21 February 2012

No Spend Challenege - Week 3

Wednesday, February 15th:
Breakfast: Pop Tarts and cereal (what's new?)
Lunch: homemade/kid made mini pizzas..and an egg salad sandwich for Brad
Dinner: Hamburger Helper and Brussels sprouts

We had a good day. I got a lot done around the house. The kids got some great outside play time with Brad when he got home. We got creative for lunch. This challenge is turning out to be about more than just pumping the savings account full of cash. We are effectively cleaning out our cupboards, which is something that most people should start doing a couple months before a big move anyway. I have had two packets of pizza crust mix in my pantry for months and months. I probably bought them only because I had a coupon or something, because I never make homemade pizza. We didn't have pizza sauce but we found a can of spaghetti sauce that we were NEVER going to use, left here by my sister about a year ago. We had shredded cheese in the fridge...and voila! Lunch. :) We also sold Brad's old futon today. He has had it since long before we ever met, and it has been living in our back yard as patio furniture. We got $75 for it which wasn't bad at all. I now have a little goal in my head to sell enough stuff before the end of the month to cover our bills that we paid, so we can cancel out all spending for the month, and ACTUALLY have spent NOTHING. Between the mattress and the futon we have made $175, which is the same as what we paid for Jocelyn's preschool tuition for the month. Now I just need to make $100 to cover the cell phone bill, $35 to cover the internet bill, $10 to cover the water delivery, and $8 to cover Netflix, and we will have actually spent $0 of our February pay. Off to collect things from around the house that we do not need! Cash envelope balance: $137 + $75 = $212

Thursday, February 16th:

Cinnamon Toast
Lunch: mac and cheese
Dinner: steak, rice, and asparagus

I made bread! And, it is good. I got the recipe from TheSimpleDollar.com . All it took was a packet of yeast ($0.65), 1 cup water ($0), 5 teaspoons of sugar ($0.02 based on a $2 5 pound bag), 1 teaspoon of salt (<$0.01), 3-4 cups of flour ($0.75 based on a $2 5 pound bag), 1/4 cup of milk ($0.08 based on a $5 gallon), and 5 teaspoons of melted butter/margarine ($0.10 based on a $0.77 for a pound of Blue Bonnet). I got 14 slices out of the loaf, which was two less than what was in the store bought loaves. We usually pay between $2.75 and $3.20 for the bread we like, and this loaf was super yummy for only $1.60. The bonus is that I didn't even pay for the flour, my sister left it here last time she came for a TDY. And, Melynda gave me three packets of yeast, because I have never bought yeast before. So this particular loaf only actually cost me about $0.30.

I also made a $0.30 frappuccino today! Woohoo! Brad went to Dave and Buster's today for a coworker/friend going away luncheon. He took $20 out of the envelope, and brought back $4! Go Brad! We are out of butter, eggs, and milk...So tomorrow we are going to have to spend a lot, but it should get us through at least to the next week
Envelope balance: $196 = $100 for the mattress. $75 for the futon, and $21 left of our original envelope cash from recycling in January.

Friday, February 17th:
Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches
Dinner: Homeport...Lemon poppy seed chicken and rice, fresh fruit, rolls, and salad
We were going to get milk and eggs today, but didn't make it out of the house, Brad had the day off for a 4-day President's Day weekend, So, we just hung out at home as a family all day. It was nice. Then we went to Homeport to enjoy a very tasty dinner, a lesson on suffering for Christ, and some great fellowship. It was a good day. Balance: $196

Saturday, February 18th:
Breakfast: toast
Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly and mandarin oranges
Dinner: macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and green beans
I took our last $21 of our original envelope cash to the commissary today and got 3 gallons of milk ($4.70 each), 18 eggs ($1.68) and 3 pounds of butter ($0.77 each). With the surcharge, it came out to just over $19.00. So, we now have less than $2 of our original cash remaining, but a balance of $177. The milk is good until 5 March, but I am just hoping it lasts us until 29 February. I still have stuff to make more bread, and I really think we can do this with out spending that last $2 or more. This gets a little harder every day, when I find myself wanting Wendy's or Jamba Juice. But, as much as I would like to have those things, not getting them feels so good! I feel so in control! I have never before in my adult life, excluding basic training, gone this long without spending money on fast food. Though we did have fast food last week, it was free! And that was only one time this month, when we usually have it 3 or more times a week...YIKES! Even though we will start spending again in March, it will likely be a more controlled spending than we usually practice. We are going to start a daily log of every penny we spend, whether it be $0.50 for a soda at work, or $1.00 for fries at Wendy's on the way home from the zoo. I am loving how this financial accountability and self control are making me feel. NEVER thought I would be saying that! :) Cash: $177

