After leaving my comfy position just a week ago I’ve been on “full lock down mode.” (Why my life has so many prison metaphors? I do not know). Full lock down mode when it comes to finances that is. Trying to spend no money in January is not as bad as you thinking. Here are a few reasons:
- Its freezing and I don’t want to go outside anyway.
- Each January I participate in Dryuary, no drinking for the whole month. This makes spending less money easier since non of my friends want to hang out with me anyway.
- I’m very busy preparing for the NY Now Trade Show. Any money I am spending is a business expense for the most part.
- I’ve been trying to eat less meat which results in buying a lot of Goya dry beans.
- Lastly, I’ve fallen in LOVE with my local yoga studio that is $5 per class for 90 mins.
Instead of full lock down mode I am trying to make a game of “going broke.” I call it zero dollar days. Days that I spend no money and at the end of the day I take a moment to acknowledge it and pat my self on the back. How do I achieve this? Here are a few suggestions:
- Plan: Look at your week and pick out days you know you will have to spend money, try to make these days as few as possible. I go a little extreme and pick only two days.
- Food: Don’t use food as a reward. Many of us think, I’ve had a rough day. I deserve dessert. Or the opposite, I’ve had an awesome day. I want to end it with an amazing dessert. Think of other things you like to do and use those as rewards.
- Buy in bulk: Groceries, yoga classes, metrocard, even movie tickets. I buy about 4 yoga classes in advance so those days I go I don’t even need to think/handle money. Shout out to Brahman Yoga on 145th st in Harlem! The hardest part I find is breaking the habit of reaching in your wallet whenever I am bored, hungry, tired, mad, happy, etc.
- Invite friends over. This sounds counter intuitive but it works. Instead of meeting at a local hangout and splitting the bill, even though you just got water, invite friends over for a low cost meal. Chances are that amazing Healing Cabbage Soup, Lentils, or fresh green salad is just sitting in your kitchen threatening to go bad in a day or two. We tend to buy too much food and throw it away. Each year Americans throw away around $640 dollars each year. PLUS friends always bring goodies over too!
- Get creative. When spending money is not an option you start to see all the other things you could/should be doing. I’m a big list maker, obviously, so write down the big things that are worth while in your life. Health, family, friends, learning, meditating, walking, sewing, organizing, writing… the list goes on! If your palm starts to itch just give your aunt a call. That is sure to take up 1-4 hours of free time. This week Aunt SUE! I’m gonna call you!
I hope this helped some of you sitting at your work desk, thinking about all the things you could be doing right now, and dreaming of the day you do them. DO THEM NOW!
In closing.. if you need some extra motivation.. this ALWAYS works for me: