My family has embarked on a challenge from the lovely Ruth Soukup at LivingWellSpendingLess.com in which you freeze your spending for 31 days - YIKES!!!!
Ruth just featured the 31 days of Living Well Spending Zero (#31daysLWSZ) on her blog during the month of October, but since I caught on a little late we decided to do it in November.
I know what you're thinking "How can you stop spending money for an entire month?! It's impossible!"
Well here are the ground rules:
#1 You don't freeze ALL your spending - you DO still pay your bills. Delinquency is not encouraged.
#2 You cut out all excess spending. This will mean slightly different things for each family, but overall you cut out things like: entertainment, eating out, coffee out (ouch), alcohol, toys, home decor, excess food, etc.
#3 Most importantly you must decide AS A FAMILY (or at least as a couple) to accept the challenge. If my husband wasn't on board, it would be kinda pointless. But he is, so I'm excited!
What do we hope to learn?
We hope to get a microscope on our negative spending habits, thus making us bad stewards of the resources God's given us. We know that we aren't great in this area & are excessive spenders, so this will help!
We hope to save close to $1000 this month! Lofty? Maybe. But we're aiming high!
And I personally hope to get better at planning meals with what I have rather than going out for exotic ingredients to make fancy meals (which I love to do!)
So there are a few items we have budgeted for this month.
1 - we will continue to get our 3 dozen free range eggs from the farm weekly.
2 - we will continue to get our weekly farm produce delivery to our house.
3 - we *might purchase a turkey for Thanksgiving (although I'm hoping we can get ourselves invited to a meal at someone else's house & we can bring a side)
So what could I have possible learned in only our first 3 days?!
The answer. Water & paper towels.
We have become much too accustomed to grabbing a water bottle when thirsty instead of filling up a cup with water out of the refrigerator spout or using our Zero water filter (which is awesome and I highly recommend!) Wasteful? I know!
Every time we wash our hands or wipe down the kitchen counter, etc. etc. we grab a paper towel! We use them as napkins during dinner when we have perfectly good cloth napkins that I can simply throw in the laundry. We have dish towels and rags to use that are reusable! So, since we are down to 4 paper towel rolls in our pantry, we're aiming to use 1 each week of this challenge. I don't even want to consider how many we've gone through in a week previously!
Last but not least, going into this challenge we purposely did not "stock up" on items, so we're going with what we've got! I did not take into account that I had to bring a potluck item to share to my moms group yesterday (where we have at least 30 moms), so I scrounged around and ended up roasting potatoes with beets in thyme, olive oil, salt & pepper. It was delicious & I had some left over to use for our breakfast this morning! Score!
This coming weekend I'm getting together with girlfriends for a retreat day & I'm making some trail mix since I have tons of almonds, walnuts, pecans, raisins, chocolate chips & dried cranberries. Satisfy those snacky urges while not stealing from what my family needs to survive on this month ;)
I'm excited and still a bit nervous but we can do this! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've ever done a spending freeze or are excellent at cooking from your pantry, etc. Or even if you think we're crazy! Haha!
Hope y'all have a blessed November and I will keep updating as we journey through! One thing's for sure, this challenge is already making me more grateful for what we have!