Zero* spending month – Debriefing

May went by fast and the reduced spending from my Zero spending month was not that hard.

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash
ExpenseNecessary?Price [Dkk]
UFC Fight passNo0
Legoland (food/drinks)No20
Eating/drinking on the goNo0 (1476)
Eating/drinking away from homeNo0
HaircutYes, but…339
Kids giftNo, but…25
Kids activitiesNo, but…290
GiftsNo, but…450
Total1124 dkk or about $167

In March and April I averaged my spending at 3120 dkk or about $465. So I reduced my spending by 64% by being conscious about it. I wasn’t missing out on anything important and the expenses that were important got a little more valuable.

Entertain me!

I cancelled my subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify and UFC Fight Pass. It took the first few days to adjust, but I found the alternatives. Turned on the radio and discovered some new tunes. Watched the news and caught up on current events at a deeper level. I found a new YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay which I really like. Picked up a new podcast as well, 99 percent invisible. Both contribute a fair amount more to my general knowledge than rewatching a comedy show.

Food and drinks

We were a lot more conscious about buying food and drinks on the go. At most of our trips we brought a thermos with coffee or bottles of water. On longer stays at Legoland we brought a lunchbox, which was cheaper and significantly tastier than your average theme park meals. Mom and dad needed a coffee at the end of our last trip to Legoland…

Takeaway was the eyeopener for me. I’m often the initiator of bringing home some takeaway after work. But this challenge made me realize that it’s all in the planning. Our cupboards and freezer is usually full of potentially delicious meals and I like experimenting. I could prepare two birds with one hot stone.

The expense in parenteses is the most money I spent on social time with friends in a long time. However it was also one of the best nights out in a decade. We don’t see each other often and with kids, careers and distance the planning can be hell. We had a great night and limits were off.

Keeping up appearances

I didn’t buy shoes or clothes this month. My purchases used to be low-price but also low-quality. In recent time I spent more energy researching and reading reviews on the brands. On top of delaying (and sometimes revising my need) it also means my pants and shoes are more durable. I’m not running out to buy something new now the calendar says June.

As I wrote, I’m not willing to shave my head for a challenge (with myself), but in case of an actual need to reduce expenses my head will be aerodynamic.

Gifts that keep on given

We went to the circus and all of a sudden their eyes met from across the tent. It was love at first sight. Beautiful rainbow colored hair. Diamants glittering from the projector lights. Our oldest found a balloon shaped like a unicorn. Dad had to pay.

We also went to a stone age replica of a farm to feed goats, sheep and cows. I took a picture.

Gifts outside the household were social requirements. A 25th wedding anniversary and a birthday boy reaching the big seven and O.


It was easier and not nearly as limiting as I expected. Of course I had to set aside the challenge in certain situations. I got food for thought and this challenge put my priorities in perspective. It’s definitely a challenge that I’ll revisit.

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