Tuesday, January 29, 2013

near the end of NO excess Spend Month!

Kids at the Circus! 

well, several people have asked me in the past week or two how my No Spend Month is going...so here are the latest numbers:


  • milk
  • hormel ham lunch meat
total $6.92 (OUCH!)


  • tomatoes
  • vanilla yogurt, organic
  • french bread
  • cottage cheese
total $11.31


  • 12 pk Coke Zero x4

total $10.80


  • hair gel 
total $5.44


  • apples
  • deli pizza
  • organic honey nut toasted oats
  • penguin crackers
  • mustard
  • crescent rolls x2
  • hot dog buns
  • broccoli
  • deli sliced cheese
  • mozzarella
  • bread crumbs
  • milk
  • cheese curls
  • baking soda
total: $29.97

Krystals Lunch Out for 4: $23.47
Doughnuts: $5.00
Circus and a soda $12.50
haircuts x2 $25.00

For a total of $130.41 for the "third" week. that is a grand total of $244.96 spent so far this month! whoo HOO! In the next day or two I will be buying a few more groceries, and I will wrack my brain for expenses that I may have missed. I will have a post in a few days about what we may or may not have learned through this experience!
How did your month turn out?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I know you are wonder WHAT we are eating while we are on this NO SPENDING SPREE, right?

In case you are, let me say that I am a mid-range couponer, so i tend to have a decent stockpile of staples in our house. I did not pile up things in December just to prepare for NOT spending in January, but I do have an extra freezer with some meats and other frozen things. I was trying to eat more WHOLE FOODS, healthy, and then fell off the wagon during the holidays, so I am still eating the food-like items that i purchased in my weakness during that time.

Breakfasts are simple. I am not even awake when they happen. {Have i mentioned lately how AWESOME my husband is?} The kids, ages 11 and 8, eat either boxed cereal, homemade and frozen sourdough waffles, cheese toast or peanut butter toast. Hubby eats one of those or he eats the homemade granola that I made back in December that we are still munching on. I have been drinking a Visalus shake. I just read that they contain GMOs, so once my stock of shake mix is gone, Visalus will be gone from my life too.

Lunches are also pretty straight forward. the kids eat (the over processed crap) at school. My kids are HARD to fix lunch for. They seem to like school lunch. I am not at the place to have this fight with them yet. It is EASY for them to eat at school and right now that is the best I can do. I consider paying for school lunches a "bill" so that money is NOT coming out of my $300 budget this month.  Hubby packs his own lunch {more awesomeness!} and takes an apple, and a sandwich (usually ham or peanut butter) and maybe some chips or crackers or whatever else he finds in the house. Honestly I don't know because I don't pack it, but he doesn't ask for anything special for his lunches....even when i ask him if he wants or needs anything. I eat leftovers or a sandwich or a salad or cheese and crackers or whatever I dig up.

Dinner. well, let me say that I am not normally THIS organized. The 1st week of the month,(or maybe the first 12 days) I just walked to the fridge/freezer and pulled something out and called it dinner. Then it got harder. At this point I have a "plan" for dinner through the 24th of the month. I will share that with you, along with what I had to purchase to make the plan happen, m'kay?

1/12  fish stick sandwiches and homemade oven fries. (I had to by potatoes)
1/13 Cheesy Potato Fries (bought: potatoes, ranch dressing, bacon, green onions)
1/14 Hoppin Johns and cornbread (bought: NOTHING!!)
1/15 Balsamic Roast Beef French Dip Sandwiches and Zucchini Fries (bought: beef broth, sub rolls, zucchini)
1/16 Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with chicken and spinach (bought: half & half , baby spinach)
1/17 Homemade Pizza (bought: mushrooms)
1/18 eating with family....so no cooking or buying for me !!!!!
1/19 Ham Sammies (bought; ham, swiss cheese)

All these recipes I got from Pinterest. HERE is my board that i have them pinned to, and i have linked them above, or not if it is MY recipe and there's no link. I have more, but I'll wait and post them later. Some things I bought this week will carry over into meals next week, 'cause that's how i roll. I have made some changes to the above recipes, to fit the eating tastes of my family, or what i have in the cabinet. I am sure you can alter them to suit your tastes as well. Happy eating!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Half way through NO excess SPEND MONTH

Well, another weeks worth of shopping to report. I am doing "good" and "bad." but we will sort it all out in a minute.


