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No Spend Week

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This week, I have officially declared a No Spend Week!

I get paid on Friday and, although it’s a 3-paycheck month (woohoo!!!), I’m really trying to tighten the purse-strings, in general. Also, the recent A/C outage made it painfully clear how close to the edge we’re living in terms of our finances and I am really craving the financial security of having a little Emergency Fund.

I just got back into town after being gone at a work conference. Luckily, all my major expenses were paid by work (lodging, transportation, conference fees, and breakfast/lunch were provided by the conference). But I still had to pay for my own dinners for 3 nights in a row and though I kept my spending pretty minimal, I was really hoping/trying to cut my eating out budget this month. Being gone and forced to eat out for 3 nights (plus airport lunches during travel days) puts a wrench in that whole plan.

Thus…..the impetus for a No Spend Week.

No Spend Week Rules

I am allowed to spend money to pay for our normal bills (e.g., electricity, water, etc).

I am also allowed to spend money to pay for our scheduled debts (e.g., our due dates are this week for the IRS, 1 credit card, and Navient).

I am allowed to spend money for required transportation-related expenses (e.g., I’m almost out of gasoline and will need to refill before the week is up).

I am NOT allowed to spend money on anything else. Period.

That’s easier said than done. Especially given that I’ve been out of town for 4 days now, and we could desperately use a trip to the grocery store. Even so, we have a lot of food in our pantry and freezer and I know that if I get creative I can piece together some yummy meals for the family.

Looking Ahead

This month is projected to be pretty good on the financial front. Not only have we gotten some of our spending in check, but we should even be able to save up a decent amount for an EF. The third paycheck certainly helps, too, but I’ve got specific plans for it.

I put together a budget for the immediate future/moving forward. I know it’s desperately overdue. But I’ll leave you in suspense for another day (or two) and just tell you to check back. It will be up soon!

~Ashley


Happy Birthday on the Cheap!

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Happy birthday, Hubs!

Hubs’ birthday was earlier this week and between the recently¬†broken A/C and all of our general debt, we’ve really gotten re-committed to spending less and doing away with all excess. It also helps that we’re getting older and probably just generally not caring about birthdays as much. But even so, I wanted to do something to help hubs’ feel special and recognize his important day without spending a bunch of money. I think we got a nice little mix of both.

Leading up to his birthday, I’d been working with the girls on making home-made gifts. They’re very into crafts so they have been crafting all kinds of stuff from a birthday banner to a big poster decorated with glitter and pictures. Hubs was working early in the morning on his bday, so when I woke the girls up we immediately set out to decorate the house, setting up all the sweet crafts the girls had been working on. When hubs’ got home from his morning w0rk, he was surprised and touched by the thoughtful gifts. The girls are now 6 and they’re just a great age for celebrating birthdays – they showered their Dad with big birthday hugs and kisses and lots of extra love and attention!

That afternoon after school (while hubs was back at work), the girls and I made a homemade birthday cake. When hubs got home, we took him out to dinner. This was our one birthday “splurge,” and we just went to a cheap burger place, so the entire dinner for four was under $40. We came home to sing Happy Birthday and have cake and just generally enjoyed being together.

The craft supplies were all things we had on hand, aside from the poster board (which was a “whopping” $1). We didn’t do any crazy extravagant gifts, just the homemade gifts from the girls, a heart-felt card, and lots of fun birthday decorations the girls made to hang around the house. Hubs said his best gift of all was being showered in hugs and kisses in the morning as soon as he walked in from work. We heard the garage door open as he was getting home and the girls ran and jumped into his arms practically as he walked through the door. It was a pretty precious thing to witness. Girls love their Daddy!

The best part, financially speaking, was the low cost of the entire endeavor. We really went for heart-felt more than fancy. And I think we knocked it out of the park in that regard.

How do you (and/or your spouse) celebrate birthdays for each other? Are you more likely to do fancy gifts or homemade gifts? How do you save money on birthdays while still acknowledging and celebrating the individual?


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