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End of “Not One Penny” week.

We have finally come to the end of Scrooge week. I think we all learned some pretty interesting things about ourselves and our budgets and spending habits. We had some great questions with regards to what we were hoping to accomplish.

One person asked if we were simply “delaying the spending”. If you read the comments below you will see that we had some actual monetary savings. Money we would have spent on things like eating out.

It is funny how the mind works. When I get off work I go home and the last thing I want to do is cook supper. So fast food becomes my friend. For some people the rigors of the long week and keeping up with their kids make eating out the more appealing option.     

Cristy Cash: I loved Scrooge Week – but was only mostly successful. 🙂  On the success side, I enjoy any opportunity I have to question my “needs.” My husband and I both take everything into question! Just in the past 6 months for example we downsized from an SUV which got 20 mpgs to a small car which gets 30. We also questioned our need for meat and dairy and have cut it out of our diet completely choosing less expensive and more healthful plant-based options. We’ve trimmed our grocery bill by quite a lot! Scrooge week wasn’t terribly challenging during the workweek. We do tend to eat out or buy “extras” from time to time, so for Scrooge week we focused on being sure we had food from leftovers to take to work. I actually just made a pot of soup and ate it all week! My husband is happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he decided not to buy his daily coke zero.

I knew that our trouble spot would be the weekend. My family tends to form extemporaneous social gatherings and we will do “pot luck” parties. One of these parties was planned and executed on Friday. Matt and I were assigned to bring the something – so we spent money on Friday evening for an unplanned birthday party and bought a couple of things for our group. On Saturday we didn’t spend any money.

Overall I would say it was a success. Planning helped us to avoid stopping for expensive lunches or soft drinks during the week and skipping our usual once-a-week takeout purchase saved us about $30. I would think we saved about $50 overall. I wouldn’t mind doing a week like this every month! Next time I would like to anticipate the money we will not be spending and focus on saving it for a specific goal.

Monica Smothers: Planning is the key to being successful on a budget diet or any diet for that matter.  The mind is powerful and one must satisfy their basic needs – even if it is a need formed through habit. If you are caffeine addict without a caffeinated beverage in reach, you will cave in and zoom through the nearest drive-thru to fulfill this addiction if you failed to plan.  You may also buy some fries 😉  Who knows!

Tressa Brooker: I tell people in my classes that a realistic, organized budget can show you exactly how you can cut your spending without really altering your life. I wanted to put that to the test with this experiment by organizing all of our expenses before hand. I also wanted to stop the unplanned, chaotic spending that I saw happening in my household. I think this project allowed all of us, the kids, my husband, and my self, to get in touch with how our cash flows in and out of our life.

We did not spend any thing that wasn’t planned ahead of time. We paid cash for my son’s tutor & used our flexible spending account for medical co-pays. Even though we have everything we needed, it was tempting to buy something we wanted.

My kids were great though. They really saw this as challenge and they had a little celebration yesterday when they realized we had made it. I think that was the best part of the experiment, getting the whole family involved in discussing the finances. They really felt like they were part of the process.

I am so proud of my co-workers. They committed themselves to this effort. Even though we all may not have been 100% successful, we ALL learned something. Sometimes it isn’t all about the destination…but the journey.

BTW…In case you are wondering…I learned there are always ways to overcome and adapt. I learned that it isn’t what I needed that but what I WANTED that was hard to resist. 

 

Anthony Murray is an NFCC Certified Consumer Credit Counselor and Bankruptcy Services Coordinator at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Central Oklahoma.  CCCS is a non-profit Credit Counseling agency with offices in Oklahoma City, Bethany, Enid, Stillwater and Tinker Air Force Base. Contact us at http://www.cccsok.org or 1-800-364-2227

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