Today is the first day that Swood and I will be doing “Live Rich:Live Poor”. Live Rich: Live Poor is, for want of a better term, a challenge that encourages us to think about how much money we spend needlessly. The challenge entails that, after you pay your bills (real bills, not “bills” meaning payments on laybys and that sort of thing), you try to live on as little money as possible. We’ve put a cursory $30/week amount on it- I’m hoping to buy all my food and bits and pieces with that. I’ve lately become increasingly aware of the fact every purchase I make is a decision. It’s a decision about how I want to spend my money. That seems simple. But it’s also a decision about how I don’t want to spend my money. It’s a choice. I have a finite resource, and my choices about how I allocate it are important decisions. Like it or not, they reflect my priorities and my values. I talk about universal equality (something I do believe) and our responsibility to fellow humans, but every time I make a decision to spend money on myself, I’m effectively undermining that belief. That being said, this $30 challenge is only due to last for a month. I’m hoping, through it, I will learn to be more frugal and to save more money in order to donate it to charities. People often say “I have no spare money”, but when you actually look at how you spend every penny, a lot is wasted. On $80 hand cream, or $4 coffees every morning. On going to the movies three times in a week. On buying fruit and vegies they then let go to waste because they’re not organised enough to cook them in time. We are spoilt. I certainly am. I have everything I need. And most of what I want. And that’s part of the challenge: reassessing the term “need”. What is it that we actually need? Peter Singer writes in his new book, The Life You Can Save, that if you are drinking anything besides tap water, you are catering for a want instead of a need, and you have money to spare. Extreme? Perhaps. But I do think he has a point. Anyway, over the next month, I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop about how it’s going. A big challenge for me will be eating well for such a small amount of money, but I’m sure it can be done. The sweet potato patties I made tonight were certainly very affordable and just delicious, not to mention REALLY good for you. Oh, and the money I save not buying crap? Half will go to charity:water australia. Cross-posted to Live Rich: Live Poor.