We took a 4 day camping trip to the coast and of course spent WAY more than I budgeted for. Bummer. It always happens so I shouldn’t be shocked. We have a weakness for coastal food. Fish and chips, fresh fish tacos, shrimp cocktail and of course clam chowder. Yum, I want to go back just so I can pig out. This trip also involved a little peddlers fair visit and I love that type of stuff. It is the coolest thing for me to see people selling things that the made or found. Between food and the peddlers fair we spent more than we planned on. So for the next few weeks I need to make do with what we have and avoid spending money so that we make sure to stay within budget.
When we got home I went through our left over food from the trip and what we already had at home to see if I needed to make an immediate trip to the grocery store. I was in shock at how much food we had. Between pantry items and everything I had in our two freezers it looked like I might actually be able to avoid spending our full grocery budget for the current pay period. I would be on cloud nine if we could even stay under half of the budget. So that is my goal!
To meet my goal I decided to try my hand at a mini no spend challenge. I have a few things that we already have planned that we will be spending money on but other than that I am cutting out anything extra. I have a girls night planned, a graduation party for my mother in law (most of which we have already pre-paid) and my husband needs some new work pants. If it falls outside of those few things it will need to wait for next pay period or not happen at all!
Here are a few things I am going to do in the next few weeks so that I have better odds of having success with my no spend challenge. I will also be using some of my other tricks to avoid spending money!
I am going to avoid making trips to any store. This will not only help me not spend money on extra groceries or household items but it will save me quite a bit on gas. We won’t be making very many trips to visit friends and family because most days that includes eating out, and that is absolutely not an option.
I know couponing helps me save money BUT sometimes I buy things I wouldn’t normally buy because it’s so cheap! A perfect example of this is glade plugins. I LOVE them and when I get them for under $2, I consider it a splurge. But when I looked in my “stock up” cabinet I noticed I have enough glade plugins to last at least 6 months. If I keep buying them people might start getting them as Christmas gifts! 🙂
The same goes for laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, tooth paste, shampoo, mouthwash and razors. I have a supply of all our normal household and personal care items to last me at least 3-4 months. Even though I get all these items SUPER cheap I need to avoid stocking up on them for a while… I am running out of space!
When I see an amazing deal I have a hard time saying no so to avoid letting this happen I wont be worrying about couponing. I have to admit it gives me a little bit of anxiety thinking I may miss a deal!
If you don’t have a stock pile to get you through these times when you want to pinch pennies get creative. You can clean with vinegar, brush your teeth with baking soda and add water to just about any soap to make it stretch!
GET CREATIVE IN THE KITCHEN
During the next few weeks I will be cooking up whatever I can to avoid buying more groceries. This is kind of like being on the tv show Chopped. I will be getting creative with my recipes and using mostly things I already have on hand. I will be purchasing some fresh fruits and vegetables and milk during this time but I will cut back on everything else. This means I will be baking again! Homemade bread, muffins, cookies and anything else I can find to inspire me on pinterest!
This will be a good time to clean out a lot of boxed foods that I have been trying to avoid since deciding to eat healthier. They are fine in moderation but I have been working hard to getting back to cooking from scratch. So to save a little money we will be eating delicious Stove Top, Rice Roni and Betty Crocker boxed potatoes! I even have a couple of boxes of Hamburger Helper! I haven’t donated or thrown these boxed items away because I knew they would come in handy!
I am excited to see how I do during my little challenge. I have watched my friend Jill during her no spend month and it’s pretty inspiring! As soon as my 2 weeks are up I will have a before and after of my pantry, refrigerator and freezers just to see what kind of dent I made!
I may have to continue this no spend challenge through the month of June because we have had some things pop up with our truck that need immediate attention. My husband wants to fix everything ASAP and use our emergency fund and put the rest (probably $600) on our credit card which has been sitting with a zero balance for a good length of time and I can’t even consider using it. And I also don’t want to drain our emergency fund on these repairs! 😦 I know we can have the $600 paid off by the end of June but I still want to avoid using the credit card. It makes me cringe thinking of using it and not just to earn points! It is our only vehicle and needs to last so we need to figure this little dilemma out quickly!
If you have tried a no spend challenge I would LOVE to hear about it!