Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spending Fast: Day One

Sign Of The Times... 
(Photo Credit

"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." - John Locke

The Spending Fast is here! The first day will likely be the easiest, as I have the most resources at my disposal. Since I want to remember how my thought process changes over the next month, I decided to provide a lot of detail in this first Spending Fast post. For example, I speak at length about my meals because I realize now how much thought I had to put into planning my food choices ahead of time.

This morning I flipped the wall calendar to March and stared at the dozens of blank squares, thinking about how I wasn't going to spend money on any of those days if I could help it. My credit cards came out of my purse (save for one in case of an emergency, but it has an extremely low balance and the statements are still mailed to my parents' house, lest I use it and shame myself). Then I went about my day as per usual, only knowing I wouldn't be spending money.

I was greeted right away with words of encouragement from friends, which also helped start me off on a good note. The beau is amazing as well; he even offered to take the Spending Fast with me as a show of support. He does think my $20 grocery limit is a little ridiculous, and it likely is, but that's the fun of a challenge. In fact, I'm even more determined now to see how creative I can be with what I already have.

I went to the kitchen in stratagem mode, scanning the fridge for the most perishable items to use and eat first. Already I was more mindful of how to try to minimize waste. Bonus! I ate a very ripe banana with a swipe of peanut butter for breakfast (because peanut butter is one of my food groups, no lie). I'm very much a fruit-for-breakfast kind of gal.

I meet with one of my friends once every week for lunch. We always go to the same coffee/bagel shop. Sometimes we bring our own lunches there because we like to be rebels. Today I planned ahead and assembled a salad using the last of a bag of greens, sliced strawberries, a handful of walnuts, and some some leftover chicken I roasted the other day, followed by a drizzle of poppy seed dressing. My friend told me it looked like pretty café food. I told her about my spending fast and she thought it was a great idea, as she and I have similar views on most matters and would likely sound crazy to any eavesdroppers.

Around 3:00 I started to get hungry at work. Every time I thought about how dumb I was not to pack a snack, I drank some water. Before I knew it, I'd consumed 24 ounces of water. Another bonus!

The beau came over for dinner, and I made quesadillas--- in an attempt to finish of the roasted chicken--- but I didn't have any flour tortillas, so I made them from scratch. They only require five ingredients and taste about a gajilion times better than store-bought! I have a novelty quesadilla maker that normally inhabits the extreme far corner of my cupboard, but tonight I actually bothered to fish it out. I added shredded chicken, cheese, homemade taco seasoning, and some ancho chile peppers in adobo sauce that were hanging out in a can in my pantry for a while.

At the end of day one, I'm already more mindful of several things, just in knowing I "couldn't" spend any money:
  • First and foremost, I thought more about what I ate throughout the day. I realized it would be smart to plan meals and menus ahead of time. I also realized I didn't snack as I normally do, because my brain went into preservation mode: "Save as much of your food as you can! It has to last the whole month!"
  • I also realized that I don't really have any desserts in my house. As someone who has a major sweet tooth, I briefly wondered about how my body and mind are going to change as the single bag of chocolate chips in my cupboard dwindles to nothing. I'll likely go through a refined sugar withdrawal (which feels like a terrible hangover) and maybe even lose a little weight.
  • Thirdly, I thought about how to waste as little as possible. I don't want to have to throw any food away, and this is something I'm guilty of doing all the time. If I can't go out and buy something to quickly replace it, then I definitely don't want to toss it in the trash if I don't have to. The same mentality now applies to things like paper towels, stamps, etc. The less I throw away, the fewer trash bags I need, which also saves money in retrospect. Saving even a little money means getting that much closer to my goals.
  • Finally, I realized how bizarre this commitment is to many of my friends. Some people I know rarely cook for themselves, and they order takeout or hit the drive-thru or eat in restaurants most of the time. Some folks need to buy their latte every morning in order to function. Some can't fathom the idea of not going out to the bar for a single beer or cocktail for an entire month. What if there's a great Groupon deal? What if those shoes go on sale? What about seeing that cool new movie? I see now that my mindset of preparing all of my meals at home and limiting my social life to free activities is rather unusual. It's very counterculture, and I plan to expand more on this in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. I love your insightfulness Kels. There are websites out there where you can plug in ingreds that you have on hand and it'll come up with recipes for you. This might help you as you discover some of those cans in the back of your pantry and as your perishables begin to, well, perish!