The time has come, my friends. Project Pocketwatch starts tomorrow.  I have gotten a LOT of responses regarding the video I posted last week (above), so I thought I would address a few questions:

1. What does it mean you're not spending any money?

Obviously, I have to spend some money.  I have a mortgage, a car that runs on gas (not dreams), and I have been known to enjoy eating.  My Spending Fast, affectionately referred to as Project Pocketwatch, will be a year of needs-based spending only.  So that means no...

  • Dining Out - no fast food, pub trips, delivery/take out, vending machines, to-go cups of coffee. My food budget will be limited to groceries only; no booze, no desserts, no treats. This means all meals cooked at home, coffee/tea brewed on my counter.
  • Clothes - I will have to make due with what I already own, so if that means darning socks and mending hems, so be it. If hand-me-downs come my way during this year, fabulous, but I'm not relying on it.
  • Gift Giving - I have had a LOT of questions about this one. My friends and family know I'm embarking on one year of needs-only spending, but if I feel inclined to celebrate someone's special occasion, I may opt to bake them their favorite cookies (covered in my grocery budget) or make something from craft supplies I already own (talk about a stash buster).
  • Vacations - with the exception of family get-togethers, vacation spending is off the table.
  • Misc. - this includes haircuts, shoelaces, gum, app upgrades, theatrical needs (specific makeup, etc). This does NOT include toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. I'm human. I like soap.

2. Are you going crazy buying everything you possibly can before you start?

Yes and no. My decision to do this fast was not made on a whim.  I have taken the last six weeks to prepare for it and assessed any pit-falls that might pop up.  I bought a ton of bobby pins and a few pairs of pantyhose (for theatre). I bought a couple of notebooks and made sure I was stocked up on pens.  I didn't blow a ton of money, mind you.  The Dollar Store is a treasure. But after today, I have to use what I've got and only what I've got.

3. What if you end up needing to spend money on something other than mortgage/bills/gas/groceries in a few months?

Depending on the neediness of the need, I might have to spend some money outside my original plan.  For instance if my car needs a repair, I'm sure you'll agree that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Better to fix it now instead of waiting until the fast is over and exacerbate the problem, right? For other little things, I'm going to do my best to borrow and trade. If I'm required to have a certain shade of lipstick for a show I'm cast in, I'll put the APB out on Facebook to see if anyone has a tube they will let me borrow.  If I need, say, a haircut (because, lets face it, I'm going to look a little broke in a few months), I'll see if I can babysit for a stylist friend of mine in exchange for a trim.

4. What are your exceptions?

Only two:

  • a small stipend will be used each month for discount yarn so I can do some charitable knitting (more on my chosen organization later)
  • getting my eyebrows done.  You just rolled your eyes, didn't you? Just hear me out. Girly-type things have never been my strong suit.  I rarely look in the mirror, so if I don't keep up my brow regimen, I will wake up looking like a poor man's unattractive, diminutive Brooke Shields. My ladies at Bliss will thank me. Trust me on this one. The author of The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living also had two exceptions to her fast; her gym membership and hair dye. It was just enough wiggle room to keep her sane, and that's what my two exceptions are all about.

 

 

Along the way I will share my ups and my downs, my wins and my losses.  I'm going to share my grocery receipts, the recipes I've used. You will see every yard of yarn accounted for along the way. If I slip up, this is the first place I will admit to it. You're holding me accountable, Internet. I'm relying on you.

So, here we go... let Project Pocketwatch begin.