PUBLIC OPINION > Not Many People Can Go a Month Without Spending

News 2012/02/15 14:00:00
Bob Dunning and his family of six stocked their fridge for February and sealed their pocketbooks for the rest of the month. For all intents and purposes, they decided to go an entire month without spending a dime. Even with a preliminary food stockpile, that's an enormous sacrifice for many people. Discretionary spending is completely on hold, and they're not even filling up their gas tank. We asked SodaHeads if they could do the same.

Could You Go a Month Without Spending Anything?

39% Think They Could Pull It Off

Quite a few respondents suggested it doesn't really count if you buy food ahead of time, but that's beside the point. Even after reading the Dunning's stockpiling strategy, most people don't think they could pull it off. Gasoline was a major factor, as many people have to drive to work. Others noted that their monthly bills make it impossible. One commenter wrote, "My mortgage company would not enjoy it near as much as I would." But those who said yes saw a learning opportunity. One commenter explained, "I believe the purpose of this was to put a temporary stop on spontaneous spending. Go a month without spending money on anything except necessities? Yes."

Employment Isn't an Issue

The first place we thought to look was employment status. Mr. Dunning decided to enforce a spending freeze because... he didn't have much of a choice. But we were surprised to find that full-time workers were almost as likely as the unemployed to claim they could do it. (Part-time workers, not so much.)

Drinkers Couldn't Do It

If a full-time job can't stop you, what can? Well, alcohol, apparently. Only a third of drinkers said they would be able to go an entire month without spending, compared to nearly half of nondrinkers. Maybe if we gave them the option to stockpile some vodka, it would have changed the results.

Smokers Don't See the Big Deal

On the flip side, smokers were unusually sure of themselves. Perhaps they felt a cigarette stockpile was implied. It seems odd that one addictive substance (tobacco) would boost voters' ability to cut spending, while another (alcohol) would negatively affect it. Go figure.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our original poll about spending. We'd love to hear from you!
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Top Opinion

  • 00P 2012/02/16 14:41:26 (edited)
    Hell no! I don't know of to many that could...most of us work so buying gas is a must!!!
    work gas

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  • TheNightFly 2012/02/28 11:41:14
    In the effort to eliminate unnecessary expenses, I once decided to dump the rent and live out of my car. I put all my stuff in storage, got a cheap 7-11 cell phone, got an annual pass at my local sports center for bathing, I washed cloths at laundromats, and I slept on a mattress in the bed of my truck, which had a fiber glass camper shell. It was a major sacrifice but it saved me $900 a month and I was only making $1200 a month net.
  • Cora 2012/02/26 06:07:25
    NO! I can honestly say I can't go without spending money unless I skip paying the bills or my mortgage or if you are homeless.
  • me 2012/02/17 10:37:53
    I consider my spending supporting the economy! But yes, I could cut down my spending if I had to.
  • TheNigh... me 2012/02/28 11:47:01 (edited)
    Spending what you earn supports the economy.
    Spending on credit hurts the economy.
  • Paul Adam 2012/02/16 22:24:14
    Paul Adam
    Well it goes up in plus & minus anyway or the other? & there is allways a natural limit for everything & just the same. people must learn to take full resposibility of their very own lives.
  • teachaman~PWCM~JLA 2012/02/16 21:37:13
    once my wife and I attempted spend only a pre-determined amount of cash during a three-month period, sticking to a budget we'd figured out in advance ... in the third week a car malfunction ruined THAT idea!
  • BOOGIETHEBOOG 2012/02/16 20:45:05
    No we could not do this. Because we go through at least two tanks of gas a month. I would not be worth it for us. Because my husband has to work.
  • Curmudgeon 2012/02/16 18:52:30
    This poll is ridiculous, as it's implying that there are people out there that can go without paying their mortgage, utilities, car insurance, not buy gas for their car if they have a job.

    As I'm a commercial field electrician, and refusing to not spend for a month would cost me my job and I would be in dire straights as my mortgage company came knocking on my door serving me with a foreclosing notice.

    It's a nice idea, just not terribly realistic.
  • dick 2012/02/16 18:27:32
    I could do it but it would complicate my life more than it is now!
  • BishopReginald 2012/02/16 17:46:21
  • Angelatxpatriot 2012/02/16 17:36:06
    Well when you have to drive to work, and kids, it's very difficult to not have to spend money. I'd love to go a month without spending any, but we live out in a rural area, and have to go to work, kids sometimes have to stay after school. There is no way. We'd have to take off from work for a month to cut spending.
  • alex 2012/02/16 17:21:17
    How does stockpiling food make it not count? What you're supposed to starve or mooch food all month? Get real.
  • davyd god loving patriot 2012/02/16 17:05:37
    davyd god loving patriot
    I hear more and more people are turning to pet food to eat, the nobama way
  • uncle remus 2012/02/16 16:54:06
  • SODAHEADSHEAD 2012/02/16 16:45:02
    Uhh...it's hard to avoid.
  • Gino™ 2012/02/16 16:34:25
    I could if I were homeless, jobless, and didn't have a family to support.
  • heirsoftheking 2012/02/16 16:22:47
    I could probably fast for a month. I'd still have to break the fast safely, plus I'd need to cover the other bills.
  • harley oldman 2012/02/16 15:58:32
    harley oldman
    YES...If need be...!
  • earl 2012/02/16 15:22:03
    It is not the peoples spending that we need to worry about. If people want to spend the money they have earned, that's a good thing in keeping the economy going.

