09 February 2012

No Spend Challenge - week 1

A couple months ago, Brad and I decided that we were actually going to do this. We had talked about it before when we lived in Japan, but never did the prep required, and really just didn't even want to try it.

Our spending had gotten reckless, and we really felt the urge for some accountability in the self control department. After this expensive Christmas season, and with an impending move, we decided that February 2012 was going to be our first annual no spend month.

This isn't as easy as stocking up on groceries to last you the next month...we had to meal plan for January AND February so that we could buy groceries for both months on just our January grocery budget.

We took in our recycling at the end of January and got $83 (the fact that we had that much in cans and bottles just shows how excessively we spent on sodas and what not throughout the holidays). I spent $13 on Wendy's (our last fast food for a while) and the other $70 went in an envelope on the fridge, with a goal of using that for NEEDS.

Anyway, I decided to informally document each day of the challenge, to include our meals and my thoughts on our activities each day.

Here is week number one!

Wednesday, February 1st

Breakfast: french toast (bread-frozen, 2 eggs-exp 24 Feb, milk, vanilla, cinnamon) and canned mandarin orange slices
Lunch: Amy&Brad-frozen hamburgers with bacon, lettuce, cheese and tomato Kids-PB&J, applesauce and string cheese
Dinner: frozen grilled pork steaks (garlic salted w/bbq sauce), frozen corn and PastaRoni fettucine alfredo
MONEY SPENT today: $0 Brad took $10 out of the envelope on the fridge to go get a haircut (a 2x a month necessity for his job)…BUT, I convinced him to put it back, that we weren’t spending THAT kind of money on DAY ONE..and, I cut his hair!!!!! Go us. Cash envelope balance - $70

Thursday, February 2nd-
Breakfast: Pop tarts
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup…and applesauce
Dinner: Baked chicken leg/thigh combos, steamed rice and steamed asparagus
MONEY SPENT: $0….We did pay Jocelyn’s preschool tuition today, which is counted as a “bill” so, I had to take $180 out of the ATM (we only pay them in cash because they take FOREVER to deposit checks). Her tuition is $175, so I got $5 in change that went into the milk/fruit/need envelope on the fridge. Non eventful day. Took Jocelyn to school, went for a run, took Sam to the park. I got some house cleaning and some pilates done during nap time. Not feeling the need or want to buy anything yet, but we do have 27 days of this left. Cash envelope balance-$75

Friday, February 3rd-
Breakfast: toast with plum jelly
Lunch: left over chicken and rice for me and Brad, and hot dogs, string cheese and mandarin oranges for the kids
Dinner: grilled steaks, rice, and corn
We were going to go to bible study tonight, but we got into an argument last night that lasted into the day today (not anything to do with spending), and we were both not in appropriate moods to go be around people. So, we saved on gas there even though we had planned on using it. But we missed out on dinner and fellowship. :( Cash envelope balance - $75

Saturday, February 4th-
Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: BLTs for the grown ups PB&Js for the kids
Dinner: Grilled BBQ Pork Ribs for mom and dad, chicken nuggets for the kids (though after Sam scarfed his nuggets, he ate half my rib!)
I drove the van for the first time this month. Jocelyn had another 4 year old girl’s princess party to attend. It was only 4 miles away, so no big deal. Luckily I have a giant bag of brand new 4t girl Gymboree bargains just sitting in the closet, so we just picked out a dress and a tank/shorts set for the gift…and I have one of those boxes of birthday/sympathy/wedding/new home/get well cards, so we were covered without spending anything. It was fun! We had to spend our first of our recycling cash today, as we ran out of milk and eggs. We went for a family walk to the mini mart after dinner, and got one gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for $8. Next time we drive somewhere, I am going to the commissary because milk is almost $2 cheaper. Anyway, we are doing okay in most other areas. Having to take $8 out of the envelope was hard, but we need milk and we knew we would be buying milk throughout the month..that is what the envelope money is for. And the only reason I am out of eggs already is because we have had French toast, and I made cookies a few times to pass the time. Cash envelope balance: $67

February 5th-Superbowl Sunday-

Breakfast- cereal (Cinnamon Life, yum)
Lunch- tuna melts for Amy and Brad, Spaghetti-os for the kids
Dinner- Mac and cheese and sliced apples for Jocelyn and Sam, and Super Bowl Party food for mom and dad (I made a chicken Broccoli braid, but Brad brought home a bunch of food from the party he went to today, so we ate that…and I cut the broccoli braid into segments for him to take for his lunch this week). The kids and I stayed home and napped while he was gone. Cash envelope balance: $67

{Three lunches for Brad}

Monday, February 6th
Breakfast: Cereal for everyone (we are going to need milk again before we know it)
Lunch: Chicken nuggets and left over mac and cheese from last night for me and the kids…Brad took one of the broccoli braid slices to work with him.
Dinner: Kids-corndog muffins and green beans Brad-frozen hot wings and green beans I cheated and went beyond the 'need' spending to go out to dinner with all the ladies from home port...and I had Prime Rib. Not fair at all, I know. :(

Sam had an appointment at 9:30 this morning, and it made the first half of the day more a little faster. It was only 3 miles away, so the tank in the Van is still full. I went out with some ladies, which was definitely not a need…but two of them are moving off the island for good this week, and it was worth sacrificing some of our envelope cash to spend that time with them before they go! I took $20 out, so the new balance is: $47.

Tuesday, February 7th:
Breakfast: poptarts/cereal
Lunch: broccoli braid for Brad, PB&Js and applesauce for me and the kids
Dinner: Crock pot chicken curry, steamed rice, and steamed broccoli
I drove to drop off and pick up Jocelyn from school today because it was raining, but the tank is still on F. We just stayed inside and did some rain day stuff. I got some sewing done during naps, which made me feel just a little accomplished. Nothing spent..cash envelope balance: $47

So concludes week one of 4 weeks of no spending. I don't long for any fast food or Starbucks. I can hear my name periodically being called from a distance, I think it is Gymboree. I want a candy bar, and I am running low on soda already (I am not good at rationing that stuff). I can already forecast that we will run out of certain things that I will want more of...but we will cross those bridges when we get there...as long as the toll isn't more than $47. :) I am feeling positive and motivated, and I definitely think we can do this.

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