I just finished up my third 4-Week No-Spending Challenge. I am so thankful it’s over, too! I love painting our family into a monetary corner occasionally. I love that we spend even less than our frugal selves normal spend. We always try to eat frugally, but during a no-spending challenge, we especially hunker down and eat through our pantry.
You can go here to read the exact parameters of the four week no-spending challenge. But I really only allowed myself to buy perishables for four weeks. We were to “shop” out of pantry and freezer for the month. I was a GREAT exercise, but it’s sure nice to be done.
What I learned: We STILL could have spent even less. If you read my “Real Numbers: Weekly Grocery Snapshot,” you’ll see we normally spend just over $100 a week for a family of five (kids ages 10, 8, and 6). As we entered the lean month of August, I started with $105 for the four weeks. I made a little money with piano lessons. We also had access to our debit card, but I HATE using the debit card on groceries-cash is king. Anyway, we spent $149.02 for the whole 4 weeks combined! That was fabulous for us. But like I said, we could have spent less. You know why? Because I had to throw out some veggies that went bad. Practically killed me inside. So I’ve learned to buy a little less produce than I think we’ll actually eat. We really aren’t a wasteful family and we are pretty proactive about using up leftovers. I still haven’t been able to avoid the veggies going bad at the bottom of the refrigerator.
What makes this so hard for me is that I can’t go buy the backup when I finish something. You see, when we finish something like a jug of honey, I already have the next jug in the pantry. That way I don’t get stuck buying something at an irrational price. And as soon that new jug comes into my house, I’m putting honey on my to-buy list asap. So without buying pantry staples, I actually ran out of cumin, chili powder, and a few other spices. I was so excited to refill my stashes this past weekend!
So for your viewing pleasure, here are the real numbers, where I bought perishables, and how much we spent. I think it’s fun to see the weekly totals go down. The VERY last night, my husband had to go buy meat for a church men’s BBQ cookout, otherwise we would have even spent less.
|Store||Date||Amount Spent||Weekly Total||4 Week Total|
|Snow Goose Produce||8/11/2015||$3.26||$31.83|
The Cheat: And I’ll admit, I cheated just a wee bit. I did stock up on 64 ounce apple juice containers ($0.99 each) and 2 pound cheese blocks ($2.99/2 pounds). I haven’t seen those price for YEARS, so I had to splurge. That was my Alberton’s expenditure on August 4. So there you go. I could’ve spent even less if I wouldn’t have done that. I actually could’ve spent about $120 for the four weeks. I guess that gives me a goal for next time. And there will be a next time, as long as God gives me more days on His green earth. So do you forgive me for my little cheat? You would’ve done it too, right??
What I Learned: This time it was very apparent to me that I overspent in the produce category. You see, I hate running out of stuff, but it also means we have to use the stuff too. Going forth I am going to be even more mindful of our produce spending, because I don’t want to be throwing money into the compost week after week.
This challenge has also encouraged me to go deep and clean out the freezer. I am trying to be more purposeful in using what we already have. And we ate stuff out of the freezer too, and guess what? It looks like we’ve hardly made a dent in the freezer. We are blessed! Thank you, Lord.
Now what about you?