[No-Spend November - Day 24] I Hate Carbs

Today is day 24 of No-Spend November signifying that I have made it 24 days without spending a dime. All of the money saved, I’ll be donating to Food Bank of New York.

This month has taught me that my so-called “problems” are trivial compared to what many suffer on a daily basis. My heart goes out to anyone who can’t afford to put healthy food on the table.

Today, I feel pretty crappy. I’ve been eating carb heavy for weeks and a lot more processed food than I do in a typical month.

In order to survive the last week of No-Spend November, I need to strategize.

As of right now, I have no food in my fridge. Though I have no food, I have excesses of other items like clothing, books, and lotion. Is it possible to barter my way into a healthy meal?

Here are some of the items I have to trade for healthy food:

  • Bottle of lotion
  • Books
  • Hugs
  • Conditioner
  • Cough drops
  • Tea
  • High Fives
  • Samples from Sephora
  • Bar of soap
  • Marketing expertise

Anyone wanna make a trade? Maybe you know of a brand who would be willing to give me lunch this week?

ariannaodell (at) gmail.com

Any help is appreciated!

Want to help others in need? Every dollar donated will go towards providing hot food to someone in need this Winter.

In a position to donate? Today I invented some new tiers for the last week of donations .

Donate $5: I’ll draw you an amazingly horrible photo and mail it to your home. As someone with mediocre artistic ability this is very valuable. Reward value – $95,992

Donate $25: I’ll create a YouTube video for you serenading you in lip sync to the song of your choosing. From T-Swift to Enrique, I have quite extensive musical knowledge. Reward value – $1,933,000

[No-Spend November - Day 21] 5 Things Money Can’t Buy

No-Spend November has been one of the most difficult challenges I have yet to partake in. For 21 days, I have yet to spend a dime, and will donate all of the money saved to Food Bank of New York.

Rollin’ on a budget of $0, I’ve learned that there are 5 important things that money can’t buy. What are they?

1.) Delightful & Deep Conversations

Setting my own schedule this month has given me the opportunity to connect with friends on a deeper level. Instead of constantly saying “I have to run, I’m so busy!” I’ve been able learn more about those I care about. Feelings surfaced, tears ensured, and laughter filled rooms for hours.

2.) Freedom

At the beginning of this month, I took the plunge to pursue entrepreneurship and contract projects full-time. The self-employed life has given me a new found freedom. I can wake up whenever I want. I can work whenever I want. And each decision I make is mine and mine alone. Let freedom ring.

3.) Great Friends

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No amount of money could ever replace my friends and family. Sorry guys, you’re stuck with me – I wouldn’t trade you for all the Dior and Pumpkin Spiced lattes in the world.

4.) Support

I have an amazing network of support. Since beginning this experiment, the support has come pouring in from family and friends. I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. In only a few weeks, together we have been able to raise an additional $370. This is amazing! Do you think we can make it to $5,000 by the end of the month?

5.) Creativity & Inspiration

Living on a budget of $0 has made me creative like never before. Looking back, the times in my life I have been most creative were the times I had the least amount of resources available. Comfort kills creativity.

There are officially 10 days left of No-Spend November. The next week will be spent figuring out how to host an amazing Thanksgiving on a budget of $0. In NYC and no plans? You’re welcome at my place. 

Any ideas on how to get a free turkey? ;)

[No-Spend November - Day #13-16] A Visit From The Pho Fairy

I have officially made it 16 days into No-Spend November. I’ve resisted buying gum. I’ve resisted taking taxis. I’ve resisted going to the movies. I’ve resisted grocery shopping. I’ve resisted every single impulse I’ve had to shop spending a grand total of $0.00. The money saved this month, will be donated to Food Bank of New York on December 1st.

My most commonly asked question is “C’mon. Why don’t you cheat? No one will know.”

Though tempting to swipe my card, I have committed to this project and have vowed to make it through the entire month spending $0. Though challenging, it’s been fun to exercise my creative muscle seeing what I can get for free through affiliate programs, signup bonuses, and samples.

Here is what I’ve been up to the last few days.

On Wednesday, I was gifted a bag full of delicious snacks from KIND.

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On Thursday, I traded my marketing expertise to Spice & Spoon in exchange for a delicious home cooked meal.

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Spice & Spoon offers New Yorkers the opportunity to have a chef host a cooking class right in your own home. From learning to make a fabulous lasagna to a night of mixology lessons, their classes make for fantastic parties and date nights.

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Here is my latest video update with founders Kendra & Alex.

On Friday, I had an tasty meal thanks to DigInn, one of my favorite healthy food spots in New York City. DigInn offers a season menu of some of the tastiest food around. And what is better than brussels sprouts? Pairing them with good conversation.

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This entire week, I have been walking A TON which resulted in a bit of a cold.

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On Saturday night, I curled up with a wine glass of Emergen-C.

Today I awoke not feeling so hot. Not spending money while sick has been a bit rough. Unable to Seamless up a storm, I resorted to DIY Pho: boiled chicken stock and water.

As I write this post about lack of Pho, I just got a knock at my door. Apparently there is a Pho fairy named Jason.

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I have the best friends ever.

The past few weeks have taught me a lot about myself and have shown me how truly blessed I am to have a supportive group of friends who have helped me along the way with this project.

I hope to be better by tomorrow so I can continue to work hard on meeting our goal of raising $5,000 for Food Bank Of New York. Whether you are in the position to give $0.25 or $25 every bit will go towards helping someone in need.

