25 comments

MMM Challenge: Save 100 Dollars This Week

Perhaps you have been reading along so far, enjoying our little growing community, but you’re still not sure where to get started. There’s plenty of personal finance advice out there, but you’re too busy to search through all the disorganized piles of non-amusing advice. You want to do it the Mr. Money Mustache Way!

Well, It’s time to start putting the pencil to the dollar bill now – earning yourself more freedom in only one week.

Right now, imagine your normal weekly routine – whatever you were planning to do if I hadn’t published this life-changing article.

Now let’s see if you can shave $100 off of it. I’m sure you can think of specific things, but here’s a sample diet.

Idea: See if you can go out to lunch and dinner ZERO times in the whole week! Bring your lunch to work.
Credit: $20 or so per meal, compared to the number of times you went out last week.

Idea: See if you can combine ALL your driving into the trips you already do for work. Don’t worry, you can still go out on the weekend, but you will be taking your bike!
Credit: $10 per day that you eliminate non-work driving.

Idea: Don’t make ANY trips to stores, other than grocery stores, this week. You’ll still be allowed to buy any missing items next week, but this exercise of delaying the purchases might be quite enriching.
Credit: $20 per store you would have normally visited, but postponed.

Tell us all how you are doing on the challenge! It’s okay to break the rules if necessary, but you have to try your best.

At the end of the week, there will be some excellent things to do with the $100 or more you just saved. Remember that every time you figure out how to save money at one moment in time, it gives you some employees that you will keep working for you for the rest of your life. Congratulations!!

  • Brad April 28, 2011, 7:24 am

    Hi [Mr. Money Mustache]!

    Karen and I just discovered your blog through a Facebook post – love it.

    I seem to always think of purchases in terms of “how much would this cost me per month if I split the cost over 1 year” – as in “wow – that trip to Florida is costing us $300/month!!” and it helps put things in perspective for me and make me really think about a purchase.

    Thinking back I realized that I picked up this habit from you back in “the day” at the old nut-house. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    We are both employed with our own corporation, working from home, eating breakfast with the kids, and living the dream in PEI. Your blog serves as a good refresher on determining what is important, and how our frugal habits helped us to get where we are today.

    Cheers,
    Brad
    PS – if you’re looking to add functionality to your blog (e.g. like social media integration) I’d be happy to share what WordPress plugins work well for me and even give you some tips on configuration

    Reply
    • MMM May 2, 2011, 8:18 pm

      Hi Brad!

      Sorry, I wrote back to you earlier on this comments forum, but when reviewing the comments today it seems to be missing.. so perhaps it was never sent.

      Anyway, I was just saying thanks very much for your comment and that happy update on how things are going for your family these days! Very glad to hear that mastery of spending has played a part in getting you the dream life. This Sunrise Web company of yours looks like an excellent biz too – I checked out the website.

      Best Regards,
      MMM

      Reply
  • Mr. Frugal Toque April 29, 2011, 7:48 am

    I don’t know, Mr. Mustache … this sounds an awful lot like Lent.

    All the same, I didn’t go out to lunch yesterday, so $15 for me.

    Reply
    • MMM May 2, 2011, 8:07 pm

      Lent? Never heard of it! Perhaps you mean Lentils, which I do think are an awesome contributor to home cooking on $100 Challenge Week. And every week after that too.

      Reply
      • Kelly November 20, 2014, 9:43 pm

        As a lifelong Catholic, I had to giggle at this! (I can’t quite tell if you’re being facetious in your Lent/lentils thing.)

        Lent – a period of 40 days prior to Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, marked by sacrifice and fasting (i.e. – I gave up soda and chocolate for Lent this year, two of my favorite vices.) No meat is to be eaten on Fridays in Lent. If approached prayerfully, it can enhance the faith. Or it can be a real drag.
        lentils – a high protein, fast cooking legume eaten by many people who want to save money and who can’t have meat on certain days in Lent.

        Reply
  • Sam May 9, 2011, 12:40 am

    Love the challenge but I need more challenging ideas. I don’t drive and eat most lunches at home (I can easily switch to eating all lunches at home too). Do you care to offer suggestions to the extremist sort?

    Reply
    • MMM May 9, 2011, 11:51 am

      Hi Sam,

      Awesome! That is a complaint I rarely hear. But if you want to go further, what are your goals? Do you want to help the earth more, or mostly save more money for freedom? For example, buying less meat accomplishes more earth and only somewhat more money. Whereas finding a way to increase your income a bit and save 100% of the increase, perhaps through investing or enjoyable side projects, boosts the money side greatly but not the earth side. Either way, I accept your challenge to make more challenging challenges!

      Reply
      • Sam May 15, 2011, 9:50 pm

        Honestly I am not sure of goals. Especially now that I’m coasting and all my habits are ingrained, obtaining new challenges is a bit of a…challenge.

        I’m not a big meat eater and love my job and can see myself staying on evening after reaching FI. For a while I tried working on increasing my income, but I am not really that interested in making more money mainly because it often results in me losing other things I value more such as free time. I am actually gearing up to asking for a flexible schedule at work so I can spend on extra day at home working on things for myself like reading or going on an aimless ride. I think at this point in my life, I’m working on learning how to appreciate my life more with the decisions I’ve made that have made me happy in life.

