Calif. Family Vows Not to Spend Money for Month

Feb 7, 2012 12:58pm

Some have heard of “frugal Fridays,” but the Dunning family in Davis, Calif., is practicing “frugal February.”

“Since my pockets were empty, it was not a real hard decision to make,”  writer Bob Dunning said.

The family of six has vowed not to do any discretionary spending for the month of February.

“It’s been pretty easy so far,” he said, one week into the experiment. “I suspect it’s going to be a lot more difficult.”

He said the family should save about $1,500 to $2,000 this month.

“It was interesting after spending so much money during the holidays, Christmas, to think, wow, how much could we cut back?” Shelley Dunning, 46, told ABC’s Sacramento affiliate, KXTV.

She said she hopes the experiment will “reset our clock on everything.”

“I hope that at the end of this month we can look back and say, gosh we had a lot of fun with each other,” she said.

Bob Dunning, 65, wrote about the motivation and planning behind the idea in his column in The Davis Enterprise.

Shelley Dunning said the family plans to eat a lot of rice and frozen meat, so they went to Costco on Jan. 31 to stock up on other foods like butter, pasta, nuts, and peanut butter and jam. The only miscellaneous thing the family plans to spend money on is fresh milk for the kids.

Bob Dunning clarifies that the family is just vowing against discretionary spending, like a coffee or movie tickets here and there.

“It adds up real fast and I wasn’t sure if we could do it or not,” he said.

And what about gas for the family’s car? The family plans to walk. That’s a good thing because the national weekly gas price average jumped 4 cents to $3.48 for regular for the week ending Feb. 6, up 35 cents from a year ago. Fortunately, Bob and Shelley both work from home.

Their children are learning to make do with less too. Maev Dunning, 10, made a wallet out of duct tape. But son Mick Dunning, 7, who recently received cash for his birthday, is having a hard time.

“I have a lot of money I want to spend,” he said.

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