So how does this work?
Each month we’ll pick a new challenge based on a theme of going with, or without, a specific item or items for a determined length of time. One of our Quicken Loans team members will do it and blog about the experience, sharing tips and tricks they learn along the way. What’s really cool is that you can get in on the action with us. In fact, we dare you.
Challenges are always more fun with friends.[gravityform id=”2″ title=”false” description=”false”]
This month, we invite you to follow along with me, Miranda Crace, as I go an entire week without spending money.
There are so many little things we spend our money on throughout the week. For me it starts with coffee (notice me drinking all the coffee in the picture above). Some people say I have an addiction, but I like to say three to five cups of coffee a day is simply an appreciation for a fine, crafted beverage. Either way, living two blocks from one of my favorite coffee shops and working downtown where I’m inundated with coffee options does not do my wallet good.
Pair my coffee spending with my daily lunch purchases, frequent dinners out with friends and an addiction to “Downton Abbey” (and lack of an Amazon Prime account), and I’m regularly spending over $130 a week. And that’s not counting unexpected expenses that manage to show up at the worst time.
I don’t know about you, but I can think of a few things I could do with an extra $130. I’m planning a vacation this May, and I’m sure there are plenty of fun things some extra money could afford me.
Let me guess, saving some money sounds good to you too but you’re wondering, “But what about my bills? Can I still use those gift cards I got for Christmas?” So let’s ease your mind and lay out the ground rules:
- Recurring bills don’t count. You can pay your electric bill, your student loan payment and, yes, even your Netflix.
- Other than to pay bills, no using plastic of any kind. That means no debit, credit or gift cards.
- Food counts because you can go grocery shopping in advance.
- Seek out free entertainment options within your town.
- You can’t have friends pay for you, with plans to pay them back the following week. That defeats the point of saving money.
Why Just a Week?
Why do it for just a week? Why not longer? Feel free to press yourself further, but remember it’s not realistic to never spend money.
By implementing a plan like this, you can figure out great strategies for saving money on a daily basis. You learn with what you can go without if times ever get tough or you simply want to save some extra cash for something special.
Can you do it? Sign up to take the challenge below to receive email updates. And check back throughout the week as I share things that I’m learning (and struggling with).[gravityform id=”2″ title=”false” description=”false”]
Today is the day – the first day of not spending money for a whole week. Of course the first thing I wanted this morning was a cup of coffee from the coffee shop by my house. Day one and I’m already sad that I can’t buy a latte.
Anyway, instead of spending the $4.50 on a large iced latte (yes, it is 18 degrees here in Detroit and I still wanted an iced drink), I went to my kitchen and made a pot of coffee.
Since today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there is no work today, so instead of downing my coffee while rushing to get to the office, I sat on my couch, enjoying my hot cup of joe and created a meal plan for the week. I went grocery shopping yesterday so I have plenty of food.
The hard part of meal planning for me is that I’m cooking for one. Recipes usually yield enough for four people. To some that’s awesome, one recipe and four meals, I however hate eating the same thing every day. To avoid the monotony of eating the same thing all week long, I decided to split up my proteins up so I could season them differently and make new meals. Four different meats (chicken breast, ground turkey, salmon and tuna) and six different meals.
Breakfast: cereal and coffee
Lunch: leftovers from the weekend
Dinner: zucchini noodles and spaghetti sauce with ground turkey
I usually buy at least one coffee a day, all of my lunches and the majority of dinners. So I added up how much money I would usually spend on food in a week, and the number actually shocked me. I spend $150 a week on food. All of my groceries came to a whopping total of $60. That means, by making my own meals, I saved $90 this week.
Not to shabby for just the first day of the challenge. How is your first day going? Tell us about it in the comment section!
Day one flew by!
Since a lot of my friends had the day off, they decided to go ice-skating downtown and out for coffee, both of which costs money ($10 for skating and $4 for coffee).
Now here’s a little bit of backstory –I like ice-skating, I’m terrible at it, but I like it. In reality I skate very slowly and cautiously as not to fall, but in my head I’m graceful and poised. That being said, my friends have gone ice-skating three times so far this winter and every time something came up and I couldn’t go. Much to my dismay, I had to turndown the ice-skating trip… again.
However, I’m not one to stay in and mope, instead I went to another friend’s house for a movie night! Spending money: 0, saving money: 1.
I know what you’re thinking, how’s my coffee buying addiction going? How am I holding up? Well, when I woke up today, I was completely content with making a pot of coffee. However, I’m hitting a wall, and I would like nothing more than to walk around the block to one of the coffee shops downtown for a pour-over – but I’m staying strong!
I’ve saved an additional $18 from my last post to today, bringing my week’s savings so far to $108! How are you doing? What’s your spending weakness? How much have you saved so far? Let us know in the comment section!
