Don’t Spend Money for One Week!

Note to Readers:This post was written after Super Storm Sandy hit our home in 2012.  

We are on day 8 without power in our home.  While it has been a really rough go of it for me and my family, other people definitely have it way worse.  The lights will come on in the next 24-48 hours for sure, and I have already begun to reflect on the week.

What has been most interesting is this:  My family and I are lucky to own a second home in Vermont, which was completely unscathed in the storm.  We could easily have driven up last week and stayed in the scenic state with heat, hot water, and electricity but we chose not to do so.

Instead, we stayed in our town and fell in love with all aspects of living here, and we did it without spending any money!  This turned out to be an accidental, yet thought provoking, exercise that I want to share here with all of you.

The first thing my wife did when the storm hit was take our entire fridge and freezer and put it in coolers.  We have lived out of them this entire time, and cleaned out our pantries of food that has been there forever!

We have been very innovative with recipes and haven’t wasted anything.  When we finally go shopping again we will truly be starting from scratch!  I know many people who threw a ton of stuff out that went bad and ate out like crazy ($$$!).

One of our cars died completely in the storm, and another had limited gas.  Since we are still in a gas crisis, our family decided to walk everywhere for the whole week.  We live 1.5 miles from our town center, the park, the library, and less to friends’ homes.  As we all know, entertainment can be costly and people need to exercise!

Our walks, including time in the park and the library, took up 4-5 hours; a good chunk of the day!  It was fun to hang with the kids in this manner.  We have really bonded in a unique way over the past week.

We usually don’t watch TV during the week, and our kids do not play video games, so the lack of technology haven’t killed us. We use the 4G on our phones for important updates, and read a lot of books that have been waiting to be read.

My son, who is just getting going with reading, really jumpstarted his learning curve with some new books!  We have spent a lot of time with friends at their homes, and our kids have had many play-dates. We have truly enjoyed the company of our neighbors. Our dear friends across the street helped chop wood for us to burn in our fireplace for heat….truly incredible! Piano practice for my son’s lessons also ate up 1/2 hour of the day as well.

We have really been transformed by not having to use a car.  Although it has been a nuisance, it has been nothing more than that.  In a future post (soon), I will seriously talk about the benefits of not owning a car.  I think we are going to go with only 1 car moving forward!

Bottom line is that none of us need to spend much to get by for just one week (if we have food in the house already).  Try it.  Try not spending any money for a whole week.  If you need to fill up the gas tank before the week begins, that’s okay.  But attempt it and see how far into the week you can get without spending a dime.

How about you?  Can you skip going to the grocery store or out to eat for entirely one week?  How about 2-3 days? Can you manage to not spend money on gas, coffee, entertainment, or anything for 2 days?  Try it and comment here!

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