I posted the $100 Challenge last Wednesday Night, which made Thursday the first day. The post got an unusually large number of reads last week, and again today due to a valued reader who posted it to her facebook page – thanks a lot!
But have you actually been challenging yourself? Or did you just read it and have a chuckle and then head out in the Mercedes ML500 for pints and steaks at the brew pub?
I must admit I was feeling a bit casual myself when I wrote it. I was secretly thinking, “Listen up, we already the Triple M’z, Yo / We runnin’ so lean, nobody could shave a dolla’ from the routine”.
But once I published the challenge, a little change came over me. And it happened to Mrs. Money Mustache too, since she is a very close participant in this blog. Even though none of you are actually watching us to check for cheating, we really felt motivated to see what we could do. I stuck a piece of scrap paper onto the breakfast bar and started writing down the results – including all our spending and transportation – each day. Here’s where we’re at so far:
Bike Miles: 7, Car Miles: 0, Spending: $54 on groceries
Challenge Savings: I made a point of looking over my grocery bill to check for mistakes. It turns out when you buy a lot of organic produce as I do, mistakes are very common (1 in 4 receipts perhaps). Today I found that my $5.00/5 lb bag of organic Gala apples was billed at $12.00. I asked the service guy and he very apologetically handed over the full $12.00 as a compensation. Free apples – sweet! Deliberately decided to skip buying beer and wine this week to save some money and also give my fitness training a boost. We normally have about 3 drinks each per week at $1.50 each: Credit: $12.00 for apples and for $9.00 for beer and wine = $21.00.
Bike Miles: 7, Car Miles: 0, Spending: $0 – no unusual challenge savings today, the wife and I just worked at home while the lad was in preschool.
Saturday: Bike Miles: 11, Car Miles: 0, Spending: $0.
Challenge Savings: Wife normally would have driven to CrossFit class due to unusually chilly weather, but she toughed up for the challenge, saving 1 car trip. Also, I was trimming the grass with my old inherited corded weed eater. The piece of crap finally gave out and shot broken plastic parts all over the lawn. I smashed it up in rage and threw it into the metal recycling bin, and ALMOST hopped on the bike to head to Home Depot to pick out a new cordless one. Then a bubble appeared over my head and Barney from the Simpsons started calling “Chaaaaalllenge Weeeek!”. So I went to the shed and grabbed the long manual shears instead. I had never tried using these for lawn and weed edging before, but surprise, they are shockingly fast, silent, and I also got a bit of added workout for free! I don’t think I’ll even buy a weed-eater again. So I’ll award myself $60 for the day.
Sunday: Bike Miles: 2, Car Miles: 0, Spending: $0. Raining part of the day. Played in and around the house. No unusual Savings, but you can’t complain about a day where you spent zero dollars!
Monday: Bike Miles: 8, Car Miles: 0, Spending: $95 ($25 insurance copayfor the boy’s 5-year checkup and immunizations, $70 for wife’s first experimental visit to chiropractor which we later decided was a total waste of money). Wife took son to the doctor’s office in the bike trailer instead of the car, for which we get $10 according to the scoring system.
Perhaps a little more detail than you wanted. But it’s interesting to me to note that we haven’t even started the car in almost a week, and we have spent only $54+$95 even on a week with very unusual medical bills. But of course, other random expenses come up in other weeks like school supplies or clothing.
So so far, with an honest accounting of savings directly because of MMM challenge week, I’m up $91.00 in five days! This is pretty significant since as a family that lives on about $40k, our average spending is normally $547 on the typical five-day period. We’ve cut it by a further one sixth just because of this savings game!
Imagine how much cutting could be done for a family that is currently living on $50, 70, or 100+ thousand per year!
Any stories of your own savings to share?