A few months ago, Megan from Fix contacted me with an idea for a monthly challenge: a month of freeganism or buying nothing AT ALL. "I'll do it with you!" she said.
And because I'm a sucker for challenges and because I have a competitive streak, oh and also because I am totally NUTS, I agreed. But I still had reservations. "What about food?" I asked, "because I really don't have time to be going dumpster diving at the Au Bon Pain."
(You guys like how the TIME was my issue here and not really the uh ... dumpster diving?)
Megan agreed that the food was problematic. And then we remembered, duh! We have rent to pay. And bills. And turning off your phone for a month is a pain in the ass. And I have recurring donations to Planned Parenthood on my credit card.
Anyway, one thing led to another and we ended up deciding that this month would be the Pseudo Freegan Challenge. So ... we'll still be paying rent and our bills and donations. We'll still pay for medications if need be.
But other than those necessities, we're going to be spending as little money as possible. No snacks, no soda, no movies, no paid concerts, nada. All monetary spending that is not rent or a monthly bill or medication will go up on our blog. And yes, this includes food. If we mess up, and go to a movie, it goes on our blog. And at the end of the month, the one who has spent the least amount of money ... gets to declare victory and talk smack about the other.
Obviously this is going to be a challenging month. Megan gets food at work. I do not, so that puts me at a disadvantage in that category. We both have weekend trips planned for July (one weekend with the family in the Bay Area and a girl's weekend in Vegas) so obviously we're going to end up spending money there. I prepped a little for the challenge by filling gas in my tank and buying my July metro pass before June ended. And I did some grocery shopping over the weekend. I didn't spend much more money than I normally spend, but I did tailor my shopping with the challenge in mind, opting for stuff that I could freeze or store for a month like pasta sauce, bread and bison meat, instead of a ton of fruits and vegetables. Other than that, I bought tickets to a couple events in August (Les Miz at the Hollywood Bowl!!) and that was the extent of my planning.
Why did we decide on this challenge? Especially when Megan's already done the non-consumer thing for a whole year? Neither of us are against eating out at restaurants or seeing movies or paying for concerts. So why even bother?
I'll let Megan speak for herself, but for me, personally, I thought it would be interesting from a psychological perspective to really examine my relationship with money. I want to see how deprived I felt if I didn't allow myself to spend at all. I want to save money for some upcoming adventures. And frankly, it's summer and Los Angeles has hundreds of free events all over the city. I want to see if I can start taking advantage of those, instead of taking the easy road and going to a movie theatre.
So ... we'll see. I fully expect Megan to kick my ass up and down the block. But if that happens, that's okay too. Because as seriously as I am taking this challenge, I also know that I am going to have to give up on perfection right away. There are days when I will end up spending money. And on those days, I will come here and blog about it, and then go back to trying not to spend anything at all. It's going to be an interesting month.
3 weeks ago