May 282012
 

Last month I tried to go for 25 days without spending any money. And it worked. I passed my April no spend days challenge.  Here is a break down of all my expenses.

 

April 2nd: Paid mortgage, strata, and some other reoccurring expenses. April 1st was a weekend.
April 3rd: Paid $58.24 for internet bill using my credit card.
April 12th: Paid $1492.50 for a special levy to clean and repaint the building’s exterior. At least my condo looks newer and more modern now.
April 30th: Paid $523.19 for my credit card balance, $29.19 for electricity, and $3.95 for the bank fee.

Since I only spent money on 4 days out of 30, I have successfully completed my 25 no-spend-days challenge \(^_^)/ It was easier than I expected. Most of my time in April was spent either at home, or at work, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunities to spend money anyway. Below are my April bank and credit card statements so you can see the details of my spending for yourself. I had to censor some sensitive information like my account numbers obviously but I kept visible the relevant bits to this post. The only withdrawal transaction I didn’t include with my expenses was a transfer of $1,500 on April 16th, from my bank account to my brokerage account. I don’t consider that to be an expense because I haven’t used the money to buy anything yet, only moved it around between my own accounts. My credit card billing cycle ends mid month so that’s why I included two credit card statements.

Left: bank statement. Right: credit card statements. click to enlarge

If I had a family then I would have failed this challenge for sure. But as a single adult, I don’t really need to buy a lot of stuff to be happy. The basics I want are shelter, food, transportation, and internet. Once these aspects of my life are met to a certain standard, I think everything else is a luxry ( ・_・). I didn’t buy food in April because I still had lots left over in my pantry and fridge, plus there are other places to get a free bite to eat like open houses, Costco, and sometimes even on the job (my workplace has a basket of oranges and bananas, free to all employees,) I usually commute by car but since mine is really fuel efficient I only buy gasoline once every 50 days or so.

I don’t drink coffee, or smoke, or buy apps for my phone. I also don’t mind cooking all my meals at home. In fact as recent as 6 years ago when my living condition wasn’t as comfortable as they are now I had to eat almost every meals at home, couldn’t afford a car or even a cell phone, and had really slow internet. Today however, my lifestyle situation is much improved (^_^). I even have a blu-ray player now. But I think old habits are hard to change because I don’t feel overly constrained about my old ways of spending. During the no-spend month of April I also lost 8 lbs because I was eating more healthy. I didn’t eat out at all. I incorporated more fruit into my diet (from work), and had smaller meal portions in general. So the best part about this no-spend experience has been about health, not money. No spend days are a great way to save for those with a habit of frequent, but unnecessary spending, but it’s not really effective for someone who doesn’t often spend money anyway. I’m glad to have done the challenge but don’t plan to do it again any time soon.

 

20
Leave a Reply

avatar
9 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
thestarvingartistcanadaMichelleJulie @ Freedom 48Steve@ThelooniebinSimple Rich Living Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Daisy @ Add Vodka
Guest

Wow – congrats! That’s a pretty big accomplishment! Also, that you went for a whole month without buying groceries! I could probably do that easily with the amount of food we’ve accumulated,haha!

Liquid
Admin

Yeah, I realized we don’t actually need to eat a lot to maintain a healthy diet and adequate calorie intake.

Jeremy @ Modest Money
Guest

I definitely agree that it is far easy to limit your spending while single. That’s crazy that you didn’t spend any money on food all month though. I wouldn’t be able to do that. Then again I don’t have a job where I can get free food and I generally don’t hit up any of the free options for food. Cutting back on eating out has helped me get in much better shape too.

Liquid
Admin

I have a tendency to over eat when I’m at restaurants. I think it’s because I’m having fun with friends so I don’t even notice being filled up until it’s too late lol.

PC
Guest

You must live really close to work if you fill up only once every 50 days! I wish I lived closer to work.. gas has certainly spiked in the last few months which sucks cuz I fill up every 10 days or so.

The only thing I question is your bank fee at TD! You should know better 🙂

Liquid
Admin

Observant as usual agent fang (☞゚ヮ゚)☞. A few years ago I made the conscious decision to move closer to work to save gas money. I live 5 km away from my job so I only drive about 50 km per week, but sometimes a little more if I go shopping or something. And I usually get 400-500 km per tank :0)
I know paying banking fees isn’t ideal, but I need to keep a minimum balance of $1,500 in my account in order to not pay that fee. Since bank stocks like BMO have dividends yielding over 5% I’d rather buy stocks with that money and use the dividends I receive to pay the bank fee. More details here

Vicky
Guest

That’s nuts; I’m impressed! 🙂 The 8 lb loss is a nice bonus as well! Did you find it restrictive? (you mentioned you wouldn’t do it again anytime soon) The health aspect is pretty interesting, as I would find that I somehow manage to eat out quite a bit, even though I don’t mean to.. 🙂

Liquid
Admin

It was a bit restrictive on the food front because I had to watch what I eat more carefully. I didn’t want to buy more groceries if I still had food at home, so I had to do some more meal planning than usual. But I never felt stressed or like I didn’t have enough to eat, so that’s good. Another annoying bit is timing my expenses. Normally I would pay my credit card balance when I got the bill, usually on the 17th or something and not think about it anymore. But in April I waited until the last day of the month to pay to sync up with another expense. So it feels like unnecessary extra planning.

Simple Rich Living
Guest
Simple Rich Living

This is truly amazing that you only had 4 spend days in all of April! I am not the no spend day type of person…I lack self control when it comes to food. Food expenses is definitely one of my biggest variable expenses. Normally when meeting up with friends, it’s meeting up in restaurant or coffee shops. What is with people and food :)!

Liquid
Admin

I love going out to eat with friends. I had to turn down a couple of invites during the challenge, but normally I would always say yes to a casual meet up. I think food is one of those things that bring everyone together and doesn’t offend people. Everyone has to eat. I also like going to the theater or hiking, with friends.

Steve@Thelooniebin
Guest
Steve@Thelooniebin

Congrats on the challenge! I was able to not spend like that when I was single, but now that I’m married a goal like that would be impossible. I have to settle with no spend weekends now… lol

Liquid
Admin

Yes if you tried to spend like you were single again, you would probably end up being single again. Lol, I joke I joke.

Julie @ Freedom 48
Guest
Julie @ Freedom 48

The lack of grocery buying amazes me too! We always grocery shop on Friday evenings – but once a month we do skip buying groceries. While I can skip ONE WEEK… I don’t think I could go a whole month! Not unless I had a thing for canned beans!

Liquid
Admin

I’m actually planning to talk about canned beans in an upcoming post next week :0)

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I’ve had to institute a no spend week because I realized I had too much month left at the end of my money this month due to booking a trip in the fall and have learned that indeed, there is quite a bit of food in our pantry. But if not for the fruit at work, might you have gotten scurvy from a lack of fruit and vegetables? Or did you have lots of canned/frozen on hand? (just asking because that is one area when the spending embargo failed, but there is a fantastic produce market in Chinatown where for $12 I got a watermelon, nectarines, cherries, grapes, blueberries, mandarin oranges, green beans, cherry tomatoes and a cucumber.)

Liquid
Admin

Chinatown for the win! It’s easy to find tons of cheap and yummy food there. And it’s conveniently close to Tinseltown so you can watch a movie to work up an appetite first and then go shopping.
I usually have frozen peas, carrots, corn or other veggies but not a lot of long lasting fruit goods. If I wasn’t lucky enough to get free fruit from work then I would have planned out my month a little better, by perhaps buying some fresh apples and oranges, which can last for several weeks if stored properly in the fridge. I’m usually low maintenance when it comes to food.
I was just about to write a post on cheap produce markets :0)

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

Ahhh, you’re in Vancouver, too, so you must know the produce mecca to which I refer, Sunrise Produce at the corner of Gore and Cordova? The place is amazing. I think they get deals on stuff the wholesaler is trying to get rid of because it might be approaching the end of its life, so it must be used more quickly than the more expensive stuff at the premium places. That’s the only downside, it’s not always at the zenith of freshness — most of the time it’s good enough, sometimes things go bad sooner than you’d expect. But for the price paid, it’s a great deal.

Liquid
Admin

I think I’ve been there. It’s one of the cheapest stores in the lower mainland. Very good deals but also very busy. I sometimes go to other produce markets not so crowded, depending on how much food I’m buying.

thestarvingartistcanada
Guest

Enjoy your no-spend months while you can… With my family dynamic it’s hard to have even a few no-spend days in a month… I was just looking at my credit-card online and there are multiple charges every day with the exception of 2 days out of the whole month.

Liquid
Admin

You guys sound really busy. I’d like to have a family too some day, but at the moment I can appreciate the freedom I have of living by myself.