        Reply
        • MMM May 15, 2011, 10:28 pm

          Dear Sam,
          You sound like a very happy person already! Congratulations again. Maybe I could get you to do a guest posting for MMM readers someday on the joys of a bicycle/nonconsumer/financially non-stressed life.

          I also like your idea of customizing the work schedule for more free time and self-exploration. For the last year of my own work career, I also went down to four days per week in exchange for a 20% pay cut and it was a great feeling.

          It sounds like I still have not been able to challenge you. I am about to get into a more investment/earning good returns section of MMM writing in the upcoming weeks. When you save money, are you putting it somewhere where you are happy with its performance for you? If not, maybe that is something to work on – learning more about investing?

          Nice to hear from you again. I think I will check out your blog again this ‘eve.
          MMM

          Reply
          • Brad May 16, 2011, 9:06 am

            Looking forward to some investing tips!

            Reply
  • Sam May 17, 2011, 12:46 pm

    I would appreciate investing tips. I have a lot of what many consider bizzare ideas on investing and money. I am very risk averse and am pretty content to just not lose money so all my vehicles are about as safe and risk free as I can make it. It is spread in a couple of different buckets, but to date the goal has been to not rely much on money eventually. So if the living structure is paid for and food is gotten to as low of a means possible I consider it a success. Granted, I pay rent and other bills, but I am working on getting all costs as low as possible.

    I would love to do a guest post, and am happy you asked :)

    Reply
  • shadowmoss May 24, 2012, 11:15 am

    I started at the beginning and am reading through all the posts. I read this yesterday, and not long after had a fight with a co-worker. So, I immediately decided that the reason for this job is to pay off debt. I decided not to order some things on-line (I live in Honduras, so on-line is pretty much the only way to go), and decided not to go and stay in the city at a hotel for this long weekend (Memorial Day). I am probably going to put off some more traveling until I am debt-free. So, for this week, reading your post saved me $500-$700, and was a good reminder to get my priorities back in line.

    Reply
    • GregK June 7, 2012, 12:48 pm

      Wow. I think you just eliminated anyone’s ability to characterize MMM’s assertion that this article is “life-changing”. Keep up the good work — once you get off the debt treadmill, you’ll be able to make some real strides towards FI!

      Reply
  • Dom December 13, 2012, 9:43 am

    I love this idea! Since reading this my gf and I have made up our own tally and we treat it like a game. Whoever tallies up the least “savings” puts $5 in a jar at the end of the week. We then put that money towards our vacations or treating our self to a rare night out! Thanks for the continuous great ideas MMM!

    Reply
    • Suzanne January 4, 2013, 4:02 pm

      Hello,

      I am so glad I came across this blog. I have been reading from the end of the posts and am not current yet:) I just put my large family on a somewhat severe budget. My husband doesn’t think I can do it but I’ll show him. We are deeply in debt, for a number of reasons, and hate it. This is the year to get out. Maybe not completely but way out so we don’t feel like we are drowning.

      FYI My husbands commuting bicycle just broke. It would be a major repair to the derailer and other components. So, I looked on Craigslist and found a nice men’s bike for $50. It blew my budget of $250 for the week to zero but that’s okay. The $250 was for all incidentals and groceries. I can’t believe I stayed in budget and even got my hubby a new/old bike.

      Very excited!

      Suzanne

      Reply
  • kelly February 23, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Hmmmmm, 100 in one week….ok, looks like starbucks and i will part company. but like sam i don’t have much to cut out daily….but starbucks should net me $25 but i’ll keep looking

    Reply
  • Margaret Fuller April 16, 2013, 11:37 am

    I’m cutting out barting to work and bussing home. That saves me $3.60 three days a week–a total of $10.80/week. And it gets me in better shape because I’ll walk instead. I bring my lunch every day and only go out to coffee with coworkers a couple times a month, and I’m not ready to cut that out. I’m also planning to get up earlier on Sundays to walk to church–it’s 2.1 miles away.

    Reply
    • Esther September 24, 2013, 7:49 am

      Hello MMM,
      I am GRS follower and JD introduced me to your site. He was talking about the retreat you guys had recently and really enjoyed your ideas. Thus far I love the Blog. great work. I am still not current yet. I am reading from the beginning.
      Like Sam, I think I may need more challenge, I bring lunch to work every day saves me about $45 – 50 a week. I make coffee at home about $3 a day and I make breakfast as well – I make a shake every morning or I bring my oat meal and make it at work. I have no consumer debt. I am 2 years ahead on my student loan. I want to pay off that sucker ASAP. I was introduced to the “Latte Effect” by David Bach a few years ago and since then, I stopped wasting money on coffee and slowly on lunch as well.
      I love the blog ! I am not quite a mustachian yet, I live in the NYC area it’s a lot harder. But I am getting there.
      Retiring early sounds like a great plan to me.

      Reply
  • Jae October 8, 2013, 2:53 pm

    One thing I did was eat out of my pantry and freezer for a month! You would be amazed at the things I cooked.

