This is our third week of update on No Spend Month Challenge that I am openly doing and sharing my spending on Heart and Mind Blog . Now there are 18 days down and 13 days left to go in this challenge.
Check out my previous updates to see our progress so far, here No Spend month challenge: Update 2
I am not sure how I will do this month or even next day for the total budget of $300 for the whole month. I sometimes do not know how each day will bring the challenge for me. Some days are so easy and other days requires more conscious effort on my part.
When I told Zenguy about the whole challenge, he did not know much about it but agreed to be on budget with me right away. Without his support I would be not able to do this challenge. As far as kids are concerned nothing much has changed. they still gets to do usual stuff they normally do and so do we, up to a point!
We did not stock up on gas or groceries and bought things normally as we do generally. During summer I am not teaching and R is at home more along with little P. Zenguy is searching for a project and meanwhile, we are living frugally yet still managing a little fun life despite the lack of budget. Here are some of the challenges and fun we had past week;
Some of the challenges
We had to go to a retreat gathering where we had to bring a potluck dish to share for 40 people. This time determined to stay in budget, I got creative and looked within my freezer and pantry for inspiration and there were plenty. I used up some of frozen food and pantry food to make hearty dish to bring to a potluck and it was a great success and well liked by everyone, including us.
Our indoor grill that we got as a gift in June stopped working, so repairing was not easy and nor was replacement due to our no spend month challenge. But when we mentioned it to our relatives who bought the grill, they said they still receipt and warranty for it ( less than 30 days purchase), so we got a free replacement from the company and they took the defective one back. If we were not doing this challenge, we might have bought new one without exploring other ideas.
Things we did to entertain our selves
All these things were fun and cost us nothing but little time and lot of mess to clean up later. But, it was worth it.
- We cleaned up our front and back yard that we neglected for some time
- We played dress up with kids (early Halloween)
- We saw a free animal related show at the library
- We made food we generally eat at restaurant and Chef R helped a lot
- We went to near by park and played with kids
- We danced to old Micheal Jackson songs and tried to do moon walking unsuccessfully
- We saw kids shows and movies from our collection and library
- I am reading books from my own collection, I like to re-read some of my favorite ones
- We tried to repair one broken chair, when I say we, I mean Zenguy did it 🙂 I am not handy at all
- I tried to learn sewing by reading a book from library (I am still clueless)
- We have tried to make a game to see if we can see back wall of freezer by finding and using food inside it.
- We actually were able to find some unopened boxed food to donate as we would not able to use it before expiring date.
- R and Zenguy created story combining characters from toy story and cars (R’s favorite movies)
- We saw our neighbor’s rabbit inside our yard again last week and fun giving her carrots and trying to help her find her home right next door. R and Little P were so excited, despite rabbit eating some of our new plants.
How much did we spent last week?
We did pretty well, from Last Monday till Saturday, we did not spent anything and I was quite feeling happy about it. I could have stretched buying to Monday afternoon and we would have been $0 for this week expenses. However this challenge is NOT for for vanity or showing off, it is all about conscious spending in our life. So we spent lot of money on needed stuff, all on Sunday! Here is the recap.
It has been over 2 weeks since we bought any groceries or filled a gas in our Van so it was much needed. We needed fresh fruits, bread, Juice and snacks for the kids.
Gas for Van, groceries and light meal is what we spent money on this week.
Total Spent this week: $97.15
As you can see, major expense in California is gas for cars and it is expensive and we are generally not avid drivers. Even though we do have 2 cars, we drive often close by and choose errands on same time to save gas and time both. I guess eating out was splurge this week, but we had very light meal, snacks, our first meal out so far in 18 days.
Grocery bill is less, not because it is cheaper here but because we bought ONLY the necessary stuff needed and trying to use up food from our pantry and freezer first. Although our diet is mostly wheat and rice based, we have tried to eat varied food, and also eaten home made pizza, quesedilla, nachos,and pasta this month.
So far total amount we spent from July 1st-July 19th (afternoon) is $235.60, leaving only $64.40 budget for the remaining 13 days. Can we make it? I can not say for sure, I am going to try my best to stay under the budget. If you see our expenses, most of it for the necessity but very little, if any on thoughtless spending.
Some the tips we are using to save money:
- Zenguy and I do not need any new clothes right now, we have enough,. R has grown taller so he can use new pants but I am looking for a deals before buying some. Little P gets to reuse most of R’s old clothes to save money. All of us have also newer clothes too but at home we are much relaxed.
- Zenguy cuts kids hair at home, saving money. He gets haircut from students, so the price is much reasonable yet professional enough. I cut my own hair and do not need much beauty care as I am in to natural products using what we have at home.
- I love cooking, so I usually cook at home but I also love to eat out, so we are trying to be more conscious about it. Zenguy is also helps and when I am breaking point, he makes his special chai at home or something special to cheer me up.
- R and little P have plenty of toys and we keep some extra in storage to rotate when new toy itch comes around. They both are very good kids, so that helps too. They like natural playing, park and riding on Zenguy’s back more.
- Using up food from our pantry, canned food and freezer before buying any more groceries.
- Using books, movies and library for reading, music and watching movies, shows from our own collection, from what we have, what we can borrow
- Write down every expenses every day, including any cents to keep eye on budget. We have been doing this for a few years and it really has a huge impact on our life.
- Some times, when we think we need some item, we stop and ask do we “NEED” it or “WANT” it before buying anything.
- I am terrible at using coupons but that is another great idea for saving money on groceries.
- I make baby food for little P at home and buy little of ready made Gerber stuff. Little P is moving quickly into table food anyways, making it much easier to cook for everyone
- We supplement disposable diapers with cloth diapers
- We stay away from commercial outings such as malls, kids stores and hang out more at parks, library and our back yard. Imagination is great with kids, our bed becomes a rocket to fly over a Jupiter or our backyard swing becomes a steam engine train when playing with kids.
What would I buy if money was not an issue?
- I would buy a walking shoes for me, as I have none right now. My old ones are donated as they were not better fit for my feet.
- We would buy a router as our current router is so antique and keeps breaking out internet connection often, not a good experience when I am on blog writing a draft.
- I would buy some pants for P, as he has grown since January and his pants are becoming a Capri pants.
My struggles (or being human with desire):
I will admit, yes I some times it is harder to do all penny pinching and feel like splurging a bit, But those moments are very few and when I am feeling down I remind myself why I am doing this and having a support from Zenguy is huge blessing. Having a bigger purpose or goal sure helps me. I take one day at the time and take it slow.
Check out next update on following Monday here No Spend Month: Update 4
I am sure we all like to save money and/or make more money regardless of how rich or poor we might be. How do you save money? What are your tips, struggles?