My first week on the “Live like you are miserably poor challenge”….

Errr….didn’t go so well. Trust me, no one who knows me very well is surprised by this. Here is how my spending went for the week:

Monday 6/25: I ended up going to my Dad’s old office to finish up a project and overslept, so I had no time to make lunch or pack snacks or a drink for the day. I suppose if I were really living like someone who was flat broke I should have just  gone without.

1.63- On a diet Dr. Pepper.

4.96- on lunch.

Tuesday 6/26: I bought groceries for the week, which totaled 84.57 but food is a neccessity. To live. I consider this day a success since this was the only thing I purchased.

Wednesday 6/27: My first ever NSD! No spend day! Woo!

Thursday 6/28 & Friday 6/29: I definitely gave up on these days. I was in a bad mood from not hearing back about a job I was really excited about and I got tired of sitting around the house. So I took my boyfriend to dinner/drinks on Thursday ($80), continued the party and bought some alcohol at a liquor store (21.90), and then bought a few things for the new apartment at Bed, Bath and Beyond (44.24) and paid for a movie on Friday night (23.00).

Saturday 6/30- I bought Gas ($25) and then spent around 22.00 for a night out on the town. I say “around” because I was drinking and lost my receipts. The 22.00 purchased me three drinks, cover for a bar and dinner for me and a friend at Steak N’ Shake. Why would you ever want to leave the south when your money goes that far? Cheapest night out on the town in a loooooong while.

Sunday 7/1- No spend day! I need to rack up a few more of this. It’s one of my goals for next week.

Total Cost for Week: 289.30.


My thoughts? Well, having to write this out makes me a little ashamed. I could have done better, tried harder-the whole point of a challenge is to stretch yourself, right? I also get really upset when I write these things out and realize that (yet again) my emotions have influenced my spending. It’s a daily battle. If I had only spent on physical needs this week my total would have been around 100.00. Still–I want to be honest, so I’m putting all of my failures up here for all to see in the hopes it will inspire me to be held accountable for next week.

My mom thinks a no spend challenge is a little too stringent. “Soon you will be working and there won’t be time for fun or trips. You should be out enjoying this time you have now.” She said. Because that is all work-life is…. no time for fun or for trips. Ha! I do see her point, and it’s especially hard to sit around the house when the temperature prevents you from doing too much outside. I just don’t want to blow all of my savings and have my “funemployment” extend on and on into the future. Then I’ll be back working at Bath and Body Works…or as my Dad calls it “Bed, Bath and Body Works.”

He’s hilarious.


15 thoughts on “My first week on the “Live like you are miserably poor challenge”….

  1. We’ve been trying this “live like you are miserably poor challenge” for a while now as we try to pay off my student loans. It’s HARD! I would suggest reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover if you haven’t already. You’re debt-free (yay!), so you get to skip to step 3 automatically, but what I think might help you the most is his cash system. I swore up and down that I would not spend any less money if I switched to cash instead of my debit or credit card. I remember fighting with Thomas over my credit cards (all four of them!) because I thought I used them responsibly – I paid them off every month – I just wanted the points. I even hid two of them from him – literally (and for the longest time I couldn’t remember where my Amex was… whoops!), but I decided to compromise and try the cash only system for two months, knowing that I would spend the same amount of money. False – my spending dropped DRAMATICALLY. It was so much harder for me to get rid of my cash. I cut up my two store credit cards and tucked the other 2 safely away in a drawer for online purchases or severe emergencies only. You should try it!!

  2. Kayla,
    I’ve been trying to cut back on my spending and hadn’t really thought of using cash to do so. Do you find that its difficult for you to budget if you use cash? I tend to keep my finances organized by using different checking accounts or credit cards for different budget items. I’ll definitely check out the Dave Ramsey book though!

    • I did at first, but once I’d done it a month or two, it was a lot easier. Obviously this solution isn’t feasible for everyone, but what worked for me was organizing my cash in a coupon book. At the beginning of the month, I’ll make my budget, keeping separate lists of what has to be paid with a check/card (i.e. rent, power) and what can be paid in cash (gas, groceries, eating out, fun!). Then go to the ATM and get the cash out (some months I would have to get half my cash for the month out of each paycheck) and put the respective amount from my budget behind the corresponding tab in my coupon book. To help me keep track of what I’ve bought, I put receipts behind the cash when I made purchases. It’s easy to constantly keep a check on how much you’ve spent and how much you have left in each category because everything is all together. Sometimes I feel silly whipping out a coupon book as my wallet – but I am not ashamed! I’ve saved so much money! Caveat for all the readers out there – this plan worked very easily for me when I was single and all my money was being spent by me. Now that I’m married and we have a combined pool of income AND expenses, this method is a little more difficult since we are both spending money. We’ve had to alter it some and just use cash for our separate “fun” spending and eating out – but I promise it helped SO SO much when I was trying to get my spending under control!

  3. I’ve been cutting back on my spending-it’s hard. Especially at first. For the lunch thing, I try to make my lunches the night before–that way I just grab it on the way out. Also-take it one day/one week at a time. You’ll improve honest! Don’t get too discouraged right away if you slip now and then though.

  4. haha I think you need to rename your no spend challenge. Straight up calling it ‘miserably poor’ kinda reinforces that spending is a priority to keep yourself happy. Instead focus on the poor people who are extremely happy living the minimalism lifestyle.

    As for the cash only system, I think that only works for some people. If I’m carrying cash, it is so much more tempting to spend. Some people do manage to be responsible with credit cards, but I know for other people that prevents them from really paying attention to how much they spend.

    • I hadn’t thought about how the name is putting a negative message out there-it was just a joke between me and the boyfriend, but you are absolutely right! Minimalism is sexy!

      As for cash…I really hesitate to limit my debt card use. I am one of the most forgetful people on earth and somehow cash just seems to slip right out my hands.

  5. There’s a saying in the Uk “Take care of the pennies & the pounds will take care of themselves”. The problem is I’ve always been drawn to spending the notes! That’s why I blog about saving money, keeps my mind on the job!

  6. Awareness is the first step to change. 🙂 It’s good to be writing stuff like this out so that you can be aware of it and how to change it; you’re right…announcing it to the whole world certainly helps with accountability! Don’t give up; it doesn’t sound like you’re going to. But two NSD in one week is an accomplishment.

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