On June 27, 2012, Financially Fit released an article titled "How to Go on a Financial Detox." I read this article and I was intrigued by the idea of going a week without spending any money at all, so I decided to give it a shot. Rather than sticking to the financial detox plan as it is mapped out in the article, I decided to put a few personal touches on my financial detox plan. At the end of the week, I fared reasonably well. Here is a look at how I executed a successful week-long financial detox, and how I benefited from not spending my hard-earned money.
Smart Grocery Shopping
I knew that if I was going to make my financial detox work, I would need to start getting smarter at the grocery store. Prior to my shopping trip, I made a thorough list of what I would be eating for each meal over the course of the next week. By creating a menu, I made sure that I had enough food to last the week, and I would not miss anything. By having a fully stocked house, I would not need to pick up food in town while I was working. Additionally, by having a list, I did not buy more than I needed, which saved me more money in the long run.
On an ordinary week, I would still go grocery shopping, but my list would not be as in-depth. I would also wind up grabbing breakfast and lunch while i was in town during the work day rather than preparing meals at home.
Home Cooked Meals vs. Ordering Out
On an ordinary week, I eat out during my lunch break daily and one or two nights a week, we order take-out for dinner. This can put a real damper on any budget. This week, since I was eating only home cooked meals, I managed to save $90.
Weekly Pass for Public Transportation
In order to keep my spending in check, I purchased a weekly pass for riding public transportation. Essentially, I pay $22 upfront to ride public transportation as many times in one week as I would like. In the end, I saved $8 by using the pass. If I would have paid for each trip individually, which is what I would do on an ordinary week, my cost would have jumped up to at least $40.
Leave Credit Cards at Home
In the article, the subject left all cash and credit cards at home. I took a more reasonable approach; I left my credit cards at home, and carried a very small amount of cash on me, in case of emergency. The last thing I wanted was to be stranded, but I also didn't want to overspend. I kept $20 in my wallet in case my bus broke down or I forgot a lunch. At the end of the week that $20 bill was still there.
Avoid Impulse Buying at All Costs
I agree 100% when the article said to avoid impulse buying at all costs. Whenever I am on a budget, I avoid the shopping malls and stores as much as I possibly can. If I have to make a purchase, I make a beeline to the store that carries my product, pay for it and leave. The last thing I want is to linger in a place where I am likely to spend a lot of money.
On an ordinary week I would spend approximately $21 on coffee alone. By nixing my spending habit, I added to my bottom line significantly.
The Bottom Line
I managed to survive one week without spending any money. I paid my bills before the detox began, as well as managed grocery shopping. By halting my spending, I saved $119 in just one week. This exercise made me reconsider my spending habits. Now I am spending a lot less and saving more towards my vacation next month.
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