no-spend weekend part 1
The boo and I had a #realtalk. An uncomfortable, awkward conversation about the M word. You see, we have goals. Big goals. Goals that involve me not being a health-system minion and him not being attacked by bees for a living. We both know that we need to make moves to achieve these lofty dreams. So, we needed to address the green elephant in the room. Money.
The reality is that our current situation has us spending more than we realized and more than we feel comfortable with.
Boo works sunrise to sunset. I work until midnight. Add to that the fact that we live an hour away from each other you can probably imagine that our time together is limited. For the past year and half, we’ve made it work. We made our time together meaningful and special.
Special dates, special trips, special nights on the town. As much as we both love making our time together spectacular, we love the idea of an early retirement more. We love the idea of a home with kitchen big enough for both of us to work in and a big yard for our four-legged crew. Something has to give.
So, we decided to try a No-Spend Weekend. 48 hours without spending a dime. Could we go an entire weekend making do with what we have? A daunting notion but we were both excited and motivated to make it work. Do we think this will solve all our problems? No. Do we think this one weekend will be our secret to financial freedom? No.
But do we think this weekend will help us to better understand where we’re spending our money and how we can do better by spending less? Absolutely.
Step 1: Getting Our Mindset Right
To us, a no-spend weekend is a chance to re-set. We are choosing not to view this as punishment but rather a chance to work together to accomplish a goal. It’s a challenge and we love challenges. We hope it will bring us closer together.
This is an opportunity; not a deprivation. It is about changing the way we think about our time together, however limited it may be.
Step 2: Planning
Climbing Mt. Everest is hard. Being a parent is hard. Not spending money is not hard but it does require some forethought. We didn’t start this weekend without significant planning. We knew that we would need basics like gas in our cars and food in the fridge! There would be no quick stops at Mobile or trips to the grocery store to get a forgotten ingredient.
So, we agreed. We would both put gas in our cars before 11:59 PM on Friday. We know that my car is significantly more fuel-efficient than his truck so we planned on using my car as our primary mode of transportation for the weekend.
We went grocery shopping but not before taking stock of my fridge, freezer, and pantry. We bought a few staples and basics but planned on using up some of things I already had on hand.
If any of you are thinking, well doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a no-spend weekend? Go back and re-read Step 1 before proceeding.
We also talked about a general plan for the weekend - things we’d like do and accomplish - like going to the gym. We also knew we had some household chores we’ve been putting off like our bottle and can returns and a few bags of clothing that need to be dropped off for donation. Things we might otherwise put off when we have more exciting plans.
Step 3: Research
While this no-spend weekend is certainly an opportunity to check a few things off our honey-do list, all work and no play was NOT part of the plan. So, I hit the internet in search of free, fun things to do. I checked our local newspaper, Facebook events, Maine Today, and The Portland Phoenix for potential activities. We found a couple of pretty cool things going on around town!
Step 4: Enjoy
The boo and I really wanted to focusing on the things and services we already have. We wanted to enjoy our streaming service subscriptions or read books we already own. We wanted to make the most of our beautiful state. Most of all, wanted to enjoy each other's company without the pressure of “doing something.”
If you’re curious how our no-spend weekend went, check back on Wednesday. If you’ve ever done a no-spend weekend, tell me all about it in the comments below!
FTC: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links (denoted with a *). If you shop using my links, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting Laurel and Iron.