I'm eternally frugal. I'm a cheapskate and proud of it. I can stretch a buck so far that George's smile widens. I hate to spend more than I have to. I research almost all purchases, I use coupons and rebates, and like to do a victory dance at Walgreens when they pay me to take something home!
Cheapskates unite all over the web. I follow several frugal blogs and I just discovered, Jeff Yeager, The Ultimate Cheapskate, and am thoroughly enjoying his book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road to True Riches. He was on the radio when I was out running errands and I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store for half an hour just so I could hear him speak. OF COURSE I didn't PURCHASE his book!! I requested if from the library (that's Cheapskate 101).
He and I see eye to eye on so much. His philosophy about how life is not about the money or the stuff you acquire, but what you experience is dead on. Life isn't about too much or too little money, but what is actually enough. And, surprisingly, you need very little stuff to be truly happy.
He brings up the idea of a self-imposed spending freeze early in his book. A Fiscal Fast, as he's coined it, where you agree in your household not to spend a dime for an agreed upon length of time. The goal, to creatively use up what you have and to find ways to entertain yourself without it costing you a dime. A side effect of this fast is that you'll save money, but it's much bigger than that.
I approached Hubby with doing this, thinking he would say, "no way, it can't be done." He thought about it for a minute and then said, "Could I still fill my car with gas if I needed to get to work?" I said sure and that we'd institute some rules, like, we'd go to the doctor and fill prescriptions if we needed them, if our furnace conked out we'd fix it, we'd leave automatic bill paying as scheduled, but really any other eventuality that we came up with could be pushed to another time. In other words, there really are very few fiscal emergencies that crop up.
We're going to give it a try. I'd like to start this Friday and fast for 7 days. Friday to Friday. And just see how it goes. My prediction is that it's going to be successful and that we'll surely survive and that we'll probably try to do it again. Jeff's rules: no stocking up ahead of time on things that you think you might need, just in case. So, no milk once we run out--we can finally clear out the frozen pancakes and waffles in the freezer and our oatmeal won't be made with milk in the morning. Young One can drink milk at school. No trips to the movies, movie rentals, arcade games, no impulse buys, and no runs to Target that turn a quick, inexpensive errand into a $100 cart full of extra doo dads. No Christmas shopping. Nothing that involves spending money.
I think it's going to be interesting and kind of fun. A week without spending ANY money. Why am I going into this thinking it's going to be easier than it may be?