When I ask if you can go a day without spending a dime, I really mean a lot more than just if you can avoid buying a soda or a cup of coffee every day. Sure, it is pretty easy to wake up in the morning and decide that you are not going to spend any money on snacks or drinks or whatever while at the office…anyone can do that for one day. But what I am really asking is if there is really a single day that goes by where no money leaves you or your account…can you truly go a day without spending a dime?
Consider this – all of us work to be able to afford the essentials in life: a roof over our head, some food in our stomach, to maintain our health. And on top of those things, we also have car payments, credit card debt, utility bills, entertainment expenses, childcare needs, student loan bills, insurance coverage, etc. That’s a lot of stuff we pay for out of the 40 hours a week that we work! So how much of the money that you get paid for that 40 hours worth of work goes towards paying for things that are not “essential” in your mind? And if you think of yourself as being frugal for one day by not buying a soda, are you watching where your money really goes every day of the month? Of the year?
Your rent or mortgage is due on the 1st. Car payment #1 is due on the 5th, and car payment #2 is due on the 15th. Your car insurance is due on the 11th, and your health insurance is due on the 21st. Credit card #1 is due the 8th, and credit card #2 is due the 29th. Do you get where I am going here? Besides the essentials that are due every month, what other things are causing you to spend money every day…even if you don’t have to physically remove a dime from your pocket? Tivo? Netflix? Gym membership that has not been used for 7 months? Wine of the month club? HD channels from the cable company? Although you don’t whip out cash daily to pay for these, you are paying for them on a daily basis…you just happen to get billed once a month.
I am sure that even if you try to not spend a dime certain days of the week, you will find that there is still money leaving your account one way or the other on a daily basis…and how much of that could be gotten rid of? How many hours less would you have to work if you did not have credit card bills? An expensive car? Too much house for your bank account? The idea here is to get you to think beyond the wallet you carry around every day and think of your bank account as your wallet instead. Think about how much you work just to be able to afford these things that have become necessities to you over time. If you want to be frugal on a daily basis, by all means take your lunch to work, avoid the soda machine, don’t stop for a candy bar on the way home. Not spending a dime each day doing that is easy…but what happens when you look at the bigger picture? Did you just go to work all day today to pay for your cable bill for the month? Did you work this entire week to make your car payment?
Being frugal is a smart way to live…but to really see what is going on, try to see if you go a single day without spending a dime during the month. Then see just frugal you really are!