~~ Be Mine, Sweet Savings ~~ February No-Spend Challenge! All Welcome! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a support thread to help you not spend your money. 

 

Everyone is welcome to join and you can start tracking your spending at any time. It doesn't have to be February 1st. NOW is a good time to start.

 

The plan is simple (although tough to execute):

 

1. Vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases.

 

2. Come on here and record your spending. We all record our spending in different ways. There are no rules. You record and update however you would like -- pick a way that will help you spend the least amount of money.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Please write an introductory message when you decide to join our thread. We would like to know:

 

a. Who you are

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

Good luck MDCers!! Keep that money in your wallet.

 


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#2 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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a. Who you are

 

I am Ruth, and yes, you have seen me here before.   I swear I live on the no-spend challenges.  I am mama to my 4 kids and wife to my hard working man.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

We are saving for a house and have about half of a down payment on a moderate home in my town. 

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

This month stinks.  We have a big tax bill due.   I knew we would have a bit because of the move and job change.  Dh got paid a bit extra last year when he cashed out his vacation time.  We didn't pay taxes on it at the time, so need to pay them now.

 

We have one birthday this Sunday and have plans to go to the aquarium to celebrate.  Dh has about 2 weeks of work travel.  That's a mixed bag...I buy less food for the house, but he spends a bit on the road.  He gets reimbursed for most everything, but there will be some small expenses out of pocket. 

 

And I am going to track our food more carefully this month.  It is just ridiculous that I can't get our grocery budget under $1000. 

 

Good Luck MDCers!


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#3 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 03:42 PM
 
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a. Who you are

Jenn, homeschooling mom to 6.  I'm a SAHM, DH works long hours and goes to school part-time.  I'm a regular on these threads, some months I'm really active, some I just check in now and again.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Long term goals are to be consumer debt free (credit cards and car payment), have a 6 month emergency fund, and save enough to fund at least 2yrs of community college for each of our 6 children.

Short term goals are meeting small steps towards the long term goals.

 

c. How you plan to get there

~ We are in a Spending Freeze for February (it worked pretty well for January).

~ STAY OUT OF STORES, brick and online!! This is our biggest $$ suck.  We did REALLY well in January, now we just need to keep up the momentum.

~ Cooking at home as much as possible.  Eating out is our 2nd biggest budget blower :irked  It almost always happens when DH is home (either on the weekends or when he telecommutes 2 days/ week).  He likes having a more formal "lunch", where as the kids and I can make do with a more snack-y type meal.  I finally found a wheat & egg free bread recipe that I think will work for sandwiches.  Now I just need to get in the habit of mixing it up regularly.

~ STICK TO THE BUDGET!!

~ I'm trying to maintain our food budget. It's been slowly creeping up.

~ BE AWARE!! We just need to be more aware of where our money is going.


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#4 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 03:46 PM
 
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a. Who you are

My name is Stephanie. I haven’t done a no spend challenge in a very long time(almost a year :blush). I am a single parent to a 3 & ½ year old boy. And I am going through a divorce, it’s for the best. I am currently a full time student and just got laid off. I just recently submitted paperwork to get my phlebotomy license so I can start looking for work. I am on food stamps, cash aid and getting a little unemployment right now which helps out so much. I am grateful that I have a place to stay that is rent and utility free.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 My February goal is to try to pay as much as I can on my credit cards ($1650 balance total). And also start putting money into an emergency fund ($53 saved so far).

 

c. How you plan to get there

Stick to budget, try to sell all my fabric, use ibotta app more, and find a phlebotomy job.


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#5 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
 I finally found a wheat & egg free bread recipe that I think will work for sandwiches.  Now I just need to get in the habit of mixing it up regularly.

 

 

Ooooh!   Care to share?  I can do a decent wheat free bread, but when I make it without eggs, I just get a big, tough cracker. 


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#6 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 04:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
 

 

 

Ooooh!   Care to share?  I can do a decent wheat free bread, but when I make it without eggs, I just get a big, tough cracker. 

:yeah


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#7 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 04:54 PM
 
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a. Who you are

Mostly SAHM to 3 little ones and wife to DH. I work part time still but hope to spend more time at home once we can get further ahead in our goals.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

Our big financial goal is to buy a home of our own. We're hoping to accomplish this goal this year or next so I need to save a down payment and a little extra savings to do this. Short term goals are paying off debts - medical bills for the littles plus paying down my student loans. Immediate goal: finish $1000 EF. 