    Reply
    • gr8bkset January 16, 2014, 7:18 am

      That’s a great idea to save $$ as well as to de-clutter my pantry/fridge!

      Reply
    • Oh Yonghao March 26, 2014, 2:03 pm

      I tried looking into that but (un)fortunately my wife and I don’t generally buy things that we aren’t going to eat and mostly eat fresh fruits and vegetables, not much in the pantry other than rice and oatmeal. My wife is great at thinking of things to cook and not wanting to waste anything so we usually end never end up throwing things out, and when we are out of food we really are out of food.

      Reply
  • Sue June 26, 2014, 11:17 am

    I am new to MMM and reading along in the blog. I know there is more I can do but not quite along the lines recommended here. I do bring my lunch every day. And I have a box of tea bags from the supermarket that I use to make a cup of tea with free water here from the faucet. During the week I primarily commute and rarely run an errand during it (and not an extra trip). What others ideas do you have? I was tempted earlier in the week to buy a tea out and a candybar but I didn’t so saved about $4 (chai tea is yummy but costs!).

    Reply
  • Sarah C July 11, 2014, 10:16 am

    Late to the game, but I’ll play anyway:
    – bought my kid a bike on craigslist, saving at least $50 over new price
    – washed our own car, saving at least $10 (not to mention the .35 and a blue crayon we found under the kid’s car seat)
    – redeemed a coupon for a free audiobook, worth $14 (not that I was going to buy it otherwise, but I might have gone to the used bookstore to browse, where I would have spent at least $25)
    – sent my husband to the used bookstore to get birthday presents for my kid’s friends, at $8 each we saved about $20 over whatever we would have paid to buy plastic junk at Target (as per our usual, not to mention the $$$ you always end up spending whenever you walk into Target; not going there saves me a hundred bucks by itself!)
    – making homemade nachos for a Friday night treat instead of sandwiches from our favorite food truck, saving $26
    – rode bike to work every day, saving the car mileage of that 6 miles a day and also the parking fees I would have paid – (can’t calculate without using the maths) – but that’s normal for my family anyway
    (I always take my lunch and make my own coffee, so no change there from my usual).
    – decided not to buy the fancy new anti-fog swim goggles I wanted and just use my old ones until they really really leak, saving $14 and the “just add ## more to the cart for free shipping!”

    – not yet done but we’ll get on it this weekend: selling the outgrown tricycle on craisglist, probably for about $15

    Reply
  • missj August 15, 2014, 1:40 am

    ooooh…this will be tough as we are already pretty frugal.

    we eat out at a restaurant maybe 1 time per month or less and fast food like subway or taco bell maybe another 1-2x per month averaging probably $60-80 per month. So if I don’t eat out at all during the week I can save roughly $15 right there no problem.

    Once a week I usually buy myself a $3.50 latte and $2.50 bagel + $1 tip=$7 midway through my friday morning bike ride. That is a ritual I don’t want to skip, but maybe I’ll bring a snack from home and just buy a cup of regular drip coffee. That will save me $5.

    I experimented with cutting my husband’s and son’s hair today. That was a first for me, I’m still getting used to using the clippers but it looks OK and hair grows back and I saved us about $35 including tip.

    so, I’m up to $55 but kinda out of ideas for the rest of the week to make up the extra $45 since we’re already somewhat frugal.

    I would like to claim the $100+ per month savings from dying my own hair, but I’ve been doing that for years…

    Can I count fruit that I eat from my own trees and eggs I eat from my own chickens? But that’s also not a change from normal….hmmmm…..

    Reply
  • Ninjabuck September 16, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Dear MMM,

    After addictively reading your blog every available minute of every day for the last week, I thought it was time for my first comment! I came back to this one–after starting from the beginning of course–to share a great success of the last week. Before that, I want to say that my wife and I have been incognito Junior Mustaches; having been living the Mustache lifestyle without knowing the Mustache lifestyle existed. I am 24, have been married for 2 years, and paid off my entire student debt in 10 months after graduating in April 2013. My wife and I bike to work in Ottawa, do not own a car, rent an apartment for $800/month, have never had Cable, have no money-eating addictions (unless biting my nails ends up costing me somehow…) The beginnings of a Mustache empire are rising.

    Now to the success story of the $100 challenge: Having recently discovered your blog, my wife and I decided to kick it into another gear and tried to spend nothing this week aside from groceries. This has been accomplished and I haven’t even calculated the numerous savings as a result of that yet… but to make it even more exciting, I remembered I had an old student credit card which cost $19/year. I cancelled it and realized I had been accumulating TD Rewards that were untransferable and would expire in 2 months. So I went to TD Rewards and used my points to get $75 worth of groceries at Food Basics!! To add to that, I had finally taken the time this week to add all of my old University textbooks and other old books to Amazon.ca and just today two were bought! After mailing them I made a profit of $30 for just two books, bringing my total to $105! Not bad if I do say so myself!

    I look forward to finishing catching up on the unread blog posts and to continuing the Mustache ways here in Ottawa!

    Yours sin’stachely,

    Buck

    Reply

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