Zero Spending

by Dan Walsh

Living like a hermit in January.

I have committed myself to zero unnecessary spending during January. My motivation is threefold. I have a financial hangover after Christmas spending and would like to aggressively dial back my spending. I want to use this experiment as an exercise in discipline. And finally I just plain want to see what will happen when I severely limit one my go-to problem solving techniques.

Now, I can’t limit all spending. I have to pay rent and eat, after all. So I had to create rules for myself. They are as follows.

Rule 1. Spending on monthly bills, groceries, and other necessities of life are allowed.

Rule 2. Prior committed spending is allowed.

Rule 3. Everything else is disallowed.

Rule 4. No new expenses.

These rules mean I can’t go out for coffee, buy lunch, or get any new eBooks. I can’t indulge in any new hobbies, go see a movie, or take a cab.  I wonder if my credit card company will contact me about fraud alert because my spending will be abnormally low… Ha!

I tried to limit loopholes but there are still a few. For instance, instead of going out to eat, which is no longer allowed, I could spend $100 on food for an extravagant dinner that I cook myself. This defeats the purpose of the experiment, though it would technically be ok. I’ll have to police myself in these instances.

So far, I have refrained from the following expenditure:

Gelaskin iPhone skin: $15 + shipping

iTunes song: $1.29

Friend’s Dad’s single on Amazon: $.99

Wild pig hunting trip: $300

I’ll continue to record my non-spending throughout the experiment. It will be interesting to see how much I save, how much I do without, and how much I learn.