How I Survived on $11.30 Last Week and Loved It!

Last week, I challenged you guys to a $20 Cash Crash Diet 5-Day Challenge after sharing with you that my spending had become a bit reckless over recent months.

I created a Facebook closed community for support and accountability and this structure worked wonderfully. I was able to be more mindful about my purchases and truly forced myself to choice between needs versus wants. (Click here to join.).

The secret in being successful at this challenge is in the preparation:

  1. Every day you will track what you are spending and HOW you are feeling! (So get a journal or keep track on your phone)!
  2. Keep your credit cards at home. You won’t be needing them for the workweek.
  3. Make sure you start thinking about your menu for M-F. List what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner and check your cupboards for these ingredients
  4. Include 2-3 (serious) friends to join your challenge to keep you accountable!!
  5. Be prepared for your inner spending to rebel. Quiet the negative financial self-talk with a powerful affirmation like “I got it. I am all about my coins and my coins are all about me this week.”
  6. Unsubscribe to any online email lists that make you want to shop.
  7. Limit your time on fashion blogs and social media. (They can be brutal).
  8. Subscribe to blogs that inform and inspire around improving your finances.
  9. Before the challenge begins, try to only use cash so you can see how it feels to have a built-in budget.

It would be a lie if I told you I was not tempted to buy things that I did not plan to spend or need during those five days, but the more I understood the larger goal of this process, the more I understood that the only thing that I wasn’t losing anything from it, I was l(re)earning one of the cornerstone of wealth, which is frugality.

In those five days, I bought:

  • flower food $2.30
  • a smoothie from a juice bar that I wanted to support and tipped the owner for his service $7.00 (This purchase was planned ahead of time. I am rarely at the part of town so I knew that I would be spending this money)
  • an impromptu chicken patty because I was without snacks after taking a long time to get my locs done (which I also budgeted). $2.00

By the last day of the challenge, I learned so much about myself and money. Here are some of my biggest takeaways:

  1. It is better to walk with big bills because I am less likely to spend it.
  2.  Single dollar bills are the devil. They are oh-so-hard to track and easy to spend.
  3.  Giving money to people brings me joy. I was happy that my little tip to Ansil, the owner of the smoothie bar, because it showed him that I appreciated him opening the shop for me to get my smoothie.
  4.  I did not miss spending once I had my needs met.
  5. .Planning meals and outfits ahead of time keeps your pockets “swoll” Most of my money has gone to fast food that I don’t miss when I bring lunch.
  6. Having the $20 Cash Crash Diet group made me stay on top of my game. I wanted to report mindful news.
  7.  I have about $9 left over. I am going to stash it in my “Save for a Sunny Day” Fund and start Monday with a new $20 bill and see what happens.
  8.  Adding to my office stash of teas will save me at least $10 a week. That $10 could go to something I REALLY want, like a candle or half a pedicure.
  9.  Spending money on things that I value and things that I need did not make me feel guilty even though (for some reason) I thought it would.
  10.  Saving makes me feel confident and disciplined.

Frugal Feminista Fam: What do you think? Could you make $20 stretch for 5 days? What would you need to do to start your own $20 Crash Cash Diet?

If this posts inspires you to get your finances in order, don’t let the work stop here.  Consider enrolling in one of my online courses. I have one on budgeting and one on saving.


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