I remember the day just like it was yesterday. It was just like any normal day. I went to work, came home and ate dinner, did a few things around the house, and then went to bed. Truly nothing spectacular by any means. What’s missing though is that I had no money to do anything. I had amassed massive credit card debt and was now reaping what I sowed over the course of several years. I was a recent college grad (sadly now 16 years ago) who thought that I would have bright prospects when I left college. This was not the case. My days consisted of eating a frozen Lender’s bagel for lunch and if I was lucky, a tasty Totino’s Party Pizza for dinner. This period lasted for several months and I do not share it as a means for you to feel sorry for me, but to explain where I am coming from. The situation was not caused by credit cards, it was not caused by someone forcing me to do something I did not want to do, but it was caused by my insatiable desire to buy more and more stuff. Essentially it was my lack of contentment and my inability to say no that brought me to this situation. It was ALL on me.
Is a No Spend Challenge Possible?
During my bleakest days I had at max $100 to my name each month after I paid for my rent, paid for utilities, bought a few groceries and paid towards my massive credit card debt. What my choices led to was a forced no-spending challenge. I had months where I had no choice but to not spend money. If I did, then I would not be able to eat the following week. It’s amazing what you’ll sacrifice in order to eat. I was not perfect. I made choices at times that would result in me scrambling to know where my $15 for groceries for the week would come from. I did creative things like sell my TV or sell plasma so I could make it another week. What I soon learned was that it is entirely possible to have days where you spend no money. Sure, it might mean that you don’t leave the house that day, or say no to friends who invite you to go out. These options may not be desirable, but the point is that it is possible to not spend money. In fact, I even had weeks where I would challenge myself not to spend money. I was not always the most successful at these challenges, but it instilled in me a desire to become more disciplined with my money.
What is the Underlying Cause?
Thankfully, I have come a LONG way over those 15 years. I could sit here and wax poetic about how it really was not my fault and blame the system or blame someone else. That simply would just result in me not taking responsibility for my actions. No one held a gun to my head; I made each and every purchase on my credit cards knowing full well I did not have the money to spend. The salient point was that I was not content and I was not living a disciplined life. The issue came down to that I was living a life beyond my means while giving no regard to the future. The situation forced me to not just sit idly by, but it forced me to take action. If I sat there and did nothing then the best scenario would have resulted in bankruptcy. That simply was not an option to me as I am the one who caused the situation and no one else. Thankfully, a kind individual introduced me to the idea of budgeting and tracking my expenses. Many years removed, I can now see that that person changed my life and I now find that I love budgeting.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, I implore you to take action now. Stop spending money and look for ways at how you can cut your spending or even give yourself a no spending challenge. Try it for a day and see what it does for you. The idea is to help you become more financially prudent and starting down a road to financial recovery. As a way to help you out, I am taking part with several other bloggers in a $100 PayPal cash or Amazon gift card giveaway. It may not seem like much but it can help you do such things as start or pad an emergency fund or do a little something for yourself. Good luck! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below and you may be your way on to scoring a cool $100!