It’s taken a few weeks but here it is, the summary of our No Spend Month.
I want to back this post up a bit and give you some insight to our financial ways. We do not have any debt besides our vehicle and mortgage although thanks to our tax return, we payed off our vehicle loan so now we only have a mortgage. It wasn’t always this way, for years we had credit card debt and vehicle loans. Eventually we sold our nice house we had built, bought a 1930’s home that needed lots of updating and work, sold our leased Honda Odessey van and bought a van that was not as cool (Chevy venture) but was the same age as the leased van, had 28,000 miles and was less than half the cost of the Honda Van. We managed to finance to a 15 yr mortgage on our home, pay off our credit card debt (FINALLY) and even redid the kitchen in our home, all thanks to FPU and Dave Ramsey!
So, we know how to budget and let’s just say, we fell off the wagon for a bit. We didn’t have credit card debt but we also were treading water for a while, so to speak. And really we didn’t make any large purchases or go on a fun vacation, it was just slipping through our hands while we weren’t paying attention to our budget. Seriously I think it was all going to Target and towards food. We like to eat, eat out, feed people, have parties and did I mention we like to eat? And I know that when we get really busy, we don’t have time (or so we think) to pay attention to the budget. This past summer was crazy busy for us and that’s when we started down the path of treading water.
Anyways, now to the fun part! Thanks to No Spend February, we managed to saved $1200. Yes, $1200! That is crazy to me! That is on top of the $350 surgery for the dog which if we wouldn’t have had that, we would have saved $1500! WHOA!
How did we do this? Well for starters, I originally and foolishly thought we could survive on $100 for groceries for a two week period if we just buckled down and ate out of our pantry and freezer. This could have worked but I was not well stocked for this after Christmas and Birthdays in January and I didn’t really do a Once A Month Cooking expecting a No Spend Month because that would have helped us out. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, right? I did really buckle down though, we tried for less than $200 for a two week period and managed ok on that. Because I was also fasting Target, I did most of our grocery shopping at Aldis, Wal-mart (which was torture) and Costco. I am sure I could have done even better on the grocery budget but I only buy organic beef and chicken. I am happy to report that Aldis had some organic groceries that were very affordable!
We also avoided eating out for the most part. About half way through the month we did have some Little Ceasars Pizza, thanks to our children. Little Ceasars Pizza is located right near where our church meets, so sometimes after church we pick up a pizza or two for lunch. My family loves their pizza, I really don’t like it at all but it’s cheap so for a family of 6 to eat for $10, it works. The kids were “starving” and begging for pizza. We told them if they bought it, they could have it. So the two older girls (11 & 13) decided that they would indeed buy pizza for lunch and not just for themselves but for the whole family. The 11 year old told us “You always buy our food, it’s our turn to buy you some food.” So sweet of them and a good experience for them to see how much food costs.
Besides missing out on eating out, I turned down a chance to go with the neighbors to one of those wine and painting places which I have been wanting to do for months now, I also missed out a few other fun things but for the most part, it wasn’t bad at all. We stayed home, played games, watched some movies, read books and even got a few projects done.
We had an ambitious project list for this month and most of it is still waiting to get done. Although Alex knocked out quite a few projects and I got nothing done! Oh wait, I did paint a free headboard I found on the curb. Oh well, I still managed to be quite busy in February and the bonus, I didn’t spend any money!
When it was finally time to grocery shop after our No Spend Month, I think I went a little overboard! There are even more groceries behind the seat! We had pretty much no food left in our house by the end of the month so I needed to restock almost everything! I did return the Giada pots and pans to Target though and I am still on the search for a good Stainless Steel set, so let me know if you have any suggestions!
I think we are definitely open to doing a No Spend month again, it was nice to challenge ourselves and our kids. It is very easy to consume without thinking and I don’t want our kids to think we are made of money. It was also great to see how God provides for our needs and how much we are truly blessed. Would you ever do a No Spend Month?