 

c. How you plan to get there

Stop the nickel & dime spending that eats away at the budget. Big goal to help save and help my health is for me to stop smoking! I also want to plan out a good budget and stick to it. While tracking spending this month I'll be able to see where every little bit goes and hopefully get a better grip on our budget. Taxes will hopefully show a refund that can be a large chunk towards getting started on our goals.


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#8 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 05:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
 

Ooooh!   Care to share?  I can do a decent wheat free bread, but when I make it without eggs, I just get a big, tough cracker. 

This is the recipe I use. 

I use ground flax/ chia as an egg replacer:  1Tbsp ground flax/ chia seed combined with 3Tbsp boiling water, mix thoroughly, let set about 5 minutes.

I also replace the xanthan gum with psyllium husk as per the creator of the recipe, www.glutenfreegirl.com

 

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/01/05/gluten-free-crusty-boule

 

I have done it as a boule, but the recipe in the book (Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day) says it will work in a loaf pan for sandwich bread, too.


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#9 of 144 Old 01-31-2014, 08:09 PM
 
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I swore I wasn't going to do the challenge this month, but our last Visa bill was encouraging.  It was relatively low, and it still had some Christmas and birthday purchases on it, plus two gymnastics payments were posted in the same billing period.  So, not so bad!  Birthday season is OVER, Christmas is OVER, and the only thing I expect to pay for in March is extra gas for being a cookie runner for our Girl Scout troop.  It's going to be a lot of gas, too, even though I am sharing the work.

 

I want to see how low I can go in February.  I got a little spendthrifty a couple of days ago, purchasing a couple of dresses from the thrift store to replace squeezy old ones, a couple of meals out, and (finally) a pair of "public" yoga pants.  When you do yoga at home, this gets set aside as a low priority.

 

Oh, I'm Sarah and I'm a homeschooling mom of 2 girls.


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#10 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 07:39 AM
 
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a. Who you are

 

I am a stay at home mom to three. We are a family of five.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

First is to pay off our loans and medical bills, then to start a savings account.

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

We are working on cutting our extra spending down, and tracking what purchases we do make, to be better able to plan for what we really need to buy.


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#11 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 07:47 AM
 
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This is the recipe I use. 

I use ground flax/ chia as an egg replacer:  1Tbsp ground flax/ chia seed combined with 3Tbsp boiling water, mix thoroughly, let set about 5 minutes.

I also replace the xanthan gum with psyllium husk as per the creator of the recipe, www.glutenfreegirl.com

 

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/01/05/gluten-free-crusty-boule

 

I have done it as a boule, but the recipe in the book (Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day) says it will work in a loaf pan for sandwich bread, too.

 

Thanks for sharing this! Do you bake it in a big Le Creuset too? I don't own one, so I'm wondering if I can just use a regular pot. 

 

I'll come back later to post into the challenge.


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#12 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 11:43 AM
 
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a. Who you are

Sahm to 4- ages 6-13  Single income, high col area, used to living comfortably the past 8 years or so.  That is about to come to a crashing halt!

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Become aware of where our money is going!  Only debt is our mortgage but we are coming into a very hard spell where our income is going to be reduced by 80% for several years, before recovering to our original level.  

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

I first want to learn where our money is going!  We are both pretty frugal so being on the same page has helped us remain debt free.  Feb is the month to track all the spending and then we can figure out where to cut.  

 

I don't think I'll post daily, but do a weekly recap.  I do like reading how other families work it all.  (Thanks for the info crazyms)


Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#13 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 11:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mumm View Post
 

a. Who you are

Sahm to 4- ages 6-13  Single income, high col area, used to living comfortably the past 8 years or so.  That is about to come to a crashing halt!

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Become aware of where our money is going!  Only debt is our mortgage but we are coming into a very hard spell where our income is going to be reduced by 80% for several years, before recovering to our original level.  

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

I first want to learn where our money is going!  We are both pretty frugal so being on the same page has helped us remain debt free.  Feb is the month to track all the spending and then we can figure out where to cut.  

 

I don't think I'll post daily, but do a weekly recap.  I do like reading how other families work it all.  (Thanks for the info crazyms)

You're welcome :)


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#14 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 05:13 PM
 
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Key:

No spend: :joy

Budgeted spend: :thumb

Unbudgeted spend: duh.gif

Ate at home/Packed meals: :eat

Made extra $$: 2cents.gif

 

Feb 1: :joy2cents.gif made $55 from selling fabric, made $1 on Ibotta app :eat

 

This day went great! Had to run to the store to get Milk, thank you WIC! So far so good for the month of February!


