No Spend Challenge 2017

It’s time once again to try another No Spend Challenge. As we come to the end of the year, my wife and I are looking at how we have done with our finances for 2016. We have had our ups and our downs, we have worked hard at times, and slacked off at times. Who here can say they haven’t done the same?

As we get prepare for 2017, we have decided that it’s time to do another No Spend Challenge to start the year off right. We know how much it changed our lives last year and we are excited for even bigger changes now!

no spend challenge

No Spend Challenge 2016

Some of you may remember that we did a No Spend Challenge for January of 2016 as well. If you weren’t around, here’s a link to that information:

Otherwise, here’s a quick recap of how it went (to read the longer version, click HERE).

Over the course of the month of January, my wife and I spent a total of $68.32. By removing money for groceries, cancelling some programs such as Advocare and Hulu, and searching for lower cost for car insurance, we saved over $500 for the month of January!

To top it off, we ended up putting a total of $2,918.58 toward our debt in January alone!

No Spend Challenge 2017

So, now it is time to try again – to jump-start our year of savings by completing a second No Spend Challenge. We know that we have plenty of food in our freezer and pantry to get us by – so why do we keep going to the store to get more? We know we have enough of everything, but we continue to spend. Not this month! This month, we will focus on not spending, saving, and getting money into our emergency fund!


Please note that you can follow as many or as few of these rules as you would like – you can also make some of your own!)

  • No spending money on groceries, fast food, restaurants, clothes, books, fun money, etc. Basically, we are trying to get down the bare bones to help us break the habits of spending. We are going to eat what’s in the cupboards and freezer, we are going to live off what we have, and w e are going to have fun for FREE without spending money! (Please note that if we do run out of food that we can prepare in a healthy manner, we will be buying food, but we don’t expect that to happen. We also aren’t willing to go without toilet paper or feminine products, so that will be something we may need to purchase.)
  • Bills will still be paid on time. We will not cut out our bills for the month, but we will instead utilize this month to work toward paying all of our bills early and putting our extra money into our savings account.
  • Any healthcare and medical costs will be paid as needed – these are a necessity and not an optional cost. If you need medicine, medical care, or the like, make sure you don’t cut these out. Just ensure that when you go to pick up your meds, you don’t end up buying more things you don’t need (a soda, Subway, a new toy, etc.)

Join us for the No Spend Challenge 2017!

The hardest thing about budgeting, frugal living, and saving money is doing it alone. That’s why we have created a challenge group for this very purpose! Filled with exclusive tips and tricks to survive frugal living during your No Spend Challenge as well as a community to back you up, we know that you can succeed!

Follow this link to join:

Follow our rules or make your own! We know that not everyone is in the same situation that we are in. Stick with as much or as little of the challenge as you are able in your situation. Don’t be afraid to sign up and come along for the ride!

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you. I will update the blog weekly with posts and update the group even more often than that! Click HERE to join the group!

Help us to Create a Community

Finally, please feel free to share this with any friends or family members who you think could benefit from this. Guide them to us! We would love to be in contact with them, and you.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

Thanks for reading!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Finished!

I realize in the hustle and bustle of life this past spring / summer, I never finished updating you on our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge that we had started long ago. With all the busy-ness around, it must have completely slipped my mind! Regardless, I think it’s fair that you all get to hear how it went (because I promise, we definitely didn’t quit!). While these blogging habits may have not gone over so well throughout the summer, our minimalist habits certainly did!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge -

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge

This challenge is a great chance for us all to declutter our minds and our bodies. Erin did a great job of introducing why this challenge is so very important when she wrote her guest blog titled Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal (Click HERE to read this post). Erin shared how minimizing your lifestyle can help you to save money and get out of debt quicker (isn’t that what we are all about anyway?).

Minimizing means simplifying your life to enjoy a higher quality of living. As a result of living a minimalist lifestyle, people feel more attuned to their emotions, they are more present in their everyday lives, they are happier, and their wallets are more full. As someone who has lived with clutter for most of her life, I’m ready to simplify. I’m pumped to see the results of this challenge! Are you?

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Finished

Now, on April 1st I probably would have guessed that we would get through the challenge and be happy, but that would be about it. In fact, I think I guessed that we would get rid of about 500-600 things. I know that I had a goal of 600 to beat another friend of mine who had done the challenge and that was about all I had.

