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Unless you graze off your own farmland, you're homeless, or you're under 12, lasting a week without spending a single cent sounds like a Herculean impossibility. Still, one man, who is none of the above, gave extreme frugality the old college try, recounting his week without money in the pages of Real Simple's October 2008 issue.
If you expected earth-shattering revelations or heartfelt epiphanies about our first-world obsession with consumption and consumerism (which we sorta did), however, you'd be disappointed (which we sorta were). Not being able to pay for anything becomes a source of consternation rather than inspiration, and the author circumvents his inability to pull out his wallet with promises to pay up after his little experiment is over—or through plain ol' mooching. There was one moment of unexpected brilliance, though.
On the way home, we stop to pick up buns from Erin's favorite Portuguese bakery. I could argue that I'm not buying the buns for myself, but rules are rules, so I beg Zach to pay for them.
"Come on," I say. "I'll pay you back next week."
"Isn't that just a deferred purchase?" Zach asks.
I ponder this question, weighing its logic against the prospect of returning home to my wife bunless.
"Listen," I say. "The lettuce in our garden is going crazy. Buy me these buns and I'll give you a bushel of romaine. Dude, that's a straight-up barter.
Dude, you got that one right.
Could you survive seven days without dropping a single coin? How would you go about doing it? Sound off in the comments section below. ::Real Simple
More on anti-consumerism
The Compact: Buy Nothing New for a Year (or Two)
Living Without 'Made in China'
Bah, Humbug: November 25th is Buy Nothing Day
What Happens After Buy Nothing Day?
A Story about Losing, Leaving and Buying It All Back