No money, no problem

Try going a week without spending

Created: 12/06/2009 02:30:57 AM PST

Having trouble making ends meet? How does reducing your spending by 67 percent sound? This week’s quickfast had us attempting an entire week without spending a cent.Before the week commenced we stocked up on groceries and filled our gas tanks.

There was some dispute about how much money Melody’s husband could spend, and on what. Holiday travels to Humboldt may have played out under different circumstances without her husband footing the gas bill.

While a friend took Erin out for dinner and a play, the absence of a wedding ring and a joint income meant the purchases had absolutely no effect on her bank account.

On Wednesday at noon we put away our cash and credit cards and began living off our supplies and the kindness of others.

Spending the weekend with family made shelling out the cash easier. Thanksgiving leftovers were in abundance and going out to eat wasn’t a necessity. On black Friday we slept-in and avoided the crowds, lines and sales.

Black Friday is also Buy Nothing Day, an international campaign to raise awareness of consumerism and over-spending. BND is promoted by Adbusters magazine and was established in 1992. People celebrate BND in a number of ways, some just quietly buy nothing, while others hold parties outside shopping malls, or dress up as zombies and walk the isles of department stores. Some small retailers even stop selling for the day, in favor of inviting people in for drinks and socializing.

Adbusters Production Manager, Lauren Bercovitch, said while one day isn’t quite as difficult as a week of consumer abstinence, most people who celebrate BND experience moments when they are compelled to spend.

This year, BND was celebrated in 65 different countries. Bercovitch said the holiday was devised to bring awareness to over-consumption and encourage people to embrace sustainable spending.

“It’s like a fast of eating, it’s not like you’re never going to eat again,” Bercovitch said. She hopes people will reflect on what they buy, and perhaps choose to give hand-made or locally crafted gifts as an alternative.

During the work week we were diligent about bringing our lunches and mugs of coffee to work. Normally an on-the-go breakfast consumer, Melody ate breakfast before leaving the house to ward off mid-morning hunger-pangs and temptations to purchase pastries.

In the end Erin did spend money over the weekend while visiting friends in San Francisco. If the situation were reverse, Erin would be more than willing to help a friend short on cash. But her pride got the best of her and she declined to ask for handouts. Despite her lapse, Erin still spent 56 percent less money than during an average week.

Melody spent 67 percent less.

As we studied our bank accounts, we were shocked by the hit our checking accounts took as a result of impulse spending. All those coffee breaks and quick trips to Nugget added up.

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Author: forevermelody

Melody grew up all over the planet, spending time in Mongolia, Malta, Barbados and California. She now resides in Reno Nevada and works at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

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