Zero Dollar Days

by Aileen

piggy bank with dollarA little game to help you stick to your budget

I created this little game for a friend of mine who had no financial discipline and it caused her extreme pain every month as she faced possible eviction. Fortunately and unfortunately, she couldn’t get a credit card or a loan. This meant she couldn’t incur any more debt than she had.

As you might guess, it was extremely difficult for her to stick to a budget let alone save or invest. We created a budget based on her income and expenses. It was a very tight budget with almost no wiggle room.

The Zero Dollar Day game is a way for her to be financially mindful and to change her mindset into one that finds personal finance and budgeting fun and exciting.

How to play Zero Dollar Day:

  1. You do need a budget
  2. You need to know in advance what you are spending each day
  3. You need some method of tracking your daily spending such as a note pad or smart phone

As the day progresses you write down anything and everything you spend money on.

Each time you’ll give it either a B or $

“B” means it was in-budget and planned for
“$” means you fell out of budget & you’re “in the red”

This works great with a buddy who you can check-in with throughout the day and compare your results. The goal is to have zero $ on your page that day.

Example:

Below is not a Zero Dollar Day
Gas for car 30 B
Groceries 75 B
Coffee $2.

Below is a Zero Dollar Day:
Gas for car 30 B
Groceries 75 B

* The key to make this work is, decide in advance that it’s fun!!!! … and find away to get excited about Zero Dollar Days.



Photo Credit 494499 stock.xchng

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean Sarauer May 13, 2010

This sounds like a great way to save money while becoming more mindful too. As the urges to buy things came up a person could examine those feelings to see if they were triggered by something (an advertisement, etc.) and then find alternative activities to shopping. Definitely want to keep it fun though!
.-= Jean Sarauer´s last blog ..When Bad Things Happen to Good Bloggers =-.

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Aileen May 13, 2010

YES, exactly – mindful at the moment the urge to spend happens – giving that pause to examine what triggers it and which one is more fun …saving.. more fun :)

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Katie May 13, 2010

You’re so right Aileen. Tracking is the key. Keeping a notebook of what you spend brings awareness. If I don’t do it, I get the feeling my money’s just slipping through my fingers. Tracking helps control spending and put it back in your hands. I like that it could actually be made into a game. I’ll have to give it a try. Great tip! Keep it fun.

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Aileen May 13, 2010

There’s something to tracking – when I don’t really track & I just think about tracking it – I think I’m doing fine but then the dollars are gone. …and a big YES to the Fun Factor, it’s easier to do it when it’s fun :)

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Angela Artemis May 13, 2010

Aileen, I love this post. The simplest methods always work best when it comes to personal financial planning. Tracking is definitely key.
.-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..A Thank You Note And a Letter To My Readers – =-.

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Louise May 13, 2010

I love this site – seems you have something for everyone – Thank you.

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Aileen May 14, 2010

Thank you! Wonderful to hear that :)

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Chania Girl May 13, 2010

This is a wonderful idea! I used to be like your friend: fresh out of college I had $6000 worth of credit card debt. It took me three-and-a-half years, but I was able to pay it all off … mostly by living on a very tight budget like the one you described. Nowadays, G and I do something similar (with a bit more wiggle room) only I track everything in a spreadsheet. :)
.-= Chania Girl´s last blog ..Moving House: A New Home for Living Happiness =-.

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Aileen May 14, 2010

I’ve recently made the switch from spiral notebook to spreadsheets. I was pretty attached to notebooks but they’re totally not efficient.
YAY to more wiggle room!!! Ahhhh

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Emily May 14, 2010

I just read your article on “Zero Dollar Days”. I need to try this. It looks like a great discipline. Where ever you learned this I am happy you passed it on..I’ll try it and let you know how I do!! :)

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Emily May 14, 2010

okay..hungry husband does not want my healthy dinner…so fell out of my budget tonight. (guess I’ll try better tomorrow.) :)

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Aileen May 16, 2010

:) Hahaha … Ah Yes, the diversity of partnership :)

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kimi May 15, 2010

You pointed it all out Aileen, i’m very bad on managing money :( once i have money and go shopping i can spend them all, terrible of me..
.-= kimi´s last blog ..Feedburner subscriber feedcount wordpress =-.

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Aileen May 19, 2010

Oh it can be so easy to spend, I know :) …and fun too :)

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habithacker May 18, 2010

Very cool idea, Aileen. I love the idea of making something onerous into a game! I’m in. Zero dollar for me today.

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Aileen May 19, 2010

YAY Jean for your Zero Dollar Day today! That’s fabulous!!!!
Thank you for stopping by :)

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John Sherry May 19, 2010

You are hero for this zero post Aileen. High level financial planning in a simple exercise that’s incredibly easy and massively effective. Now I have to take back my beach shorts to the shop (I live 200 miles from the sea), the book on ‘How to be a Hunk’ and cancel the liposuction. Seriously though Aileen this is such great advice and I’m going to Facebook it I like it that much. This is the type of post that I love as it has an exercise anyone can run with and see an instant result. It should be in a book (e-book included!!!). Brilliant, real brilliant.
.-= John Sherry´s last blog ..How to live G.L.A.D not S.A.D. =-.

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Aileen May 19, 2010

WOW! Thank you John!! That’s fabulous to hear.

Yes, take the beach shorts back. :) When I’m at the beach tomorrow I’ll think of you and send you some thoughts of sand and waves (I’m a mile away from the sea)

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Emily June 3, 2010

You pointed it all out Aileen, i’m very bad on managing money :( once i have money and go shopping i can spend them all, terrible of me..
.-= kimi´s last blog ..Feedburner subscriber feedcount wordpress =-.

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