:::: MENU ::::

No Spend Week Diary – Day 1


Today marks Day #1 of our No Spend Week challenge (see here for why we’re doing an unplanned No Spend Week). I wanted to give a bit of baseline for where we’re at and what we have planned in terms of meals. I started by taking a good inventory of our fridge/freezer and pantry. We have plenty of meat, lots of boxed/jarred/canned goods, and a little bit of fresh produce, milk, etc. I came up with a whole list of possible meal ideas based around foods that we already have! I’m more excited about some than others, but I’m confident we’ll have plenty of food to get us through the week, especially if I get a little creative in the kitchen. πŸ™‚

It’s still early in the day here in Tucson (we’re currently on Pacific time zone), but I brought my lunch with me to work today so I know breakfast and lunch and I’ve already got dinner planned as well.

Day #1 Notes:

I used the last of milk for girls’ with breakfast. <yikes! That will have to be replaced likely tomorrow or Wednesday, coming out of my $13 cash that I’ve still got in my wallet!

Husband ate the last of our homemade Instant Pot yogurt and an apple as his breakfast. No more yogurt is going to be a bummer, and it’s not likely to be something we replace mid-week. I’m going to save the $13 for milk and fresh fruits & veggies, as needed.

Fresh fruit and vegetable supply count:Β  2 nectarines, 10-12 strawberries, half a celery stock, half spinach bunch, plenty of carrots


My meals:

Protein smoothie with frozen fruit, protein powder, & spinach

Chicken & green beans (Sunday leftovers) with white rice <I made a big batch of white rice so I can use it throughout the week. Saves time and money!

Chicken (Sunday leftovers) with cooked pasta and jarred pasta sauce from pantry. < this is one of my favorite ways to “make over” a previous meal! I’ll take leftover cooked protein (usually either chicken or ground beef) and add some type of pasta sauce (e.g., Alfredo or creamy sun-dried tomato with chicken; usually a marinara/tomato-based sauce with beef). I boil up some noodles since we always have plenty of boxes of noodles on hand. BAM! A leftover/made-over meal in 15 minutes or less! Not too shabby for a manic Monday night! πŸ˜‰


For those of you joining along, tell me whats on the menu at your house today! What are some meals you’ve got planned for the week? I did a big rotisserie chicken over the weekend, so we’ll likely be having it a couple of different ways in the coming days as we try to eat it up and conserve our money!!!


Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

Latest posts by Ashley (see all)


  • Reply Sandra |

    Ashley, I have a friend who cooks a whole roasting pot full of rice at a time (maybe on the weekend). She substitutes low-sodium chicken broth for the water (more nutritious). When the rice is done, she divides it into amounts that will serve her family for a meal and freezes them in flattened ziplock bags. Then it is super easy to take a package out and microwave it whenever you need it.

  • Reply Sandra |

    If you fill celery stalks with peanut butter and put a row of raisins on top, your girls might like “ants on a log”. ?

    • Reply Ashley |

      Yes!!! We do this for snacks at school often!
      When feeling particularly indulgent I’ll sometimes substitute the raisins with choc chips for a sweet surprise πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sandra |

    If there is leftover chicken from a roasted chicken, we usually make Chicken Posole. RealSimple.com has a good and very easy recipe. After you serve up the soup in the bowls, be sure to squeeze a little lime juice into it. That really gives the soup a refreshing taste. We usually serve buttered cornbread on the side. ?

    • Reply Ashley |

      Sounds delicious! Great tip about the fresh lime juice, too! It’s crazy what a big difference it makes to have just a squeeze of fresh lime!

  • Reply Theresa |

    I found plenty of protein in the freezer. Today I bought steel cut oats for hubby’s breakfasts and bananas, some vegetables as well as noodles for this dish for tomrrow’s dinner: https://natashaskitchen.com/2016/04/01/chicken-stir-fry-with-rice-noodles/ We are doing 2 meals that are meat and either potato/noodle/rice and a vegetable. My kids like eating that way and it is pretty affordable. Boring for the adults but affordable. I am going to make beef stew on Wednesday and making pizza using the crust recipe from Six Figures Under on Friday night. http://www.sixfiguresunder.com/the-best-homemade-pizza/. Kids will get cheese and I will throw whatever I can find on my portion. Usually we do a leftover night but I think DH might be taking in the leftovers this week fir lunch. Thanks for the inspiration. I have been doing a terrible job at meal planning but this really pushed me to do it and make a difference for my budget.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Yay! Let’s do it together! None of us are perfect, but it helps to have accountability partners πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jenna |

    I’ve been known to eat rice + salsa + some sort of bean [chickpea/kidney bean/black bean] +/- a sprinkle of cheese or sour cream or cilantro if it is around and I’m feeling fancy.
    Super cheap and filling.
    I’ve done a shelf challenge and lasted 38 days just to force myself to be creative and work my way through the cupboard/fridge and the random things I buy by using “food” as an excuse to spend.
    Good luck! You’ve got this!

    • Reply Ashley |

      oh my gosh!!! 38 days is super impressive! To be honest, if it were just me I think I could do it for longer. But the kids are picky (not crazy-picky, but just normal “kid-picky”) and hubs tries to eat healthy, so it limits the options. It’s been fun to try to think up different meal ideas, though!

  • Reply Chantal |

    To make you smile I hope:

    I am on a pretty much no food week because of severe dentistry. I had a big breakfast yesterday = 2 mugs of tea with fat free milk and saccharin tablets, oatmeal with rains, bacon, scrambled eggs. Then off to the dentist for 2 more extractions. (I’ve had 4 already, will end up with teeth implants)
    No lunch. No supper.
    Breakfast this morning = jar of baby food strained chicken and 1 OIKOS yoghurt (Coconut) and so it goes. I’ll have the same for lunch and supper with strained baby fruit also.
    I mention this because baby food may not have occurred to readers who are having dentistry or mouth problems.
    Good luck with your no spend week. When we home schooled the children history included the 1940s and we did a month of World War II British rations eating and all of us jumped right in. It was healthy and goodness it saved money. My husband did cheat a bit by eating lunches at work which were not quite the equivalent of the wart9me “British restaurants for workers”!

    • Reply Ashley |

      WOW and WOW (to the dentistry & the month with WW2 British rations!)
      Sorry to hear about all the dental work! I hope you’re on the mend and able to eat more than baby-food and yogurt again soon!

  • Reply Jasmine |

    Yesterday, I made pizza bake for DH and my brother. I ate leftover chips and guac since I’d had a big lunch yesterday. Today’s lunches are a sandwich for me and leftovers for DH. Tonight was one of our planned spending nights (date night to see Kingsman), but dinner will be hot dogs with chili if we have time to make food beforehand. Otherwise, it’ll just be popcorn using regal rewards points, so still free.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Yum! I, too, have been known to eat chips and guac/salsa for dinner! lol Not the most balanced meal, but its sure tasty! πŸ™‚

So, what do you think ?