As my wife isn’t here, I figured it was a great time to try something I always wanted to do since starting my blog – live with very little money for a set period of time and see what I learn. I think I did well, because I ended up using only $34.01 in a whole week. It was interesting and eye-opening, but more importantly, what I learned was invaluable.
A Little about the Frugal Experiment
My goal was to use as little money as possible. This included both:
- Money I needed to pay (like going out to eat)
- Money I already paid for (e.g. milk that I’ve bought)
I did not include the rent as part of the experiment because there is no way I could cut back unless I moved. I did however cut back on electricity during that week, which I will talk about later. The plan was to live for a few days with as little as possible and see how I do. At the time, I really didn’t know what I would get out of it but it was an experience that I wanted to have since I know I will gained a better understanding of life and frugality.
The Daily Frugal Life
During that week, I seriously cut back on everything except the bare minimums. I actually felt more energetic because I ate less and went outdoors more often.
For the week, I ate beef noodles and vegetables that my wife prepared for most of the days, as well as some dumplings that my wife hand makes.
Cost: $28.52 (according to her)
At the end of day 4, I really felt an urge to have some ice-cream, so I had a scoop from the $4.99 no-name brand ice-cream container.
Cost: $0.49 (it was a big container and it was good)
I was trying to conserve electricity within the house as much as possible, so I unplugged all appliances from the wall. I also never turned on the air conditioning, which we seldom use anyway.
As our monthly electricity bill is around $25 a month and all I really used was the microwave, I figured:
I could cut back on eating but probably not on drinking water, so I went down to the water fountain by the fitness center to fill up a few jugs of water. It was plenty for the week so no cost incurred.
I went out to jog and walked a lot at night. It’s amazing how many things you overlook when you are always in a rush. Plus I always feel refreshed after the outdoor activity so that’s certainly something I will keep doing.
I also got in a lot of blogging, as I wasn’t watching TV or using the computer for anything else but something productive. It’s amazing the efficiency you can achieve when you don’t give yourself the option to slack off.
What I Learned
There are so many things that we hear/read about but unless we actually feel and live through it, the lessons won’t sink in. During the past week, it was a different lifestyle to say the least and while it was only short term and more extreme than normal, I learned a great deal.
You Are Using More Than You Really Need
This further strengthens my belief that the majority of people who think they can’t cut back are probably not looking hard enough. Next time someone asks me for advice on savings and say they are already spending as little as possible, I will know what to say.
It’s Not as Bad as You Think
Knowing that I can live just as happily with no “extras” will allow me to control my desire to splurge. It is great to know because it will further strengthen my mentality as being a saver.
It CAN be Done
The message that struck me the most was that “it can be done”. I can actually practice extreme frugality and still be comfortable and happy. This is so powerful because I am now not afraid of survivability. Knowing this gives me a reference point for where my necessities lie and it also gives me the courage to venture out comfortably on my passion without worry.
Obviously, this experiment only lasted for a week and things could change if I did this long term. However, I felt that the experiment was a success as I’ve found a new perspective on life. If you have any insight as to what you think about this, please share as I’d love to know.
Editor's Note: Did you know that there's a service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.
Several of my friends are signed up and they find they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier in the process.