November 24, 2008

What I learned From Not Spending Money

My experiment to not spend money for 7 days has officially come to an end today. And guess what, I made it! It was not easy, but it was totally worth it. It made me realize a few things that I wanted to share.

The Things We Take For Granted

When you do not have any money to spend, you quickly realize the things we take for granted. I can’t believe how much I missed going out to the bar and eating once in awhile. I also missed buying the little things like beer and soda when I ran out. Things like this we consider small in our everyday lives, but when we don’t have this option they feel a lot bigger. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of things.

The Things We Forget

However, not spending money also makes us realize the things we already have and enjoy doing. For example, not renting movies made me realize how many movies I already own that I haven’t looked at in ages. It’s easy to overlook our belongings when it is so easy to go out and get new things all the time.

I also realized how many free things there are to do. Going for walks, rollerblading, and hanging out at the park are just a few. Taking pictures and hiking were two other things I enjoyed doing during the 7 days.

It’s Easy To Spend Money

The weird thing about not spending money, is that it made me realize how easy it is to spend money. Consumerism is a tough thing to beat and a big reason why so many people struggle when it comes to spending habits and credit cards. Yet it is so easy to do when there is so much going on in the World. Everywhere you look there are restaurants, stores, and malls waiting for your money.

However, it is also important to live life because not spending at all can easily make your life miserable. In just 7 days I felt what it is like to not be able to go out and do the things you enjoy. So the key to success, is to find a happy medium.

My New Plan

After talking with my girlfriend about this experiment, we have decided to implement a weekly spending budget for entertainment. This includes things such as eating out, drinking at the bars, and so on. Prior to this experiment, I didn’t really have a budget which made it easy to spend more than I wanted.

So from today on, we each have $50 a week to spend on entertainment. This gives us $100 total when we go out together which should make it pretty doable. The key will be conscious spending instead of going all out. It’s easy to drop $50 at the bar when you are not paying attention to what you are buying. At the same time, we often go out to eat and spend less than $25 when we only order one drink. So watching what we spend will be the key to success.

This Concludes The Experiment

All I can say, is that this experiment was worth it. It made me realize a lot of things that I have forgetten and has not set the path for better spending. I would recommend trying this simply because it helps you realize where all of your money goes. Even if you do not make it the full 7 days, you will still learn a lot from not spending.

PS. Tune in tomorrow for a very important post about growing a mustache for kids!

Photo Credit: stuartpilbrow

13 thoughts on “What I learned From Not Spending Money

  1. degenerasian

    It’s very easy to spend money. Not spending money is about sacrificing the things you don’t really need. As you said, instead of going out to bars and dinner every night now it is only once or twice a week.

    Make sure you follow on your plan, especially with Christmas just around the corner 🙂

  2. AdamMackWright

    Definitely a fascinating experiment. I’m curious how much you spent “stocking up” on food and other things before the week started (perhaps you mentioned that in an earlier blog that i did not read…sorry).

    Good luck on the new found budget and thanks for sharing.

  3. Justin Post author

    @Adam: I spent about 40 dollars on Groceries the morning before I started the experiment. I’m still going strong off of those groceries 🙂

  4. Justin@Airsoft Rifles

    Congratulations on making it all the way, and you’re right, the world is controlled my money, and many people really do not realize how much they spend. I am aware of my spending habits, however, so I don’t know if there would be too much I could learn from this experiment, especially because for the last five days I have not spent any money unintentionally, ha ha. This is day six, might as well get through this one and tomorrow just to make it a week.

  5. Neil@PS3

    This was a great and unusual experiment. I always claim I have no money but always seem to be able to spend a little bit on little things. I don’t think I could go without spending absolutely anything like you did. Well Done

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  7. Chris

    I love your blog. These are all things I have been striving to do one by one since I woke up and realized the idiocy of my past actions. In college, I racked up a whole host of debt because I liked to do things and hated sitting around. Unfortunately, these all cost money that I didn’t have. Now, I spend less and am 300% happier because I still do things but they don’t all cost money. I actually stopped going to the bar as much because of how much I used to spend doing it. Now, I hardly ever go (or drink for that matter) but when I do, I really enjoy it.

  8. Nick

    I can relate to this. The key is to develop awareness of spending pattern. I kind of have the opposite problem of havinf my fixed costs too high and being too tight with the rest of my money to enjoy myself.

  9. Map of California

    Congratulations on which makes it completely, and you’re right, the planet is controlled my money, and several people really don’t realize just how much they spend. I know of my investing habits, however, and so i have no idea if there’d be an excessive amount of I possibly could study from this experiment, especially because going back 5 days I haven’t spent anything inadvertently, ‘ ‘. This really is day six, may as well cope with that one and tomorrow just to really make it per week.


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