Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Question on the No Spending Challenge

Yesterday was my first actual "No Spend Day" of the No Spending Challenge. Sunday I bought my ticket to a movie, Monday I bought gas, and Tuesday I bought shampoo and conditioner. All of these are allowable purchases. The movie was social spending, which I am not limiting beyond my normal budget, the gas was needed to get myself home, and I was completely out of shampoo (I had turned the bottle over and used what little I could rinse out of the bottle) and conditioner was getting very close to the same point. I will say I managed to buy it as frugally as I could - it was on sale, I had a coupon and I had a gift card. It worked out nicely.

I do have a bit of a dilemma though. As I have mentioned, I am on the board of a nonprofit group. We are having a small gathering on Saturday. It is estimated that there will be about 30 people there. One of the other board members sent us an email and asked if we each wouldn't mind bringing a container of soda or a package of cookies as a treat for all the folks that attend. So, here is my question to you -

How does this fit in the No Spending Challenge?

On one hand, it is unnecessary spending. Even though I am attending the event, there is no rule that I have to bring something. No one will look down at me if I don't. On the other hand, this is not exactly the kind of impulse purchase I was trying to prevent. I was thinking more of things like adding items to my own grocery cart. I wouldn't buy a 2 liter of soda for myself, but, if it is going to a good cause, isn't that different? I don't know - what do you think?

There is one compromise that I could do...

I probably have enough empty cans that I could return to the store to pay for a 2 liter. Here in Michigan we have a $.10 deposit return on bottle and can returns, so it wouldn't take much. I could take the cans I have in the garage back to the store and use the funds to buy pop - that would satisfy both my non-spending rule and allow me to feel like I am a contributing member of my board.

I would bake cookies... but I don't have anything in the house for ingredients. Not unless I can find a recipe for pork chop cookies! What can I say? I don't do a lot of baking, but I do have some lovely pork shops in the freezer. I'm betting we'll get a lot of vegetarians there though, so that might not be the right thing to bring.

So, what do you all think? Does this fall under the "social spending" category or even the "charitable giving" category, both of which are okay under my No Spending Challenge, or does buying food I don't need constitute a breach of my plan? Ideas anyone?

It is funny, I didn't think I would have a lot of conundrums like this when I thought out the challenge. I wonder what else will come my way?

Photo by: atomicity


Catie said...

I think this would fall under the category of charitable giving and therefore not violate the intent of your challenge. I like your returnables idea! Coke is on sale at the big M. :)

I also think no one on the board would give it a second thought if you didn't bring something.

Dawn said...

That is kind of where I am leaning too Miss Catie. I didn't know about it being on sale though - good to know!! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Catie had to say :)

Dawn said...

Thanks Frugal Dreamer - looks like I better pack up the cans to take to recycling!

Kristy @ Master Your Card said...

Yup, I'm with the rest. This is clearly a 'charitable giving' situation because it's for a nonprofit org doing a good deed. Plus, if you can take the cans in and exchange them for the 2 liter, then I don't see the problem either way. I think you're good.

Dawn said...

Well, it just so happens that I agreed with you. I have a bag full of bottle returns in the car and I'll be heading over on my lunch hour to pick up that 2 liter.