August 29, 2011

Two days left

30-Days of Nothing Challenge

I’ve had SO MANY responses about 30-Days of Nothing – it’s been tremendous!  So first of all – WOWZA – and second – THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT!  For those of you hanging on the fence about it – this post is for you.  For those of you who signed up?  This post is your reality check.  

Sorry it's a little bit wordy...but I have lots to say...

Remember, if you want to take the 30-Days/Empty Pantry Challenge – you can do several different things:
  • You can participate and not tell a soul.  Just do it for yourself.  You’ll get plenty out of it.  But trust me, it catches on.  People are INTRIGUED by the concept of not spending.
  • You can leave a comment throughout the month telling me and my readers how your challenge is going
  • You can leave a comment telling me that you're taking the challenge AND blogging about it – be sure to leave your blog address so I can visit you and possibly feature you while we’re walking through the month.  Also be sure to right click on that little image above, save it, and use it on your blog.  Please create a link either in your image or in your post that take people to Bushel and a Peck! (winkity, winkity)
  • You can e-mail me HERE for the spreadsheets to my Weekly Meal Planner and Grocery Inventory List.  Those are free and very helpful.  You can see THIS POST for how to use them.
  • You can just follow me and see how it goes for my family.  Maybe you can try it another month and let me know how it went for you.

See?  Lots of ways to “play along”. 

Also?  Some other REASONS to do this:

  • You can do this just for fun, to see how it works and to see if you’re able to curb your spending
  • You can do this to help your family learn to make a dollar go farther
  • You can take this challenge to re-train the brain how to save and make-do with what you have
  • You can go the whole month and decide to make it a way of life (albeit, perhaps not so strictly)
  • You can get through the challenge and realize you never really needed it in the first place – you’re that good!
  • You can get through the challenge and realize you’re in worse shape than you thought and the finances need some “shape shifting”.

Last time we did this – I was taken ABACK by the urge to spend on the simplest thing.  I swear to you – a coffee…a Taco Bell run…an ice-cream cone…the stinkin’ Dollar Tree…they CALLED TO ME.  They beckoned me.  It took every resource I had (sans a monetary resource, of course) to avoid that deep urge. Sadly, I never saw that coming.  Never knew I was so bad off.

Having said that – let me prepare you for the “5 Stages of No-Spending”.  You might thank me for preparing you…(ok, tongue in cheek here...but sadly, too true)

1.  DENIAL & ISOLATION -   People…you are going to be in denial.  Trust me.  The first few days are great.  You’re like “this is a piece of cake…no problem…what’s the big deal”.  Then the denial sets in the minute you pass the Starbucks on your way to or from the carpool line.  The realization that you have committed yourself to NOT going there.  Can’t be happening!  Why did I sign up for this?  When you’re girlfriends are all meeting for lunch and they invite you?  Yeah.  It’s isolating to either pass it up OR to go and order water.  Yeah.  So fun.  Especially when they’re all diggin’ in to their Chipotle Burrito Bowls.  Ahem.  Sob.  Can be very lonely if you're used to spending as a means of comfort.

2.  ANGER – I remember on our last time around, I took Quint to the mall because I was desperate to get out of the house, and there was only so much I could do when we weren’t spending at all.  I decided to break my own rule, and use a gift-card to Sonic.  I carefully and painstakingly ordered from the dollar menu, because I knew I only had $5 on the card.  But when I went to pay – there was a balance due.  I had already used the card before, but forgotten.  I was FURIOUS.  I was cursing the whole stupid idea of the Challenge.  It’s my money!  I can use it if I want to!  I can buy a stinkin’ DOLLAR MENU lunch for my son and I.  What a stupid Challenge!?!  Well, I paid in change I had in my purse and whatever was left on the card.  But the entire time we ate, I was BITTERLY ANGRY that we had signed up for this stupid challenge.  Because I didn’t want to let myself down, but I also didn’t want to play anymore.  Angry doesn’t cover it.

