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Spending Strike Update Day 21 – Eating out for nothing and more…

We’re now 23 days into our January Spending Strike. I meant to publish this update for Week 3 a couple days ago, but Sara’s surprise cast cut off yesterday messed me up big time! Are you still striking with me??? {I’ve done pretty well for almost all of  the 23 days so far, but we haven’t exactly cut out all spending…} We had to really get creative in a few areas in Week 3 to keep from spending though.  But I’m happy to share a few things I did to keep our spending very minimal in Week 3 of the Spending Strike.

30 Day Spend Nothing {or as close to nothing as possible} Spending Strike

#1 – So, who knew. This is the first year I’ve had a child ever attend public kindergarten because the other two were homeschooled for that grade. I haven’t honestly had to deal with too many birthday parties for my kids. Sure, they go to a couple a year, but not really that many. Who knew that January was such a popular month for birthdays?  It just seems weird to me – probably only because not one of my four kids was born in January. Well, my 6 year old was invited to one party last weekend. She’s invited to another party this weekend, and she’s invited to one for TWINS on Jan 31. Of course – it’s on January 31. What the heck was going on March/April 2007 that caused so many babies to be born in January 2008?  Through the whole year, we’ve had ZERO birthday parties, but when I want to do a no spending strike we get 4??  Of course… Well, luckily, we came up with a no-spend birthday present solution.

upcycled scarf and warm woolen mittensCora and I thought hard about what we could make without spending any money but that could still be a thoughtful gift,  Turns out, I have a bin full of nice, wool sweaters that I have thrifted from Goodwill and felted for craft projects. We busted out the box and Cora picked out a sweater. Following the directions here, Cora and I made cute little mittens, and then used the arms to make a matching scarf. They’re pretty sweet and I think the little girl liked them. One down – three to go! We’re going to have to do something different for the little boys, but I think I have a good idea…stay tuned!

#2 – I told you last week that my van has not been doing well. My hubs and I spoke to our local mechanic {a guy we really trust}, and he said if at all possible, we should really consider getting something more reliable. Last weekend, we got a sitter {yes, we had to pay for her – but again, with our van not running right now and Sara’s cast limitations, we have no way to get our entire family anywhere in one vehicle} and headed to the dealer where our van was. We decided to hold off on the $2K repair they wanted to get it road worthy again while we considered new vehicle options, but we had to get there to pick it up. While we were there, we test drove a really nice car and Dan’s been crunching numbers all week since. We’ve explored a lot of options, new vs used; SUV vs mini van; tried to narrow down the price to drive per mile etc. We’ve had our van for the last 9 years and put almost every last one of the 170,500 miles on it as we bought it new. We’ve checked out car buying services through Costco and through USAA {our bank/insurance company} and are hours away from a decision and a new car. It’s a helluva way to break the spending strike, isn’t it? As I said last week, though, reliable transportation is a must have for me. I hope to have exciting news in next week’s wrap up. 

There’s a point to all this rambling about a new car…while we were out, Dan and I went out for dinner. We popped in at Texas Roadhouse on a whim and ate at the bar – possible only because we didn’t have kids with us. Want to guess what we spent out of pocket?? We  spent NOTHING! How did we do that? Well, we got a gift card for Christmas that we used. And, we also had a $20 off coupon we got in December because we also bought a gift card for a gift. So, we had a pretty nice meal and a couple drinks for NOTHING out of pocket. And, we still have $20 left on our gift card. Watch out for the gift card deals – especially around holidays.. They can be a really nice way to save some money on eating out.

Week 3 groceries#3 – I did buy some groceries last Sunday. I stretched over a week – 10 days to be exact – before shopping again. I went to Aldi, and bought mostly veggies. I was bummed that they were out of the organic spring mix and spinach. It was on sale last week for a really good price and I wanted to buy some. Bummer! I spent $35 on everything pictured above. I also went to my local sources for farm fresh eggs – but they were out. I have 6 eggs left now, and in the spirit of a real no spend challenge, I am trying to make them last for the rest of the month. We’ll see… I’m also about out of butter and cheese. Not good things to be out of in my world. I’ve spent $100 only on groceries for the entire month of January so far.

free diapers#4 – I did one other thing in Week 3 to spend no money. We were out of diapers for my Sara – since she was in that spica cast, underwear weren’t possible because the legs were connected together by a big, fat bar. Well, before her surgery I had bought some pull-up type diapers thinking they would come apart and go back together nicely. Well, I should have read the package more carefully, because these didn’t got back together at all. In fact, to get them apart, I had to rip them. ;-(  I originally bought 2 packages because they were BOGO 50%, and I made the first package work by using duck tape. I didn’t realize that they wouldn’t work util AFTER I opened the first pack, of course. Well, I made the first pack work, but I didn’t want to make the second pack work. So, I took it back to Walogreens and exchanged it for a pack of regular diapers. Total spent – nothing!

Well, that’s how I did. How about you? My Week 4 is not going to look quite so stellar, I’m afraid. More on that next week!

Amy Garrett

Monday 27th of January 2014

Hi, Loving your info and posts! A friend recommended your site when she & I were chatting about saving money, couponing, etc. I'm sure it's right in front of me but can you give me a link to the spending strike how to info? I'd like to learn more and I'm new to Facebook overall - tried to avoid it as I heard it's addictive and here I am.

Michelle Marine

Tuesday 28th of January 2014

Hi Amy! Thanks for your comment! Here's a link to the first post I wrote about the Spending Strike - and here's my Week 1 Wrap up - Look at the end of both of those posts and you'll find links to more posts about the Spending Strike! Good luck and let me know if you have questions!

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As an Amazon Associate Michelle Marine, SimplifyLiveLove, earns from qualifying purchases.