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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Days of Living Well Spending Zero Challenge Update

I told you a couple weeks ago that we were doing the 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero Challenge this month.  Here's the latest update...

Groceries. (Remember the plan was to spend $275 on food, and $50 on household items).  Here's the breakdown so far:

  • Food: $278.99.  Included in this was $27.62 of cheater food, like candy, soda, and two frozen pizzas.  Not great, but still better than takeout, and mostly within budget.
  • Bulk Chicken Purchase: $32.21.  Chicken breasts were on sale for $1.59/lb. in 10lb. bags, so we chose to use some of the extra food money we weren't spending to go towards 20lbs. of chicken.  That was kind of the point of saving some of the food money, to go toward bulk purchases.
  • Amazon: $35.28. I used some saved credit card rewards to put $20.31 towards this, and the $35.28 came out of the $50 for household cash for the month.
  • Unplanned Extras: $22.52.  All of us got a bad cold, and we were basically out of medicine.  So we picked up kids cold medicine, plus cough drops and vitamin c drops (pictured above).  I used the $13 I had left in the household money, plus we spent a little extra. 
Planned Trip.  My brother Phil got married! We had already paid for the hotel last month, and we budgeted $100 for this trip.  Because I can't math, that was too low of a number.  For some reason, I only planned for one tank of gas, and we needed one tank to get there, and another to get home.  I used what was left on my Starbucks card to buy a drink the first day, but we splurged on coffee the morning of the wedding. My parents paid for one of our lunches (thanks Mom and Dad!), so we ended up spending $180.57. Included in that was a $17 winter coat for Matthew and $4 for a book exchange from Jonah's birthday, which weren't necessarily trip related, but happened on the trip. Also included in that were several extra snacks and a small toy for each big kid, which weren't necessary, but kept everyone happy.

Other Cheats.  
Pizza: $16.67. We ordered a pizza one night.  Our local gas station does have a rewards program for pizzas, where you buy 10 and get one free.  Our next one is free.  I don't think that justifies it, but it is what it is.  

Coffee: $5.09. We also got Caribou Coffee yesterday morning when we went grocery shopping, and discovered that they do Buy 1 Get 1 Free drinks on Mondays.  Again, not sure if that's a good discovery or not, as that only encourages us to buy drinks when we make the drive down to get groceries twice a month.

Reflection Time.  One of the reasons I think we've spent the extras that we have is that we have a credit on a credit card right now.  Last month Jesse bought a tablet, which he intended to use as a laptop replacement.  He liked it, but it didn't function like he thought it would, so he returned it.  Which means that we had several hundred dollars sitting on a credit card, since we had paid it off right away.  I think that's where it's not hitting me as hard to spend that money, because it's kind of "free" money.  We should keep the credit on there and use it toward bills that we can pay with that (there are actually not that many of our bills that will take a credit card), or request a check (can you do that?), but instead, we've been spending it.

We are spending less on miscellaneous stuff this month than we have been the past several months, so we are still making progress.  The trip and the credit card credit have definitely thrown off the no spending at all though.  But I am definitely considering most purchases for a bit longer before we make them, so again, progress...

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