Now that we’re near the end of January, I loosened up a little on my No Spend Month, but not the Pantry Challenge. I did do some shopping this week on non-essentials, but went into the stores with a very specific list and made the most of the budget, and walked away VERY happy with the results. I also knocked several items off my house project list in the process.
As you’ll know if you’ve been following the news, the government shutdown that had us concerned when I last posted was short lived – this time. Hearing that things were bumped until 8 February was helpful, but only slightly. We are happy that there will be a paycheck at the end of January, but now we’re leery about mid-month pay for February. There’s always the chance that another shutdown will occur, so we’ll keep things tightened up until we know more. I’ve budgeted for an extra car payment but we’ll hold it until mid-month, just in case we need cash on hand instead. Same with some other items I want to purchase; they aren’t true needs, just filling in backstock as I’ve pulled the last of certain items to be used. That order will wait until mid-month. We’ll keep eating from the pantry and working those menu plans too. 🙂
Thank you, kind readers, to everyone who took the time to comment here and elsewhere, particularly those who expressed concern and care regarding our worries with the shutdown. That was lovely of you and much appreciated!
Alrighty – all that said, here’s my list of frugal accomplishments for the past week, with thanks to Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker for being a gracious hostess to all who participate in this weekly mashup.
- Wrote up menu plan for dinners from items already on hand
- Walked two nights (free exercise)
- Homemade dishwasher detergent each load
- Ate oatmeal five mornings (instead of buying fiber shakes)
- Husband used the last of a can of Mountain House “Breakfast Scramble” that I had open to make lunch for himself and the kids, helping rotate it and preventing purchase of lunch out somewhere
- Four Overdrive book holds came in
- Husband learned how to download movies via Overdrive – he’s excited to watch them while working out!
- Strange as this is going to sound LOL – doing the speed limit saved me money Monday morning! I usually watch my speed, primarily because I know it saves my fuel economy, but also because I don’t want to have to pay a ticket. While driving home Monday, I noticed an SUV coming up on my left REALLY fast – I was doing 55 in a 55mph zone, and they blew past me – then it suddenly slowed down. Within moments, said SUV was pulled over behind me by an unmarked SUV that was behind all of us. Yikes! Obviously I don’t know if the person got ticketed or not, but if there was one to be paid, I’m simply grateful it wasn’t for me. I’m hoping everyone got where they were going safely that day!
- Watched a free PBS “Two Cents” video with my son about buying used vs. new vehicles
- Pulled together the paperwork to submit to my daughter’s father for orthodontia reimbursement
- Messaged the owner of the local bookshop to see what used books she might need/want; we are going through our bookshelves and if I can help stock her shelves while organizing ours, and maybe get a bit of store credit, it’s win-win!
- Figured up the options for paying off husband’s car early; I have three scenarios, one of which will have it paid off this time next year (apx 3 years early) – we’ll see what happens with the paychecks in the near future though. Another option would have it paid off in 18 months or so, which is still nice and early. No matter which route we choose, we have concrete numbers to look at for the overall goal of early payoff.
- Used drying racks for laundry
- Used Sun Oven to bake cookies and eggs again
- Discussed No Spend Month with a friend and committed to doing one with her in March
- Looked up the retail prices of some homeschool curriculum I hope to sell, so I can price it competitively
- Dropped off library books & DVDs while in town to prevent late fees
- Made homemade all-purpose and window cleaning sprays
- Received our utility rebate and transferred it to savings
- Used a gift card my parents left for us to go to lunch; ate leftovers for dinner. (They bought gift cards for this restaurant before their Christmas trip and received 4x fuel points for them, but then left the remaining card here for us – it’s my step-dad’s favorite restaurant, so he splurged here but they don’t have one local to them.)
- Filled the truck with $1 off fuel points, taking diesel to $1.69 per gallon
- Replaced the cabinet handles of our TV stand – we got it in 2010 with a deep discount because of a chip on the back corner and a missing door pull; multiple PCS moves later, only one of the pulls is still attached (turned out they were just held in with a slip of metal the size of a paper clip). I picked four different pulls I liked and my family helped narrow it down to two they liked, then I chose the less expensive of those two. Total was $13 and it looks much nicer – and the doors are MUCH easier to open again!
- Did a makeover of the desk space between our kitchen and dining room. I was getting really tired of/stressed by looking at the cork board of paperwork and the printer from where I sit in the living room and the IKEA catalog was getting mighty tempting! I could also use more counter space next to the stove and sink – so I decided to create a beverage center and tuck away the office supplies. (We use laptops, so the printer just sits there like a bump on a log until someone needs it anyway!) I had most of the items I needed, but wanted a shelf to organize our teas and a better mug rack, and decided to splurge on one large (size, not price) and one small item of decor for the space. I went over the Hobby Lobby website and narrowed down my options and preferences, came up with a budget, and hit the store. Once I could see everything in person, I made my choices. Everything came together quite nicely – I will post some before and after pictures here soon – and everything was 50% off. For $100, I was able to pull in items that will be perfect for any house we move into as we continue to move; all items that will be useful whether used in the same manner or spread out to various parts of a home based on each floor plan and space. And now we don’t have to drive to IKEA for no real reason other than me wanting to unleash my interior decorator side for a while. 😉
- Went to a vintage book sale hosted by the Friends of the Library. Budget was $100, we only spent $26 ($36 if you count the $10 I gave my daughter as spending money).
- Husband used his meal card from the class he’s in for breakfast and lunch all week, eliminating those meals at home, as well as the gas to drive home and back to class.