Today is Day 15 of the $1000 challenge. My mission for the month of February is simple: I am trying to spend as little of my earnings as possible ($1000 or less) and detail my triumphs and trials along the way. This month is a crash course in living a frugal lifestyle close to the federal poverty line. Hopefully, this experience will make me a better advocate for frugality on this blog and more empathetic and compassionate towards those for whom this way of life is not a novelty. To ensure that I don’t violate the spirit of the challenge and blow all the money I’ve saved on an expedition to Antarctica, at the end of February I will donate what I have saved to charity. For those of you that are just now tuning in, here’s the link to the video where I explain some of my other motivations for taking on this challenge beyond my innate penchant for being a human lab rat. For the last two days, I have spent $0 so there is really no update on the spending front. So far I have spent $868 and there are 13 days left. Just over $10 a day.
Spending $1000 a month… no sweat
A friend confided that they would be very stressed out if they were doing the $1000 challenge. While I certainly experienced some anxiety before the challenge began, not spending any money for the month of February has been one of the least stressful elements of my life. All I’m doing is just not spending money. It requires no effort, just a bit of planning…. and my tip for the day…. sometimes relying on the kindness of others.
Quick tip: accept help from others!
There have been many occasions this month where the kindness of others has really come to light. My roommate paid for our housekeeper to clean my room. Two friends convinced me to come to dinner at a (cheap) Mexican restaurant and split the bill. Tonight, a friend cooked dinner for me. As simple as these gestures seem, I am often too proud to accept gifts from other people, as if somehow some part of my self-created self-sufficient identity has been challenged. But this is fiction. I never asked for help, in most cases I just merely explained that the item or experience in question wasn’t in my budget. But it seems the reaction that I’ve gotten is always one of interest in helping — the same joy that I’ve experienced when I’m able to help out someone else, even in a small way. Allowing others to help me has been not only a budget saving financial practice but also a life lesson in humility.