The average American is sourced to spend $151 on food and just a little under $300 in a week...A WEEK! That's insane. As a college student, we learn how to budget, but that's even not good enough. Sometimes all you have money for is food or gas. But adding that all into to social activities, it can get pretty pricey. For me personally, I know that about $100 is what I usually spend week to week. Honestly, most of my money goes to gas, school parking and eating out almost everyday. I've identified this to be a problem for me. It's truly ridiculous to spend that much in a week.
What inspired my change of heart was a video I watched by Lucie Fink aka Try Living With Lucie called "5 days on a $50 Spending Budget." Throughout her video I had two thoughts. 1.) I HAVE to try this and 2.) Why aren't we best friends?! She had such a compelling a cheerful attitude throughout the whole week. Even when it got hard, she still stuck to it. She first started out by planning her week out, buying a little amount of groceries and necessities. She had a few bumps in the road, but that never got her down. She came through triumphantly and even treated herself in the end. This challenge is a total game changer, so I just had to take it on.
Here is her video:
Noting on the fact that her challenge took place in New York, which is more expensive than Los Angeles, I decided to subtract $10 to make things a little more interesting. On Sunday night I sat down and thought about my week and everything I'll need money for. To get myself through the week I needed groceries, gas, parking and coffee/snacks. After that was decided, I went shopping. I found shopping was a little more complicated than usual. I was in the store a lot longer and I had to really look for discounts, and plan my meals for the week so I can get the correct ingredients and not buy random foods. My ending amount was about $17 with everything I needed, I was ecstatic! Next was gas, which really took some planning. My week consist of driving to my internship which was 20 minutes away and school - which took no gas at all. For gas, like any other sane person (I hope) I looked for the cheapest gas station I could find which was $2.69 a gallon. To give me enough gas for the week I got $12 which put me a little under half a tank, so driving this week wasn't going to be recreational. At this point I had $11 for the whole week...it was only Monday.
With only having $11, I was getting a little nervous despite the fact that I had everything I needed, I still felt short on what kept me "comfortable." My week was full and it required a lot of tenacity and concentration. Monday 10-5 I had my internship, Tuesday 8:30-2:45 was my first day of school, Wednesday was a free day, Thursday 10-5 Internship, and Friday - free day. With all these long hours, I realized that I was going to be really hungry! Cooking the night before was a priority and packing lunch is the only thing I could do. Then a problem arose: school parking. My rookie mistake was using a credit card this whole challenge, and to park at school you needed cash if you wanted to find cheap parking. The only parking near school that takes card is around $8-$10 and I only had $11 left. I had a decision to make. Using my last $11 on parking or find another way to school. Thankfully my roommate and I have class on the same day, so problem solved!
In short, the rest of the week went by fine! I felt so relieved having everything I needed and not just spending and spending on things that I want. At the end, I even took from Lucie of "treating myself" with a bag of donuts. This challenge will definitely turn into a lifestyle for me. Of course there are some weeks where only spending $40 is impossible, but I know now that there is such a reward in spending less and living off what you need. I encourage everyone to take on this challenge, and my hopes are for good results!