Tuesday, January 14, 2014

No Spend January UPDATE

My sister and I have committed to no spending in the month of January.  If you want to see what this includes, check out my previous post here.  Today I'm giving an update on how this is going so far for our family.

I didn't realize how many times in a week I just buy something when I want it or see something that our family might be able to use.  This past week my daughter asked me to take her to Hobby Lobby to get a frame for her poster she got for Christmas.  She was using her own money, so I thought it would be no big deal going to the store.  Boy, was I wrong.  I walked in the store and immediately was drawn to what was on sale.  I had to tell myself to walk away.  I went to the back of the store where the poster frames are located and low and behold, the clearance section is right next to it.  UGH, another temptation.  That is why I sent my husband to the grocery store the other week.  I can proudly say that I left Hobby Lobby with only one poster frame for my daughter and nothing for me.

Since my husband was in the field, I had to take my teens to their activities this week.  On Saturday,  Marissa had her last Driver's Ed course and near the school is a thrift store I like to pop into when I get a chance.  I was excited to see what they might have on sale.  Then I remembered my commitment...NO SPENDING!  This has become a challenge for me this week.  It's so much easier when I just stay in the house and don't go anywhere because then I am not tempted.

But, we needed milk again.  Did I tell you that we go through about 3 gallons of milk in a week?  So with my list of fruits, veggies and diary, I headed to the Commissary the other day.  I must say that while I did great at Hobby Lobby and resisting the thrift store, I failed at the Commissary.  I did not completely stay within the scope of my list.  When I am stressed, I tend to drink...soda that is and going to the store when you are hungry is not wise, I should have known better.  I ended up buying a 2 liter of Pepsi, a frozen pumpkin pie that was on sale for $.99 and a box of ice cream bars.  I should have just resisted those isles altogether, but I didn't.  I also forgot that I needed some baby food since Olivia won't eat banana and I need a fruit to go with her cereal besides applesauce everyday.

My previous spending for the month was $20.35 and this trip cost me $56.89, so my total spending to date is $77.24.  With my budget for the month for groceries being $150.00, I have $72.76 for the rest of the month. 

I now know, not to go to the store hungry and take someone with me to help keep me accountable. 

I think we can all use someone in our lives to keep us on track...  an accountability partner.  Maybe you are trying to be consistent with daily exercise or making sure you get your quiet time in every day.  An accountability partner can help keep you on track by encouraging you to stay strong when the going gets tough.  Find someone in your life who can spur you on to greater things.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eat from the Pantry/No Spend January

Last month my sister and I had a conversation about going for one month with no spending above the minimal needs of our family.  We each had different reasons for wanting to do this but both of us decided make a commitment for the month of January.  My goal is to only spend $150.00 on groceries for the family, mainly purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy.  This is not much considering our monthly family grocery budget is about $700.00. 

Eating from the Pantry means that we eat the food that is already in our pantry and freezer, while only purchasing the bare essentials.  No spending means.... no eating out, picking up Starbucks, or buying that cute sweater that only costs $5.00 with a sale and coupon. 

The things that are NOT included in our no spend month are:
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Tithe
  • Insurance
  • Gasoline
I mentioned what we are doing on Facebook and a couple of people replied that they would starve, that there is no way that they could eat from their pantry.   I may have an advantage over someone who does not enjoy shopping, cooking or using coupons to save money.  Since my sister and I both have larger families, I have 5 kids and she has 6,  we normally buy things in larger quantities at SAM's Club or even stockpile for our families anyway.  Plus at the end of November and again in December, I happen to come upon sales at the Commissary.  The first sale there was Tyson rep in the store handing out coupons for $1.25 off each package of meat. There was no limit on the number of packages of chicken you bought.  I definitely took advantage of this sale.  Buying the smallest packages gave me more bang for my buck.  The second sale I came across was on Perdue thin sliced boneless breasts at half off. Again, I bought quite a few, while still staying within my weekly grocery budget.

I can't resist a sale, especially if it's on a product I know that my family will use and it's even extra sweet if I have a coupon.  Let me just give you an idea of what I have on hand, so you understand how this is possible.  Like I mentioned earlier, my sister and I shop at SAMs and when I need to purchase something like sugar, flour or rice, the smallest quantity I buy is 7 lbs, but I usually buy at least 25 lbs. at a time.  I keep a cupboard of things we eat in the kitchen and then a pantry in the basement.  I always have an extra one or more of things in my basement pantry.  For example, while I have ketchup, mustard, PB and jelly in my kitchen, I also have at least one more in my basement pantry.  This is just how we roll.  I never want to be stuck without something I might need.

Here is a picture of my basement pantry.

And yes, I have over 20 packages of chicken from the sales I hit at the Commissary last year.  I also keep a small chest freezer stocked as much as possible.  You may be thinking there is no way you can do a month eating mainly what you have in your house.  Let me challenge you to try a week.  If you normally spend $100 on groceries a week, try getting creative with your meals, digging back into your cupboard and using things that you didn't know were there and only spend $25.00 on your groceries.  Also, see how long you can go without buy stuff.  You know what I'm talking about, not needs but wants.   Pepsi at the Dollar Tree...Starbucks coffee...Papa John's pizza....Chinese takeout.  I guess you can see where we like to put our money (though I am not the coffee drinker in our house). 

Today is January 8th.  We have 23 days left in the month.  To date I have spent $20.35.  It is sooo hard for me to have coupons in my binder and not to use them.  When I realized we needed milk, I sent my husband to the store so I would not be tempted to shop and buy things we didn't NEED for the week.  The other day my teens wanted to spend their Christmas money ( I am not forcing them to participate in this challenge with their personal money) so I had my husband take them to the mall.  What girl wants to shop with family or friends and not spend money?

So if you ask me to meet you for lunch in January, I will have to say no, call me next month.