Hi all! Welcome to my guest post detailing how the first third (wow, time flies!) of my no-spend month is going. Just a bit about myself: I’m a lawyer for a large firm in the DC metro area, so my no-spend month is more about discipline and responsibility with money than it is with a necessity to curb my spending. I have a bad habit of buying a bunch of groceries, then watching them go bad because I wanted something more exciting for lunch, or running up a tab at a restaurant with great food and drinks. When Brittany suggested it, I thought a month of really thinking about my spending would be a good way to get myself in a habit and get my spending under control!
Because of my higher cost of living and the reality of my extreme social life, my budget was set at $250. Here we go!
Day 1 – Friday, April 26, 2013: Today was pretty easy throughout the day. When I set my mind to it, the eating-the-lunch-I-brought thing isn’t so hard. After work, my friends and I usually grab a drink together at the restaurant downstairs in our building. This would have been tough, but one of my coworkers decided to be really nice and buy me my drinks! Even after I warned him that I didn’t think it honored NSM for me to promise to pay him back in June. So, despite having two beers (Abita Purple Haze, a raspberry wheat beer – it’s one of my favorites), I left happy hour still having spent no money. I also had a flag football game early in the morning, so I went home and fell asleep watching Community.
Total Remaining: $250.
Day 2 – Saturday, April 27, 2013: After going to my flag football game and getting killed by our opponents, the team agreed we all needed to drown our sorrows. We went to the captain’s house, ordered some food and drinks, and hung out. We watched the draft, played spades, and I had a fantastic time hanging out. Even better: another fantastic friend of mine and the group in general covered my drinking! He said I had been so generous with him when he moved to town and had very little money, he could take care of me so I could have a good time that day. It’s so nice when favors you did are returned to you. So, my Saturday came to a grand total of…
Total Remaining: $250.
Day 3 – Sunday, April 28, 2013: Part of the reason I was so cheap on Friday and Saturday was that, prior to NSM, I agreed to go to brunch with my friend and a bunch of her friends from New York. Sunday was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, and a few of her friends ran it. This doesn’t seem like a problem on the surface, but the restaurant we went to – El Centro D.F. – has a $35 all you can eat and all you can drink brunch. It’s only marginally optional, as the entire table has to agree to order it for anyone at the table to order it. Add in tax and tip, and I expected to spend about $45.
So, I got the deal. The brunch and the drinks were fantastic, and the company was even better. I stuck around for about four hours chatting, even after the people I knew left. I think I’ve now made a new set of New York friends that I can see when I go there for a weekend.
Total Remaining: 203.50.
Day 4 – Monday, April 29, 2013: The work week begins again. It was an overall boring day – I brought my lunch and went straight home afterwards. No-spend success!
Total Remaining: $203.50.
Day 5 – Tuesday, April 30, 2013: Again, another basic work day. I brought the lunch that I ate. After work, I went to a lawyer’s panel with a friend of mine. I was slightly tempted afterward when she asked if I’d like to go grab a bite or a drink… but I declined. I’m always proud of myself when I display willpower!
Total Remaining: $203.50.
Day 6 – Wednesday, May 1, 2013: Happy May! Another basic work day (aren’t you dying to be a lawyer now that you’re aware of my super exciting life?!). Despite a coworker inviting me to try a fantastic food truck I’ve been wanting to try (Pepe’s, run by renowned chef Jose Andres), I resisted and ate my arugula-jerk turkey breast-mexican cheese-tomato-avocado-pepper salad I whipped up post-workout this morning. I headed home right after work to watch Survivor (my mom and I watch together from afar then discuss every week), so I got in my third straight day of no spending!
Total Remaining: $203.50
Day 7 – Thursday, May 2, 2013: Thank goodness – the closer we are to a weekend, the more interesting I become. Despite my average workday (during which I successfully ate the lunch I brought), I met up with some of my friends for happy hour at Lincoln’s – a restaurant with $5 drinks during happy hour and, most importantly, an outdoor patio. Three gin and tonics and a serving of fries later, I had blown half of my weekly budget, despite happy hour!
Total Remaining: $179.50.
Day 8 — Friday, March 3, 2013: Thanks to yesterday’s overspending, I planned on making sure my Friday was a bit more controlled than usual. This is very difficult for me because Friday happy hours are my joy — I generally live for weekends, and this weekend happens to include Cinco de Mayo, one of my favorite holidays. I met up with a friend of mine, one of his coworkers, and a bunch of her former coworkers. Long story short, I ended up spending way too much — most of it because I made a bet that the Geico gecko has an Australian acecnt (it’s a Cockney London accent apparently).
Total Remaining: $143.50.
Day 9 — Saturday, March 4, 2013: After my football game (we lost by a ton, don’t ask), I headed to a day party on a rooftop that is walking distance from my house. One of my girlfriends ended up not being able to get in, and so began our random trek around the city: looking for a party that didn’t actually start until two hours after it was supposed to; getting tacos at food-truck-turned-restaurant; going back to the party to find that it still existed; moving to a final location to watch the Mayweather fight. Along the way I bought tacos, a slurpee, and chile picante corn nuts (I find them extremely hard to resist).
Spent: $11.08 (7.65 on the tacos, 3.43 on the slurpee and corn nuts).
Total Remaining: $132.42.
Day 10 — Sunday, May 5, 2013: By all measures, my Saturday Cinco de Mayo plans were a bit of a bust. So when a friend of mine told me he was around the corner drinking $5 margaritas, I knew I had to try to attempt to redeem my weekend. I planned to keep my spending under control, but let’s just say I am attempting to go on a 12-day spending hiatus to make up for it all. To make matters worse, I just had to stop and get food on the way home.
Spent: $45.26 ($39 in margaritas and tips; $6.26 on Popeye’s).
Total Remaining: $87.16.