By Kellene Bishop
It’s time for a challenge, a REAL challenge. Last year I gave a list of suggested challenges that a person could choose from and then offered two kick-butt prizes to those who participated and were accountable for taking on a challenge (A Humless Solar Generator and a Be Young Essential Oils Pack) but this year I decided that I wanted to put the spotlight directly on a couple of very specifically designed challenges throughout the year in which I will also personally participate right there with everyone else.
We have more than 300,000 regular readers on this site every month and more than 14,000 fans on our Facebook page, so I’m hoping that it won’t be difficult to get at least 500 individuals who will participate with me on this challenge. I believe that part of the key to having a successful event in which we have a lot of people participating is that I give you a little heads up. Two years ago the challenges I issued were deliberately spur of the moment—because hey, that’s how life really is, right? But rather than get caught up in that spontaneity aspect I am more interested in creating an inspiring, highly educational, and realistic challenge experience for as many of you who will participate. So, with that being said let me give you the details of the contest but, not without endeavoring to first get you to be open to mentally accepting this challenge.
So, right now, I’d love it if you took a second to take a deep breath and at least get your mind OPEN to accepting what’s about to show up on the page below outlining this challenge. To truly be open you’ve got to stop yourself from saying “I can’t do this because…” One of my favorite sayings is “The maximum effective range for an excuse is ZERO meters.” *grin*
Take this opportunity to really test your plans, your resolve, your commitment to being prepared and self-sufficient, and to improving. I can easily assure everyone who takes advantage of this challenge is that you will most certainly have your eyes opened up to some “holes” in your preparedness efforts. Yes, this is going to be inconvenient. And it’s all right to whine and moan and complain about it, but you still need to find a way to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. OK? I’ve never met a crisis that asked me permission before entering into my life or that checked with my calendar to make sure it was OK.
What we are going to simulate here is a combination of challenging scenarios all in one. A forced Federal bank holiday, a widespread unemployment event, a prelude to a currency collapse in which you’re stuck with the small amount of cash that you might still have on hand with no idea when you’ll get to use “real” currency again, a physical injury that prevents you from going back to work for 4 weeks, a break in the infrastructure that prevents you from getting access to your work and income generation, the necessity to survive for longer periods of time on a paycheck, a long-term power outage that prevents access to your electronically generated funds or bank access, a destruction of the communication infrastructure making it so that banks and credit companies are unable to communicate with each other, etc. etc. etc. You decide the scenario; discuss it with those who will participate with you; but whatever you do, create the mental story and then move forward with the challenge.
OK. So, we’ll now move on to the specifics.
Start your challenge on March 20th, 2013.
- Your challenge will be to spend NO MORE than $250 TOTAL on anything and everything between March 20th and 12:01 a.m. April 18th. This includes bills, fuel, lunch money, co-pays and medications (where reasonable), groceries, etc. This total is NOT per person. It’s for your whole family (or those in your household that are willing to participate with you.) If you choose you can do it all on your own, but no cheating in using your spouse or significant other as a “Sugar Daddy.” *hee hee*
- You cannot make ANY financial transaction during this period of time in excess of your total budget of $250. However, you can barter all that you’re able.
- You MAY use any store credits, gift certificates or gift cards or coupons that are in your possession but you may NOT use any credit cards.
- Even though you will likely earn additional income during this period of time, you cannot exceed your $250 budget.
- If you have any automatic withdrawals already authorized from your account you MUST include those in your strict $250 budget.
- Yes, you may take care of any financial obligation that you can possibly imagine prior to March 20th, but once it hits March 20th, any spending you do will go towards your $250 total budget.
- You must keep a detailed tally of your spending during the time of the challenge. We don't want you to spend more than the $250 just because you "forgot" a transaction here or there. Reality is a great tally keeper. *grin*
- You may not borrow any funds from anyone else during this time, but you are permitted to barter. Bartering is item for item or item for service or service for service; there is NO money exchanged in a bartering scenario.
Obviously, the key to this challenge is to learn as much from it as possible. But what we don’t want to have happen is that you don’t accept this challenge just because of some mitigating circumstance such as your medication alone costs $300 per month, or you don’t think there’s any way anyone else in your home will go along with it, or there’s no way you can take care of your rent or mortgage payment before the 20th. I get it; things happen; but focus on making this challenge as significant as possible and try not to give yourself too many excuses. I know that everyone has health insurance, car insurance, mortgage etc. Just do the best that you can do to abide by the letter and the spirit of the rules of this challenge. You'll learn either way.
Last but not least,
- you MUST refrain from saying “I can’t…” such as “I can’t go to dinner with you because I’m on a strict budget.” “I can’t support your Pampered Chef party because I’m broke.” First of all, it’s actually very rude and uncouth to share that with people. It’s just plain depressing and if you’re saying things to depress other people what kind of a person are you?? Secondly, it’s a very negative thought process. Dieters never succeed if they focus on what they CAN’T eat, rather what they can do. This is SUCH an important part of the challenge that I’m going to give you this one last condition: Each time you catch someone saying “I can’t…” during the course of this challenge, you lose $1. Turn the “I can’t” into a positive, for example, “I get to focus on the most important things for the next 4 weeks”
What I would love to have happen is for you to join us here and share feedback of your experience during the course of the challenge so that we can all learn from it. For example, when Lynn C. won the Humless Solar Generator for last year’s challenge, she discovered how much more difficult it was to stick with a strict budget with so many car owners and errand runners in her family. Everyone had to be mindful of the end goal instead of thinking of all of the “I” issues. “Well I’ve got to go to work and then I want to hang out with my friends.” A serious crisis completely eliminates the luxury of looking out for just ourselves.
So, are you ready? Will you join us?? I encourage you to share this challenge with anyone else that you think might be interested. The more the merrier because the more people that do this challenge and write about their experiences with it, the more lessons we can all learn BEFORE we actually find ourselves in the midst of a crisis. I always say that "practice makes peaceful." This is going to test you on MANY levels not the least of which in terms of Mental Preparedness.
By the way, if you agree to join us in this contest, then you'll need to to go your local medical center and get the GPS RFID inserted into your left arm which will play the Michigan State Fight Song if you exceed the $250 budget or break any other rules. Hee hee...just kidding. I'd NEVER make anyone listen to the Michigan State fight song! Go Buckeyes!
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