How to have zero dollar days
Four years ago, I started logging all my expenses into an excel sheet and created a digital envelope system that helped me save $7,000 in three years. It was amazing to see how much money I was actually spending compared to what I thought I was spending.
From this excel sheet immerged a new idea - how much was I spending on a daily basis? I printed out a blank calendar, and started tracking how much I spent total each day. It didn't take long to see a strange pattern. For some reason, on Sunday and Tuesday - I didn't spend anything. This wasn't just a one time thing either. For the entire first quarter of my tracking, I consistently spent $0 on those two days - but why?
I looked back to my excel and my work schedule and realized every Sunday and Tuesday I closed at work. Sunday I would sleep in until just before my shift, and went home right after my shift ended. Tuesday was similar in the fact that I had class all morning and then headed to a closing shift after. From this little tracking discovery my new game of collecting, "zero dollar days," was born.
How many days in a month could I not spend anything? I was accidentally doing two days already, so I made it my goal to have 3 days a week where I didn't spend any money at all. It might have sounded like a tiny goal when you consider I was only adding one day a week, or 4 days a month extra total. Why not aim higher? Why not double the amount of zero dollar days? For me I knew my limits. I knew that if I said, "I absolutely will not spend money on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," I would start spending more on the days where I was, "allowed," to spend - and that would totally diminish the impact of the zero dollar days. Adding one extra day was more than enough.
Zero dollar days also helped me make better decisions on what I spent my money on. Did I really need that pair of shoes or dress I hadn't planned on buying that day? Did I absolutely have to buy a new lotion because mine was almost gone and didn't want to do it in 2 weeks when it ran out? The answer more often than not was, "No, actually I don't need this. I might want it - but I want a zero dollar day more."
For me the accidental discovery of zero dollar days helped me change my spending habits for the long run.
Have you found any days that you spend $0 after tracking your spending?