ZM web girl went money free for a week on purpose

Publish Date
Monday, 16 July 2018, 9:25AM

For the last 2 years, I have been planning a holiday and I basically have the itinerary down to the second, but there's one thing that's stopping me from actually going;

I CAN'T SAVE FOR S***.   

Getting paid monthly means I am no stranger to making $4.72 stretch a whole week before payday - but never once had I considered spending nothing on purpose.

After 'sugar daddies who don't want any sugar' returned no promising Google results, I decided to do a 'No Spending Challenge' instead.

Here were the rules:

I can pay Rent/Utility bills

I have $150 of Groceries to last the week (between 2 people)

I can take the bus or get a ride.

I can accept 'shouts' - but not IOUs 

How I prepared:

I paid all my bills on Sunday and went grocery shopping for the week. I made a meal plan ahead of time to make sure I got everything I needed. This was enough for me and my partner and cost just under $150 (including snacks/treats). I knew if I continued to be organised, this would be no sweat.

I also told a bunch of people to keep me accountable - however, you might find that it's more beneficial to keep it to yourself. 

Lastly, I made sure to remind myself why I was doing this. I changed my phone's home-screen to my holiday destination and spent a lot of time (i'd usually spend spending) making more plans for my holiday. 

What I found easy: 

Organisation

I was so surprised that it didn't take a huge amount of effort or time to just plan out spending for the week. Once it was done, I didn't have to think about what I would buy for breakfast or when I'd have time to cook, it was all scheduled. Sunday is the perfect day to plan out the week ahead.  

Money Free Treats

When I actually took the time to think about how I could treat myself without spending money, I came up with a whole bunch. I found that something as simple as a bubble bath, playing video games, or taking a yoga lesson online will pass the time, feel good in the moment and are totally free! 

What I found difficult:

Social Outings

The beginning of the week was a breeze, but later in the week when I had social commitments, I found it really hard to not spend money. If your friends want to go out for dinner or see a movie - it's quite hard to say "Sorry, I'm doing a no-spend week." It was especially hard when I had to say no to a simple coffee date or a dairy run. I like to be social and unfortunately a lot of the time that means spending money. Having friends over for a coffee instead of a going to a cafe or doing a potluck was my way around this. 

Cravings

On Wednesday, the food and shopping cravings came in hot and hard and continued throughout the rest of the week. Sometimes you can only plan for so much. Luckily I had accounted for some treats in my groceries but I had to just ignore the cravings that came out of nowhere.  

Social Media 

There were a few times throughout the week when I was scrolling on social media where I felt completely left out. I LOVE FOOD and I've never regretted following so many foodie accounts that I did this week. 

What I Learnt: 

This week was way more eye-opening than I thought. I realised that organisation is the main reason I struggle to stick to my budget.

Food is my main weakness, and while I don't think I can I can go the rest of my life without being a regular restaurant goer, I can definitely go without daily $6 scone and Ubering into work.

More than anything though, I realised that I am super lucky. To a lot of people, my no spend week is better than their best week, and that's something to consider when I think "it's too hard to save."