NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Saving money can be a real challenge.
As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reports, there’s one extreme way to hold onto your hard-earned cash. It’s not easy, but it can be a real money game-changer.
“If saving money is part of the challenge, then I’m extra excited about it,” said Lindsay Champion, Food & Wellness Director for Pure Wow.
The challenge? Go an entire day without spending a single cent.
“I would be saving probably between $50 and $75 a week,” she said.
It’s called the Zero Dollar Day Challenge – one day a week, no spending.
“The things that end up costing the most are the things that come up at the last second, these little impulse purchases,” said Champion.
She created a spreadsheet for a hard look at her spending. On “Zero Dollar Days,” coffee and water come from work and lunch is from home or made from office snacks.
“I spent five minutes a day trying to save money, and I saved $100 this week,” said David, the financial blogger who started the challenge, because his spending was out-of-control.
He said he posted all his finances to be publicly accountable.
“It was really to challenge myself to spend less money,” he said. “Planning effectively so I didn’t have to get gas for that week… So I didn’t have to go food shopping.
“Every dollar that you don’t spend is a dollar that you save,” he added.
In 2017, he said he saved more than $18,000.
“Zero Dollar Days” for lifestyle blogger Suzanne Zuckerman mean buying upfront to save later on.
“No more running out to the ice cream store to reward my kids with dessert,” she said.
She also stockpiles gender neutral birthday presents so there’s no last-minute shopping and she curbed her Starbucks habit, saving thousands a year.
“People couldn’t account for something like 10 to 20 percent of their take-home pay,” said CBS Financial Analyst Jill Schlesinger. “Once you know that it’s going someplace, you then may be able to capture and redirect it.”
Schlesinger also said “Zero Dollar Days” may be gimmicky, but they can lead to a smarter way to save.
“If you can find a quantifiable savings, that’s fantastic,” she said. “What you might say is… I’m going to kick up my 401k contribution by $100 a week.”
Experts say you should analyze your spending before you start the challenge to know what is realistic to cut on your “Zero Dollar Days.” It might feel like you spend more to prep for not spending, but you will save in the long run.