Honestly, when we started the challenge, I had no idea how much it would change my life. I also had no idea how many things I had in my house. If you would have said I would have gotten rid of as many things as I did, I would have laughed and responded with something similar to “there’s no way I have that many things in my house!” Boy, was I wrong.


Favorite / Least Favorite

My favorite part of the minimalist decluttering challenge was the stability – I love having a schedule to work with and that definitely kept me motivated to keep going with this challenge. We got rid of so many items because we felt like we had to and we are definitely a competitive pair.

My least favorite part? Well… That’s a little more hard because I loved many parts of this challenge – I loved making my space feel more open, finding room to breathe, getting rid of items we didn’t need, learning about myself, figuring out how much we actually had versus how much we actually need, and the list could go on, but there is one part that I really didn’t enjoy…. That was dealing with things that have a sentimental value. That was rough.

Pictures, toys, knick-knacks, etc. all that had been given by certain people with a specific purpose. It was hard to say goodbye to some of these for the minimalist challenge – even ones that were broken. Now, I don’t mean that I got rid of all of them (I wouldn’t even say that I got rid of a good chunk of them), they mean a lot to me and it’s hard, but I had to choose which ones had the most meaning.

When I was 12 and my father was in the hospital I remember wearing these horribly uncomfortable shoes. I had had them for a long time – forever, and so they were really worn out and weren’t any good any more. I remember my mom asking why I had brought them, but I misheard her and thought she asked where I got them. So I said that dad gave them to me. She responded “not everything he gives you is so important that it needs to be kept forever.”

Coming from someone who is a little bit tighter when it comes to keeping things (she keeps a lot), this statement has stuck with me. There are certainly keepsake items that I will keep for a long, long, long time, but when they stop bringing you joy, that’s when it’s time to say goodbye and keep the memories. I’ve come up with a few ways to help with that, but I’ll share those on another day!

Number of Items Removed

So, how many things did I get rid of?

While I don’t have the full list here with me, I do have the number – it was over 1,900 items! You read that right – 1,900 items that we didn’t need.

The worst part is, this isn’t the first time we’ve decluttered. In January / February we did a big purge of many items for spring cleaning – we took at least two car-fulls to Goodwill and probably more, plus we brought out 10-15 bags of garbage – just for our spring cleaning!

Before that, just a month or two, we had to do a purge to get rid of things that were infected by the mice (yuck) and got rid of a ton of our belongings.

With all that, I assumed that we didn’t have enough left to get rid of many things, but as you read above, we definitely did – our minimalist challenge in April got rid of over 1,900 items – wow.

Of course, we have a long way  to go, but this challenge definitely put us on the right track!

One Thing I Learned

The fewer things I have, the more I have – more life, more happiness, more joy, more excitement, more space, more breathing, more time, more money…. MORE. I think that’s the most important lesson that I could learn from this challenge and something that I have needed to take to heart. It’s all about living in the now – living life to the fullest, which as you all know is my motto, but the more things you have to take care of, the less time you have to do that.


30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Finished

The minimalist decluttering challenge was certainly one for the books and hopefully one that I will revisit again in the future (perhaps this January?). The best part though, is we have done even more minimizing since the challenge ended – getting rid of even MORE things (though we aren’t exactly counting anymore) and our house is getting less and less cluttered. We have minimized our work spaces, our home, and more! Of course, sharing about those is for another day.

Until then, let’s keep minimizing!!!

Have you ever done a Minimalist Decluttering Challenge? If so, what was your favorite / least favorite parts? What did you learn? How many items did you get rid of?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Making a Comeback

My last post for DIY Jahn was on July 1st and I talked about the American Dream – I don’t know if you remember that. If not, you can check it out here. Anyway, it’s been a long time (three months!) since I have updated you all as to what’s going on, offered you tips, or talked about saving money and minimizing. Now, it’s time for me to apologize for the long silence and begin making a comeback.

making a comeback

As some of you may know, I work full time, year-round as a summer camp Program Director. In case you’re wondering, yes, this does explain my absence. You see, summers are crazy busy here at camp. We serve around 425 kids per summer and it’s my job to hire the staff, recruit the campers, recruit the staff, train the staff, make sure the campers are safe, follow insurance policies and standards, build the community among staff and campers, supervise, and be there for emergency situations.

