Day 5: No-Spend Challenge

5 02 2009

It’s Day 5 in my no-spending challenge so I figured it was time for an update. (Click here to read my original post.)

Day 1 was easy enough, scrapbooking with friends and eating in. My husband fixed himself a salmon burger and veggies out of the freezer. My daughter shared a frozen pizza with her big brother before he headed back to college.

Monday went equally smoothly as I nested at home, catching up on laundry, making phone calls and fixing a nice dinner: homemade chicken corn soup and grilled cheese. When my husband came home, the table was set and he could smell the soup. If only I had been wearing my best dress, an apron and high heels, he might have inquired as to the whereabouts of  Wally and The Beaver.

That was also the day I called AT&T and ditched the landline. You can read about that here.

Tuesday brought my first real need to spend. We were out of milk. Armed with $3 in ExtraCare Bucks (ECBs) and a gift card, I drove the short distance to CVS and bought a $3.99 gallon of milk. With the ECBs and $1.01 on my gift card, I quickly exited. I didn’t want to be tempted and I didn’t need  anything else. No money out of my pocket.

The rest of the day was spent filling out and mailing all of my January rebates, which I’ll post about soon, and cleaning out my coupon binder. What a job. I not only removed all the Jan. 31 expired coupons, but all the February ones since I’m not spending in February.

In the afternoon, it was time for my daughter’s piano lesson, which brought up another area that could become an issue as the month wears on. Though her lesson is in the neighborhood, we typically drive there because we’re running late or need to run to the store afterward. Or, I’m just plain feeling lazy. Since I’m really going to try to go the entire month without filling my gas tank, we walked. Not a huge savings on gas, but multiplied times four, who knows? Dinner was spaghetti and make-shift garlic bread. This was actually sandwich bread with a little margarine and garlic power sprinkled on top, then toasted. Without the no-spend challenge, I probably would have run out to buy some garlic bread.

On Day 4, I met with frugal friends for our monthly coupon swap at Chick Fil-A, bringing all my February coupons to share.  Click here to see a photo from the swap and my musings about frugal friendship. Lunch was three huge chicken strips purchased FREE with a coupon at Chick Fil-A, along with a can of soda I brought from home. Dinner was pancakes.

That brings us to today, Day 5. As soon as I started throwing the ingredients into the crockpot for chili for tonight’s supper, I realized I had no chili powder. Oops. Thankfully, I was able to borrow, make that mooch, a few tablespoons from a good friend. I figured I would have to borrow a few things during the month, but I never thought it would be quite this soon.

Another good friend, who happens to be my Mom, then called to ask if she could treat me to lunch at Subway. Feeling a little guilty, I offered to bring my own drink and pretzels so we could split a footlong value meal.

Then I headed over to Harris Teeter, my all-time favorite grocery store, which happens to be offering triple coupons for the next four days. Could I participate without spending any money? That was the question everyone asked after I announced I would not be spending any money during February.

Long story, shortened answer: I did walk out with a very small bag of groceries without spending any money. I’ll give the details in a separate post.

Total money spent since Feb. 1: $0.00

Total CVS gift card expenditure: $1.01 on milk.

Total ECBs used: $3.00

Money “made” since Feb. 1:

$4.00 returned from Harris Teeter for salad that went bad before its expiration date. (This cash is in my wallet for emergencies only.)

$16.00 back on credit card from gift returned to Borders

$0.01 in change back from Harris Teeter triples shop. WHAT?

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5 responses

5 02 2009
Katy

I’m very interested to hear how you’re doing. You are wise to start walking early! When we stopped spending for two weeks, we had to buy gas. Other than that though, we only spent $6, I think. I can’t wait to hear about the Harris Teeter visit…

We are still re-evaluating our financial situation. When we stopped spending money, it made us uber-aware of many of our short-comings, but we still haven’t formulated a real plan for our financial situation. Oprah and Suze Orman are helping me get my focus back. In the meantime, I’ll watch and learn from your successes, and struggles in the upcoming weeks! Good luck. You are brave to try a whole month!

5 02 2009
freetobefrugal

Thanks so much for checking in on me, Katy. Getting the family finances in order is such a difficult task and such a work in progress. We’ve always been frugal but wanted to take it to the next level. I’m hoping this month will jump start us into new ways of thinking about saving and about money, in general.

6 02 2009
Julie

Your creativity is very inspiring. Maybe I can get my family on board for a 2-week no-spending event. That is, of course, once I learn all the ins & outs from you this month!! I have enjoyed reading your blog – great work!

6 02 2009
freetobefrugal

Thanks, Julie! And let me know if you do decide to go without spending — even for a week. I’d love to hear how you do.

6 02 2009
What’s in your mailbox? « Free to be Frugal

[…] just yesterday and I couldn’t believe what great timing. If you are following me on my no-spending-in-February challenge, you know I’m trying not to spend any money, including money for gas in my car. (We did say […]

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