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How Long Can You Go Without …? Take ‘Financial Dare’ and Watch Savings Add Up

© lisa marzano 2007Remember playing Truth or Dare as a kid?  Sure, we all do.  Well, what if I asked you to play right now – financially?   Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you take a big financial risk (or tell us a deep dark secret); I’m talking about challenging yourself to be a little more frugal.

I asked my co-workers recently what their favorite little splurges are, and how long they think they could go without them.  The answers I got were pretty compelling.  

Some folks look forward to lunch out with their co-workers on payday Fridays, and meet-ups at a café with friends on the weekend.  One loves his weekly French press coffee at a downtown café.  Still another needs her manicure every two weeks, and don’t even think about getting between a certain caffeine junkie and her triple espresso macchiato from Starbucks every morning!

These all seem like simple pleasures, nothing too outrageous or decadent, right?  But consider that each of these (and I am sure you have some of your own) cost between $5 and $25 each.  You could save $20 a month going without that French press coffee next month!  Can your hands make it without just a couple manicures?  That’s $50 in your pocket, to put in your vacation savings account or pay down a credit card balance.

If you’re the sort who relishes your time with old friends, you don’t have to sacrifice that!  Next time you plan a get-together, invite them to your house and make it a little potluck instead of a night out.  You’ll all save money, and you may find that sharing something of your own makes the visit even more meaningful.

Look at your routine and think about how you might manage without that little something you enjoy.  Maybe you’ll find yourself establishing a different habit in its place, one that’s less expensive and equally satisfying.  I used to stop for a coffee on my way to work each morning and it cost me a couple bucks every day.  Then, one day, I was running late and had to skip that stop.  Needing my caffeine fix, I made due with the coffee provided in the break room, added some flavored creamer … and realized free coffee at work was a perfectly fine substitute!   Now I’m saving $10 a week and a few minutes a day on my commute.

So take my financial dare.  Do you think you can forego something you seemingly can’t live without – even for just a week?   If you think outside the box to replace that treat, or rope in some friends to do it with you, you may be surprised at how easy it is to skip that must-have splurge.   Report back in the comments section about what you decided to go without, and how successful you were.  I dare you!

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Posted in Financial Education.

4 Responses to How Long Can You Go Without …? Take ‘Financial Dare’ and Watch Savings Add Up

  1. Courtney says:

    I started taking the “lunch money” I would spend each week out at the beginning of the week. Whatever I haven’t spent at the end of the week goes right in my Disney box for our family vaction in October. Now, it’s sealed so I don’t have an exact figure of how much is in there but I’m pretty sure it’s over $100 in just a few weeks!!

    1. Claudia says:

      Courtney, that’s a great idea to save your unspent “allowance” instead of spending it on something else right away. I bet you have found yourself motivated to pack a lunch more often, too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Denise says:

    I’m taking the challenge. I forgot how much I did like regular hot coffee almost better than frappes. And I’ve really missed my coconut cream creamer!! Plus my fridge is a lot cleaner now that I’m taking leftovers for lunch!! And I’m quite certain my bank account is thanking me too!!

    1. Claudia says:

      You’re an inspiration , Denise!

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