Basically – it’s a 24/7 job for about 11 weeks and then a 12/6 job for a few weeks after as I begin evaluating, cleaning up camp, and preparing for the winter season where we will welcome retreat groups and begin planning for next year. It’s now been a couple of months since camp and I am finally back in the groove of our “retreat” season (or as we usually call it, the off-season). 40 hour weeks means less stress and more time to type up a blog every now and then.

Making a Comeback – Some Recent Changes

For those of you who have been following our story from the beginning (thanks for the support, by the way, it’s very much appreciated), we have had some pretty major changes to our plans and to our living situation. Now that we’re working on making a comeback, I think it’s important to update you on these important events.


My work offers free housing to my wife and I at camp. However, if you recall the mouse incident and the other less-than-livable conditions that we were in, you knew that we needed to leave for our health. For a long time we debated buying a house. We even looked at houses in the area – we would go on long car rides and look at houses that were for sale, do research online, and even put in a request to the bank to see what a mortgage would look like.

I admit, that probably wasn’t the best decision and we soon realized that (thankfully before we actually bought a property). Why? Well, for one, what if we decide we don’t want to stay in the area that we are in at the moment? That would suck if we were owning a house, wouldn’t it? Second, we didn’t have money for a down payment. In fact, we only had a $1,000 emergency fund because all the rest had been put toward debt. We were paycheck to paycheck (by choice) so that we could throw all of our extra money toward debt.

Not only did not having money for a down payment mean a longer mortgage with PMI and higher interest rates, but it also meant we didn’t have money to fund repairs on a house that are likely to happen. Finally, we have a lot of debt – as you all know – and that means we just were digging ourselves further into a hole with even more debt (bad idea, as you may guess).

But we knew that we couldn’t continue living in the house that we were living in because it wasn’t good for our mental or physical health. So, we found a house to rent in the area and moved in. The rent is pretty high, but average for the town we live in. It means that we have a healthy place to stay, but it also means less money going toward debt.

Income Changes

There are possibilities of our incomes changing in the not-too-far future and we want to make sure that we have money. So, we stopped putting extra money toward debt for the time being and have started stock-piling money in case of an emergency, job loss, or income change. Our efforts have slowed down and it feels slightly discouraging, but we are working as hard as we can to create a better situation for our future selves!

Making a Comeback – Coming Up Soon

On top of these fairly big changes, we also have a lot of stuff coming up very quickly that we need to take care of. And by stuff, I mean things that cause expenses (and lots of them). In some of the Facebook groups I am apart of for budgeting, saving, and paying off debt, they call these “Murphys” – but really, we should have planned for these things, but didn’t because we were so focused on getting out of debt and had a fairly stable amount of extra money each month so we weren’t worried – which of course, changed when we had to start paying rent and utilities.

Big Trip

We have a really big trip coming up that we are both excited and nervous for. We are going to Las Vegas for my Masters graduation – something that we aren’t willing to miss. We are going to spend a little time there touring as well since we are already on that side of the country. While we are excited, we know that this is a big expense coming out of our budget.

Brakes & Tires

Our car needs new brakes before winter (so says our mechanic and we can definitely understand why). They quoted us at about $400 for these. Yuck. We also may need two new tires – we have filled up our front tires multiple times in the last month or so because they have gotten so low.


Registration for the car is coming up – $125.

Licensing & Insurance

It’s also a renew year for my wife’s social work license and insurance (both) so we need several hundred set aside for this.


My dentist has told me that it’s time to get a crown on one of my teeth – she quoted this (on the low end) as $450.

Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Anniversary, and Christmas

We have both my wife and I’s birthdays, we are hosting our Tuesday night dinner the day after Halloween (we host about once a month and take turns at other peoples’ houses), we have Halloween candy to buy, Thanksgiving to host, my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary to celebrate, and Christmas gifts. Of course, we are going to do these within our budget and do our best to keep costs low, but they do bring about additions to our expenses so they’re important to note.

