I’m afraid these posts are going to get a bit boring during this month of no extra spending. But to keep me accountable, I’m going to keep publishing them. This upcoming week will be our first with no after school practices, no games and only one day of gymnastics. It’s going to be our new normal for a while.
Income *after taxes
I’ll be honest, I’m looking forward to the downtime. And I’ve decided not to plan anything for this first week during our after school hours and just follow the kids lead. They may need the time to decompress after such a busy couple of months. But rest assured, at the first sign of boredom, this mama has got a list of fun stuff we can do at home for free!
Is it bad that I’m excited to just have some chill time? Looking forward to lazing around, just a little bit!
In regards to the family celebration, I appreciate everyone’s suggestions on my post last week. We are going to celebrate on either Monday or Tuesday this coming week (waiting on Sea Cadet’s work schedule to decide.) It’s fall break for the public schools so Princess is home those two days.
I’m working on a personalized gift for each of them. This will be the something they get to keep. Our family experience (fostering and adopting) affected each of them in a different way. They each had a unique perspective and different things they had to overcome as we blended our family. I want to highlight and celebrate that for each of them.
Are you coming to a break in your schedule like we are, in between sports seasons? Or are you still full steam ahead? Do you have a unique family celebration you do? What does that look like?
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?