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Can You Go One Day Without Spending A Dime?

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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!


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Comments (8)

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  1. Carol says:

    I am very frugal. I do not spend money on vending machines, bring my lunch etc. We pay off our credit card every month. We only have utilities, insurance, cc, my husband’s car and mortage and we are paying more to get them paid off. Our mortage is a 15 year to get that lower interest rate. Luxurys are cable, netflix and internet. We have canceled HBO since the Sopranos have finished. We have calling cards for long distance because DD and our parents live out of state. Our cell phones are prepaid minutes no contract and we pay about 25 dollars every three months or so. Because of our furgality my husband retired at 55. I am still working 30 hours a week because I need insurance for a existing condition that would be too expensive if I changed insurances. We plan meals on loss leaders at grocery stores. We do not have AC and use a evap cooler in the summer and try not to turn on the heat before November. We dress for the weather to do this.

  2. I’ve told myself that I can’t spend a dime during the work week unless it’s an emergency, weekly grocery store trip, gas, exercise, or paying a bill. It’s worked beautifully so far. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, and my bank account is much fatter.

  3. Lazy Man says:

    I’m not sure if it’s fair to count subscriptions in your “not spending a dime days.” It’s pretty much impossible to call and cancel every magazine, gym member (used or not it still counts), cable bill, cell phone (not a necessity) etc.

  4. Matt says:

    I think you raise an interesting question, I might not spend a dime on day X or Y but in general there is almost always money going out of my account. Tracking all of that spending and seeing just where all of it goes can be very frightening.

    The car is a luxury that accounts for close to a week of work (maybe more if I really started doing the math). This one really gets me because it is a luxury, one I need only every now and then since I no longer drive on a regular basis. I don’t even want to start considering the other items.

    Great post.

  5. david says:

    Thanks Matt, appreciate it.

    And Lazy, why is that not fair? Curious why you think so.. If your cable bill is, say, $30 per month, you are effectively paying $1.00 every day to have cable. Sure, you pay once a month, but you are really paying every day…the gas co. charges me a daily use, the electric co the same, etc.

    The post is meant, as Matt suggested, to make you really take a look at where your money goes, whether you spend it daily or monthly. Some people think subscriptions don’t count to your daily expenditures, but really, they do…

    Thanks guys

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