Friday, December 15, 2006

Preparing for a year of not spending

Starting January 1, 2007, my husband and I are not going to spend any extra money for the entire year.

This means no clothes shopping, no movies, no restaurants (including getting stuff to go), no trips and no gifts (this one will kill me).

Six years ago I ran a marathon. I am the least athletic person you have ever met. Trust me. I cannot ride a bike, I cannot go under water without plugging my nose, I do not ski or golf or watch any sporting events whatsoever. The only famous athletes I can think of are Joe Namath and OJ Simpson. So, I decided to run a marathon because it was just about the last thing you'd ever expect me to do. And it was by far the most rewarding activity I have ever done.

That is why I wanted to try going a year without spending. I consider myself a normal spender. I think some of my friends see me as extravagant (I know my mother, who has used the same melted, opaque Tupperware measuring cup since 1966, does). I think others see me as thrifty (we have basic cable and I hardly ever use my cell phone).

Whether I'm a spendy-pants or spartan, I certainly do my share of buying crap I don't need, and so does my husband, so I just wanted to see what it would be like to NOT do that for a year.

When I tell people about this venture, they seem obsessed. First they tell me they could never do it. Then they have a million what-if questions:

What if one of our cats gets sick? Well, of course we would go to the vet.

What if another couple wants to get together for dinner? First of all, this is L.A., we hardly do couple things with friends because everyone lives 45 minutes away from each other (meaning, six miles apart but it takes 45 minutes with traffic to see each other). But, if it did come up, we would have them over to our house and cook for them.

What if you get bored? This one kills me. That is also why I wanted to try doing this for a year. Do you really need to spend money to be happy? To be entertained? To be fulfilled? I say no, but have I ever done it? Not really.

When I met my husband (by the way, he claims we need fake names to do this blog. I have no idea why. So he is going to be Marvin Gardens and I am June Cutoff Cash), I was way poorer than I am now. I was a receptionist living in a studio apartment in Seattle. I made $22,500 a year. However, my studio was really, really cute (built in the 1920s, it had a dining room that I used as a bedroom, crystal doorknobs, hardwood floors and it was in a great neighborhood with lots of places I could walk to, and a spectacular view. I actually really miss that little place.) and I had everything I needed. I had a bus pass, a crappy car if I really needed to get somewhere, and enough money to go out on the weekends.

Now, 10 years later, I live in a three-bedroom house in L.A. (with crystal doorknobs. What's with me and the crystal doorknobs?) and I have a new-ish VW Bug with a satellite radio in it. I have more than enough to go out on weekends, but because my commute is so dreadful during the week (and you can't easily commute by bus in L.A.), I rarely go anywhere on weekend nights.

So, I have more money, but does it make me any happier? I guess I will find out when I am not spending any!

And yes, I have done a little hoarding for the year to come. I went on drugstore.com and bought three of my facial cleanser and four bottles of my conditioner. When those are gone, I will buy the cheapest stuff I can find at the grocery store. I worry that I will look like Wilford Brimley at the end of this year: big gray hair, giant eyebrows, wrinkles. I hope Wilford Brimley doesn't read this.

15 comments:

Sam L. Parity said...

I need a better name. Howabout Kanye Loanadollar?

June Cutoff Cash said...

No.

Lisa said...

Can we place bets on how long this will last?

Asil Rensid

June Cutoff Cash said...

Thank you for your support. Wait, that's Bartels & James, not Wilford Brimley.

Father John said...

I remember those Seattle, & as I recall you were miserable because you were never going to get married. The amount of money you spend doesn't make one happy, but then again having money & not spending it will have the same results. At least that's my opinion.

I think the secrete is how you spend the money. Perhaps spending it on a home closer to work, would be a good start.

Just my opinion, from one with exceptional spending habits & a fabulous happy person.

g-monie said...

I believe you can actually do this for a year... I can not believe you are actually going to do this for a year.

June Cutoff Cash said...

Leo, one would never call you a worrywart. But you are correct; it is the journey, not the destination. It'll be a cheap jouney...

Sally Spenderton said...

Please feel free to check out my blog in response to June's announcement.

www.ispendmoneylikeitswater.blogspot.com

country mouse said...

My husband and I have done something similar in the past. We used to live way up in the mountains of Wyoming, which were beautiful, but remote. Since our access to purchasing goods was so limited, we had to really think about how badly we needed something and if we were willing to travel 100 miles in a blizzard over a nasty mountain pass to get it. That experience really taught us a lot about materialism, consumerism, waste and being creative with what is available.

Now we live in an "urban" area (a town of about 15,000 in Central Wisconsin- my father and sister can't imagine a more boring place to live!!). Although we have access to buying just about whatever we want whenever we want it, all of those years in Wyoming have stuck with us and we are very happy about that.

I think you and your husband will have an incredible experience! Blessings to you on your journey.

Sally Spenderton said...

Who on EARTH is country mouse already? How plebian.

MAID of honor said...

I am a bit concerned over the lack of cosmetics and haircare products in 2007. Just remember, I can stock a CVS Pharmacy right out of my overnight bag alone. I'll have your back. You can do this.

Dean said...

Good luck Sparkly. Keep us all posted on how it goes!

arabrab said...

Waste not want not. Ill take some of those CVS cosmentics if you dont want them.

Former coupon addict said...

I am already annoyed at how this will affect ME.

Laura Brandon said...

I think I'm going to start at the beginning and read ALL of your old blog entries. Was there one before this I should know about? And I really wish your blog was a book, because I hate it when I'm too tired to stay up on the computer but I have plenty of energy to lay in bed reading. So, yeah. Write a book. Except then I'll already know all the stories. But that's ok, write it anyway. I'll tell everyone how good it is.