Motivated by an eagerness to curtail wasteful spending and take control of my budget, I started “The 7-Day Buy Nothing Challenge.” Five days have passed since I plunged into credit, debit, and cash darkness. My wallet is empty, as I prevent any spending and stay accountable.
Today I received a surprise text message from old friends from Colorado. They were driving through the Midwest and wanted to catch up. Because of this week-long experiment, I couldn’t take them out to eat. Before I could explain, they offered to treat. Suddenly, rejuvenated, I knew I could make it.
Stepping Up To Spend
My girlfriend has repeatedly mentioned that if she treated for a meal or bought groceries, it would essentially be cheating. She’s right, too. If I couldn’t make it on my own, but allowed her to help, I would be defeating the purpose of this challenge.
Throughout the journey, she’s been interested in helping. Without a doubt, it comes from a wonderful place. But she also wants to support me in following this goal. The latter has won out, thankfully.
Then, my friends from Colorado came into the picture. They stepped up, treated from a kind-hearted place, and gave me the leftovers. In a way, it feels like I’m cheating. But, sometimes there are unexpected windfalls and surprises in life. I’ll roll with this one.
Stuck With Staples
Frankly, I planned inadequately with my food storage. As I mentioned in past articles, I’m low on fresh fruits and vegetables. I’ve been sticking to staples like rice, beans, spaghetti, and turkey sandwiches.
Next time I try this little experiment, I’ll plan for more diverse food options and meals. When variety is hampered by food shortages, there’s an increasing desire for more, different. As I walk and take buses, passing nearby restaurants, my mouth seems to salivate to imagined meals.
For Those With Less
I’ve never been impoverished. I didn’t grow up in a ghetto, low-income household, or economically-disadvantaged upbringing. Now, even with nearly $40,000 in debt, I don’t necessarily see the effects of this financial conundrum. I’m in a privileged position that enables me to potentially delay financial concerns, but I’m done with debt. I want out.
This experiment has helped me develop a greater empathy to those who suddenly run out of money and must make do with what’s left. Whether it’s accurate or fair, I suddenly empathize with the struggle that arises when budgets are crimped.
Day 5: $0 spent.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s report and follow along!