My wife spent $0 during the month of March. Surprising, it was expected.
Welcome to the first month of parenthood. No temptations, no advertisements and no access to salespeople. It was easy for her not to spend, really. She didn’t buy anything because she wasn’t thinking about money. She wasn’t worried about her kitchen because she didn’t past by William Sonoma, and she didn’t eat out because, well, she never left the house.
Her focus was on Sara, our one month old. Nothing else seemed more important, and it was easy because spending was the last thing on her mind. Babies are expensive, but it doesn’t mean less savings after its all said and done.
How You Can Do It Too
Try it yourself. Focus on something new to occupy your time. The best part of this is that it doesn’t even have to be something free. No one is ever going to tell you that a baby girl is inexpensive, but yet, spending time with her means less time outside. Diapers are expensive, but not quite as costly as lining up to buy an iPad. Having another little consumer in our household will sure increase our grocery bills, but who knows, we might reduce our overall cost since we will eat more at home.
Below are some common activities that everyone is familiar with. Maybe they can help you spend less, maybe not. But it’s worth some thought, especially if they are fun too right?
- Gardening. I’m not into gardening, but it’s a very satisfying experience for many. Some people grow their own food, and the impact to the grocery bill is immediate.
- Start an online website. I do this for a living, but not every website needs to be tied to financial reasons. Enjoy the process of expanding and growing it. Let me tell you first hand: it can be addicting.
- Learn to play a new sport, even cycling can be good. First off, bikes, along with all those accessories, can be expensive. But if you actually spend time week after week after week, your investment will pay itself off in no time.
- Learn to play an instrument. My parents bought a piano for my sister and me 25 years ago, and it’s still like new. Over the years, we’ve spent countless hours playing and listing to it.
- A hobby like photography could work too. Cameras are expensive, but I know many people who have a modest camera that takes amazing pictures. Indians are sharp shooters because they practice, not because they have technologically advanced bow and arrows.
A Huge Caveat
These are just a few examples of course. Different people will have different preferences, so find your own if the above isn’t enticing. The key for this to work is not just picking the right activity, but to actually focus on only one. Camera equipment is expensive, but your dollars could go a long way if you focus on the craft of photography instead of getting the latest equipment. Are you into photography or are you into buying Stuff? Figure that out first, because the worst thing that can happen is you buying all the latest and greatest, only to have them all sit in your drawer while you search for a new hobby.
Many activities are traditionally thought of as expensive, but if you actually focus on something you can truly love, you may find that you actually spend less money in the long run. Personal situations differ greatly. Not every commonly accepted wisdom is true. Think about things, and you will be able to find your way.