3.  BARGAINING – Well, this is embarrassing, but I will admit that it was maybe a measly week into our last Challenge before I was begging (BEGGING) AB to let us eat out.  Just once.  Just ONCE, for crying out loud.  So strong was the tendency and urge to spend.  Or maybe to avoid dishes.  Or maybe just to be served.  But I was full-on crying.  Call me a baby, that’s ok – I can take it.  But I felt so deprived.  You wanna know why?  When was the last time you went on a hardcore diet plan?  You know how the minute you forbid yourself something is the very same minute you start to unravel?  You want to eat everything in sight?  That’s the time when you feel INUNDATED with opportunities to break your commitment.  And you bargain with yourself: “ok, but just this once…and tomorrow I’ll do better”.  Yes, this totally happens with 30-Days of Nothing.  Everything you never knew you needed will be on sale.  Every fast-food/coffee/splurge item you can think of will be calling your name every single one of those 30-Days.  Prepare yourself for it.  (Oh, and by the way – AB told me he would be happy to take me out to eat that night, but only if I really wanted to have to get on the blog that night and tell everyone that we had already failed the challenge.  Needless to say, we ate “in”.  Sniffle.)

4.  DEPRESSION – I really did feel left out of a lot of things that seemed SO IMPORTANT to me at the time.  (they weren’t really)  Anytime a friend invited me somewhere that would require me to spend money, I either had to get clever and revise the invite to exclude spending, or I had to politely decline – sometimes explaining why, sometimes not.  But there were several days on the journey that I actually felt a little depressed.  A little bit sorry for myself, if you will.  At the time, I was not working and it was just me and the little guy – home alone all day.  I had to get really creative not to climb the walls.  And some days, we just sat around.  Got very boring.  Other days, I cheated (keeping it real) and scraped some change out of the change-jar and took us to the local play area with friends.  While I don’t regret doing whatever I had to do to make it through the month, I do still feel a little disappointed that I cheated.  I mean, it’s one month.  How hard should that be?  Still, I can’t lie -  it was a bit of a pity-party some days. 

5.  ACCEPTANCE – The good news is – once you hit around the half-way mark, you do start to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment at what you’re doing.  Let’s face it friends; it is very {very, very} counter-culture to avoid spending money.  It’s very much the opposite of what most of are doing.  Most of us are forgoing the frozen chicken we’ve had in the freezer for a month, and heading out to eat instead.  Guilty as charged over here.  Most of us are so used to spending that we think it’s a novel idea to take a challenge like this.  Most of us, if we admit to ourselves, are very accustomed to our fast-food lives.  Everything is always at our finger-tips.  We don’t need to go far for whatever ails us, whatever craving is kicking, or whatever luxury items we feel we need.  That’s why getting through this challenge is SO REWARDING.  So you do hit a point of accepting that you are doing something extremely WORTHWHILE.  Something that your kids can be a part of.  Something that you can point to as a big learning-curve about yourself, your own tendencies, and your ability to persevere.  And I have to say, you do feel a real sense of pride that you did what most people simply cannot do. 

You have two days left – two days left to decide you’re IN, two days left to decide you’re OUT (no judgement here).  You have two days left to get your first Weekly Meal Plan going, and two more days to decide whether or not you think you can organize and then empty that pantry. 

Here’s my advice:  you can DO IT!

For that matter – what’s so wrong with eating this kind of fare for a month?  Thank God for AB and his MADDDDDDDD cooking skillllllls.

Food -1  Food - 2

**TUESDAY – some final rules and advice from the other side about the Challenge to help you get through the month.


Kayce said...

We are ON and I just blogged about it!! So looking forward to seeing how far I can be stretched without getting a coffee from Starbucks to wake me up during the day!!! Eeeeek!! Thanks for always inspiring!

Nancy said...

We're still on too. I'm embarrassed to admit this...but when we were both working, and we had just adopted our oldest, and I was really short on time, we went out to eat A LOT. Like 2 times during the week and the entire weekend. One time, I took my credit card bill and added up how much money we spent on going out to eat in a particular month--it was almost $1000! I was completely horrified. So then we started cutting back--to once during the week, once on weekends. Then when I quit my job, we went down to once a week. And then at the beginning of the year, we went to once a month. However, my husband gets an allowance of $50 a month that he can spend on going out to eat at work and after his group bike rides. He is going to miss that this month.

I think the hardest part is going to be missing out on some social events, like my neighborhood moms club is going out to eat several times in September and I won't be going.

crazy said...

Wow, Christy. I will be following along. We used to NEVER eat out...but Johnny travels now so I tend to take the girls out more than I should on our way to activities after school. I use the excuse that I don't have enough time to cook because I work full time...refocus the priorities...I could probably make a good start on those college funds. Miss ya!!