Monday, December 7, 2009

December: Attempting to Spend Nothing for 23 Days, Including Christmas

I set myself a budget of $1500 for December. I've already paid the rent, all the utility bills, ate two meals out, took the boyfriend to the top of the Hancock Center, paid for Netflix, and bought about 4 years' worth of soap. Buying the soap last night used up the last of the budget. So my mission for the next 23 days will be to use as little money as possible.

Actually spending nothing will not be possible. Technically, we probably have enough food in the house to last until New Year's, but we are out of tomato products, low on cheese, and have only about two cups of white flour, and if I attempted to feed the raised-on-fast-food-and-Stouffer's boyfriend for 23 days on a diet consisting mostly of frozen chicken, whole wheat flour, and artichokes, I think he would rebel and we'd end up eating Domino's instead. However, maybe I can convince him that when we do go to the grocery store, we should buy only those things on our list (i.e., the things we actually "need").

I'm also committed to mailing several books on Paperbackswap. I certainly don't need any more credits, but since you never know how long it will take a book to be requested, I'd like to send those out, for a cost of probably about 10 to 12 dollars.

Typical expenses that I don't need to spend money on this month:

  • waxing (have Nair I can use instead this month)
  • stamps (already mailed bills; shouldn't need to mail anything else until January)
  • Christmas presents?!?--the boyfriend, my brother and sister in law, and my parents have all said they don't want presents this year. I said something to my parents about donating money in their name instead, but I don't think they'd be too disappointed if I don't follow through, or if I did something that doesn't cost money, like write them a thoughtful letter. I don't really exchange gifts with friends at the holidays, and I don't have to participate in the gift exchange at work. So I think, maybe, my only possible gift expense will be small gifts for the people I supervise. Last year, all three of them gave me gifts, and I reciprocated. I will probably wait until a few days before Christmas to see if this is becoming a regular thing, and if it is, I'll get them something small and consumable. I'm not a fan of this kind of gift-giving, and I think it's particular weird for people to buy gifts for the person who is essentially their boss, but I do appreciate the thought and if they get me things I'll return the favor.

Things I may "need" to spend money on:
  • boyfriend's birthday: usually he just wants a nice meal and cake, but if he wants to go out to eat or wants a present, I'll definitely oblige him.
  • meals out with boyfriend on "bad days": there's a good reason right now for me to treat him to an occasional meal out, so if it's appropriate, I'll do this, too. Could be once or not at all in the next 23 days, could be ten times.
  • eating out with friends: I'd like to see a particular friend at least once before Christmas. I should be able to find a way to do this without spending money, but I might take the easy way out and end up going out to dinner with her.