The Spend Nothing Game – How Long Can You Go Without Spending ANY Money?

by Randy Murray on February 15, 2010

Remember the Quiet Game? Yes, that game where an adult would try to get a group of noisy kids to play and see who could be quiet for the longest?

Well, here’s a grownup version – the Spend Nothing Game. You’d be surprised at how much money passes through your fingers on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s just a few dollars here and there. Lunch. Coffee. Drinks. Dinner. Rent a movie. But it adds up to serious money. Do you really know how much money you just waste? And social media games and fads like Foursquare and Yelp! probably aren’t helping. They’re just encouraging you to go places and spend money.

You might want to try this game and see what it feels like to NOT let that money just slip away.

Here are the rules:

  1. Spend nothing.

Lose already? OK, here are some exceptions:

  • Any fixed expense, like your rent or mortgage, utilities, etc. Any fixed monthly expense can be exempted from this game. You can start working on these when you master this first level.
  • You may exempt up to $50 per person in your household for weekly food. This includes ALL consumables, including coffee, sodas, alcohol, gum and candy – anything you might eat, drink or consume in any way.
  • You may exclude transportation costs, but only for those things related to earning a living or for maintaining your life and health.

Which leaves the items that do count:

  • Any food or beverages outside of your home or exceeding the $50 per person weekly allowance.
  • Any item purchased that is not required for your base maintenance of life and health. Prescription drugs are exempted, salon and beauty products are not.
  • Any entertainment purchases or expenses.

And if you really want to become a game master, spend a week or so prior to the game recording ALL of your expenditures. I think you’ll find it enlightening and frightening.  When my wife and I were first married and for several years after we were still in school we recorded every penny we spent. It’s a fascinating historical document now, but it kept us above water and helped us to understand where we had to spend and where we could cut back.

Frugality can be sexy. Frugal doesn’t have to mean deprived. And when you get to the point where you prefer water to soda, the library to Amazon, a well-prepared meal at home to one out, you’ll begin to see the freedom and richness it offers.

How long can you go without spending?

New! See More: Weekly Posts On The Spend Nothing Game

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