Sunday, October 23, 2011

A month of no spending and money thoughts

I never made it back to the grocery store to do the final shopping before I started my no spending for a month experiment.  Oh well.  We will have to make due.  I'm not worried as I've got enough food for a year here, at least for the three of us.  But it's the little things, like the poppy seeds I bought the other day.  I only use poppy seeds two or three times per year but I had none.  I didn't realize I didn't have any until just last week because I rarely use them.  I bought enough for the year.  If they were no longer available that would be just the way it goes.  It wouldn't really affect us other than a traditional cookie wouldn't be able to be made. 

Since we had 18 people over for dinner for great grandma's birthday party we used up most of the liquid milk (only one gallon left).  I don't think I bought enough powdered milk the other day when I shopped.  I'm going to try to not get into too much of the storage stuff during this month.  I want to see just how much, or how little, we actually need.  We still have a lot coming out of the garden and the chickens are laying well still.

This is not going to be a hard core no spending.  If some grocery store has a 75% off sale on products I use then I will buy them!  I'm not going to say no to that.  On the other hand, if one of the grand kids busts their shoe we will have to figure out how to repair it.  This will be more of a test to see what small items we may be missing.  We are also going to be building the storage room during this time and I sure hope we have everything we need!  Again, this will be more of a test to make sure our supplies are up to snuff.  Do we have enough nails, screws, etc.?  This is a planned project, what about unplanned repairs?  What is going to break this month that I can't run to the store to fix? 

I've been reading a lot about making sure your emergency cash is funded.  How much emergency cash do you need?  Since the world isn't falling to pieces, like in the book Survivors, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how much you should store.  How much money do you spend in a month that's not electricity, housing, and those hard costs?  How much do you spend on food, fuel, clothing, household repairs, etc.?  You should have that amount on hand.  Or double it, or triple it, depending on how long you have been saving. 

Now, I don't always keep this as a hard and fast rule.  I get into my emergency money.  One of the grandkids needs twenty for something and I spent my cash.  Just go to the emergency money.  Not a problem.  I'll replace it.  But after a while you forget.  Then comes the big day that you need it and it's not there.  Bernie, over at ApartmentPrepper, had less than $50 on hand.  Oops. 

I do have my silver dimes.  Those are for the real bad times.  The cash I try not to spend, but when I do I try to put it back right away.  Again, I'm not always successful at replacing it right away but then the thought crosses my mind of what if today is the day and then I get really motivated. 

When I travel I always pick up money from the bank.  I don't use the emergency funds.  I make sure I have three times as much as I plan on spending.  I keep that in cash even if I plan on charging my purchases.  Do you remember 10 years ago?  9/11?  All air travel was cancelled.  People were stranded and had to find other ways to get home.  Cash was king!  Rental cars were sold out almost instantly and those that were available were instantly much more expensive to rent.  Having cash on hand to be able to purchase a junker car and drive themselves home was the way to go for a few people I know who got stranded.  

How does one get extra money?  You can cancel your cable, cut back on your phone plan, use less electricity, etc.  This week after great grandmother (free babysitter while I was gone) goes home, I will cancel the cable.  I was going to shut it off earlier but was ordered by the great grandmother to keep her soap operas on or else.  Yes, ma'am.  My son set his tv up with a digital antenna and can get quite a few local channels.  He's going to set ours up the same way.  That's $600 per year we will save.  Will we miss some of the extra channels?  Sure, but if I figure that I'm spending $50 a month for special channels it comes to about $10 an hour!  TV is NOT worth $10 an hour!  

The best way I can make money is when I travel for work.  My hotel and gas are covered.  I get money each day for food and incidentals.  So far this month I've traveled each of the last two weeks.    I stayed at a hotel that provided a decent free breakfast.  They also had snacks in the evening that I was able to use as my dinner.  One of the nights they had food that I wouldn't eat but I was able to eat from my supply in my truck.  The last two trips I took last week and the week prior, I spent a total of $4.18 on things other than the hotel and fuel.  Considering I was given over $200 to use for food and incidentals I think I did rather well with coming up with extra money.  I still have to travel four or five more days in the next two weeks.  I'll only have about $100 to spend from those trips and I think I'll actually have to go out to lunch one of the days and spend $10.  That will still mean I'll be able to pocket almost $300 for preps and emergencies.  This makes me more fortunate than most because I have this opportunity to make a little extra when I travel, but traveling also means I'm away from home.  That I don't care for. 


  1. I was one of those stranded during 9/11, along with 12 coworkers. I can confirm that cash was king, there were NO rental cars and taxi lines to anywhere were hours long. I had a SHTF plan in action but honestly I'm glad I didn't have to put it into full play.
    That is the only time I've ever run into a cash is king situation, but you just never know when you will wake up one morning and be in it.

  2. I like this post.

    I am not too worried but agree that cash right now is king. I think another good idea is to have a plan of action if you end up outside your home turf etc.

    For the record we are planning six months no store purchases starting in January...