Making a Comeback – Summary

So, basically, we have had higher expenses the last few months because of our moves, been unable to put much toward debt because of possible income changes, and have a LOT of big expenses coming up rather quickly in the next couple of months. If we can make it to January – we should be okay (you know, except the whole car insurance thing, but that’s another post for another day). *EDITED TO ADD: for the record, we have it all budgeted in and we are fine, it’s just more than we expected which means less going into savings, that’s all.

The point is – I am ready to begin making a comeback. I’m ready to change the view of DIY Jahn, to share our story with all who want to read, to encourage others to pay off their debt and live life to the absolute fullest. I am ready!

So, now we begin.

The American Dream

As a summer camp Program Director, I spend a lot of my time working with college-aged people. In fact, 90% of the people I hire are either currently in college or have recently graduated. That being said, student loans are a big deal when it comes to college students.

Most of the kids I hire were sent to college with the expectation that this would help them to achieve the “American Dream” – whatever that is anymore. If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know how frustrated I get with the idea of the “American Dream” and kids being told that they can do anything if they simply “work hard enough.”


The fact of the matter is this: the only way to achieve the American Dream is by getting lucky – knowing the right people, being born into the right home, or getting the right scholarships. Sure, hard work helps and I’m not saying that those who achieve this so-called “American Dream” don’t work for it, but there’s a little bit of luck that goes into it, too, wouldn’t you say? Maybe “daddy” isn’t rich, but somewhere along the line they made a connection that helped them to get to this place.

No, the “American Dream” is pretty far from the majority’s reach. Instead, there’s an “American Standard” that’s being created and is far from the expectations that are set for today’s youth. This “American Standard” is all the rage: go to college, believe big things, graduate, get a master’s degree, live your life to the fullest while you are young because, as they say, you only live once. In fact, the class of 2016 graduated with more debt than any class in history.

And, it all sounds fine and dandy until you get into the nitty-gritty of it, right? You get into the logistics and that’s where everything sort of turns away from the “American Dream,” right?

Where does the money come from?

Unless you’re born lucky or get some great scholarships, there’s no denying that going to college costs a lot of money. In fact, even attending a public/state school can land you with thousands upon thousands of dollars of student debt.

Even worse?

This is now the “norm” of our society. It’s not a big deal for students to walk up and talk to each other about the tens of thousands of dollars they took out in student loans. The youth of America have a tendency to lean toward the “YOLO” metaphor – even when it means that their future may be uncertain. Why?

Because we have taught them that this is the new “American Standard” and that it’s okay to be in debt. I can’t even tell you how many times I have shared my debt free goals with friends only to hear them reply “Well, it’s not like you’ll ever get out of debt anyway. Why waste your time trying?”

And for some people it’s true: without hard work and a concentrated effort, it can be next to impossible to achieve debt freedom. Look at how many families around the world are living on credit and debt – it’s incredible, isn’t it?

But here’s the thing… It is possible to achieve debt freedom – even if it doesn’t seem that way. It is possible to live up to the “American Dream” – though, perhaps a slightly altered one. It takes work. It takes effort. But it’s possible. And most certainly worthwhile.

May Debt Repayment Update

May Debt Repayment Update

May is over a third of the way done (already?) and so I may be a little late for our May Debt Repayment Update, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! We got some great amounts of debt paid off, earned a bit of extra cash, and are well on our way to knocking out the Big9! Read on to hear about it!

May Debt Repayment Update-

For those who know our journey, feel free to skip ahead. For those who are new, here’s a little introduction.

So, here’s what’s going on. We plan to give these updates on a monthly basis (at the beginning of each month). You can see past months updates by clicking on our “Frugal Living” tab – or by clicking HERE.

I’m sure you’re wondering how we got to where we are. Well, we began our journey around the middle of September 2015 when my wife and I got married and decided to calculate our combined debt. That being said, we had been making payments for almost a year by this point, so we must have been much higher beforehand. Regardless, when we began religiously calculating our numbers in September, we came to the conclusion that we have $196,021.8 in debt: which is terrifying.

If you want to read more about how we racked up so much debt, you can read about it in our post here (click here).

TIt was time to pay it off and be debt free. Unfortunately, that sort of decision doesn’t come easy – and the results surely don’t come fast. We are working our way to debt freedom and hope to achieve our goals by January 1, 2019. Stay tuned as we update our progress, how we are getting there, and more by visiting regularly or signing up for our e-newsletter – here!

