We kicked off our Summer Spending Challenge at the beginning of July to bring our summer Entertainment expenses down to $1000. This represents a reduction of 70% of our normal summer spending. 

Last week felt like a huge success. We all felt busy and creative and didn’t have to spend a single dollar!

 

Results from Week 3

This week, the rain finally took its toll. We took the kids to 2 nearby indoor recreation centres so they could burn up their energy on a bouldering wall and at indoor swimming pools ($42.25). This was partially pre-planned, as of last week’s negotiations with the kids. Our house was remarkably zen after this, and our furniture stopped being a trampoline substitute. 

Mr. Funemployed has a local bike repair mechanic replace the bearings in the hubs on his wheels ($115.50), and so our results are as follows: 

  • Goal: $111/week ($1000/9 weeks)
  • Week 3: $157.75
  • Difference: -$46.75

As you can see, we’re still $34 ahead of our goal but since it’s an aggressive target, we feel the need to be extra mindful of what we choose to do.

 

Mindset

It goes without saying that our attitude and mindset will be one of the major factors in whether we hit our goal. That’s part of the reason this is called the Summer Spending Challenge and not The Funemployed Summer of Cheapness and Deprivation. As ridiculous as this sounds, this is exactly the mindset that most people default to when asked to find ways to reduce their spending.

Making a game of a reduction in spending fosters a playful mentality that is receptive and creative. It’s like playing a video or board game, you have an objective and the fun is figuring out how to use your unique resources and constraints to achieve this objective. The Funemployed’s family constraints are not your family constraints, but neither are our opportunities.

Many times in the past when I was asked about how we kept our cost of living so far beneath our income, I would talk about all of the small things. The swimming lessons we chose to put the kids in instead of the dance lessons, using the library instead of creating my own, buying a smaller house with a smaller mortgage – on purpose. This was usually met with “Yeah, that works for you but it doesn’t work for me because…insert unique circumstances here.”. This is a mindset of deprivation (obstacles) and not abundance (opportunities). I never expected anyone would adopt our version of life, but instead wondered what their version would look like if they were to get creative and playful.

So, because of the importance of mindset, we are purposely calling this a challenge. Something that is difficult but attainable, it’s success depends on whether its fun and motivating, not on how little we spend.