No Spend September – Two weeks in

I didn’t think to blog about no spend September at the beginning of the month because, well, it sounds kind of boring doesn’t it? I think so far this month has been one of my favorite of all time. Wonderful weather certainly helps, but it’s more than that. It turns out I spent an inordinate amount of time shopping, “picking things up”, running errands, going to the grocery store or farm stand, surfing the web for new things, popping into Goodwills, hitting up garage sales, etc. Then when I get new (or usually “new”) things I have to clean them, mend them, put them away (cram them somewhere, let’s be honest), get rid of the old thing if we are replacing something. Phew just typing that is exhausting! After reading a couple of new (to me) blogs Bj and I decided to do a No Spend September. We are not actually spending nothing. We gave ourselves $400 for everything that was not a normal monthly expense, including classes, utilities, mortgage, mama’s helper, and the cleaners. The $400 does include groceries, gas and anything else we might need (basic idea for this here).

So is it scary and boring and am I just dying to spend money? Quite the opposite. This month has been awesome! By completely taking spending off the table and really talking about our values and goals for our family we have come inward and gotten to spend more time together. This is great because Bj usually gets up before us and works until 6 (at the earliest). Bennet has been going to be early (I mean it’s not like she stays asleep, but you know), so that leaves precious little time for us to be together as a family, I’m sure many of you can relate! We’re cooking almost every meal. We’re not driving if we can help it. But we are doing so much. First the numbers so far:

Lawn Mowing: $10

Dance Clothes: $50

Peppers & red onion: $2.44

Pop: $5.15

Haircut & tip: $11

Canning Jars: $16.50

Comedy show tickets: $47.50

Girls night: $20

Gas: $42

Groceries $13.30

The lawn mowing was a bit of a mistake. I meant to call the kid that has been coming to do it for the last month or so, but forgot. The dance clothes was unfortunate because I had just bought clearance dance wear for Tuesday. But the new school requires a special outfit (at least it’s really cute). Peppers, red onion, and the jars go to a big canning effort. I could have cut Bj’s hair, but I’m a little rusty. The comedy tickets are for a show in October. And girls night. Girls night was so awesome. I suggested a place close to my house and we all met here and walked. I never would have thought to do this even though the place is .7 miles away. Do you know how fun it was to walk together to a restaurant in lovely late summer weather? Sit out side and walk home? SO AMAZING. I looked at the menu ahead of time and my meal + diet coke was $16 + $4 tip. Totally worth it. And because I was conscious of the money I didn’t get an appetizer or dessert (usually I get both!). Guess what the Tibetan Pulled Pork Nachos were more than enough to fill me up. I fully filled the gas tank, even though I won’t use it all. And we stocked up mid-way through the month with things like yogurt, milk and garlic.

Things I’ve done this month because it has been no spend that I normally don’t do and were/are amazing:

-Pulled the girls in the trailer behind my bike for close by (under 1.5 miles) places. I even learned to fill the tires with the air compressor since it had been two years since I’d taken my bike out!

-Made bread and pizza dough with Tuesday instead of buying it (Bj even put some on the grill to make nan!)

-Harvested everything I could from everywhere I could. Including lots of free corn from Salem Harvest, and sunflower seeds for the birds from our own yard.

-Used up all that shit in the freezer and cupboard! This includes home canned tuna someone gave us that I thought looked funny in the jar. It was amazing!

-Was creative with recipes instead of going out for everything that was called for.

-Threw away a lot less food.

We did go to the grocery store and Costco at the end of August. I don’t consider this cheating since we do that anyway on a regular basis. We also started the month with half a tank of gas and 65 (partially rural) miles from home. I’m not going to do any half fill ups of gas, because that’s not what we do normally. I didn’t stop canning because not putting up food when it is practically free or dirt cheap seems super silly just to shave a few bucks off the list (Sciarrino found me the most amazing jars for that $16.50 anyway).

Questions? Have you done anything like this? I am still on a total high about it. It’s my normal new activity hyper enthusiasm mode. Bj tends to be weary of these periods, but it’s hard to be skeptical when all I want to do is stop spending money.

  • mary m - Sounds like you guys are doing great :) I wish we had more food stored, then we could maybe attempt a no spend/less spend month. Currently I’m just trying to get our grocery spending down!September 15, 2013 – 8:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Julia - I think this is an awesome idea! And you guys sound like you are doing a great job sticking to the budget. I need to figure out how to cut our grocery bill down each month…. we spend way too much. You are also very smart to plan ahead and can/freeze food for future use. I really need to do a small veggie garden next year.September 16, 2013 – 2:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - You are so awesome!!
    Way to go! Loved your card too!January 1, 2014 – 12:02 pmReplyCancel

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