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BS2: Credit Card Debt: Completed 5/18/14, Phone Acct: 6/20/14, Personal Loan: $4069.97
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#15 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 05:39 PM
 
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a. Who you are

I'm Melissa, a homeschooling, very-part-time WAHM to two kids.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and c. How you plan to get there

I did better in January than I have for the past several months, so I'm happy with that. But I still need to do better. For a variety of reasons, DH's paychecks will be very small for the next 6-8 months. We'll have my small monthly paycheck as well, and a tax refund to bolster our small savings, but I really need to cut down on spending. Thankfully, the kids received some money and lots of gift cards for Christmas, so they'll be able to satisfy some of their own needs and wants for a little while! My main goals for February are as follows:

 

• Stop small but significant budget leaks--for example, library fines, food out because I forgot to plan ahead and pack something, 99-cent Kindle books, etc. :eyesroll

 

• Generally tighten up and conserve where we can--for example, remembering to turn off lights and turn the heat off before we leave the house, turn off power strips, etc.

 

• Meal plan more effectively and control food waste while still eating within the parameters of a healthy diet for all of us (I'm eating to control some health issues, DH is eating to lose some weight, and I need to feed the kids more healthfully in general). 

 

• End the month with more no-spend days than spending days.

 

Good luck, everyone!


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#16 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 05:45 PM
 
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Quiet day at home today, making snacks for the week (paleo granola, yum!), so no spending. AND we had a family dinner at my grandmother's and we got sent home with the leftovers, so hooray for free food :thumb

 

ETA: I did run out after posting and bought some Airborne for DH and some Zicam for me and DD8. Hopefully we can try to end this never-ending cold mess that we have going on, and DH is trying to avoid actually getting it! This came out of our allotted "personal care" budget though.

 

Key: 

No unplanned/unbudgeted spending: thumb.gif

Unbudgeted spending: irked.gif

Ate at home all day: yummy.gif

----------------------

No-unbudgeted-spending days: 0/28

 

2/1: yummy.gif thumb.gif Cold meds: $28.

2/2: 

2/3: 

2/4: 

2/5: 


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#17 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 07:18 PM
 
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We are a family of 7. My husband works full time out of the home, my five kids are homeschooled and I work full time hours - on call, doing home visits all day at least two days a week, plus I am out of the house multiple days a month, spontaneously. 

 

We have no consumer debt, or personal loans. We rent our home, and bought our cars outright. No student loans. After struggling for the last six years, we are just now getting to a point where we can pay our living expenses, on time, and even have "extra" beyond necessities. 

 

I need to hang around here to see how other people are managing their finances on a daily basis. And find a simple way that works for me. 

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#18 of 144 Old 02-01-2014, 10:10 PM
 
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a. Who you are

I'm Leah, SAHM of two amazing girls and wife to my hardworking sweetheart.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)  

We are working on several simultaneous goals: start saving for retirement, work on an emergency fund and college savings for the girls.

c. How you plan to get there

Reduce our spending as much as possible. We were already pretty frugal, not many things to cut out of the budget, but now I'm trying to see if we can reduce the amount for some of the categories like Groceries/Dining Out, Utilities,etc.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

partytime.gif - No Spend Day

:down  - Budgeted Spending

bag.gif  - Unnecessary Spending

gloomy.gif  - Unbudgeted but Necessary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

February 1 -- :down Bought a smaller table and a dresser for our new (much smaller) apartment. We also ate out bag.gif $5.72

 

Not the greatest start but we sold our old big table and used the money towards a better fitting one from Ikea, so overall we hadn't spent too much.


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#19 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 07:12 AM
 
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Hello (again) 

 

I'm momma to two - we unschool and I am mostly a stay-at-home-mom but I do freelance write (most my money goes towards books, damn Kindle!) This month we are going on vacation (Disney, squeeee) and my goal is to not spend so we can save for our trip. We are leaving in three weeks, and I want them to be very low-key and I don't want to spend unless I must! There are some purchases I need to make (bathing suits for kids) but I don't want to do any EXTRA spending. 

 

1 - Did okay. Went to gym (membership payed for) did spend $20 on dinner. It was out first time at this particular gym and I was very shocked at how affordable the dinner was (considering how much food we got + the fact that it was all organic)

2 - Today I plan on getting a cake from bakery for DH's birthday.  


