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Okie dokie, we survived one more weekend of our No Spend Challenge, which brings us right up to Spring Break starting next week! While we didn't stick to our plan perfectly, we did stay pretty close on things, and goodness, it was so eye opening to see where our money really goes each week.
Friday night Caroline had friends over to spend the night (kind of as a very belated birthday – I promised her we'd do something eventually, but we kept pushing it back!) We ordered pizzas with a coupon code, and thankfully had plenty of 2-liters in the pantry (since our kids aren't allowed to drink them normally but I'd gotten them for just a few pennies several months ago when they were on sale.) I picked up extra water bottles and some Wyler lemonade mixes at the Dollar Tree . . . those lemonade mixes were a huge hit. (Who knew?)
We debated a cake since it really wasn't a birthday party, but she'd been eyeing this one on Pinterest for months. I used frosting and a cake mix from our pantry as well, and picked up mini M&Ms and Kitkat bars at Kroger. The cake was so simple to make, and the kids (of course) devoured it. 🙂
For breakfast we had Fresh Thyme strawberries and a triple batch of homemade cinnamon rolls (Caroline's favorite), and once every one left our family ate leftover pizza for lunch. We grilled out for supper (so thankful grilling season is just about here!), and ended up saving by just choosing to eat home all day. (Weekends are when we tend to go over budget eating out, so eating at home is always a tiny success for our bunch!)
After church we had Chipotle (thanks to a gift card!), and ended up splurging on drinks too. (I know, I know – but I was so ready for a diet coke, and since we had the gift card we decided it was okay to enjoy them!) I really don't know that we'll stick to water only while we're eating out in the future, but seeing how much soda is costing our family at restaurants was pretty shocking, so we'll at the very least choose water more frequently. (I'm really thinking I'll pick up some of those Wyler's lemonade packets to keep in my purse – I've seen a friend do that and it might just make restaurant water more appealing!)
Our total spent for the weekend was $14 at Chipotle and $40 on pizza, + $10 in candy for Caroline's cake. While it wasn't perfect, I was thrilled that we were able to stay within our budget and get everything we needed for Caroline's get together. If you've been struggling to get your budget in check, I highly (HIGHLY) recommend you try challenging your family to really reign things in for a few weeks. Deciding as a family to really look at where your money goes can really transform your spending habits.
Here's a breakdown of how our (modified) No Spend Challenge looked these last few weeks:
- We determined to spend no more than $50 each week at the grocery, primarily for fresh fruit, veggies, and dairy products.
- We drank only water when eating out (at least until yesterday!) 🙂 My daughter Reagan used the money we saved to go towards missions.
- We limited ourselves to two meals out per week, using coupons and choosing less expensive restaurants when we did eat out.
- We cleared our pantry, fridge and freezer by menu planning based on what we already had at home. This was huge, and really helped us save so much (plus forced us to eat up some food that would otherwise go to waste.)
I'm heading to Kroger tonight to re-stock on cereal and granola bars while they're at such a good price in their Mega Sale, but other than that shouldn't be shopping the rest of this week. So, we just about made it ~ woohooo! 😉
- Day 1, 2 & 3 = $5.17
- Day 4 & 5 = $15
- Day 6, 7, 8, and 9 = $67.89 (this included several meals out while I was out of town – we knew we would go over for those few days)
- Days 10, 11 & 12 = $48.34 (including $30.34 in groceries)
- Days 13, 14, 15 & 16 = Spent $70 (including $41 in groceries)
- Days 17, 18, & 19: spent $10.22 at Fresh Thyme & Aldi
- Days 20, 21, 22 & 23 spent $64 (including pizzas, cake and get together with friends)
- Total = $280.62 for all groceries and several meals out
And on a completely random side note, a friend brought over dry ice for the kids to play with Friday night, which was a huge success. She's a science teacher and had some left over from school, so her daughter showed the kids a few experiments using the dry ice. I couldn't get over how long they played with it, and my 14-year-old and his friend were just as interested in checking it out! If you have a birthday party with tweenage kids anytime soon, this is a great way to (literally) break the ice. 🙂 (Find dry ice experiment ideas over HERE.)
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Eleanor Lock says
Well, concerning not buying sodas (pop) while eating out….we never have and never will. When we took a grandchild on vacation, we noticed his soda habit and how it affected the bottom line of our eating out expenditures.
What I do, is ask for lemon (and plenty of it) squeeze all I can into the water, and then add sugar or sweetener for lemonade! It’s outrageous what even a cup of coffee costs in a restaurant anymore.
sorry. Men they really have no clue sometimes
Hi Sara! We budget $80-$90 each week for groceries and often spend less than that. (I moved it up to that much this year as my kids are getting bigger and they eat a lot of fresh produce, but honestly we probably spend $75-$80 each week.) Eating out is where we end up going way over what we want to spend, and it’s not that we eat out all that often (or at fancy restaurants – we hardly ever have a sit down meal!), but feeding 5 of us while eating out is just expensive.
While we worked on this the last few weeks I kept a notebook in our kitchen showing how much we spent every day, and that *REALLY* helped us both see where our money was going. I would highly recommend that, as it might help him see the areas that are costing the most! It was definitely an eye opener for us – might be worth a try. Hope that helps! 🙂
I am curious how much normally is your grocery budget? My hubs an I are doing this as well I started last week. Buying only milk, bread, and veggies. I need to get him on board about not eating out. He loves to eat out. So I never include this in my grocery budget. Bills are always paid first. My check is used for rent, grocery, gifts, and savings. D says I should be good for about 6 months of not buying anything. Men they really