May Debt Repayment Update

Last month, during our April Debt Repayment Update, we told you how we paid off a WHOPPING $6,073.9. How? Well, you can go back and check that out if you’re interested. Now, the month of April may not have led to quite as high of a debt repayment, but it definitely got us some extra money to put toward debt.

Let’s see where we are for May!

Where are we at with our debt for April?

As you know, we are working on reaching our big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in 2016. Well, I can honestly say that for a while, I wasn’t sure how possible it was going to be – I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself. To be honest, I’ve been pretty discouraged in general, lately.

However, as of this update we have officially reached the halfway mark for our debt repayment goal – over a month early! Can you believe it?

So, let’s look at the numbers for the May Debt Repayment Update:

  • $40 – this is a minimum payment to a smaller student debt which brought that debt down to $2,352.82.
  • $467.92 – this is a minimum payment for my wife’s federal debt which brought that debt down to 67,747.11.
  • $139.04 – this is a minimum payment for our car which brought that debt down to $4,641.33.
  • $2,910.61 – this is an extra payment we put toward our high interest loan (affectionately titled Big9). We brought Big9 down to $15,299.36!

In total, we paid off $3,557.57 in debt in April- which is pretty great considering we also took a family trip up to Minneapolis to visit my parents. We went to Ikea and the Mall of America and barely spent anything! We shared a hotel room for $100 (for the whole weekend), so our biggest expense was food. Not so bad!

What does this bring us to in total for debt repayment? We have officially paid off a total of $25,898.92 in 2016 AND $36,239.78 since October. Woohoo!

Where does your income come from?

I decided to add this segment in November after reading a few income reports from other bloggers. I don’t want this to sound like bragging, but rather to help you to see that it is possible to pay back your debt on a low income (we’re doing it). You can also see that it’s possible to make money on the side (we’re doing that, too). I hope that this helps you on your journey to debt freedom.

Here’s our income breakdown for the month of April:

  • $1,600 – roughly, this is my take home pay. My pay also includes our housing and utilities (since we don’t pay for those), but this is the actual cash-in-pocket amount after taxes. We use my income for all bills, minimum payments, and necessities (groceries, gas, etc.).
  • $1,800 – roughly, this is my wife’s take home pay after taxes and insurance costs.  We use her income as entirely supplemental – meaning that unless something happens, all of her income goes as extra payments toward debt.
  • $321.62 – This is my blogging income for the month. This isn’t too bad for it being so close to summer! Though, I do expect that this will dramatically decrease as the summer gets closer and as we get busier, but I hope to boost it back up in late August / early September!

Total Income for March: $3,721.62

What is in our accounts?


Remember in the past how we were talking about our “New Family Fund” and how we wanted to make sure we had money to start a family when we were ready? Well, that was all well and good, but we recently discovered that our flex-spending account can help us with a lot of the needs in this area and while we know that having a family is expensive, we also realize that compound interest is expensive….

On that note, we have decided to drain our “New Family Fund” for the time being and put all of our money toward paying down debt first and foremost. It’s been a hard decision because we want to start a family while we are younger, but our debt is a mess that we simply won’t be getting out of any time soon and we certainly can’t bring a baby into that…

While we don’t like the decision, it’s necessary as we work to pay off some of these higher interest debts. Perhaps we’ll go back to paying into that when our Big9 and car loan are both paid off, but for now, we are going to keep our emergency fund at $1,000 and stick with that.

Anyway, here are what the accounts look like for our May Debt Repayment Update:

  • $1,000 – Emergency fund. Our goal is to keep this right where it’s at. This is split up into two accounts. One is easy to access through our bank and has about $300 in it, the other is through CapitalOne360. They gave us a free bonus for starting and the interest rate is higher than any others around us! Plus, no fees. Why not get free money? If you use this link, we both get a little bonus for opening an account: How great is that?

Total Assets for our May Debt Repayment Update: $1,000

May Debt Repayment Update

Looking Ahead

Where do we hope to be, looking forward, after the May Debt Repayment Update?

Well, at this point I simply hope to make it through the summer. Our summer is crazy with me working as a Program Director at a summer camp and my wife helping with catering when she can. I work 14-18 hour days and struggle to find time to sleep, so hopefully it won’t be too insane.

