California Family Vows To Spend No Money In February

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions that they might not keep, the Dunning family in Davis, California, has decided to spend no money for the entire month of February. Well, the parents, Shelley and Bob Dunning, made this decision, and their four children are going along with it.

One reason driving their choice to cut down on consumption was the amount of money they spent over the Christmas holidays, which made Shelley Dunning, at least, feel that they should cut back.

No More Discretionary Spending

From ABC’s Sacramento affiliate, KXTV:

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.

Resetting The Clock On Everything

How about gas for the car? The Dunnings plan to walk – not so easy for some of us, but both Shelley and Bob Dunning work from home.

Shelley is hoping that the experiment will reset their clock on everything, and that the family will be able to look back and see how much fun they had together.

The Compact

On a much bigger scale is The Compact. In December 2005, a group of friends in San Francisco, CA, made an agreement to go one year without buying anything new except food and health and safety items (though they could purchase secondhand products.) Their goal was to help preserve the environment by reducing the number of new products brought into it, as well as to simplify their lives.

The idea is still going strong; in fact, people around the world have taken up the idea.

Good luck to the Dunnings!

Think you could do it?

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Photo Credit: Screenshot from ABC’s Sacramento affiliate, KXTV


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

What do they do, go to friends and family for food, heat, use of T.V./radio ,,elitric to wash use of washing -machine, fridge ,, too run a car if not bus fares and they want to spend nothing....!!

Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago

i give them a nod for effort...

Jane Rosenbaum
Past Member 6 years ago

They didn't do anyting spectacular. They stocked up in Jan. All they might have done was cut out movie going and buying new clothes or games for the kids. They didn't save any money since they bought everything they would need in Jan. Anyone can do this. I don't congratulate them. It was all pointless to begin with.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for this article.

Karen F.
karen Friedman6 years ago

Hope they don't have a house or insurance payment due. What about the gas, electric and H2O bills? Somehow I really don't think that they actually aren't spending anything.

Kristina C.
Kristina C6 years ago

I think the intention is really good - although I don't see the point in stocking up on Jan 31st with food and then only eat frozen stuff = not a really healthy option.
Discretionary spending should be everyone’s goal. With it we are also more conscious about what and where we eat - and we all can use a bit more family time. I am all for the experiment.

Please sign my petition:

Olivia S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Great idea...but they really are still spending some money.

Lynette B.
Lynette B6 years ago

The quick poll question "Should We All Try Doing This?" really should say: should we all cut down on our consumption?

Not buying anything for a month is not a very sustainable model in the long term. And, stocking up at Costco??? The epitamy of mass consumption owned by a multinational corporation! Please!

I'm reluctant to say this, for concern that someone will misinterpret my meaning. However, here goes. This family needs a much more realistic long term approach to their consumption and lifestyle problems. They should stop patting themselves on the back for being so diligent for the month (which they really didn't do because they "stocked up"), and start learning how to change their lifestyle for the long run. It will only be a worthy story if they change for the long haul.

I like Anne H's comments. My kind of approach.

Anne H.
Anne H6 years ago

I congratulate them for their efforts. I'm vegetarian, I consider feeding the kids (or anyone) milk pretty unhealthy. I've gone months at a time without buying anything other than food. I've gone a year without buying any clothing and years without buying any new clothing. During that time I felt resourceful and many of the things in my life are now reusable instead of disposable. I found I had more time. I then sold lots of stuff on craigslist just to challenge and repay myself for a sofa I found on craigs.

I encourage you to give this a try. I feel it had a positive impact on who I am as a human.