Thursday, January 26, 2017

January No Spend Month - Week Three


January 2017 
No Spend Month
How our family is spending as little as possible this month.

We are spending $20 a week on food, fun, and frivolities.We're using up what we have, buying a few essentials, and living well.

Here are the glory details of Week Three!
Yes, glory details. Because I'm (still) clever.

Here's how we spent Week 3's $20:

Frozen Peas
Celery hearts
Can of refried beans 
Can of salmon (large) with bones and skin
Bag of Apples
Bag of Pasta
1/2 Gal of milk and Bulk jar of Peanut butter (not pictured)

Free on the way out: Pita crisps, cookie butter (to give away), and a box of crackers.

Total Cost: $20.46

Carrying last week's balance forward, I had an extra $1.22 to spend. Having only spend $.46 extra, it means I'll have an extra $.75 to add to next week.

Highlights of Week 3:

We had an extra together-day to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr, who's words feel even more important than usual, in light of recent events. 

In our own quiet way, we took part in the Women's March this past weekend. We brought snacks from home and kept to the edges where my Highly Sensitive/Empath self was slightly less completely overwhelmed. While I'm a much more subtle kind of activist, I was proud to bring my girls to take part, kitty ears and all.

Creative Solutions from Week 3:

Searching for a easy and quick lunch, I threw together some lentil soup with broth from the fridge, leftover hot dogs chopped up, greens and onions from our farm share this past summer, and more. In the past I've bought canned lentil soup but it would cost almost a quarter of our weekly budget to feed our family one meal of canned soup.

Using up some leftover chicken and rice, as well as a few more of the jars of odds and ends from the fridge I put together a mild jambalaya that ended up being enough for two meals.

For snack one day, I pulled out a jar of chickpeas from the back of the fridge and put together some hummus to eat with carrot chips. I've never made hummus before, being somewhat intimidated by the tahini. Tahini is usually sold in containers that hold more than I'd use in a year and it spoils rather easily. I simply left it out as I don't particularly care for the flavor.

My favorite creative solution was making coconut oil maple kettle corn! We often make popcorn as a snack or a treat. Our current budget limits how much butter we have. Coconut oil on the other hand? We've got plenty.

Using my own recipe for Coconut Oil Kettle Corn, and some of the mauve popcorn kernels we have, I make an easy, delicious, and quite simple treat.

So good! We had no problem finishing every last kernel. 

Final Thoughts:

I hit a bit of a wall this week. 

Our schedule was so erratic between the extra day off and long days working, doing some shopping for a friend while putting only a few items in the cart for myself. I found myself yearning for the end of the month when I could "go back to normal." I don't want to go back to normal.

I'm committed to finishing this challenge strong and am excited to share more of what I'm learning and finding out as well as what has shifted for me.

I still got a little jealous. 

And that's part of this whole experience as well. I have always had enough (and more!) of everything I truly need. And still I felt the green twinge of envy for someone choosing to live their life in what I, at the time, thought looked more pleasurable. Chances are I was just hungry, or cranky from parenting little humans, or any number of other reason. 

There will always be people who have more than us, even if we're the ones choosing to live differently. There will also always be an enormous number of people who have less than us

We are rich. 

We have a safe, healthy, warm home this winter. We have plenty of food to eat. We have the luxury of my staying home to raise our girls. We have clothes that keep us warm and safe. We have plenty of creature comforts. This is more than most people in the world can say of their own situations.

It's so easy to get caught up in the "normal" of our own little bubbles and not think of how different the lives of others are. It was so remarkable to step outside of my own comfort zone at the Women's march and see so many coming together for the rights of all of us.

With this month's challenge, I'm learning more than I expected, doing better than I'd planned, and am so grateful for what we're getting out of this challenge - more money in the bank, more room in the fridge, delicious food being used well instead of going to waste, and a much deeper appreciation for the time, effort, and dollars that go to feeding my family.

Stay tuned for the final chapter of this month's No Spend Month challenge, next week!

After that, I'm excited to announce February's challenges!


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