On the plus side, at least we won’t have to spend much money on food as we’ll be eating here at camp most times! That should mean a little extra cash can head right into our debt repayment. We also don’t have any time to travel, so gas money should go down too. Yay for extra funds!

Goal Update

As you all know, we set a huge, big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in debt in 2016. YIKES! I know it sounds crazy, but we think we can do it. So, we’ll be updating you on that goal each month during our debt repayment updates so that you can watch the progress.

Click HERE to read more about the goal: Financial Goals for 2016

GOAL: $50,000

Total Paid off in 2016: $25,898.92

Left to reach Goal: $24,101.08

We are over halfway there and it’s only been four full months! It’s crazy how well this challenge has been going and I can’t WAIT to see how close we get to reaching our goal. It’s going to be hard, but I know that we can do it! We will need to side hustle like crazy, sell stuff, and work our butts off to make this happen… but at the end of 2016, I know that it will all be worth it. We’ll be $50,000 less in debt and well on our way to debt freedom. Here goes nothing!

Thanks for reading our May Debt Repayment Update!

If you have any comments, let us know! We love to hear.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 7-14

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge
Update: Days 7-14

The time has come once again for me to give you our update: days 7-14. Unfortunately, my update is a little late this time. While I was planning on having our update posted on Friday (as is our goal for this challenge), we were sadly dealing with the death of our family dog. As any of you fellow dog-owners may know, the death of a dog is never fun.

The dog was mine since I was about 11 years old. I got her as a little puppy and she has grown old in our home. She passed away in her sleep last week and we are glad that she is not in pain, but miss her deeply. It halted our challenge for a few days, but we are back and caught up now to give you our newest update: days 7-14!

30DMDC Update- Days 7-14

For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!

For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!

30DMDC Update: Days 7-14

Day 7: Accessories

Day seven was a little bit of a struggle for us. While we were able to get rid of MANY scarves, the jewelry aspect was a little harder. We realized how easy it is to become emotionally attached to an item and how frustrating it is when that item is one you never wear anymore. We realize that unless we are specifically going through our jewelry box, we never even see these pieces of jewelry, but we really struggled to get rid of some of those.



However, despite our struggles, we did manage to get rid of a fair amount of jewelry. I have a number, but it’s not on my computer. It’s a lot though!


To hear more stories about these pieces (and see pictures / stories about other things we are getting rid of), visit our instagram page at:


Day 8: Shoes

This day was easier because we aren’t as emotionally attached to our shoes (except our wedding shoes, but we wear those regularly)! We kept two pairs of fancy boots each (one brown, one black), rain boots, snow boots, tennis shoes, chacos, and two pairs of nicer shoes (wedding shoes are toms and my slip ons, plus my wife has a pair of black flats she wears regularly). My wife also has a few other pairs of work shoes that she wears.


That sounds like a lot of shoes that we kept, but it really was the bare minimum. Working and living at a summer camp, we can’t exactly get rid of the need for rain boots, snow boots, chacos, and tennis shoes. I suppose we could get away with less nice shoes, but we really only have options for black and brown so that we each have shoes for any outfit.

Plus we got rid of some. So yay!

Day 9: Pamper Yourself

Honestly, this is one of the best days yet. We never get to pamper ourselves. Okay, let me rephrase that. We never allow ourselves time to pamper ourselves. We are always going, going, going and never remember to simply relax and be.

So, we took time to sleep in (YAY), to wash each others hair and give head massages (double YAY), and to go out to eat at Texas Roadhouse. It was blissful.

Day 10: 10 Items

Day 10 – we got rid of so many more than 10 items. It’s really unrealistic to tell us 10 because we have SO much stuff. So, on this day, can you guess what our number was?

Seriously, what do you think it was?

Because it was insane for one day.


We got rid of…

Drum roll please…


235 things! Plus, we officially finished the bedroom! It’s done. There’s nothing more that we can get rid of in there at the present moment.

So, I feel like that’s winning.

Day 11: Social Media

This one was difficult for me and I feel like I’m still not where I want to be. I have to go through my friends again and get rid of them. Another one I need to go through is groups on Facebook, I really struggle with having a million of them that I never go to or participate in. I want to slim it down to only a few that I actually use often. That’s my goal!

Day 12: Use it Up!