Can you help? Sharing this post would mean the world to me! ❤

[No-Spend November - Day #12] We Spend Money Because We’re Afraid

In 13 days, I have not spent a dime as part of “No-Spend November”. This experiment has been challenging, humbling and gratifying in so many ways.

It took an extremist approach to truly learn an important life lesson. Happiness cannot be bought.

Far too often, we throw money around as a distraction. We hide behind material possessions because we are afraid of our emotions. Shopping is a crutch.

When I feel stress, I wander through stores aimlessly distracting myself from the problem at hand.

When I feel pain, I head to a movie numbing my thoughts with 90 minutes of distraction.

When I feel insecurity, I head to the nail salon covering up my vulnerabilities with pretty shades of polish.

Far too often, showing feeling is equated with weakness. It shouldn’t be this way.

Forced to confront my emotions, I have felt happiness and I have felt sadness. I have felt stress. I have felt anger. I have felt insecurity.

And it’s okay.

It’s okay to be human.

[No-Spend November - Day #11] Early Thanksgiving

This month, I have committed to spend $0 throughout the month of November donating all of the money I would have spent to Food Bank of New York.

When I explain the challenge, I’m often met with “how?!” To survive, I have been relying on freebies, signup bonuses, and affiliate programs. While this has been tough, I’ve also been surviving from some huge acts of kindness by friends and brands.

Yesterday my food supply was running low. And by low, I mean I was completely out. Luckily for me, my friend Tiffany invited me to a free night out on the town with Yelp Elite. Yelp’s top users were invited to a fabulous dinner at Fogo De Chao, a Brazilian Steakhouse and could bring a +1.

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Plates kept coming out for hours.

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Great conversation with great people.

On a typical Tuesday night, I may have turned down the experience thinking “I have no time, I have to be up early for work.” I’m so glad this wasn’t the case.

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Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner that New York Cheesecake is so good? It doesn’t taste like this on the West Coast.

The night was spent disconnected from technology catching up with Tiffany and making a few new friends.

Stuffed with cheesecake and good conversation, I felt an insane amount of gratitude.

Walking home, I met up with good friends who used to live a block away from me. Last year, we lived a block away from each other, but had been out of contact because of my “busy” disease. Though I spent $0, this night was one of the best.

It pains me to think that I’ve spent months being so out of touch with what truly matters to me: family and good friends. No amount of money could ever replace them.

Today I received another amazing surprise. Checking my mail, I had a package waiting for me. Thank you Jennifer for your kindness. I am so truly humbled by all of the support.

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There are 19 days left of the challenge. Do you think we can together raise $5,000 for Food Bank of New York? Even a donation of $.25 would mean the world to me. Can’t donate? Would love it if you could help me spread the world.

[No-Spend November - Day #10] I’m Getting Married

It brings me great regret to inform all New York City bachelors that I am officially off the market.

Things between Seamless and I have gotten pretty serious after they helped me out with No-Spend November contributing with some food credits.

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I am so very appreciative to all of the brands and friends who have helped me so far with this challenge. Yesterday I awoke to an amazing act of kindness. An anonymous donor gave $100 to the Food Bank Of New York. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I started to strategize: how can we meet our goal of raising $5,000?

Many friends have asked how they can help with the initiative.
Here are a few quick ways to spread the love this November. Who knows, maybe you’ll get married too! ;)

  • Share this post on with your friends.
  • Send me an email with an idea on how to get the word out about this project.
  • Send me a puppy photo. This is a good way to motivate me.

This is me giving you a virtual hug. Thank you for your help!

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[No-Spend November - Day 9] Can You Help Me Brainstorm?

No-Spend November is getting real. I have officially run out of food in my fridge other than some pasta sauce, 1/4 a carton of chicken broth and some old potatoes.

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The first 9 days of this experiment have taught me to appreciate food like never before. From brands donating lunch, to friends leaving me food, each time I have eaten, I truly appreciate each bite.

Thank you to the following NYC lunch spots!

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In a typical month, between dining out, quick coffees and grocery shopping I can easily total a bill between $200-$500.

At the end of this month, I am thrilled I’ll be able to donate this amount to The Food Bank of New York.

I have 20 days left of this challenge so some strategy is now required to withstand the month.

If you’ve been following along, on Friday I setup a donation page challenging my friends to partake in the challenge. Already we’ve been able to raise an additional $165 which is amazing!

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Thank you Meng, Colleen, Luiz, Nicole, & Madonna for your donations so far.

Friends, can you help me brainstorm? What are some events in New York taking place this month that have free food? Know of any loyalty programs that give a signup bonus? ariannaodell (at) gmail.com

Any thoughts and ideas are appreciated. Sharing this post would also mean a ton to me! ♥

[No-Spend November - Day 8] – Breakfast of Champions

I would eat breakfast food for every meal of the day if I could.

Steaming hot oatmeal, hemp milk, cinnamon, dates and a side of coffee is probably my favorite Sunday breakfast. Or waffles. Or an omelet paired with Sircaha sauce. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Did I mention I really like breakfast?

For day #9 of No-Spend November, I made myself a new version of my favorite meal consisting of ingredients far more tasty: free oatmeal and tap water.

Full on the satisfaction that I had completed 9 days of this challenge, I pulled on my now loose pants and sat down to reflect.

Though I have not spent any money, the last 9 days have been some of the most gratifying days I have had this year. The support of friends and loved ones has truly been humbling.

Not only has this experiment been rewarding for me, but we have also been able to raise $150 which is amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Have we been out of touch? Give me a call or drop me a line – would love to catch up.