Challenge Yourself to a Money-Free Weekend

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Challenge Yourself to a Money-Free Weekend

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Challenge Yourself to a Money-Free Weekend
Some of you may have read my blog "I Got Medicare for My Birthday," and, if you did, you know that I also got $1,200 in Medicare costs to pay until I start to draw Social Security at age 66 (which is February 2013). 

Living on a fixed, retirement income is a challenge, but adding $1,200 to that fixed income for one year is more than a challenge, it's almost an impossibility.

My husband and I discussed some ways we could try to stretch our retirement dollars and the idea of money-free weekends was one of those things. It turned out to be quite a lot of fun, so I want to share with you and challenge you to try a money-free weekend.

Every other weekend each month is a completely money-free weekend for us. 

From Friday morning through Sunday night we have agreed not to spend a single cent, no matter what. Whether we are working, visiting with friends and family, or spending time together alone, we cannot use money for anything. It is an interesting challenge and has opened our eyes to how much money we can actually save.

Here are some of the things we have done on our money-free weekends:

A) We learned to cook and eat from whatever was on hand in the kitchen cabinets, the garden, and the freezer-no trips to the grocery store or the convenience store.  We had a few "strange" meals but we also had a lot of fun.  This also helped clean out some of the things in the back of the cupboard that hadn't been used in a while.

B) We got out the Scrabble game that we used to love to play.  One evening, we were so involved that it was 1:00 a.m. before we knew it.  We left the game as it was and, after breakfast the next morning, finished that round.  The champion that time was my husband.

C) We invited friends to come to our "farmette" for a "Dutch treat" cookout.  We gave them the same rules we were following:  whatever you bring has to be what you already have on hand-no trips to the store.  We had quite an interesting assortment and a whole lot of fun that evening with no money spent.

D) We rented a book from the library about the stars and planets and spent an evening star gazing. 

E) We put pictures taken several years ago into albums so they could be looked at and appreciated.  This was no small task and took almost an entire weekend.

F) We organized a "night at the movies" and asked a few of our friends to bring their favorite movies to watch.  We issued homemade tickets at our front door which we used for a drawing later in the evening.  The drawing prize?  A huge plastic jug filled with caramel corn I had made earlier in the day.    It was great fun-we ate popcorn, peanuts in the shell, and old-fashioned ice cream sodas.    

G) We did some do-it-yourself projects that we had put on the back burner:  I painted my garden statuary that I had been talking about doing for two years; my husband tore off our front steps, built new ones, and installed side rails; and, together, we washed the windows inside and out, as well as getting all the canning jars, rings, lids, pressure canner, etc. together in one place.  We would no longer have to hunt for whatever we needed when we started canning and freezing the garden crop.

While our money-free weekends were started in an attempt to come up with some of the $1,200 for my Medicare payments, we are enjoying them so much that we plan to continue them. I think we have found that our values and sense of frugality have become much more "thrifty.

"We don't need to be entertained; we are learning to entertain ourselves without spending money." 

Who would have thought such a thing was possible? There's no need to throw your money to the wind just to have fun. Our plans for the next money-free weekend are in the making now. We're going to stay all weekend at our farmette. My husband has an antique tractor that he will be showing at several community fall festivals and he wants to "spruce" it up before the festivals. I will give our motor home a thorough fall cleaning and get it ready for winter, which is not fun, but absolutely necessary. Once the cleaning is complete, I intend to read "The Wit & Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln," a treasury of quotations, anecdotes and observations in his own words that I picked up at a rummage sale

Give a money-free weekend a try soon-your wallet will thank you, and you may find that you begin to view entertainment in an entirely different light.

Kimberly Johns, Debt Management Plan Customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Kimberly Johns

Kimberly has been on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP) for just under a year. Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, she is going to share how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income, which Kimberly is generously planning to share in her My Journey out of Debt blog! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

 

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  • Love this idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Great tips. Board games are huge in our family. They're incredibly frugal; one or two and you've got hours worth of entertainment. Have you been to boardgamegeek.com before? You'll be surprised by how many new board games come out every year that you never hear about.

