This post is a little L-O-N-G – grab a cup of tea and hang in there if you’re up for it!
We’ve survived two days into our No Spend Grocery Challenge, and while we started off on a roll we kind of messed it up just two days in.
We woke up yesterday to lots more snow – and it snowed most of the day. While we normally eat out on Sundays after church (which we planned for during the challenge!), we ended up staying home and listening to church via podcast, and skipped heading out to lunch.
While searching for a podcast to listen to during our make-shift-church-at-home lesson, our kids shared this video they’d recently seen. My youngest has a jar to raise money for the project, in and was trying to figure out how to earn money to add to it. We decided as a family to donate the money that we’re saving by drinking water at restaurants while eating out the next few weeks, and she was pretty excited. It’s amazing how quickly those $2 drinks can add up, so we’ll see how she does!
I found the best price on bacon last week at Costco ~ 4 pounds for just $2.50! The food’s not all that pretty, but you get the idea
My 14-year-old (who loves to cook), decided we should make a big brunch at home, so we ended up making eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy ~ my bunch all love breakfast, so everyone was pretty pleased. (And I was thrilled because I’d frozen leftover gravy at Christmas and wasn’t sure if it would re-heat well or not ~ it turned out perfectly!)
While we were cooking Jackson and I had a long discussion about finances. As he’s getting older I’m not always sure that he “gets” money as much as I’d like (and goodness, we only have a few more years to teach it!) He asked how much we probably spent on brunch at home (I guesstimated $7), and then we talked about how a single meal out last week for our family had been a whopping $60. S.I.X.T.Y. D.O.L.L.A.R.S.
The sad part? Even he agreed that the food we had out at that restaurant wasn’t even that good, and we spent more than six times what we spent eating in our own kitchen.
For dinner I roasted the chicken that I’d gotten last week at Fresh Thyme, and used half the meat for nachos and the other half to freeze for soup.
I did grab a bottle of Pantene and Herbal Essences on Amazon for $1.37 each (they were a great deal, and I wasn’t sure if we had enough shampoo in our stockpile to make it the whole month!), so $2.74 was our total spent Sunday. Success!
And, for the rest of the story, here’s day two.
We started out pretty well, until I called my husband and he decided he “couldn’t pack a lunch” because their were no chips in the pantry. (This has been a nineteen-year-debate at our house – he’s convinced that a packed lunch doesn’t count without potato chips . . . I’m convinced that pretzels and fresh fruit are a much healthier alternative so I rarely buy chips.) I guess I’ve got to go buy a bag of chips because in 19 years I haven’t yet won this battle (ugh!), but he did spend just $3.17 on lunch at Wendy’s trying to help stick to our no spend goal.
I was thinking we were oh-so-ahead-of-the-game even after his (tiny!) splurge, until he texted that we were heading out to eat for dinner because of a success he’d had at work today. (We’ve had a standing rule for years – whenever either of us have success in our businesses, we treat the family to dinner that night!) We headed to Max & Erma’s, used a $5 off coupon, and all stuck to water (um, one of my kiddos was not too pleased about that!) It’s always so nice though to enjoy a success with a bit of a splurge, and I think our total spent was around $35 + tip. (Just amazing the difference drinking water makes!)
Here’s the biggest thing about this challenge for our family. We’ve penny pinched for years to get to a place of financial freedom, and whether or not we stick perfectly to our goals this month isn’t really the point of the challenge for our family. But just like anyone else, we so often look at our food budget and wonder four days in to our two week budgeting system where our money has gotten to. So this is our way to really see where exactly where we’re at, and decide where we want to go.
I want to help our children learn to be good stewards ~ whether in plenty or in want.
And honestly? I want to be a good steward of all that we’ve been given.
Even just two days in our family has had conversations we wouldn’t normally have, and we added $8 to my daughter’s donation bin tonight by drinking water. While I definitely started this out a little anxious about whether or not it would be worth it, I’m convinced that it’s worth it for the lessons we’re already learning, and am curious about what other conversations will come up over the next few weeks!
If you’re joining us I’d love to hear how you’re doing too (remember it’s not too late to start!)