    It's Government spending and Government redistribution of wealth that is the problem. If the Gov. is giving you a check and your spending it on non-necessity items, We then have a problem.
  • kerebail.ramakrishnachar 2012/02/16 15:06:41
    The System Has Made Many People to Go A Month Without Spending !
  • 00P 2012/02/16 14:41:26 (edited)
    Hell no! I don't know of to many that could...most of us work so buying gas is a must!!!
    work gas
  • JoeBlo 2012/02/16 12:55:46
    In the true sense of the question.... yes.
    There is a huge difference between 'need' and 'want'.
  • Haruko.Haruhara 2012/02/16 12:46:29
    I don't have any money at the moment so....I WIN!
  • DS in Oak Ridge NC 2012/02/16 11:48:03
    DS in Oak Ridge NC
    I could not, but saved enough during my lifetime to spend as needed and still remain self-sufficient. It doesn't happen by accident (or by winning a lot of Scratch-Off-Cards), but by planning for your future while you're young enough to actually make it happen.
  • Yosyp 2012/02/16 11:46:14
    If all my bills were paid in advance and I had enough food and gas to get to work, I guess I could
  • Phil Yosyp 2012/02/16 12:34:53
    That's exactly right. Otherwise there is no way to go a month without spending money.
  • Soundstorm 2012/02/16 10:47:54
    If you need to spend for spending's sake you're desperately trying to fill a hollow space in your soul.
    Forward this memo to the Obama White House.
  • hari 2012/02/16 10:45:29
    lousy to say
  • Flea 2012/02/16 09:56:58
    I already live this way, stockpiling everything for the month- groceries, household items, tobacco- and it's still hard not to spend money, because I invariably run out of perishable goods during the month (milk, eggs, vegetables). We're talking things many people consider necessities, not luxury items.
  • Playerazzi 2012/02/16 09:30:39
    Of course not. I have a mortgage, electrical bill, water bill, cell phone bill at the very least.
  • MR. 2012/02/16 09:17:34
  • painted desert 2012/02/16 08:00:37
    painted desert
    You mean besides paying your bills? I have to do at least that. I need to get food. So I will probably have to get gas from time to time. And we live on a fixed income, so this doesn't include going out. Going out to eat, movies, or anything really fun related. I haven't been to the mall in years. And you know I don't really miss it much. But no new clothes in awhile. So no, I couldn't do it.
  • Beat Magnum True Hero 2012/02/16 07:23:57
    Beat Magnum True Hero
    Dear Landlord, utility company, employer, grocery store, & drug store:

    I have decided to prove to the world that I am a better person by not giving into the consumer system and spending any money for a calendar month. This means that I will not be paying rent, utilities, and other necessary bills this month. Moreover, I will not be purchasing any food or household needs from the grocery store and drug store. Please do not have me arrested when I am dumpster diving for food scraps on your property. Finally, I will not be able to make it to work. I am too far from work to walk, and without a car, I would normally take the bus, but since I am sticking it to the consumerist system, I can not do that either as that requires me to also spend money.


    Beat Magnum True Hero

    P.S. Please inform my friends that I have left my house doors unlocked so that they can more easily recover my starved and frozen corpse.
  • suomynonA 2012/02/16 07:12:17
    Its a habit of spending money, no matter how little it may be: $1 is a drink or food item from some places i know of; $2000 multiple times, gone in less than a week.
  • Jo 2012/02/16 06:11:35
    uh, no, not even close, and I dont buy anything that I dont need to; then again, I'm one of these people that doesnt fill up my gas tank, only buys what groceries I need immediately, etc, etc.
  • Red_Horse 2012/02/16 05:38:49 (edited)
  • Kathleen O'Malley 2012/02/16 05:21:56
    Kathleen O'Malley
    I'd have to stockpile food, and then I'd be spending a month's worth of food to not pay the same amount the next month?
  • Jack the Dude 2012/02/16 05:16:22
    Jack the Dude
    80% of people who said they COULD do it, would fail in the first week.
  • rk 2012/02/16 04:47:50
    When you are upside down $600. every month there are times when you have nothing to spend. I've been there and it stinks! More is better than less.
  • Melody 2012/02/16 04:43:24
    It costs to live.

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