Join us for a no-spend February!

Join us for a no-spend February!
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#40

A few days into no-spend February and already encountered a few challenges. Most stemming from the fact that I did not consult my husband before joining this challenge. Ooops!

He’s been supportive, but a little annoyed that I won’t go out to eat with him. The other night he offered to take me out to dinner — his treat — but I decided that would be against the spirit of the challenge.

For context, we keep the bulk of our finances separate, except for recurring bills and a budgeted amount for savings, groceries and “incidentals” (ie - going out). Occasionally, one of us treats the other, but most nights out come from that joint budget.

The other major challenge: He told his friends that we’d host a Super Bowl party. This was a few days before the challenge started, but all of the spending would fall in those first few days of February and DEFINITELY would not be essential.

We stuck to a very set menu using things we already mostly had on hand – ground beef and chicken wings in the freezer — but did have to make a Costco run for other supplies. Our shopping list was only five items and we didn’t deviate, even though we were very tempted by giant boxes of frozen gyoza and mini tacos. We didn’t overbuy, so we don’t have a ton of leftovers that will ultimately go to waste.


#41

OMG @Kelsey, I am so impressed! I’ve never gotten out of Costco without a boatload of unplanned purchases. Costco, Target and Amazon Prime are my unholy trinity of impulse purchase opportunities.

I had to deviate from the plan a bit too, since my daughter got a stomach bug. We were out of saltines and low on rice, so I proclaimed those to be perishables. Because eventually they would be, right? :smile:


#42

I’ve already slipped up too. :sweat_smile:My birthday was yesterday, so I ended up doing some celebrating that involved dining/drinking out over the weekend. However, I do have a few wins! I had a total no-spend Sunday and a couple of my dining-out meals were covered by friends and family as birthday treats. But now I’m back on the wagon and have been doing meal prep for eating at home. I’m planning to do all of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s this month to save even more and reduce my food waste (their portions are so handy for single people!).


#43

Happy Birthday @Chanelle_Bessette! Given that it included your birthday, sounds like you’re doing really well with this no-spend February!


#44

More than a few people have gone to Costco for milk and vitamins and come home with a trampoline.

I agree, @Kelsey – that is some solid-gold resolve.


#45

When you’re sick, they are necessities. Hope your daughter is over the bug – and that she didn’t pass it along to her parents.


#46

Ha, @anewlife1114! I have not gotten a trampoline by accident. But have come home with a good many unplanned purchases. (I will miss impulse earrings this month.) And now I have a knitting project that will NOT have stripes at the bottom, because I ran out of lavender yarn (looks like I planned it, I think).


#47

So far, so good. The fact that it’s very icy outside makes me not want to go anywhere.

I did have my weekly lunch with a friend and technically it was my turn to buy. However, she had read the blog post I did on the no-spend February – and volunteered to cover all the lunches this month if I would reciprocate the next month. What a pal!

After that we opted to go to her house and watch TV she’d recorded, rather than go to a movie. But if we had gone to a movie, I would have used a sunk-cost movie gift card. (And since I got the card at a discount from a reseller, I get extra frugal points, right???)

We did get a few groceries the other day, spending $24.20 after the senior discount. Here’s where the hair-splitting gets dicey: The “manager’s special” bin had half a dozen cans of hominy, which my partner loves, at 59 cents each. Technically we didn’t need them, but that’s half-price – and we got an additional 6 cents off per can with the senior discount. And we didn’t need Wheat Thins (still have a couple of boxes) but they wound up being $1.49 a box due to a store sale plus downloaded coupon; that is a screamin’ deal for Alaska, so I made the executive decision to shine on the no–spend in order to save $1.50 per box.

Also: Is on-sale ice cream a necessity? Asking for a friend.


#48

It depends on how bad your day was, @anewlife1114!

Thanks for your kind words…daughter is starting to feel better. While at the pharmacy picking up her prescription, I started thinking about all the various random stuff we might need–bootlaces, cold supplies, etc.–before realizing that none of it was an immediate need. Which reminded me that way too much stuff I buy is in advance of a need that might never arise. (I’m looking at you, second case of diced tomatoes from Costco that’s sitting on the first case I forgot I bought.)


