I figured I would lay down the law/explain my reasoning before this all begins.
I'm doing this for various reasons. The main reason is to put away a large chunk of money in savings over the course of January. (I've been a little careless with spending, but I haven't dipped into my savings. I do feel, however, that more of my paychecks should be saved and I can't think of a better way to "train" myself.) Another reason involves this bad economy business. I figure that none of us knows what might happen and even though my company says everything is going to be a-ok, I want to be safe and have a little nest egg saved up in case something goes wrong and I find myself without a stream of cash.
My other reason (and the reason I am keeping this in a blog that everyone can read) is to prove just how possible this is and just how careless most of us can be with money. By documenting what I eat and how I spend, I might be able to teach someone how to keep hold of their cash moreso than they are now. I live in San Francisco, which is considered one of the most expensive cities in the country. Unless you want to eat a burrito (easily cut in half and saved for two meals) every day, you have to be a little more creative in how you spend and survive here. I'm also vegan, which means I do not eat meat, dairy, or any other animal byproduct. Many people claim this is more expensive than a normal diet, but I believe that's only true if you try to eat the same way as you did when you ate everything (fake meat IS expensive).
I've thought a considerable amount about how I'm going to do all of this. The "rules:"
-I am allowed ten dollars a day. If I only spend five dollars one day, that means I can transfer the amount to the next day, thereby having fifteen dollars to spend.
-I will be paid on the last day of December and the 15th of January. On these paydays, I will figure out how many days I have until next payday and multiply the amount by ten. Anything leftover between my paycheck and that amount will be put directly into my savings account.
-My debit card will be left at home during this experiment. I will take out my cash in two or four day increments. I will only have this cash on me, so I won't be able to over-spend. (I will, however, hold onto my credit card when I go out-of-town. This is in case of an emergency. I rarely use my credit card even now.)
-Rent, utilities, Netflix, and my cell phone bill are not a part of this. They are re-occurring charges that I pay every month at the same time, so they are not a part of "random spending." I am also undecided on how I want to treat the two trips to Reno over the course of the month. My boyfriend lives there and it's also a re-occurring expense, but it's not a bill I pay on the same day every month. I may purchase the tickets prior to January or make this the one exception, as it is $39 roundtrip. I will know by the start of the project.
I hope to update every day, but a busy life may hamper this. We'll see how everything happens.
This all begins in sixteen days.