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I'm Not Going To Spend A Single Cent Today

Updated on March 8, 2012

RED CENT - "The original 1793 U.S. one-cent copper coin was issued until 1857. The cent has also been called 'red cent,' 1839 (from the copper's reddish color), which sometimes has been shortened to 'red' since 1849.Since so many penny copper coins had been called 'coppers,' the first U.S. copper cent was immediately called a 'copper' and 'copper cent.' 'Not worth a copper' is an American term of 1788, followed by 'not worth a cent' (1820s)." From "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).


On my way home from work the other day I was listening to talk radio. The show was about cutting debt and spending less. The host was discussing how everyone can take small steps to cut their everyday spending, leading to substantial savings annually. He's right I thought, I'm going to cut out spending altogether, at least for a day.

I woke up the next day determined not to spend a single cent. Not one. Sure I will use gas that's in my car to get to work, and eat food I bought and packed for lunch. But I will not open my wallet and spend any money out of it. I wouldl be of no help to the economy for that day.

I arrive at work with my wallet intact, no money spent on the way and I feel I'm off to a great start. I begin my work day by checking email and voicemail to see what will be first on my list. Lowes is having a huge one day only sale. Crap, I delete this immediately so I will not be tempted. I'm sure Lowes can do without me today. I finish with my email and manage to get some work done.

Lunch time is here, Someone a few cubes down must have gotten Mcdonald's, I can smell the french fries. I look over at my grocery store bag and its contents in disgust. Turkey sandwich, pretzels and a browning banana. Booooring...oh well, let's eat.

I make it through lunch so it should be easy sailing through the rest of the workday. Uh oh, bookfair day. Every few months, a mobile bookstore will set up in the terrace area of the large insurance company where i work. Don't look, i tell myself, just keep walking. I manage to walk by without stopping. No money spent.

I have enough gas to get home and I have no planned grocery store stops. I'm sure we have something in the freezer we can cook for dinner. The phone rings, it's my wife. "Can you stop and pick up some eggs?" Sure. Game Over. Wait a second, we can do without eggs for one night, I'm on a budget freeze today! I pass the grocery store and keep heading home in my quest for spending cuts.

I arrive home empty handed, but determined to stick to my plan.

"Where are the eggs?"

" I uh...forgot."

"Oh, I was going to make cupcakes for the kids at school tomorrow. "

"Cupcakes? I didn't know you were going to make cupcakes? "


Kid's without cupcakes is too much for me to bear. I think of the poor kid's faces tomorrow after being promised cupcakes. Do it for the kids.

"Okay, I'll run up to the store, be right back"

"Will you grab some milk and bread while you're out?" "And I think we need more dog treats too."

"What? I thought....sure"

I now understand why there's a debt crisis. Cutting cost seems easy, but something always comes up. I almost made it through my day without spending a single cent, but being the cause of those kids not having cupcakes sealed my fate. After all, I'm not a monster?As I opened my wallet and dust it off, I thought about the cupcakes, there's always extra cupcakes.


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    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      It's hard to do innerspin, that's for sure....thanks for reading!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      I enjoyed reading this, as I challenge myself to "no-spend" days. That's hard on a working day,there's parking to pay for, I pretend that doesn't count. It's way too easy to buy things we don't really need, but it's fun, too! Thanks for the hub.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      Good luck morningglory, those weekends are tough! Thanks for reading!

    • morningglory24 profile image

      morningglory24 5 years ago

      Its hard... and I can imagine even harder with children. But I applaud your attempt and will use it as motivation! I work at home now, so I don't pass by all the places to spend money... it def gives me a leg up. I'm gonna try it too, maybe this weekend, weekends are tough for me!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      I thought you were on to something there Peg, thanks!

      One step forward, two steps back! Thanks for stopping by Barbara!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Now I know where the saying "not worth a red cent" came from. I've never thought of pennies as being red though.

      Your story sound so true. Everytime I try to save money some major expense comes up. Shared.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Cupcakes, mmm. Exceptions must be made in that case. Or think long term and buy a chicken. For the eggs naturally. But then there's the fence and the chicken feed and the vet. Nevermind.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      HaHaHa, I have tried this before and I don't know if its possible to not spend a red cent! Very funny and very real. Thanks for sharing this great hub. Voted Up and Awesome...

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 6 years ago from Virginia

      Glad you enjoyed it marlo, thanks for the vote!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      I love them both - different styles and perspectives, but both are truly worth listening to. I think them compliment each other! Still loving your Hub! Rated USEFUL too!

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 6 years ago from Virginia

      I'm more of a clark howard guy, but yeah,I think it was! thanks!

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 6 years ago from United States

      Vote UP and AWESOME - I loved your Hub. Dave Ramsey, right?

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 6 years ago from Virginia

      No french fries but delicious cupcakes after dinner. I suppose it does willstar!

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Well...cupcakes do constitute an emergency...right?

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This happens to me all the time too. So many times I go to the store for one item and end up coming out with 2 bags full. But look at the bright side .... you didn't end up going to McD's when you got a whiff of those fries:)