WE MADE IT!! HAPPY DANCE!!
I can’t believe we actually survived the entire month of No Spend January without totally bailing on the idea!
This week has been an easy one in terms of spending, but it didn’t come without extra work. We had to take a serious look at our income and do some major slashing as we have decreased our salary by 30%!! That’s a large chunk and made for a fairly tight budget.
The fact that we were able to stick to it this month (for the most part) allowed us to see that when it does come time to slash our salary for february, we won’t be too stressed and will have already been able to make hard financial decisions within that budget together…so yay for us!
As for how the week went?
We truly just stuck it out at home this week and did things around our village.
The kids had preschool two afternoons this week and we were all battling colds at some point, so home was a great place to be.
Normally when we have colds, we end up running to the pharmacy to buy some drugs to help battle it, but this time I chose to stick to my favourite homemade tea!
Free Printable-DIY Cold Kicker Tea
My kids also got to enjoy being outside since the weather smartened up and it was actually quite warm out! Our town rink was also open so we chose to go skating one evening as I had volunteered to flip burgers for the night! We did end up buying the kids fries as my toddlers were grumpy and needed a distraction, but we were able to grab that cash from next months grocery budget as that budget isn’t as tight as this month.
We also had a great time doing different crafts together and experimenting with some fun ideas for Wild Time Wednesdays with Team Brucks’ – A Kids Activities Series starting next month!
I also spent time helping my husband figure out how to manage two businesses as we have started a second business venture and will be feeling the pinch of that over the next little while!
As for Groceries this week…WE DID IT!! We had a budget of 136.25 and we stuck to the budget! With a little help from PC POINTS we were able to feed our family of 6 for $116.25 this week!
Here are the groceries I ended up buying and as I was at the store I made a few changes to our list and menu since I found this awesome frozen meat pack for $25 bucks! ( Might not be the best quality, but sometimes your budget just doesn’t allow for much more!)
The original Meal Plan and Grocery List got an update while I was shopping…basically my plan was to buy a Roast Chicken and use it for three different suppers, buy Fish Sticks for one lunch, and buy Ground Beef for another supper. When I saw this boxed Frozen Meat, I remembered I had purchased them in the summer and knew that this would cover all the above meals and probably one more!
So instead of paying $40 bucks for all the above meals, I paid $25!! And I didn’t have to change much up as far as the rest of the list!
No Spend January Reflection:
Grocery shopping on such a small budget:
- For us Canadians, we have been bombarded with high grocery prices lately (I’m talking like $6 bucks for a head of Cauliflower, which is about $10 bucks USD!!! I don’t even like Cauliflower!). Purchasing groceries on a tight budget as well as dealing with these insane prices has caused us to let go of our ORGANIC standard and purchase what we can with what we have. As life moves on, if we are able to go back to purchasing all ORGANIC, I would be thrilled, but only time will tell.
2. Watching flyers is very important! Most are posted online and you can find your stores by simply googling the name and putting the word flyer after it.
3. Once summer hits, I plan to start my own garden as I have a large chunk of yard perfect for this, and it will allow me to freeze and can for the winter months. I hope to also purchase a large order of beef ( 1/4 cow) before the winter months next year and use that throughout the winter instead of having to buy it all separate. I have also learned that PC POINTS are amazing if you watch for specials and keep your points card loaded with new offers! Also, purchasing gas from the gasbar at superstore adds to those points and adds up quickly!
Changes in Our Home:
- Baking bread, muffins, crackers, cakes etc, no buying snacks if it can be helped.
- Reusable containers
- DIY Lysol Wipes
- DIY Dishwasher Detergent- in a pinch only you can add a couple drops to the soap dispenser…it washes them well enough, but DO NOT add more than a couple drops!
- Laundry Detergent ( Nellies Large Costco)- it has lasted us 6 months and there is at least half left!
- Cloth Diapers- We were noticing RoyRoy was getting a rash from the disposable diapers so we borrowed a set from a friend. I forgot how much money they can save you!
- You have most of what you need in your home, the rest is excess
- You don’t need to leave your house everyday…going for a walk or having friends over can be just as nice as an outing. Here are some great posts on activities for kids.
- There are tons of free places to visit and explore if you just get looking.
- It’s ok to decide your boundaries first…we truly would never go without our favourite coffee again, but toilet paper, although we will always buy, can be the cheaper brands.
- Meal Planning is the way to go!!
- Go with a list and stick to the list…as best you can…sometimes a product isn’t at a great price so you substitute. Example: I was going to buy a roast chicken, frozen fish sticks and ground beef for meals last week but purchased the box of3 pork and chicken fingers instead since it had more variety, would cover an extra meal and cost about $5 bucks less! WIN WIN!
- You do not to buy juice…ever…Id rather spend the money on actual fruit anyways!
- Just because it’s on sale does not mean its the best deal: look carefully at how much is in the bag and compare prices that way! Example: Bag of chocolate chips: 250g vs 300 g- same price, different brands…both brands taste the same! Go with the bigger bag
- Date nights don’t have to be expensive either! Find a friend who will swap babysitting with you and that will save you a ton of cash
- Communication with your spouse and others- its not wrong to let others know that you can’t go to a movie because you are choosing to save your pennies…it might even inspire them to save a few as well…or find a cheaper alternative to going out!
- And last but not least…
BUDGETING!!! Everydollar.com has truly changed how we see our cash flow and how we feel about our finances. Although there is still stress when the unexpected comes, we at least can see where the money is and where we can play around to help ease that stress.
Overall, this has been a freeing journey and has showed me that we truly don’t have to spend a ton of extra cash to enjoy our days. It does require sacrifice, and communication between you and your spouse, as well as preparation at least a month in advance. Once you have done a month of NO SPENDING you will find you are set up to live within those smaller means the next month as well ( as long as you don’t have too many emergencies that is!)
It does take a village of support to make it through sometimes, but like minded people will want to help you save money and you can return the favour by helping them out as well!
Thanks for sticking around these last FOUR WEEKS( I can’t believe we really did it!) and Here’s to more budget friendly months!