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I Didn’t Spend Any Money for a Week and This is What Happened

Money. It’s the thing everyone wants, but no one has. Especially in college, where it flies out the window faster than anything else. If you’re like me and have a real spending problem, it might seem next to impossible to cut out spending from your day-to-day lifestyle, especially for seven days straight. So naturally, I challenged the “impossible” and decided to not spend a single cent the week prior to spring break.

The rules of my challenge were simple: don’t spend a dime. This meant no cash, credit, or gift card transactions at all; no purchases, whatsoever. In theory, this was a great idea for a broke, unemployed college student like myself, but I soon learned that something I believed was a bad habit, is such a daily essential.

Day 1, Sunday: 

The first day started out super easy, mostly in part by the fact that I didn’t even leave my apartment. I started off the day with making a super delicious brunch using items I already had. Not only did it feel amazing to have a great breakfast for free, but it made me feel put together that I could create a meal from scratch, that tastes just like the ones I buy at a diner. Following that, I made sure to eat some leftovers for dinner that I needed to get rid of anyway. Reduce, reuse, recycle…right?

Day 2, Monday:

Day two and I already came close to dropping $30 online shopping. After being rudely awoken by the sun, I was so close to smashing that “order” button on the black-out curtains that have been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for the past couple months. But in that very moment, I got a message from above, in the form of a balance notification text from my bank account, and I immediately closed out of the tab. Instead, I draped a large gray blanket over my curtain rod and rolled back over to catch a few more hours of sleep. By the time I had to go to class, I made sure to pack lots of yummy snacks to bring to campus so that I wouldn’t need to have a stare down with a vending machine. I finished up the day with a homemade dinner, and I can basically call myself a chef now, right?

Day 3, Tuesday:

Tuesday’s are great days to be broke because I attend my weekly cooking class. In this weeks class, we grilled steak, roasted a rack of lamb, and ate like champions. For free. God bless my hospitality major for allowing me to eat well, while still rocking it at my no spend challenge. And because we practically cooked a feast, I was able to have both my lunch and dinner taken care of. Thank you FSS 2221.

Day 4, Wednesday:

Ah, halfway through. Wednesdays are my date nights with my boyfriend, so I was trying to come up with a creative way to not spend money, while still having a great time. Typically when we are broke, we just cook for each other, but this week he surprised me with buying me a sushi dinner that I have been craving for ages. What a good boyfriend. In following suit with not spending money, I cashed in my “Free Boba Tea” in his name as a thank you. 

Day 5, Thursday:

Thursday was my last day of classes before spring break, and of course, I wanted to celebrate. But instead of going out or spending money on something pointless, I found a free event on campus that I was able to attend. It was Painting with a Twist style, minus the twist, where a fellow Her Campus writer and I were able to create free art with the instruction of how to complete it. I was able to walk out of there with a 10×12 canvas, a gift for my boyfriend, and great new memories. And I didn’t have to pay a cent. Thanks, UCF!

Day 6, Friday:

Fridays are my lazy days, so luckily I put off spending money by spending my day in bed instead. I caught up on some homework and TV and snacked on food around the house. When dinner time finally came around, I was able to cook up some steaks from the freezer (I really love steak) and make some side dishes from ingredients I had in my pantry. Six days without spending any money has been a success.

Day 7, Saturday:

Because all good things have to come to an end, Saturday I caved. Some may call it a cheat day, but I call it “a well-earned treat”. On the final day of this challenge, my friends and I headed to the beach, and instead of being smart and bringing snacks from home, we stopped at a diner to grab lunch. I admitted defeat, and it tasted like loaded French fries. Not the worst flavor in the book.

It was crazy to me how simple it is to avoid spending money, but you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. After this challenge, I can definitely see myself cutting down on my spending habits because it really made me ask myself “do I really need this?” with each purchase. Yet unfortunately, spending money is required for surviving, so if we must do it, at least we can be frugal about it. If you’re looking to cut out spending from your daily habits, my tips are to start small and think about necessities versus splurges, and you’ll be well on your way to being fiscally savvy.

Me, on the other hand? I’m just excited that I can make a run through the Starbucks drive-thru without feeling guilty this week. 

Media: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Lena is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida and very emotional about it. She serves as HCUCF's President and Campus Correspondent and is studying hospitality in hopes of making her childhood dreams of getting paid to travel the world come true. She is head over heels in love with all things aesthetically pleasing, so what could be better than working a job that will result in cute photos? While she's not in school or checking out the tacky tourist attractions around Orlando, you can find her spending more money than she has on concerts, clothes, and crappy coffee. She is a low-key movie addict and a high-key Instagram addict. If you want to see what she's up to when she's not hiding behind her laptop screen, you can follow her on Instagram @lena.daniels 
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