I saw that 70% of my budget had been used up by the 5th. That number hasn’t changed, but I’m much closer to the end of the month now and would like to keep up my budget success. After the unexpected cost of my doctor’s visit this past week, I have even less leeway than I would like. This rest of the month shall be spent very frugally, indeed.
Enjoyed this post? You can read all the completed Cash Fasting Challenges here.