I survived my no-spend weekend on March 3-5 (the only exception was buying groceries for the upcoming week). Admittedly, it was not a really difficult thing to do. What helped was 1) finding free activities, 2) making the most of what I already have, and 3) having someone willing to treat you every now and then.
On Friday, 3/3, Dennis and I went to Free Fridays at MoMA, where admission is free from 4-8 p.m. I have visited MoMA as a paying guest and even then, it was crowded, so to say that Free Friday was an absolute zoo would not be stretching the truth. We had to fight our way through crowds to catch a glimpse at the Pollocks, Picassos, and Rothkos on display, but it was still a fun and intellectually stimulating way to pass the time.
On Saturday, 3/4, I went to the gym (okay, not really “free” since I pay a monthly fee), bought groceries at Trader Joe’s, and then spent the night in watching “Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark” (“free” via our AmazonPrime subscription) and drinking Old Fashioneds with bourbon we already had on hand.
On Sunday, 3/5, Dennis and I participated in a free wedding registry event at Crate and Barrel. We got to come to the store two hours before it opened to the general public and complete our registry, which was a nice experience because usually the SoHo C&B is totally overrun with people. There was free coffee and muffins, yummy wedding cake samples, and at the end of the event, we got to take home two free stemless wineglasses! As far as I could tell, C&B doesn’t really check to make sure you are actually getting married. So if you want some free food and wine glasses, just borrow a friend’s engagement ring, make up a wedding date, and register online for the event. Afterwards, we met up with some friends for brunch. I had warned Dennis beforehand that I was doing a spending fast, but he offered to treat me so I of course accepted.
I ended up not spending much money the rest of the following week, either, even though no spend-weekend was over. I brought lunch to work every day, which saves at least $50/week. As the weekend approached, I thought about repeating the spending fast but I decided to give myself a $40 allowance instead. I ended up spending all of it on Friday night, when Dennis and I went to Harlem for happy hour and dinner. The happy hour was incredibly well-priced – $6 shots & beer, well drinks, and wine – and I will not disclose the location because it is a tiny hole in the wall and we want to make sure we get a seat next weekend. The only regrettable portion of the night was the food we got at a restaurant next door, which was fairly mediocre and we both agreed that we would have been more satisfied if we had grabbed some slices of pizza near our apartment for a quarter of the price. Since I had spent all my money in one night, I had to refrain from other purchases this weekend, including tickets to see a documentary at Film Forum and buying some pastries from the Hungarian Pastry Shop. Without the allowance, that would have been probably another $20 or so. Not enough to break the bank, but I knew that the upcoming week was going to be expensive: on Monday, we’re having dinner with out-of-town friends and on Tuesday, we are going to a Brooklyn Nets game ($20 tickets! but obligatory happy hour drinks and arena food for dinner).
Would I do a no-spend weekend again? Sure, but the conditions have to be right: unpleasant weather, no guests/visitors, a couple of good books to get lost in, and a well-stocked home bar. I do like the idea of establishing a weekend budget, and I think it’s a habit that I will try to adopt going forward.