I did a 7 day spending challenge and managed to save $500
- I tend to spend more in the summer and break my budget in June.
- I needed cash to meet my financial goals, so I did a seven-day savings challenge.
- I haven’t spent days cutting my dining budget and locked myself out of my favorite shopping sites.
In the summer I become more carefree with my expenses. Whether it’s concerts, baseball games, or drinks at a rooftop bar, my usual budget doesn’t seem to support these seasonal desires.
In June, for the first time in a year, I spent more than I had budgeted for, which meant I couldn’t meet my other financial goals for the month. So, in order to save some extra money fast, I took part in a seven-day savings challenge in July that helped me rake in an extra $500.
Here’s how I was able to achieve this and the trade-offs I had to make.
I have introduced non-spending days
Normally not a day goes by that I don’t spend money on something. During the weekdays I usually buy meals, coffee and tickets to events (museums, concerts, sporting events). On the weekends, my money goes towards all the restaurants and activities that keep me away from my house for the day.
To reduce spending, I introduced two $0 days during my seven-day challenge. I’ve picked Thursday and Sunday, two days when my spending can get out of hand more often than I’d like.
I put my wallet in my closet and left the house with no money on me, which helped me not give in to the temptation to grab my lunch or go to a local store to do some shopping.
This helped me save about $75 that week.
I have limited my takeout orders
When it comes to overspending, one of my biggest pain points is how much I spend on takeout or dining out.
During this challenge, I’ve only allowed myself to have dinner twice a week and go for takeout once. The rest of my meals had to be cooked at home.
Since I can spend between $225 and $250 a week on grocery shopping (excluding groceries), this has helped me save $150 over that seven day period.
I also set a limit with my grocery bills. To purchase a significant amount of groceries at a reasonable price, I’ve shopped with coupons, bought frozen groceries so they last longer, and even shared groceries with friends this week (for half a loaf of bread, a shared bag of chicken breasts). , and half a box of pre-packaged brown rice) and planned meals ahead of time so I knew exactly what ingredients I needed for the week ahead.
Grocery shopping with a more frugal mindset helped me save another $50 during the challenge.
I went cash only
To be extra careful with my spending, I kept my credit cards in my closet and paid for items with cash only. Before I left the house, I set a spending limit for the day ahead. If it was a day that I allowed myself to eat out, I would take a set amount in cash to ensure what I ordered fell within that price range.
If it was a day I had to run to a supermarket to buy something for the house, I would only take the exact amount of money I needed for that item and not a dollar more. This helped me to curb any temptation to buy something here or there.
While it’s hard to quantify how much I saved by going cash only for a week, I know I probably would have spent an additional $50 on various items if my credit cards had been handy.
I hid any temptation to shop online
One habit I’ve picked up during the pandemic has been an increase in my online shopping. In between crossing items off my to-do list, I’d browse some of my favorite online stores and casually add things to my cart—then typically hit the buy button. I would spend more than I even realized at the moment because I was shopping out of boredom.
To limit this during my seven day challenge, I did two things. First I deleted my credit card information from the main websites I shop on. Then, to prevent casual browsing and any temptations, I used a site blocking app that temporarily disabled my ability to view the online shopping sites I visit most often.
This forced me to pause all online shopping for a week and instead spend that downtime reading the news or scrolling social media. I estimate this saved me at least $75, which is what I can spend on average during a week of boring shopping.
I tapped freebies
I tend to spend the most money on events or activities on summer weekends. I want to spend as much time outdoors as possible this season, so sometimes I stack two or more paid activities into just one day.
During the challenge, I limited my weekend to just one paid activity that had to cost less than $50 and made sure the rest of the activities I did were free.
I’ve spent a lot of time researching local guides, websites, and Facebook groups to find things that didn’t cost me money to attend. I found a free comedy show in the park and a free concert on a rooftop that included free drinks and food. I saved at least $100 by participating in these two $0 activities.
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