Today was the first day I ventured to the cafeteria since starting the Week Without Spending Challenge. I walked by cakes and brownies, wood-fired pizzas, a mac and cheese bar and some sort of stir-fry that smelled amazing, but I did it friends! I stayed strong and walked by all the temptations. I made it to the table where my friends were sitting and ate my packed lunch (it really wasn’t too bad, I made zucchini pasta and it was wonderful).
The real win today though? I haven’t even thought about buying a coffee! I know, I was surprised too.
What’s been really fun for me is to read about your experience during the challenge.
One of the savers taking this challenge is Joyce. She emailed me yesterday and told me how she forgot to buy bread this weekend in preparation for the week but she’s resourceful and used tortillas to make BLT wraps instead of sandwiches.
Thanks for the idea Joyce!
How is your week without spending going? Share your story in the comment section!
For the last few months, and certainly around the holidays, I felt like I was gone every night and every weekend was full of plans and activities. One perk of not spending money for a week is that I get to have nights in!
Last night was particularly nice. It was a longer evening in the office, but I didn’t feel rushed to meet someone or get somewhere. I went home, I worked out, I cooked dinner and even went to bed at a reasonable hour! This saving money thing isn’t half bad, guys!
Oh and I thought of a new way to spice up the coffee in the office! I added a bag of chai tea, so it kind of tastes like a chai tea latte!
Have you discovered any new recipes or hobbies during this challenge? Tell us about them in the comment section.
On Fridays, I always buy a really big coffee before I head into the office. It’s like the bookend to my week. The treat I give myself for getting through the week and to celebrate the upcoming weekend.
Today, I did not participate in my Friday tradition; instead I came straight into the office and filled my mug up with the coffee in our kitchen. When I got back to my desk, my coworker, Patrick told me something kind of alarming.
If I decided to invest my coffee budget money instead of spending it on my caffeine appreciation, I would have almost enough money to retire on. Check out how he figured this out:
Miranda typically spends $5.00 each day on coffee, which adds up to be $35 each week, $140 each month and $1,680 each year. If she didn’t buy coffee for a year, she’d have enough money for two Shinola watches, a month at a 5-star hotel in Thailand or– most importantly – a La Pavoine PPG-16 Professional 16-Cup Expresso Machine (free shipping).
But if she really wanted to make the most of her money, she’d invest it. For instance, we’ll say she put that $140 into her 401(k) each month earning 6% in interest each year. Her employer will also match half of that for an extra $70 per month, equaling $210 in total. In a year, she would earn $151.20 in interest. That’s fine, but if she continues investing over many years, the number would grow significantly due to compounding interest. Let’s say that Miranda continues investing this money until she retires in 39 years. Her investment would look something like this:
That’s right. By the time she retires she’ll have invested $65,520.00 in her own money and earned $289,200.24 in interest. She could fund a good portion of retirement through her coffee budget alone.
And this is to say that she’s investing all of her coffee money in the stock market. Some investments, such as real estate, can have a much higher return under the right circumstances.
Take a look at this investment calculator from Dave Ramsey to see what you could save if you spent less money!
Weekends are usually pretty busy for me. I like to go to brunch, try new restaurants, do some shopping, maybe see a show with friends. All of which cost money.
Luckily, one of my favorite places to go to in the city (especially when it’s cold) is free! The Belle Isle Conservatory.
It’s full of flowers, palm trees, tropical plants and just about any type of botanical. It’s like a little slice of vacation right in the city! Plus it’s always warm in there, and when it feels like negative three degrees outside, all I want is to be warm.
Did you find any free things to do in your area this weekend? Tell us about them in the comment section!
Today is the last day of our Week Without Spending Challenge!
I’ve learned a lot this week.
For example, I really like coffee, but I also really like the act of walking to a coffee shop, talking to my barista and sitting down to read a book while I drink said coffee.
I learned that packing my lunch everyday isn’t as much of a burden as I thought it would be. It saves me money and I still get to eat good food. It’s definitely a practice I’ll be incorporating more into my life.
I’ve discovered that it’s good to not make plans every night of the week. It’s healthy to have a night where I don’t rush some place after work. I can cook dinner and maybe even catch up on some reading or do something I enjoy but rarely have time to do, like painting or baking.
Finally, I learned I don’t have nearly as many socks as I thought I did. You see, I have to pay to use the washer and dryer at my apartment. I didn’t wash my socks before starting this challenge, because I thought I had plenty. Turns out I was wrong. I have run out of socks. This isn’t a huge deal, as it’s Sunday and I’m spending the majority of my day in slippers but the lesson here is buy more socks (or wash them before starting a no spending challenge).
What did you learn during this week? Did you try anything new you plan to make a part of your daily life? Did you find a new hobby? Maybe even a new recipe? Tell us about it in the comment section!
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