  • apple juice
  • sandwich bags
  • gala apples
Total: $7.20


  • Organic Honey Nut breakfast cereal
  • sandwich bread x2
  • fresh baby spinach
  • deli rolls
  • lunch meat
  • sliced cheese
  • bella mushrooms
  • sharp cheddar
  • 10 lb. potatoes
  • half & half
  • milk
  • onions
  • fuji apples
  • diet cola
  • beef broth
  • brown rice
Total: $35.02


  • Bacon
  • organic salad blend
  • zucchini
  • ricola cough drops x4
  • green onions
  • lipton decaf tea bags
  • Annie's organic ranch dressing
Total: $19.30

This represents a total of $61.52 for the week and $114.55 overall so far this month in Groceries.  Not too shabby if i do say so myself. This will get us through until Saturday, when I will go shopping again. Here's the "problem." I have $195.46 left in my cash envelope. so I have picked up $16.01 somewhere. I know i bought some groceries for my mom that were $10.83, and she insisted that i take a $20 for them...because that's how moms are! (or at least mine!), so that makes up for $9.17 of it...but i have NO idea where the rest came from. I don't usually carry cash, so i couldn't have "mixed" my money up! Maybe i just can't add and subtract?!?!?! i have been doing all this without the help of a calculator because i am just too lazy to find one when i am writing this up! (honest.)
I have taken the extra $10, from mom, out for the kids to spend when we go to the circus on the 26th. Maybe they can get something with that to share. shrug. so that leaves me $185.46 for the next 16 days. My biggest worry is the Pine Wood Derby this weekend, there will be 'concessions' for sale, and then of course the Circus after that toward the month's end. We bought the tickets in December and i wasn't thinking about no spend month at the time.

The other issue, which i feel that i may have cheated on is that i did buy my daughter a dress. a new dress. She has a 'ball room dance party' coming up at school . my daughter never wears dresses. ever. the one we had from Easter, that she wore once because we MADE HER, is too small now. I decided that this was one of those MUST WEAR A DRESS events and i tried to borrow one. I made the mistake of looking online to see what was 'available' for purchase and when i found one she liked and it was on sale for $14 I had to get it. THEN i had to order $50 to get FREE shipping. sigh. I ended up keeping the dress ($14), a pair of leggings to go under it ($7) and a pair of her very favorite shorts ($10), and taking the rest back to the store for a total spent of ....$31 which i have not taken out of the budget for the month yet, and here is why:

the whole point of having a NO SPEND month, was for me to curb our excess spending. I don't routinely buy clothes for the kids. only what they need, when they need it. She can wear this dress for Easter. At the time i purchased these clothes, they were all on sale, and it appeared that the sale was ending the next day! I know if I had not bought said dress, my  mom would have and she spends enough money on my kids! I didn't want her buying this dress just because i was being legalistic about NOT spending money. So there! I broke my own rules...kind of.

In the interest of being honest, i also spent $4 in shipping to get $20 of FREE stuff from shutterfly...that i NEEDED to catch up my seriously behind Christmas and Anniversary scrapbooks. i put it off as long as i could, but when they sent me a coupon for $20 of FREE stuff....i had to do it. Judge me if you want, but i can't pass up a good sale or FREE!

How is it going for you?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

NO excess Spend Month

Ok, this is not my idea, but it is my take on it. Here is a link to where I read about it. There are 4 in my family, 2 adults and kids age 8 and 11. Our goal is to spend only $300 during the month of January on groceries, household supplies, and basically anything that is not a tithe, bill, medical expense or gasoline.  The people i have seen do this previously, have included gasoline in their monthly "budget" but I really don't see how we can cut our spending in that department so I am not including that.

We started January 1 and this is what i have spent so far:

Organic Harvest: $14.00

  • Jar of Salsa
  • Peanut Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Local Honey
  • Chia Seeds
The cost before coupons was $27.18 but I had a $5 off of a $25 purchase and a Living social deal that cost me $10 for $20 of groceries...so when it was all said and done, it actually cost me $14.18 since I had bought the living social deal earlier in the week. I found .18 in the bottom of my purse, so I didn't take that out of my budget.

Earth Fare $2

  • organic hass avocado
  • organic carrots
I had a coupon to buy the items for $1 each. I was in the area, so I picked them up.

ALDI: $13.82

  • Organic Cheddar
  • Milk
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Sharp Cheddar
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • Bananas
  • Eggs

Publix: $27.75

  • Green Giant boxes veggies, qty 6
  • Chicken Breasts, 9 lbs

That is a total of $53.03 for my first "week." I did buy some things that I could do without, at least for a while, but they were at a VERY good price so I risked it. Everything i have read says to spend as little as possible the first week, but we will see how it goes! I plan on cleaning out my freezer this week for dinners and planning for the coming weeks with what I have in my pantry.

Are you taking the challenge? How is it going?