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#20 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 11:34 AM
 
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No Spend :wink

Budgeted/Necessary Spend :o

Unnecessary Spend :irked

 

02/01: :irked $6.30 on dinner on the way to work. I *have* to remember to start planning ahead for food away from home :(

02/02: 

 

 

I'm working on our budget for Feb now. I already paid some bills on Fri so now I have to double check my budget and see what else needs to be done for this month. After looking at everything though I think I really need to focus on grocery budget this month. I think I can make some real changes here if I work hard on it and meal plan so that's my new goal!


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#21 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
 

This is the recipe I use. 

I use ground flax/ chia as an egg replacer:  1Tbsp ground flax/ chia seed combined with 3Tbsp boiling water, mix thoroughly, let set about 5 minutes.

I also replace the xanthan gum with psyllium husk as per the creator of the recipe, www.glutenfreegirl.com

 

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/01/05/gluten-free-crusty-boule

 

I have done it as a boule, but the recipe in the book (Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes A Day) says it will work in a loaf pan for sandwich bread, too.

 

Thank you!   I'll give that a try.


Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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#22 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Fun trip to the aquarium for my son's birthday.   We used a coupon and the birthday kid was free, so it was a good deal.  We packed lunch for a very low cost birthday.  We have really scaled back birthdays this year and it has been a huge savings. 

 

:thumb no spend/budgeted

nono.gif not in the budget, stupid spending

 

Feb 1 -- :thumb groceries

Feb 2 -- :thumb birthday trip to the aquarium, nono.gif small toy for the birthday boy

Feb 3

Feb 4

Feb 5

Feb 6


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#23 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 07:45 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing this! Do you bake it in a big Le Creuset too? I don't own one, so I'm wondering if I can just use a regular pot. 

 

I'll come back later to post into the challenge.


I do NOT bake it in a dutch oven.  I form it, then set it on parchment paper for the proof time.  About 20minutes before baking, I preheat my oven w/ a baking stone in it.  When the bread is done proofing, I set the bread and parchment paper on the hot stone, place a metal bowl over it, & cook it covered for about 15min.  After the 15min, I remove the bowl & cook it for another 5min, at which time I pull out the parchment paper & finish the loaf on the stone.

 

If you don't have a baking stone, I would think a cookie sheet would be fine, too.


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#24 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 07:49 PM
 
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Key

:nod No Spend/ Budgeted Spend

shake.gif  Un-budgeted Spend

 

1.  :nod  Traveled to my ILs for a long weekend.  $$ for lunch & gas, all budgeted.

2.  shake.gif  Had to stop at the grocery store & pick up gluten free pasta & dessert for DS2.  Bought Starbucks coffee.


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#25 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 08:59 PM
 
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1   :throb

2   :throb No spend

 

I'm not counting gas or gymnastics or riding payments against my no spends.  Necessary spending gets a :thumb.  Bad purchases will vary according to how I'm feeling about it, and it usually has nothing to do with the amount of money.


Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
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#26 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 09:02 PM
 
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a. Who you are- I am Erin, homeschooling mama to 3 boys (20mo, 5y & 8y), DH works a lot and I work 1 day a week cleaning houses

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)- To stay within our budget and save for a deposit for a house

 

c. How you plan to get there- Spend less and/or make more!

Last month I did decent but at the end of the month completely bombed it! We went way over our food budget (only ate out 1x), and I bought some clothes. I really, really needed some clothing (lost over 40lbs) but it did not fit in the budget! We also had a $400 car repair, so that didn't help. It's the misc spending that always gets us! I really don't know how we are going to stay within budget this month. We have almost no funds for 'misc' spending....like household items, gifts, clothing/shoes, vitamins/medications, copays... I just realized I didn't budget for my sons dental work, shoot! We are getting a tax refund and I'd like to put as much as humanly possible into savings, but obviously we will be using some of it!

 

 This month I will-

-eat at home & cook mainly from scratch, also make some frozen foods/snacks for times when we are short on time or DH comes home hungry.

-figure out how to eat within grocery budget

-try to find ways to make a little more (babysitting, cleaning, selling things)

-only drink coffee from home 

-plan ahead for holidays/bdays and make gifts

-stay at home more

-quit looking for clothing sales online for now (oh, but I want to right now!)

