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No Spend Challenge Updates

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It’s the last Friday in January! That means the No Spend Challenge is almost over for my family. 🙂


Overall, it was a great success. I’m most proud of three things:

1. We (kids and I) ate ZERO fast food this month. Not a single bite. YAY!! I feel really good about that – physically and emotionally!

2. I stayed out of thrift stores. Today I even dropped things off at Goodwill but still resisted the very strong urge to see what was inside. It was hard. But I drove away without stepping foot in the store.

3. I even resisted the urge to buy extra red wine. I allowed myself one bottle of Aldi’s Winking Owl ($2.96 each) per week. And I must confess that my husband surprised me with a bottle last Friday. It was a big, cheap bottle. But I drank it anyway! Having four kids makes wine a necessity. I need wine. Lots of wine. But I made it through the month anyway!

Despite the highlights, I didn’t hit all of my goals.

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankStealthy Mom says

    Wow! Just $150 in groceries? That is incredible! (We blow $20 a week just on milk….)

    I have never participated in a no-spend challenge, per se, but we are doing the Total Money Makeover. When we first started, we were two professionals who each had a second job on weekends. No kids… When our first one was on the way, my second job (truck stop waitress) let me go. I was refusing to work in the smoking section and Iowa hadn’t passed the new smoking laws yet. After our son was born I just could not see dumping him off and going to “work.” There went another source of income, though the impact is not what you’d think. When you factor in my husband’s reduced tax rate for having two dependents and our not forking out for child care, formula or plastic diapers it was all manageable. Our debt snowball slowed down, though, so we sold our toys: my motorcycle was the first to go, then his. Our oldest son will be four and his little brother will be two, in April. It has been a few years of frugal living, and we’re getting the hang of it.

    Enjoy Florida. You’ve earned it!

    • blankMichelle says

      I’m excited to hear that you are in Iowa! Where are you located? You make a fantastic point that babies don’t have to be expensive. We don’t really drink milk. But we blow through at least 5 lbs of cheddar cheese a month! And I love 1/2 and 1/2 on my coffee. I want a cow… 😉

      • blankStealthy Mom says

        A cow would be great, in a way. Maybe a co-operative cow. Aren’t dairy co-ops illegal in Iowa on account of the anti-raw milk rules? It is hard to keep up.

        We’re in Clarinda, in the South West corner of the state. Aren’t you in the other corner?

        Aldi makes wine? Is it good or were you buying it to punish yourself? I’m the only one who can drink it in our house so I generally pitch it into the pot. $2.96 for a glass for me and the rest for the venison stew would be a good deal.

        • blankMichelle says

          You know, for the price it’s good. It’s certainly nothing like drinking a really nice glass of wine, but it’s not as terrible as a lot of cheap wine, either. And yes, from what I understand, cow co-ops are illegal in Iowa. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  2. blankLearning the Frugal Life says

    Great job! Your family has done an amazing job. My kids and I didn’t eat any fast food for the month either except for one Casey’s pizza that we had a free coupon for! That in itself is amazing! $.99 bag of oranges?? That is great! Gotta stop at Aldi this week!

    I have really enjoyed reading your updates each week. Thanks so much for linking up. Have fun in Florida, I am SO jealous!

  3. blankAmy says

    A shout out to my “Iowa Blogging Friends”. I love reading local Blogs! I’m in Iowa too. Was in the Des Moines area for 7 years and re-located to my hometown near Storm Lake 18 months ago.

    Great job on the No Spend Challenge. It’s been awesome to read everyone’s progress. It excites me everytime I look at our budget (on Mint.com) that I see ZERO in the restaurant category. We usually blow so much money on eating out.

    Have fun in Florida. I’m jealous too!! 🙂

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