Thirty-One Day No Spending Challenge Finale

This is a couple of days late…I blame having a real job ūüėČ Anyway, I just wanted to recap and state that March was a long¬†month. There were FIVE weekends which made this challenge even more difficult. We played a bit of tennis, took walks and read books. It was a very rewarding, albeit boring, month. We saved an additional $659 over what we already put into savings each month! So I would call March a success! We are happy to be able to go out with friends again though! We would like to say thanks to everyone who put up with us through this as it was a bit aggravating at times! The thing we realized most about all of the cooking and staying at home is how much we ran the dishwasher! We usually run it about 2x per week. During March we ran it every other day which is a bit much with two people!

Would I ever do it again?….probably not! Not eating out for a month is pretty restrictive. After a busy day at work sometimes cooking is the last thing I want to do, so it is nice to have the option to go out to eat or to pick something up! I will still cook the majority of the meals we eat but convenience is key sometimes! Giving up shopping was easier(although I still missed it) because we live in such a small town that doesn’t really have any shopping temptation anyway!¬†
We’re already enjoying April and cannot wait to get back to some fun and frugal activities!

March No Spending Challenge Update

So here we are…day 19 of the challenge. We are holding strong and have not cheated! I have observed though that as soon as I enacted the spending ban that the sales have been out in full force! Such temptation but I will not falter! This has been quite easier than I thought and Mike and I are enjoying finding free things to do like talking long walks and playing tennis.

Since March 1st I have been recording what I have made for dinner so I can recall later everything that we did eat this month and that we did not ‘suffer.’ Here are some examples… we have grilled on several occasions including: brats, ribs(that we had purchased at a very affordable price prior to March), chicken breasts, carnitas and ranch turkey burgers. I have also made crock-pot pulled pork, pot roast, gumbo, French onion pork tenderloin, panko ranch chicken fingers, fish packets and breakfast(for dinner)! As you can see I have tried to make a variety of foods that we enjoy to allow us to not feel like we are missing anything by not eating out. At this point I will say that we are rationing our alcohol supply. We purchased an 18 pk of beer before this began and we have 9 left so I’d say we’re going to be okay since we’re mainly reserving it for weekend meals rather than several times per week. I still have several bottles of wine that I have not touched, mainly because I like the labels ūüôā

So far I have learned the difference between instant gratification and waiting for something you really want. I will say though that I am not really an instant gratification person. I prefer to research something fully before I purchase and to make sure that I am getting it at the BEST possible price. It is important to me that I spend my money as wisely as possible even though some of the things I purchase are completely unnecessary. My advice for living frugally is to stop with the instant gratification syndrome when it comes to spending and instead find something free that makes you happy! Before you purchase something, make sure you’re mindful of what’s out there…just because someone thinks an item is the best doesn’t mean you will! Spend your money wisely!

Junk in the Trunk

This is day five of our March No Spending Challenge where we are loosely following the 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero from the Living Well Spending Less blog. I wanted to share some updates with you along the way! Other than Chick-Fil-A taunting me every time I pass it(twice per day) I am holding up pretty well! I have not craved eating out one bit and I am enjoying preparing meals for dinner each night. During this time I am recording what I cook and what we do so I can look back at all of the things we did without spending excess money after the challenge is over! I want to see what we liked and what we did not so we can possibly implement those things into our lives in a more permanent way. 

As we go along I wanted to share some of the things I am experiencing and learning during this time of purging if you will. The very first thing that struck me was the amount of retail emails I¬†receive¬†daily! How did I not notice all of these before? Yesterday alone I unsubscribed from 22 different mailing lists and I have done 11 more this morning! Now granted I knew I got these emails and usually I would just scan the subjects and delete most of them but if one caught my eye I most certainly¬†opened¬†it to check out the fabulous deal/product/promotion that a particular company is hocking. Of course these emails are¬†designed¬†to have the¬†receiver¬†open them because if they didn’t work then mailing lists would¬†not¬†exist. So in the celebration of purging I am getting rid of all of the junk in my trunk by unsubscribing to all of these emails that flood my inbox daily. All they are doing is screaming “Hey, Look At Me” which I do not need. If I need something/want to buy something in the future I can just research the deals like I do anyway(as those emails are not always the best deal you can find) and I can free up my inbox from all of the clutter. Truthfully, I am really enjoying giving these emails the boot! This is an easy way to stop feeling like you must always be purchasing something. If I have to physically look up the items I want/need then it means that I am invested in that item rather than falling victim to advertising. So this week I am taking back my inbox and it feels good!¬†

I plan on writing more posts about frugal living with a new series I am going to call Affordably Awesome! I want to share some of my tips on how to live comfortably on a budget, which contrary to popular belief can be done and actually can be quite fun! Mike has some insight as well as sometimes he can be even thriftier than me! I am no Suze Orman by any means but I am very often approached by friends and family asking for tips on how to save a lot of money while still having really nice things. Life is not about nice things at all but who doesn’t enjoy living comfortably? We are learning more each day navigating marriage and our finances but there are certain things we’ve come to discover that have made both easier!