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My wife and I figured it was a great time to try something we’d always wanted to do since starting my blog—live with very little money for a set period of time and see what I learn. It was an interesting and eye-opening experience, but more importantly, I learned some invaluable personal finance lessons. A Little About the Frugal Experiment My goal was to use as little money as possible. I did not include the rent as part of the experiment because there is no way I could cut back unless I moved. I did however cut back on electricity during that week, which I will talk about later. The plan was to live for a few days with as little as possible and see how I do. At the time, I really didn’t know what I would get out of it but it was an experience that I wanted to have since I knew I would gain a better understanding of both life and frugality.
Electricity During this week, I was trying my best to conserve electricity within the house as much as possible, so I unplugged all appliances from the wall and didn’t turn on the air conditioning, which we seldom use anyway. 25 a month, but all I really used was the microwave so my total expenditure for electricity was incredibly low. Water While I could cut back on eating, that wasn’t the case for drinking water. Instead of purchasing gallons of brand-name water, I went down to the water fountain by the fitness center to fill up a few jugs of water. It was plenty for the week so no cost incurred. Activities This week I went out to jog and walked a lot at night. It’s amazing how many things you overlook when you are in a rush.
I plan to incorporate into my routine. I was able to accomplish a ton blogging as I wasn’t watching TV or using the computer for anything else other than to be productive. Again, it’s amazing the efficiency you can achieve when you don’t give yourself the option to slack off. What I Learned There are so many finance lessons that we hear and read about, but the lessons won’t ever really sink in until we actually live through it.
You are using more than you really need. This experience further strengthened my belief that the majority of people who think they can’t cut back aren’t looking hard enough. Next time someone asks me for advice on savings and say they are already spending as little as possible, I will know what to challenge them with. It’s not as bad as you think. It is great to know this on a visceral level, because it will further strengthen my mentality on being ruthless about how I save money.