We used up a few cleaning products and a bag of chocolate chips! Yay!

Day 13: Pantry

This was fun… Our “pantry” for the past few months has been one cupboard space, two boxes above our kitchen cupboards, and one tote box in the dining room. Honestly, why are we eating and living out of boxes?!

We went through our cupboards and made room to have ALL of our food in the cupboards. No more boxes! I’m so happy!!

Day 14: Pots & Pans

Pots and pans are one of the things that we have had way too much of, and we know it, but we don’t really go through them often. It was nice to have a day dedicated to getting rid of them.



When my wife and I got together, we combined our giant sets of pots and pans into an even bigger set of pots and pans. It was really unnecessary, but we each liked our individual sets. As our preferences grew and changed, we realized we were only utilizing about 3-5 of the pots and 2 of the pans. We got rid of a ton of them and are super excited with the storage of the last few!

Update: Days 7-14 – Week in Review

Favorite / Least Favorite

My favorite day of the second week of the challenge was definitely the pamper yourself (day 9). It was glorious to take some time to simply be, to relax, to not worry about work or cleaning, and to be together. We definitely don’t get time like that often, but with summer approaching quickly, I’m glad we got time for that this week.

My least favorite day was definitely the social media (day 11). I feel like I didn’t make any progress and it’s still something that I would like to work on. Ah well, to another day!

Number of Items Removed

Well, this week we took a boatload of items totaling over 1,000 to Goodwill and are currently adding even more to the list. This week we added over 500 more items and have another car-full for Goodwill. We’ll be counting and giving exact numbers soon – they’re being kept track of though, don’t worry!

One Thing I Learned

Well, last week I realized the importance of not keeping things for “just in case.” This week, I’ve been focusing on how easy my life seems to be getting the less stuff I have. Let me explain what I mean and how I got here:

On Friday, my parents were coming for a visit. Because we are in the middle of this crazy challenge, our house was a mess – the living room was filled to the brim with boxes that needed sorting, piles of items to give to Goodwill, more items that needed to be put back into their places, bags of trash, and furniture that we were unsure about. Basically, it was a disaster.

However, the rest of the house (the rooms that were already completed) took less than a half hour to clean. We wiped off counters, surfaces, tables, etc. that were already clear because we don’t have enough stuff to put on them. We pushed chairs in. We swept. We vacuumed. We did the dishes. We took out the trash. And we wiped up the bathroom.

It’s crazy how easy life can become when you have less items. I can’t wait for my whole house to feel as simple as the rest of my house already does! Or for that matter, I can’t wait for my life to feel the way that half of my house does!

Update: Days 7-14

So, that’s it for the Update: Days 7-14. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! Right now, we are looking forward to the days of cleaning products, linens, and, of course, going for a walk. See you soon!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge -

I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.

What does your Update: Days 7-14 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks – MMO Series

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks

I like big bucks and I cannot lie, you other brotha… Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Anyway, I found us yet another resource to earn some quick money online. Isn’t that what we are all looking for? This site is called Swagbucks. Now, before you write it off thinking “I’ve heard you can’t make anything with that,” hear me out. It’s worthwhile, I promise.


Here’s today’s post for our Make Money Online Series.

Swagbucks - Make Money Online Series -

If this is your first time viewing our Make Money Online Series, please read this section.
-if not, feel free to skip ahead!-

The Make Money Online Series is a compilation of blog posts and guest posts discussing how it is possible to make extra cash online. When I first started my journey to pay off my debt fast and become debt free, I searched every possible nook and cranny to find options to earn extra money – in fact, I’m still looking! I scavenged the internet searching for options and signing up for everything that I possibly could.

Of course, this led to a bunch of spam and horrible programs that lie and do not actually help to make money online at all. SO, I’ve developed this series to help debunk those programs so that those of you who are in need of some extra cash, whether it’s because you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, want to pay off your debt fast, or want to find a way to support your family as a stay at home mom, won’t struggle to find tried and true methods to earn money online.

We’ll cover topics ranging from freelancing to blogging to direct sales to micro jobs, etc. and posts will be made every other day – so keep checking back for more or sign up for our weekly newsletter! For a compilation of all topics that have already been posted, click here (HERE).

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover, or a topic you would like to guest post on, let us know in the comments below! Thank you!