  • Hi Kelly and thanks for stopping by.  I think these week-ends have brought us closer together because we had a specific goal (saving money) to reach together.  Even planning the week-end was fun!

  • Thanks for reading the blog AverageJoe.  I haven't been to boardgamegeek and didn't even know it existed.  I'm going to visit there to see the new games.  We have always liked board games too.  Maybe some of our debt free week-end money could be diverted to purchasing a new game for an up-coming week-end.

  • My husband and I just spent a money free week end. Most of our week ends are money free (LOL) It wasn't by choice, it was because we just didn't have any money at all. Not even gas for the vehicle. I'm not sad about it if I sound that way. My husband and I put up Christmas decorations for the outside. We cleaned and arranged the front porch. My husband cleaned up leaves from the yard and other stuff like pine cones. While he was doing that, I got an idea about using the pine cones. I used the foundation of a ready made wreath and decorated it with pine cones and other ornaments. We enjoyed doing these things and if we had money, none of this would have gotten done because we would have been out and about. So tiquie, you're just discovering what we've been doing ever since I left the work place. We just don't have extra money, that's why we're here.

  • Vonnie and I are having one of these weekends this weekend.  December will have some more expensive weekends towards the end of the month, so we're stockpiling money now.  LOL.  This weekend we will be putting up and decorating the Pizel family Christmas tree, watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (tradition for after tree decorating), as well as doing other house (inside and out) decorating.  Cost: $0.  I may throw something on the smoker, but that would come from the grocery budget.  :)   Great Challenge, Kimberly!!

  • We do our grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. For one thing - our grocery store offers extra coupons and freebies on the weekends. For another - we check for coupons and make the menu for the week while having breakfast (I make pancakes EVERY Saturday morning and we eat together) Then we make the list and my husband and I go together. We take our time and enjoy it. Other than that I LOVE not spending money on weekends. We are avid gamers. We play just about anything. We love board games and card games but we also play video games and Dungeons & Dragons Online (Free account only!). We work at the community garden or go to our AWESOME library (Most advanced community library this side of the Mississippi Thank You Very Much!) Both those things are just a short bike ride away. We also live next to a wonderful bike trail and hiking trail. The 4 of us just love to putter around. There is a lot you can do without spending money.

  • Hi newlife bug!  Have you heard the saying, "Invention is the Mother of Necessity" ?  That pretty much sums up our lifestyle right now.  We have learned that you don't necessarily need money to enjoy life and get things done.  Sounds as if you and your husband have too.  I remember stories my Grandparents shared about living through the Great Depression which was very difficult.  They learned how to get by with little or nothing in the way of money as well.  Getting things accomplished and enjoying life can happen on a very small budget, we just have to be more creative.

  • Hey there t_pizel and thanks for sharing your family Christmas traditions.  You are making memories that your children will remember long after you are gone.  It seems to me that many traditions don't cost anything yet they are some of the most important times in our lives.  When our kids were still at home, one Christmas tradition we had was hunting and cuting the "perfect" Christmas tree.  The morning started with a big breakfast and then my husband and the kids would bundle up and take off in the truck to get the tree.  We lived in a very rural area and wild trees were plentiful and just waiting to be someone's Christmas tree.  Once they had the tree back home, we put it in the holder and then everyone had hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies.  They still talk about the time they brought home a tree with a real bird nest in it.  

    Money is nice to have but we can learn to live without it (or at least not very much of it) and still be happy.

  • Thanks for sharing Kimmer5000!  Isn't it amazing that we can do fun things without money?  I think we have been brainwashed somewhere along the way that if we don't have money, we can't do anything.  Congratulations on having figured it out.  Continue to enjoy your family times money-free!

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