February has arrived and that means my January No-Spend Challenge is officially over. So how did I do? Not bad. Not perfect but not bad.
Let’s start with a quick re-cap of the “rules”:
MY NO-SPEND MONTH “RULES”:
- I will allow myself $25 a week to spend on fresh produce and dairy. But no other food items.
- My son’s birthday is in January so I’ll purchase his gifts, of course.
- Obviously, if someone becomes ill and needs medication we’ll buy that.
- My monthly hair appointment is exempt from this challenge. Because…it just is.
- Pet food is exempt. I’m currently stocked up on enough dog food for Shiloh but will likely need more cat food. Not going to starve the pets!
- We will keep meals out to a minimum but I already know we will be going out tomorrow night with our kids to celebrate Chris’ birthday. I won’t suggest going out during this month but if David really wants to I’ll go along with it. This is MY challenge, not his.
How I did
For the most part I stuck to the rules. I did buy a can of cherry pie filling for my son’s birthday dessert early in the month. And then this week, I went to the store on Monday and went ahead a bought a whole chicken. I’m cooking it tonight, though, so I’m not sure that really counts against me. I also bought a box of cereal for David because he was almost out.
The other thing I bought Monday at Aldi’s that didn’t fit my guidelines were two pillows. I slept in our guest room a few nights when I had a cold and was reminded that we need better pillows for the guest bed. I was planning to purchase some soon. They happened to have a big shipment of surprisingly nice pillows at our Aldi for only $7.99 each. I had fully expected to pay around $40 for good pillows so I couldn’t pass up this bargain.
The only other thing I bought this month falls under the medication category. When I came down with a cold we needed more Emergen-C and elderberry syrup. David picked those up so I don’t know how much he spent. He also picked up some milk and a couple of other items when I was sick. I didn’t think to ask him for the receipt, though.
What I Spent
As for my grocery purchases, I spent a total of $107.43 for the month of January, including the pillows and the chicken for tonight.
What I Used Up
I can’t figure it out but my freezers are still full. Perhaps a little less packed but still full.
I did use the following items from the freezers:
- small turkey breast
- small ham
- 2 pkgs. grass fed ground beef
- 1 1/2 bags frozen french fries
- 1/2 bag sweet potato fries
- 1 bag green beans
- orange juice concentrate
There may have been other items but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
One thing I had hoped to do this month was bake bread. I did make a big batch of hamburger buns. And I made biscuits. But I never did get around to baking bread.
If you had asked me a couple of days ago I would have told you my refrigerator is less full than usual. But now I have a big pan of bread pudding and leftovers from the past couple of nights in there so it’s full again.
So here’s the thing. I’m going to continue a modified version of the No-Spend Challenge for February. I’m going to do a monthly shopping trip with my daughter next week but I’ll aim for a much lower budget than I usually have for these monthly trips. I’ll limit my local purchases to dairy and produce again.
As for non-food purchases, I’ll keep those to a minimum, too. I do know I’m getting low on a couple of makeup items and I ran out of moisturizer this morning (I can use coconut oil in the meantime). I’m trying to come up with something to use as a blog post planner for the year so I may end up purchasing something for that unless I can repurpose something I already have.
I still want to bake bread and make yogurt. And I’ll keep planning one or two (or more!) meals a week using beans, lentils or split peas which I have a lot of in the pantry. One thing I plan to do before my monthly shopping trip next week is to make a list of 25 meals for the coming month with a focus on ingredients I already have. I won’t assign those meals to specific days. Our schedule isn’t all that consistent so planning my menu a week in advance is the best I can do. But having a list of meals to choose from when creating those weekly menus will be handy and help keep me on track in using up what we already have.
If you did a no-spend January or have done one in the past, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the experience. If you’ve never done something like this, would you consider it? Why or why not?
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Note: My daughter who blogs at Retro Housewife Goes Green is featured in this next book. The author also invited her to speak at a function in Tulsa so we both got to meet her and ended up back at her hotel where the three of us had the BEST time together. You can read my post about it here. It’s from my old blog and isn’t properly formatted but it’s still worth a read if you want a glimpse of the sort of thing Lisa and I do on our little adventures.