 

:love No spending

:thumb Planned spending

:( unplanned spending

:D no driving/stayed at home

 

1-:D :thumb groceries, although DH did buy a few things not on the list

2-:D :thumb groceries, this time he only bought what was on the list

3-


Happily married, Waldorf-inspired homeschooler to Kylan (8yo), Everest (6yo), and Bodhi (2yo)
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#27 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 10:33 PM
 
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No Spend :wink

Budgeted/Necessary Spend :o

Unnecessary Spend :irked

 

02/01: :irked $6.30 on dinner on the way to work. I *have* to remember to start planning ahead for food away from home :(

02/02: :o 

 

Ran to town to pick up a couple of misc items today but bought ONLY what I went in for with no excess (in WM no less!) so I'm proud. I also turned in a bunch of change to coinstar while there and it covered my purchase plus I have enough to buy lil dd's new carseat with a little leftover! Happy about that since I'm hitting up the BRU sale next week for the other two seats also.


Michelle mom to DD , DS , & lil DD plus and spending my days
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#28 of 144 Old 02-02-2014, 11:28 PM
 
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

partytime.gif - No Spend Day

:down  - Budgeted Spending

bag.gif  - Unnecessary Spending

gloomy.gif  - Unbudgeted but Necessary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

February 1 -- :down Bought a smaller table and a dresser for our new (much smaller) apartment. We also ate out bag.gif $5.72  (had a $10 coupon)

February 2 -- bag.gif We decided to try some Afghan cuisine for lunch $24; :down Bought gas and groceries from Costco on the way home


2852 things gone & $2098.11 recuperated in 2013

3445 things gone & $2201.34 recuperated in 2012

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#29 of 144 Old 02-03-2014, 07:43 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FillingMyQuiver View Post
 


I do NOT bake it in a dutch oven.  I form it, then set it on parchment paper for the proof time.  About 20minutes before baking, I preheat my oven w/ a baking stone in it.  When the bread is done proofing, I set the bread and parchment paper on the hot stone, place a metal bowl over it, & cook it covered for about 15min.  After the 15min, I remove the bowl & cook it for another 5min, at which time I pull out the parchment paper & finish the loaf on the stone.

 

If you don't have a baking stone, I would think a cookie sheet would be fine, too.

 

Thank you so much for those detailed instructions! I don't have a baking stone specifically, but I have a huge PC stoneware bar pan. which I imagine will do the same thing. I can't wait to try it!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by *green*faery* View Post
 

...and I bought some clothes. I really, really needed some clothing (lost over 40lbs) but it did not fit in the budget!

 

I really think that kind of thing has to be considered a necessary expense. You can't walk around in clothes that are 40 pounds too big for you, and for working that hard, you totally deserve some guilt-free new clothing! Way to go!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
 

I *have* to remember to start planning ahead for food away from home :(

02/02: :o 

 

Ran to town to pick up a couple of misc items today but bought ONLY what I went in for with no excess (in WM no less!) so I'm proud. I also turned in a bunch of change to coinstar while there and it covered my purchase plus I have enough to buy lil dd's new carseat with a little leftover! Happy about that since I'm hitting up the BRU sale next week for the other two seats also.

 

The food away from home gets us SO often. Great job on the rest! I have a jar that I'm dying to turn into Coinstar, but I'm forcing myself to wait until it's full to the very top :rotflmao


Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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#30 of 144 Old 02-03-2014, 07:57 AM
 
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I did spend some money today, but most of it was budgeted and anticipated. I need a slipcover for our embarrassingly stained living room chair, so I finally managed to stop at Target. (I suspect I'll be returning them though; I don't think either is going to fit.) I also bought some heartburn meds while there, which is a personal care budget item. And I kicked in for pizza at a Super Bowl party, but again, we knew that was coming. And I filled the car up with gas. My unbudgeted spending is that I bought myself a little bag of Smartfood popcorn because I was feeling sorry for myself that the kids and DH were at the Super Bowl party but I had to stay home because I'm sick *sigh* 

 

So not a terrible spending day, but I sat in my car and debated the popcorn, then consciously chose to get it, so I definitely get dinged for it. At least I was mindful enough to have the discussion with myself beforehand though! And I managed to get out of Target without buying the clearance bath towels I was fondling, and I avoided all of the cute Valentine's Day housewares and goodies. A small win, but a win nonetheless, LOL!

 

Key: 

No unplanned/unbudgeted spending: thumb.gif

Unbudgeted spending: irked.gif

Ate at home all day: yummy.gif

----------------------

No-unbudgeted-spending days: 1/28

 

2/1: yummy.gif thumb.gif Cold meds: $28.

2/2: irked.gif Unbudgeted snack: $1.50

2/3: 

2/4: 

2/5: 


Melissa, a homeschooling, caffix.gif-guzzling, SAHM of two: reading.gif (11) and joy.gif(8)
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