Thursday, September 30, 2010


Today is a new day. It's PAYDAY!
But... this month, money won't be spent the same way as usual...

I have this blogging friend... (Hi Jennifer!). I only know Jennifer through blogging. I've never met her in real life before. But I just adore her! haha! She's so hysterical with her writing, and I love getting a pick-me-up with a good laugh from reading some of her posts. She's a Wiz with a sewing machine, a great hands-on mom who does tons of little projects with her kids, and is totally REAL and down-to-earth.

A few years ago, she was inspired by another great blog: Small Notebook, to live a concept entitled:
(Which technically speaking is LOW Spend Month... But- you get the idea...)

So folks... I've been inspired as well...
October is our official "No Spend Month".

The Basic Idea?
I recommend clicking on the link or links above to get more details, but basically, you give your family a set amount of money in cash to spend on gas, food, entertainment, and any other basic necessities (diapers, TP, etc...) for the whole month. (This doesn't include bills, tithing, mortgage, medical expenses, etc...) Our money to spend this month is $250.

I know this isn't going to be easy, but I'm really excited for the challenge. I spend WAY to much time searching craigslist, going to the thrift store, and walking up and down the Dollar Spot at Target, searching out food sales- just trying to find a good deal! And all the while, spending money I don't really NEED to be spending.

In order to up our savings for things we really need (like SCHOOL!) we need an extra boost. And if all goes as planned, I'll be able to put a lot more away than I usually do! Which will be great!

I also need to learn how to plan ahead better with my meals. I always get so stressed at that "dinner time rush" time trying to figure out what we're having, and I'll quite frequently make a run to the store to get a few things (which turns into a lot of things once I'm there) to make dinner.

I've been planning out what we are having every day for the week ahead, and then writing down everything I need in advance at the store in order to cut my shopping trips down to one time a week. We are very blessed to have so much food in our freezer, and things in my cupboard that I don't really think about using all the time, and this has kind of forced me to be out of my comfort zone and come up with other things to make! Living in Orderville also makes the temptation of eating out a little less, since there are only two little sit down restaurants here in town. Also- actually cooking a meal everynight, instead of running to get something fast, will help with the lunch bill as well. Jeff loves taking leftovers for lunch the next day. I cook mostly every night anyway, but there are lots of meals that I don't have to run to the store for every time.

This month will be filled with fun, creative, and mostly FREE dates, family time, and projects to keep us busy. We'll finish half-done projects around home instead of buying stuff for a new one. We'll try new kinds of food.
We'll live more simple.
And I think it will be really good... :)

In order to make myself a little more accountable, I'm going to blog at the end of each week to show what I have spent, and give a round-about on what the money went for. Then, we'll see if everything adds up at the end of the month! :) I have a few friends that are joining me this month and we're all helping each other- being a support for each other! Anybody else want to join?? Let me know! I'd love too see how everyone saves a little extra for school, pay off loans, Christmas, a fun vay-cay... WHATEVER! And I'd also love to see the creative things people come up with for fun and food!



Maggie Anne said...

I think I'm interested in joining in on this!! I'll chat with my husband tonight about it and see if he's game...I obviously can't do it without his support!

Taylors said...

I can't wait to watch your blog!!! I would have chosen a different month... maybe February!!! There are only 28 days, not 31 :)

Taylors said...

Ok 29 sometimes....

Jennifer said...

You're too kind! Thanks for the mention! By the way, I just noticed the photos on your sidebar--I love them! You're such a cute family!

Good luck with Low-Spend Month. You're going into it with a very small budget so I'd just advise you to spend as little as you can starting off, so that you have more to work with later on. And stick to your planned menus! Menu-planning is one of my "always" money-saving tools--it's amazing how having a plan really is such a money-saver.

I loved doing this project and it has absolutely changed the way I think about money and shopping. Because stuff is just... stuff. Spending time with the kids, or playing board games, or reading library books, or riding bikes together, or cooking together--that's what the good life is. Shoot, even hanky-panky with the hubby is free!

You'll do great with your project; I look forward to seeing your updates. :)

Jennifer said...

Oops--forgot to give you that Chocolate Lasagna recipe.

1 c. flour
1 stick margarine, softened
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12-oz) container Cool Whip (large container)
2 (3-oz.) pkgs. instant chocolate pudding
3 c. milk
3/4 tsp. almond extract

Layer #1: 1 cup flour, 1 stick margarine. Blend together and press in 13x9-in. pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Layer #2: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix well, and fold in 3/4 of large Cool Whip. Spread over crust.
Layer #3: 2 3-oz. pkg. instant chocolate pudding, 3 c. milk, 3/4 tsp. almond extract. Mix 2 minutes on low. Pour over cream cheese layer.
Layer #4: Spread top with remainder of Cool Whip. May garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired. Store in refrigerator.

Rachel said...

Yay! Good luck on your No Spend Month. I second Jennifer's advice to spend as little as possible in the beginning so you have extra later in the month.

One of my reasons for first trying it was that I was shopping on Craigslist for stuff I didn't need.

This is going to be good!

The Jackson's said...

Good Luck!!! You should make your own laundry soap and spray and would save you money too!! I plan meals every Sunday and it saves us a ton! I also make my own bread so the only things we really buy at the store is milk and eggs! I am excited to check your blog every week to know the progress!!!

Dani said...

Jenna this sounds fun, Let me know how you do..
The dates for the Christmas Ideas is October 20 and 22 from 7:30 to 9:30
They're going to have a free open house at SWATC to show ideas for Christmas deacutecor, gifts, recipes, gift wrap, etc....
Hopefully it will be worth the time to come look around. Pass it on.:)

Aleisha said...

I'm really impressed! I totally think that using cash puts spending money into a whole new perspective, it really lets you see how much you have left and how much is already gone!
I have always said that I think every couple should have to go through school together, because you learn so many lessons that set a foundation for the rest of your life :) (a lot of things, not just finances). Tell your husband good luck as he finishes school. And good luck with your No Spend Month!

miss_vickymarie said...

Hi, first time I've stumbled upon your blog. :-)
I love this idea of what you're doing, and hopefully you see those savings going up!
I saw an idea like this a few years ago, possibly on Oprah?, and I just thought it was absolutely fantastic! Good luck with it, can't wait to see how you go.

Bill and Emily Grant said...

What a great idea! Maybe we should give that a try too!

Anonymous said...

Great idea! Have you ever tried using the cookbook, "The Sneaky Chef" or Jessica Sienield's cookbook for kids? I actually just wrote on my family blog about my kids scarfing down brownies with spinach and blueberries in them. They LOVED them. And I love knowing that they are getting nutrition and goodness in all their foods. Anyway, I've found that by picking several of these recipes from the books I mentioned or the author's web-sites (free) I can plan my shopping list accordingly and only buy what I need. Keep up the great work!