Sunday, February 19th:

Breakfast: pop tarts
Lunch: Chicken Fried Steak, potatoes and corn
Dinner: Chicken and broccoli fettuccine alfredo
A couple weeks ago my friend Amanda asked me if I could make a quilt out of her old t-shirts. I was excited to take on this project. She brought me all the shirts at bible study on Friday night, and today I completed the 'quilted design part'. I have yet to sew the backing on, but this is what it looks like right now:

She had seen one on Etsy that she liked, but it was $150 plus two way shipping (shipping the shirts to the seamstress, and then shipping back the final product). That seemed just a little bit outrageous to both of us! Anyway, with me doing it, there is no shipping, and no ridiculous price! I had fun making it, and it only took me one weekend (I was watching TV with Brad during the kids' nap time while I did almost all of the measuring and cutting, so it's not like it took me away from other responsibilities). I haven't decided yet what an appropriate price would be, because I didn't pay for any materials (except thread that I already had), and I don't really know what my labor should be worth. So, I am just going to tell her that I don't expect any payment...but she can tip me if she wants (my right hand does hurt a little bit from the excessive scissor usage). :) I am feeling really great about our success so far in the no-spend category, but I also am proud of how I have been capitalizing on my "homemaking" skills to keep me busy and entertained in the house without spending anything. I have a bunch of diapers that need the elastic replaced, that have been sitting on my sewing desk for months. I will definitely tackle those this coming week. Cash Balance: $177

Monday, February 20th:
Breakfast: I had toast before I left the house at 0450 and I assume Brad and the kids had cereal or pop tarts
Lunch: grilled pork steaks and rice
Dinner: I let the kids have lucky charms (supermom), I made Brad an egg salad sandwich, and myself an omelet. I wanted a sandwich too, but there were only 2 pieces of bread left.

I had been wanting to run the Great Aloha Run again this year. I started getting emails about it a few months ago. I thought I had registered, but realized after we started our no-spend challenge that I actually hadn't registered for this race when I thought I did, but instead for a different one that is happening in March. Well, I ended up getting to do it for free instead, because a couple days ago Brad found out that his command had purchased a bunch of entries for personnel who wanted to participate. It turns out they over estimated the amount of people who would be interested in participating, and they had extra registration packets to get rid of. I had Brad grab two of them, and my friend Jill and I got to do it for free. :) Score. Tonight, I was feeling tired and lazy, so I fed the kids Lucky Charms for dinner...they were pretty excited about that! I made a bunch of egg salad to have in the fridge for Brad's sandwiches this week, and that is what Brad and I were going to have for dinner, but there were only two slices of bread left. So he had a sandwich, and I made myself an omelet. Then I made two more loaves of bread, this time with whole wheat flour that I had no clue was even in my pantry (hiding behind cake mix boxes). I am hoping those will get us through this last week to the end of the month, because I have no more yeast to make more, and we really don't want to spend the money to buy more. Anyway, we are almost 3/4 of the way there, and going strong! Cash $177

Tuesday, February 21st:
Breakfast: Blueberry muffins
Lunch: homemade mini pizzas for us, Brad took Sunday's leftover chicken fried steak
Dinner: Pork steaks, broccoli and stove top stuffing(cleaning out the cupboards)

I am officially out of Dr. Pepper. :( I drank my last can today, which means I have to survive the next 8 days with NO soda! Ack! I have decided that my first purchase on the 1st of March is going to be a $1 extra large Dr.Pepper from McDonalds. My lack of soft drink reminded me that my friend Stephanie brought over a bunch of recycling for us last week (and some yummy fresh veggies), because she was leaving the island for a while. We have a few cans and bottles from the past three weeks, and Brad brought a bag of cans and bottles home from work. Tomorrow, the kids and I will take them all in for some quick cash. :) I am not going to spend it on soda (even though that is what I want to do with it), but I am not going to feel badly about buying milk, eggs, or yeast, if the bread, milk and eggs we have now don't last to the end of the month. So far this month we have spent $73, and brought in close to $200 (plus whatever Amanda wants to give me for her quilt). If I find a way to make another $150 this week, we will have not spent a single penny of our February pay checks, because even the bills we paid on the first will be covered by the cash we brought in. I am going to list some more things on Craigslist tomorrow. I cannot tell you how amazing this feels. Not spending money has made me feel poor at times (like when I asked Melynda if she had any yeast), but when I look at the fact that we have an entire month of pay just sitting there untouched in Brad's checking account, I feel super rich. :) Just so you know, I do realize that mooching off friends is not an acceptable way to go a month without spending, so Melynda will be getting some yeast back next month. :) Cash: $177

One more week! Surprise Dr. Pepper deliveries are welcome. :)

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