4 Week No Spending Challenge Results #2
The time of year you take on a no spending challenge completely affects the results. That’s something I didn’t even think about prior to starting my second 4 Week No Spending Challenge. As I mentioned in my first results, we took the challenge during our tightest money month of the year, August. During August I hardly have any piano lesson income to contribute to our grocery budget. We were just trying to get by. Garden fresh veggies also helped, from our garden as well as others. After we finished the challenge in August, I knew we should try it again during the winter months since it was such a great exercise in using the abundance of what we had in the freezer and pantry, and it is an all around good way to limit spending.
After the first no spending challenge I determined not to run out of oats this time like I did last time. They are a staple of our diet. Oats in granola, oats in granola bars, oats in waffles and pancakes…I just can’t get away from them. So before the challenge I did stock up on enough oats to make it through the challenge, but barely I tell you. I didn’t stock up on any other pantry staples. I ended up rationing our nut intake in the last few weeks of the challenge. It was KILLING this natural stock and saver to not get some nuts on my next trip to the store. I just kept an ongoing list of foods to purchase for when the challenge was over.
So back to the unexpected thing that happened during this second no spending challenge. Something I should have thought about but didn’t even cross my tiny little mind. We actually were able to save money in addition to limiting our spending! Yep! Seriously I didn’t even think of that. Now I have $305 in our grocery envelope for the lean summer months. I was so excited! Since we took the first challenge during a lean time, we didn’t save anything because we hardly had any piano lesson income coming in (my husband did get a paycheck during this time, yes, but we used that for our regular bills and private school tuition). So this money is a complete bonus!
Well here are the real numbers of what I spent. That’s what you wanted to see, right? You’ll see we have two receipts from stores a couple of times. That’s when I made a separate food blog purchase (food for making a recipe or updating the pictures on a post). You’ll also notice that I have a lot of little purchases in the single digits. When you are buying perishables, sometimes that’s all you need, a few fruits here, some veggies there, a gallon of milk….And remember this is a family of five with 2 adults, and 3 kids ages 9 1/2, 8, and 5 1/2.
In total I spent (drum roll, please) a whopping $178.16 for 4 weeks. That averages out to $44.54/week. Isn’t that a dream? That brings me back to 2007. Anyway, I thought that was pretty good, and that was pretty much all perishables. We bought no toiletries during this time. That number is considerably lower than a typical week where we spend approximately $106/week on groceries. You can see our regular real numbers grocery spending by week, here along with the average of what we’ve spent per week since 2007.
This challenge really forced me to use what we had in our freezer and pantry. My freezer has much more room in it now…just in time to load it with some Zaycon chicken breasts (only $1.99/lb.!). After the challenge, I have been more conscious about using foods particularly out of our freezer and really have kept up the momentum.
Have you ever taken a 4 Week No Spending Challenge? If so, how did it go? What parameters do you use? Wanna join me?