Your Money: Month of No Spending

March 14, 2009 11:35:17 AM PDT
Amy Dunn is a stay at home mom who already considers herself a super saver. Now, she wanted to see if she could cut back even more, just in case the worst would happen and her husband would be laid off. Her goal, for the entire month was to still pay the bills, but don't spend anything extra on gas, food, going out to eat and any entertainment. Could her family do it?Dunn said at the beginning of February, “My freezer was packed, my refrigerator was good, my pantry was bulging and I thought we could do this for a month.”

With all her shelves stocked, her gas tank capped off Amy was ready for the challenge.

“I wondered if I would feel cabin fever or retail withdraw," said Dunn. But instead she said: “We were never bored.”

Amy's a big scrap booker so she spent the month catching up on her memory books with friends.

“Rather than paying to go on a scrap booking retreat, we all came here and we all brought food and did it for free,” she said.

Plus, she took advantage of a restaurant's free bingo event during the day.

“I won a huge gift pack for coupons for free food and a bunch of other giveaways,” said Dunn.

As for her 10-year-old daughter and husband, they got to see a Carolina Hurricanes game without spending a dime?

“They sent my husband an e-mail that said we'd love to have you back please come to a game on us,” said Dunn.

Since they used to be owner's of a mini-pack of season tickets, they got the free offer. Dunn said the no money spending rule even came into play with parking.

“They went very early and parked way out and had to hike in,” Dunn recalled.

While at the game, they got another free thrill by taking part in one of the fan games.

“My daughter was on the jumbo-tron and they won a $10 gift certificated to Moe's,” said Dunn.

A trip to a local jeweler end up with Dunn making hundreds of dollars.

"I went through all my jewelry boxes and I made over $500 selling scrap gold and silver,” said Dunn.

Dunn's food supply lasted for the entire month.

“I ran out of eggs, so I was using fewer eggs. If it called for 4, I used 2 and really it turned out fine,” said Dunn.

While she did run out of some key ingredients, she said overall, her family survived and it gave her a chance to get creative with food.

Besides the $500 Dunn made on her old jewelry, she also saved with her month of no spending.

“$350 to $400 - and I did put that in our emergency fund. I didn't want that to just disappear,” said Dunn.

So she made it. Amy does admit, she did spend some money on Girl Scout cookies she had already ordered, plus her daughter had to pre-pay for an upcoming trip in April. She also said the one tank of gas lasted her all the way through the entire month, up until the last few days, so she did spend five bucks to put in gas. But she spent no money what so ever on entertainment or going out to eat.

Amy kept herself busy with a lot more activities. You can learn more about those activities plus see pictures of her pantry and refrigerator/freezer at the start of the month and at the end of the month. To read Amy’s blog and find out other clever ways she saves money visit her blog at http://freetobefrugal.wordpress.com/

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