Family Who Lived on $100 a Month Spills the Secret


While the economy is, allegedly, improving, many people have found themselves downsizing. Sometimes it's a necessity. Their income has declined and they have to adjust to the new normal, but other times it's something they do because they want to simplify and scale back the consumerism.

There are people following this all over the Internet to the point that it's something of a movement. Buy Nothing Day on the day after Thanksgiving, a San Francisco group who made a promise to buy nothing new for one whole year, and a New York City blogger who pledged to not eat out for one full year. Which, if you live in New York, would be like going on a fast in the middle of a posh buffet.

The latest is a guy named David Hochman, who pledged, along with his wife and young son, to go a month without spending any more than $100.

They excepted their mortgage, utilities, and their son's preschool tuition, but everything else, and I mean everything else, including gas and even Internet access, fell under that $100 spending limit.

They ended up discovering the wonders of Freecycle and the magic powers of baking soda, white vinegar, and hot water, and found that some of their more frugal habits stayed with them. Instead of rushing right out to a restaurant or loading up on groceries, they actually stayed home and entertained themselves with time they would typically spend shopping or on the computer.

Cutting back, whether on purpose or because circumstances demand it, does make you think a lot about what you spend and why. You may find that much of what you are currently spending your money on doesn't actually make your life more fun.

Would you go on a spending fast?


Image via AMagill/Flickr

budget finds, recession guide


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Knitt... KnittinMama

We went 2yrs without an income. I clean with vinegar baking soda and lemons. I made cloth diapers. I knit my own pads. We repurpose everything. We dont buy anything that cant be reused. Butter bowls are tupperware. Glass jars are good for tons of stuff. Always check resale shops before retail. We eat at home and cook from scratch. Date night means wait til kids are asleep and get out the pretty tablecloth. I could go on forever!

lovin... lovinangels

This is how many of us live all the time.

miche... micheledo

It's great that people are discovering that you can survive without spending money, but it is annoying too.  Many of us have always lived that way.  Just curious, did their groceries/food fit into that $100 a month?  Then I would REALLY be impressed!  We lived for several months, on $40 a week for food, gas, and medicine.  I can't imagine living on $25 a week, though I know we would find a way.  (OUrs was a family of 5 at the time).

hotic... hoticedcoffee

We don't "need" to live frugally, but we do it anyway - both for financial security and to teach our kids that Gimme Gimme Gimme is no way to go through life.   I clean with vinegar, lemon, and baking soda like Knittin - not only is it cheap,  healthier and green, it works better, IMHO. We rarely go out to eat, because restaurant meals are long on cost and short on nutrition and value.  We drive our paid-off cars until they're either unsafe or repairs are consistently costing more than car payments.  We lower the heat, turn off lights, turn off the TV, don't buy every money--sucking tech gadget that hits the market, don't replace things that work fine, etc.

I'm not terribly impressed with that family doing it for a month - it's easy to do just about anything when you know you only have to do it for 30 days.

Jenny... JennyG0929

I love how he brags about stealing his neighbors internet access.

Bree1984 Bree1984

My partner and I lived on very little when I was in school. We had $1400 a month and a pile of debt, rent, and bills. We could spend $20 every 2 weeks on groceries. And no extras. It was hard but I kind of miss it sometimes

Katyldf Katyldf

If we had 100 dollars for a month we would starve to death because its 70 dollars to fill our civic up for dh to drive to work!! That would leave 30 dollars for 4 of us to eat with. Gas is 4 dollars a gallon right now, glad its possible for someone.

Dannielle Richins

I'm curious what sort of meals people are eating if you're only spending $20-30 a week on groceries.

I could spend $15 in a week on fruits and veggies alone for my boyfriend and myself. How do you eat healthy, manage to provide variety yet only spend $20?!

I'm really impressed. Intrigued, as well.

kisse... kisses5050

 I remember standing in line at the market down to my last twenty dollars with two girls under five and a week til payday and saw on a magazine cover  "save 500 dollars a month!" so I picked it up and started reading it( notice i wasn't buying the magazine) the tips? Only get your hair colored every six weeks instead of four.  Cut your trip through the coffee shop down to every-other day. Go to the nail salon twice a month instead of every week....I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.


grain... grainneferguson

No kidding. This 'bad economy' didn't hit us quite as hard as other people - because we already live on a small budget. I clearly need some grocery shopping tips, too, though - I spend about $60-70 a week for four people (one is a baby).

1-10 of 11 comments 12 Last