#49

How’s everyone doing now that we’re on our second full week?? I’m so proud of how much I’ve been staying in to cook instead of going out to eat. I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas that I’ve been getting a lot of use out of. My favorite dish to make in it so far has been homemade pizza! I bought a ball of pizza dough from Trader Joe’s along with pizza sauce, slices of mozzarella cheese, kalamata olives, onions (which I caramelized) and spinach and mushrooms (which I sauteed). It was quick, inexpensive and honestly a lot better/healthier than pizza I’ve had at local restaurants. :smile:Any other exciting discoveries or tips from the group?


#50

I’ve reversed how I do the meal planning/grocery shopping. Normally I’d look for recipes, see what we’re running low on and make a list for the store (which would be supplemented by numerous impulse buys).

Now I first look for what we have too much of (see above) and I start building the menu plan from that. For example: The partially-used bags of breaded chicken tenders and meatless meatballs from Trader Joes that were not a hit on their own. They were much more popular as 1) sweet-and-sour chicken and 2) a minor ingredient in an amped-up spaghetti sauce.

Looking forward to other ideas and getting updates on how your month is going!


#51

I love that idea! I have a lot in my pantry that I should be using up. I’ll aim to follow your lead the rest of this month. :slight_smile:


#52

Me, too @lweston and @Chanelle_Bessette . . . Although there was nothing fabulous to be done with the mahi-mahi patties I don’t remember when or why I bought. Food has been the biggest thing. (And moneywise, getting sick worked out for me. I already had oyster crackers and tea.) The biggest challenge for me is coming up with something when tired . . . I also tried looking online for recipes, using the produce that wouldn’t last much longer, plus ingredients on hand (in my case spinach and zucchini, plus chicken, rice, several kinds of last bits of cheese, spices, etc.).


#53

Last night, after a very stressful day, I caved and let my husband treat me to Chinese takeout. My resolve was weekend after a glass of bourbon. My takeaway: Have a solid plan in place for dinner BEFORE we pour a drink. Also, I really need to get my husband on board with the next no-spend challenge.

Last week was much more successful. I ate all of my meals at home and spent just $9 over the course of the week. The $9 was for coffee from Philz, which is next to the urgent care where we spent five hours on Saturday (my husband lost a game of tug-o-war with our dog). I considered the coffee an essential in that situation!

I know I will have a few non-essential expenses this week. I am sending my nephews a Valentine’s Day package, with a bunch of goodies I bought last month. I’ll need to pay for shipping, but I am skipping UPS (my go-to, because it’s around the corner) and using USPS to save money. I also need to buy ingredients to make a special Valentine’s Day dessert for my husband. He’s taking me out to dinner, but I’m making dessert and cocktails at home afterward.


#54

@Chanelle_Bessette I LOVE my cast iron skillet and use it for everything, but I’ve never made pizza in it before. I’ll need to try this!


#55

Those mahi-mahi patties! I think they snuck into our carts when we weren’t looking. I want to report a personal best: I visited our local mega-IKEA (gasp), had a free meal thanks to a voucher–and bought nothing. That has never happened before.


#56

If you’re looking for some great trips or more moral support, check out the great comments in Donna’s update last week:


#57

For people who are trying to cook more at home this month, I found this article helpful! https://thefinancialdiet.com/6-ways-i-save-up-to-100-per-month-on-groceries-with-absolutely-no-couponing/


#58

Are we done yet? Wait…what…? It’s only mid-February…?! :sweat_smile: OK, turns out I would be the ideal candidate for some kind of “how not to spend” makeover show.

So far this month, I’ve gone out to eat once, gone out for drinks once, purchased tickets to a theater show (it’s in April but they were selling out fast), and purchased tickets to a music show (Lizzo!!! also in April, also selling out fast).

I don’t regret any of my purchases, which feels good. And actually, I do feel like our no-spend February has got me thinking two or three times before making those purchases… a habit I’m hoping to carry forward to the rest of the year.

OK, on to the 2nd half! One good thing is my trip to visit my daughter has been moved to early March, rather than February, so I won’t have to report back to you all on all the very many ways I did the opposite of “no spend.” :wink:


#59

To quote @Bev, I’m sure Amazon thinks I’ve died. I’m expecting a condolence card from its server farm any day now.