At various times we have shared something we do in our home called “penniless” week. It’s a challenge that we place on ourselves that means we don’t spend a penny on anything that week – acting as if we are penniless.
The only exceptions are:
- Emergencies – thankfully we haven’t had one in the weeks we have done this
- Gasoline to get to work – This hasn’t been a problem yet either as we also try to gas up before the week starts or Alex takes public transportation with his prepaid card
- Still pay your regular bills – what we are talking about here is the living expenses that you spend after you pay bills, you know…. the things you write checks for or slide your debit or credit card for. You are still obligated to pay your debts, heating, insurance, electricity, mortgage, etc. This is different!
- Any absolutely necessary expenses – We have to be very careful with this one; absolutely necessary means just that – not because its a “want”; We really try to cut out the reasons we would “need” to spend.
We may not “love” penniless weeks, but we LOVE the end result!
For example, if you don’t grocery shop, eat out, causal shop, avoid activities that cost money, skip date out and do date in, make your beverages at home (like coffee!) and any other expenses that you have sometimes during the week; you could actually end up with a few hundred dollars extra in your pocket or bank account!
It is not always easy, but in the end, the rewards are awesome!
What could you do with a few hundred extra dollars? Perhaps seed your vacation or other dreams fund, catch up on or get ahead on the 52-week money saving challenge, pay off debts faster, save for a need quicker? What?
We try to have a penniless week about every 2 months or so. We have done it more often or less often depending on the season.
But this time, we want to do this with you!! Will you join us for a penniless week?
- Before the week starts, buy just the fresh foods (produce, milk) that you may need for the week, but don’t make up for penniless week by double spending the week before in preparation! We’ve also just used the milk we’ve had on hand and then used our powdered milk in the pantry if we ran out! The goal is to make a bit of a sacrifice!
- Gas up your vehicles for the purposes of getting to work and try not to drive them to the point that you need to refill that week!
- Literally eat what’s in your house (penniless week is also a great way to eat foods you’ve been needing to eat before they expire!). Sometimes your meals are a hodgepodge and sometimes they may not technically be a meal. But you are getting food, so everyone is sacrificing and happy with the end result!
- Find free ways to entertain yourselves and to have fun.
- When the next week starts, don’t overspend to make-up for not spending the week before. Just do your normal grocery shopping and your activities like normally planned/budgeted.
What you may learn:
- It is character building for everyone to learn to temporarily sacrifice and to learn to “live without” to reach a goal.
- It is a test run to see if you really can live without and help identify perhaps problems your family has or addictions that are developing, like coffee out, unnecessary snacks, movie theater addiction, etc. We learned something similar when we have done no electronic entertainment weeks! It is quite eye-opening!
- The value of your hard work and sacrifice. Each time we do this, we seem to come out of the week being even wiser with our allotted budget for the rest of the month. It also helps us to value each penny and consider how much meaningless spending actually ends up costing you ($1 here, .50 there, etc.)
- A good chunk of “seed” money to help you reach your financial goals and dreams!
Alright…… who is ready to join us??
We will be starting on Monday, January 27th and the last day is Sunday, February 2, 2014!