4 Week No Spending Challenge Results
At the beginning of August I took four weeks to challenge myself to spend “no money.” I wanted to exclusively use items from my freezer and pantry. I did give myself a few parameters for spending money, though, and you can read about them more in detail here. I would allow myself to buy perishables because we all know that fruits and vegetables are at the core (or should be) of our meals for healthy living. Also, we would buy food out if we were on a trip. I included the groceries we bought on our trips (we took two two-day overnighters), but not food from restaurants since I never include that in my grocery spending. And we really don’t eat out a lot anyway.
So did I follow all of my rules? Almost.
We only “stocked up” once on canned beans because they were on sale for $0.50/15 ounce can. So I broke the rule for $3.00 one time. What can I say? I hate to pass up a good deal, and I knew it would probably be a few months before I saw that price again. I just really like to have those canned beans for a super quick crock-pot can-can chili for a
lazy restful Sunday afternoon.
I also preordered some fruits that came the last day of my challenge, so I didn’t include that in my total. Most of that fruit was for making and freezing salsa, marinara, apple butter, apple sauce (I am still afraid of canning, but someday…). Plus, it came at the end of the challenge, and I didn’t use any during the challenge at all.
I recorded all of my grocery spending for the four weeks in August. Looking back I would have recorded the date of purchase, so that’s for next time. And now for the total. Drum roll please. Our GRAND TOTAL of grocery spending during the month of August for a family of five (2 adults, 1-nine year old, 1-seven year old, and 1-five year old) was… $149.52! We spent WAY less than we would in a normal month. In a normal week, we would spend $106, as of last year (you can read about that here). So we spent 65% less than we normally buy!! That’s $274 less. That’s a lot of money if you ask me!
|Walmart||$20.01||Grand Total $149.52|
I really didn’t know how these four weeks would go, but I definitely did learn a few things.
- August is a GREAT month to do a no-spend challenge. My piano income is almost non-existent, and since we use piano lesson money for most of the groceries, August is a great month for the challenge.
- We got to eat lots of homegrown veggies since they were in season. Not only did we use lots of our own homegrown produce, we were blessed by a few others in the form of zucchini (since ours didn’t thrive), yellow squash, greens, parsley, string beans, and even some local peaches!
- We could’ve gone a lot longer on the challenge. We still had lots of food we didn’t even touch like quinoa, rice, pasta, dried beans, lentils and more. And we definitely don’t have as much food as we used to have when we kept all of the boxed Hamburger Helper, Rice A Roni, and the like. No more. But we still have an abundance. Thank you, Lord, for your provision!
- In a pinch, we can spend a lot less money. I mean a lot less.
- I would like to do this twice a year, maybe again in January since it’s the start to a new year or in February since it’s such a great exercise in creativity in the kitchen and just sheds light on how much money is going out of the house. I can already tell you I won’t save as much in the winter as I did in August because of the whole fresh produce thing.
We almost ran out of staples like oats and honey, but I cut way back and even rationed and then stopped making granola bars and granola altogether. I hated that part because I HATE running out of things, and I LOVE to keep things stocked. That’s one of the things frugal people must do. Keep items stocked so you aren’t running out to buy one item for a crazy price.
You must know, and I must divulge that when the challenge was over, I couldn’t wait to get to Costco. I spent $200 there stocking up. Yep! I NEVER spend $200 at Costco unless my renewal cost is included in that price. Now I often spend just over $100. All you have to do at Costco is buy about 5 items, and there you have it. $100 out the door. Anyway, another confession. I broke the challenge one day early because we were in the neighborhood of Trader Joe’s, and it’s out of the way, and I just don’t get there that often, and we were going to a special service the next day and wouldn’t have adequate time to shop. Do you forgive me?
Anyway, this whole exercise was still TOTALLY worth it though. This was a real eye-opening challenge, and I challenge all of you, if you haven’t yet done so, to eat out of your pantry and freezer for 4 weeks. Anyone else up for it? Can you beat me?
Have you read What I Spend Weekly on Groceries?