Country Living Series

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How hard is it, really?

I was searching for something on the blog when I came across something I posted in 2012: "Take the challenge: ONE WEEK without spending!!" (I'll pause for a moment for you to hop over and read that post.)

I'd forgotten about that entry, and with chuckles I read it out loud to Don before speculating how long it had been since I'd spent any money. Let's see, today is Tuesday, and I was in Coeur d'Alene for errands last Monday, so that's a week without spending any money. Ta da!

To us, going weeks (that's plural) without spending is just par for the course. After all, we're rural and we work at home, so it's not hard. But I began to wonder how difficult it is for others. A quick Google search later and I came across this 2009 article: "The agony of seven days without spending."

Agony??!!

And that was just one article. I came across another, and another, and another -- all relating the difficulties of not spending money for anywhere from a day to a week to a month.

I read all these testimonies on the hardships of avoiding take-out food and restaurants, of resisting the latest lipstick color or on-sale sweater, of the eternal demands from parking meters and toll roads.

And I wondered: Are we really so unusual that not spending is no biggee? I don't mean to sound sanctimonious or snotty, I'm really curious. Apparently these "spending fasts" don't include regular bills such as electricity or mortgage, but instead focus on discretionary spending and everyday money drains.

How do others feel about this? Is not spending money for a set period -- say, a week -- easy or difficult?

15 comments:

  1. I can do it, but my wife gets cabin fever, and every time we leave the house, we spend money, cokes at the drive-through if nothing else. PLUS, burning gasoline is the same as spending money, since you eventually have to fill the tank.

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  2. Those articles are usually written by people living in New York City where spending daily is normal. It is a whole different culture in big cities. I can go weeks without spending, which is fairly normal for stay at home Moms in flyover country.

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  3. I like doing this from time to time as a sort of ' reset ' . Our family went one month without spending , it was a challenge and I liked doing it . I went grocery shopping before the month began ( we normally shop about every 3 weeks ) We did pay our bills ( electric , phone and internet ) I was able to say no to alot of wants quite easily because of our 'challenge ' . We ran out of a couple of items like milk but got creative and managed just fine . When you are prepared , this shouldn't be huge hardship . A week ... should be a breeze ! Thanks for posting on this ... a fun subject to ponder .

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  4. A friend tells of being at church with a group of able-bodied adult men. This particular church sometimes emphasizes preparedness, and the men were discussing a challenge one of the church's leadership had issued: live for a week on only food storage. My friend, who probably had three years of food in his basement and likely didn't intend to go shopping that month anyway, sat back quietly to watch as everyone took to fidgeting uncomfortably. Finally, one of the leaders of the little group declared, nervously, that he'd take the challenge if someone else would do it with him, and added, "I think we probably have enough Diet Coke in the fridge..."

    This church, as I said, sometimes emphasizes preparedness, but apparently its members rarely listen.

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  5. I am 65 and live in N. Fl for a background. I used to work at Wally World and it was difficult to not spend money. Even if I wanted to save, just being in the store and seeing everything every day it was hard to NOT pick something up. But now I work at a small store in a town the opposite direction of Wally World and I have no problems going days without spending money. Most times the biggest expense is the gas to go back and forth, or the food and since I live alone I don't by in large amounts or some would go bad before I would eat it.

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  6. I agree a well without spending is relatively easy. For a real challenge, try going completely off grid for a week. No car. No electricity. No phone. No city water.

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  7. I could do it as now when buying groceries I buy 3 of something not just 1 like I used to. I do have a problem because I have been brain washed that to have worth means that you have to spend! I realized this a few years ago when I would find my self going on line to buy something. It was a compulsion and I realized that I had been taught as a young boy that making money was what made you successful. I now still have the compulsion but I also recognize it for what it is. I do have a hard time spending for bigger ticket items because that means that my savings take a hit.

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  8. I'm 74, live alone, with no family or friends. If I didn't get out at least once a week and see people, stop for lunch and see families out and about, etc. I'd be very depressed. I don't spend a lot of money, it's just the need to be around people.

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    1. I just wanted to say to Anonymous that I understand completely. Sometimes it's not the point to spend money to prove anything - for some folks, the point is a real effort to combat social isolation and loneliness, and if that costs the price of a coffee or whatever, it's worth it.

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    2. I'm also alone, the phone and sometimes my computer are my only contacts to the 'outside' world, quite often. I've always been a solo type person, I still love to read books and can't stand crowds of folks. Spending money isn't something I feel the need to do, and can go about 3 weeks before I need to hit a grocery store. My car seldom needs any gasoline for 6 to 8 weeks at a time. I'm lucky that I only put 3 to 4 thousand miles on my cars a year. My sister in law finds it difficult to believe I'm still wearing the same clothing, 5 years later, and it's still in good condition. I don't feel the need to change with the times. Guess my folks and my grandparents brought me up right.

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  9. I used to stop at the local (only) grocery and pick up something for dinner every day on my way home from work. THEN THE STORE CLOSED. Since it is a little over 30 miles to the next grocery store, I have changed my ways. I go shopping about every 4 -6 weeks and I have learned to make my food/money last a LOT longer. I believe the store closing has changed our lifestyle for the better. We now cook from basic staples instead of frozen processed foods. Make bread, make pasta, season our own rice grow veggies etc..

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  10. My take is that for most of us we have no choice but to spend money continuously. I have a mortgage which I must pay no matter what. We use electricity, most of which we buy rather than make from our generator and solar panels because it is cheaper and easier to buy. My absolutely most critical electrical needs are supplied by small off-grid solar systems. We buy water, and do not have our own alternative water sources, although we do have water filtration and storage. We buy trash disposal service. We buy cell phone service having given up the expensive land line phone. We buy connection to the Internet, although we could drop it and just use our cell service to reach the Internet if we had to. We mostly eat at home, and have a moderate supply of food in our pantry. We have enough income and savings to maintain our lifestyle as long as the banks and stock market are open. The big challenge as I see it is to have enough cash and valuables on hand to tide us through a period of time if the banks are closed. Just because we can't get our money out of our bank, does not mean we do not have to pay our mortgage or other regular bills. My business involves selling goods and my services over the Internet. To run my business I need Internet, phones, electricity, an Internet based payment service, and a functioning bank to receive payments and pay bills. How long could we survive if the banks were closed?

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  11. In our budget my husband has $25 dollars a month in cash to spend as he wants for a coke or fries or coffee when he is working. He takes his lunch but at times he is stuck out working for longer than his twelve hour shift and just needs a treat to tide him over. Any person he has told that he has $25 for the month laughs at him and says they spend whatever they want. But then again they have every toy possible on their driveway and we don't but we have our mortgage paid and no debt.

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  12. The bills flood the mailbox...wish i could stop the leaks

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  13. We live in a rural area, but my husband works in the nearest large city which is 45 miles away. We are homebodies, and I can stay at home for three months and only go to church, and it is okay by me.

    My husband does most of the shopping, since he can pick things up in town through the week. However, we always use a list, and if something is not on "the list", it doesn't get bought. That is not to say that we will pass up a special sale of some sort IF WE TRULY NEED an item.

    The problem in America is that people just can't seem to say to themselves, "I have enough!" They seem to feel they HAVE to buy something whether they need it or not.

    A couple of years ago, I even gave up the idea of buying at thrift stores. I know people who will go to thrift stores and buy things because they are cheap (although not always cheaper than buying new at Walmart), and give themselves pats on the back for "saving" money. Saving money to me is staying away from the temptation (if you have one) of stores.

    Yes, we could go a month or more without buying anything, even food, if we need to. Milk and eggs are the only things we truly ever run out of.

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