We made it through the month! And it flew by. And more importantly, I truly enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the quieter life, being home more, cooking more. I’ve enjoyed not looking at my bank account every day and worrying about upcoming bills. I’ve enjoyed working for the sake of working and not counting every single penny.
I’ve enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen and trying new things. And I’m happy to report that not one failed meal happened this time. (in the past, I tried a cabbage and sausage dish that sent us out for cookies and ice cream for dinner.)
I didn’t quite make my goal for our trip to November, but I did grow my business significantly for the months ahead. And more importantly I put in some time on business development that I have not done a lot of in the past few months.
In the end, I am starting the month of November with a spirit of gratitude and relief that we are headed in the right direction. A solid plan for business development and growth. And some anticipation of our upcoming trip and holidays. It has been a good experience.
Extending No Spend Month
In the end, I have enjoyed it so much that I have decided to extend our No Spend Month by two more weeks.
We leave for our Texas roadtrip in just two short weeks, so why not continue to clear our cupboards and save money! There are a couple of small caveats to this though:
I’m going to have to spend a little money on food and sundries, not a lot, but there are definitely some needs. For instance, we used our very last garbage bag yesterday and we are down to our last bar of soap. Working on a list of those items now.
I have to finish Christmas stuff for my Texas family. And while I don’t anticipate spending a great deal as I’m making a lot of it, there are a few things I will need to purchase. Again, working on a list, my brothers are hard to think of gifts for. Anyone have ideas for frugal gifts for 3 single men in there 30s?
Princess may need a few new clothing items. It’s started to get cold and while she has stopped growing, I hope, she doesn’t fit in any of her winter clothes from last year. She is going to need a couple of pairs of long pants soon. If we can hold out, we will, but it is a upcoming need.
Is anyone else ready to put up their Christmas decorations? I admit, I am. I don’t want to play Christmas music all the time, but I am certainly ready for a time of hope and good cheer. And I’m still thinking about a Christmas budget since I didn’t originally add one to my fall budget.
We are all in and ready for No Spend October. Volleyball ended yesterday. Gymnast continues to train once a week, but I believe he’s on the cusp of quitting. It should be a very quiet month around here as far as extra-curriculars go. Seriously, the least commitments we have had in the 7 years since Gymnast started competing. I know it won’t last, but I’m going to enjoy it for what it is!
Food for the Month
I visited Walmart Sunday to grocery shop and spent right at $100 of our food stamps. I stocked up on eggs, almond milk and some fresh produce. My goal is to use no more than $50 more dollars for groceries during the month of October. We have plenty of food stamps left to cover that.
I have created a meal plan for each week along with a list of items to pull out of the freezer each week to make sure frozen meat isn’t an issue. (The meat still being frozen can completely derail dinner plans. In the past would send me out the door for take out. That is not happening this month!)
I plan to cook a fresh meal every day except Sundays. Leftovers will be used for lunches. And Sundays, everyone will be on their own. (Today Princess cooked breakfast for dinner for she and I and Gymnast; Sea Cadet cooked Tilapia for he and History Buff.)
I purchased two containers of laundry detergent ($7 each) and 2 gallons of vinegar ($3 each.) Before you ask, we use vinegar in our laundry and for most of our household cleaning. The chore chart for month has been posted, and I double checked that we have the supplies for our typical day to day chores.
I did splurge just a little bit Sunday while out picking up groceries. I purchased 4 mums (seasonal plants) for our front stoop. They would have been $16 but I was able to use Sea Cadet’s discount at his job and got them for right at $10.
The kids and I have spent a lot of time talking about fun things we can do this month for free. We seem to have a steady stream of teenage visitors every weekend, so I don’t anticipate any problems with boredom.
Between video games, a free Redbox movie voucher I’ve been holding on to for this month, board games and long evening walks, I think the time will go by quickly. History Buff and I have each set a daily “steps” goal to work on our health. I’m grateful for the cooler weather and the company on evening walks.
We like to walk downtown with the dogs. Everything closes early so if we go around 7pm we have the sleepy street to ourselves. It’s something I did alone a lot this summer, it’s nice to have company now.
We also have a family goal of having all Christmas presents for Texas family (grandparents, 3 uncles and 1 aunt) before we drive down in November. We will spend some time creating those gifts. My goal in doing this is to save the cost of shipping. I’m hoping we have enough craft supplies around for what people want to make, we typically do. I know Princess has already started knitting and has a large stash of yarn, especially since I don’t knit too often anymore.
We are Ready
I believe we are set. Barring any emergencies, I am very hopeful that this will be a very successful month for us on all fronts. In addition to the obvious financial goals of saving a substantial amount of money by not spending any extra and only paying minimums, I have some additional more personal goals for our family this month as well:
Eat dinner together as a family at the table at least 4 nights a week. Our crazy busy after school schedule and Sea Cadets twice weekly night classes has kind of derailed that since school started.
Walk at least 30 minutes every day. I return to the doctor this month after being on medication for diabetes for 3 months. Increasing my exercise is my next step to improving and regaining control of my health.
Take one day off a week. I tend to work 7 days a week. It’s time I started giving myself a break. My plan is to have an electronics free day, one day per week. Saturdays seem to be the most conducive for this since I do weekly prep on Sundays. I’m interested in seeing how a gadget free day will affect my productivity the rest of the week.
Start my day earlier. Since I have now taken on homeschooling two of my sons, I need more hours in the day. I’m planning to start my week days 2 hours earlier then normal to allow for more time to work with them, specifically Gymnast. Wish me luck as this cuts into my sleep time. But I believe it will balance out since we won’t be out late this month with sports, etc.
Go on dates more. No this is not a reference to my boyfriend although that is going very well. I intend to spend more one on one time with each of the kids through the week. Seeing as we will be home most days after 3pm and don’t typically crash until 9pm or later, that gives me plenty of time to spend some quality one on one time with each child several times throughout the month. I always call one on one time dates…with my kids or my friends.
Catch up on some reading. I have stacks of books I am looking forward to reading. Most are self help or money related. With less drive time, and hopefully more free time, I hope to spend more time catching up on my favorite past time. My plan is to work this into the school time. We will either read aloud or go sit at the library or just have some quiet reading time.
I am looking forward to what I hope will be a relatively uneventful, peaceful month. By removing the temptation to shop, no need to be out all the time and a plan in place, I think our No Spend Month is going to be a hit. Have you ever done a no spend month? What were you biggest takeaways? Do you make it a regular occurrence?