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks

Swagbucks initially caught my eye a few months ago when I was searching for some legitimate side hustles to earn some extra cash. Of course, around that time, I was signing up for every big “get rich quick” scheme in the books and was filling my emails full of spam quicker than I could put a lid on it.

When I signed up for Swagbucks, I got their email along with ten or twenty other spam companies. I pressed the “check all” box and did a bulk delete.


Email Cleared.

A couple of weeks ago I came across it again on one of my favorite bloggers sites and thought “maybe this is worth a shot.”

So, here’s where we have come since then.

how to save money on groceries

How to Earn Big Swagbucks

The first question I always hear about Swagbucks is “why does it have to take so long to earn money?” Followed by a groan of “it’s not worth the time…” And while I agree on some level, I also realize that free money is free money and I’m more than willing to snatch that up – even if other people aren’t.

Now, if you think about Swagbucks as a survey company where you can go and take a bunch of surveys and get paid, it’s not worth your time. Let me reiterate that: taking surveys on Swagbucks is a humongous waste of time.

Thankfully, though, that’s not the only way you can get a few bucks here and there.

The other thing to remember is that Swagbucks is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes patience. They’re paying you so that they can survey you for market research. They aren’t paying you to get you out of debt (though that’s probably why you’re doing it). They could care less about your hourly wage because they know you’ll do it anyway.

That’s why you need to be prepared to be patient in your earnings with Swagbucks. If you do it right, it can be worth all the time in the world.

1.) Sign Up for an Account:

Use this link to sign up and join my team! If for some reason that doesn’t work as a clickable link, use the following and paste it into your browser:

Now, this is an affiliate link which means that I get a little bit of a bonus when you sign up. This doesn’t change anything on your end, but it helps me to reach my debt free goals and to pay for this blog which you are reading. You also should get a bonus for signing up, so that’s a plus!

2.) Take the Welcome Survey and Set Up Your Profile

Spend a few minutes setting up your profile, going through the tutorial, and taking the Welcome Survey. This should get you a few points right off the bat and help you to get closer to a cash out!

3.) Download the Browser Extension and App

I use Google Chrome, so I won’t speak for other browsers, but as for the Chrome version, the browser extension is an awesome addition. I also set Swagbucks as my primary search engine which means that I get points when I search for stuff that I normally would have searched Google for. Can we say win-win?

Now, there’s also an App you can download and that can help if you use your phone for a lot of your internet usage or searching. The more points, the more money!

4.) Make Some Big Bucks!

Finally, it’s time to make some BIG BUCKS and it’s definitely possible, though be sure you’re patient. I know a friend who makes $50 a day on Swagbucks with some of these simple tips, but make sure you set your goals lower to start and work up to that.

Remember, surveys aren’t worth your time. But what is? Well, first of all, make sure that you’re using Swagbucks for all of your searches. You’ll rack up a decent amount from simple searches in your every day life that don’t add any time to your day (that you wouldn’t normally spend).

My favorite tip, though, is to have videos playing in the background of your working environment or on your phone. You see, with Swagbucks, you can get paid to watch videos. Though, they are kind of boring… Anyway, you don’t actually have to pay attention to get paid (how brilliant is that?)

So, turn them on and then go about your day – checking every once in a while to ensure they’re still playing. You’ll rack up a ton of points and soon be cashing out with some big bucks!

Thank you for sticking around for our Make Money Online Series post.

If you have topics you would like to contribute or would like us to cover on how making extra cash is possible during our Make Money Online Series, please let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through companies and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

“Are you feeling stuck under the weight of mountains of debt? So was I.” Until I made the decision to start a side hustle. Believe me, this choice changed my life, and it can change yours, too. My blogging career has only begun, but it has already helped me exponentially on my journey to become debt free. Blogging isn’t the only side hustle you can get though – I have a ton of ideas that will help you use skills you already have to make some extra money.

Start a Side Hustle -


I’m going to share with you all about how you can start a side hustle and begin earning some extra cash to get you out of debt – or to simply save some money. Before we start, though, I want to tell you about someone I met. I had the opportunity to get in touch with an incredible blogger named Tessa, who writes over at Bella Creative.

Tessa asked if I wanted to share my message about the decision to start a side hustle with a larger audience and as we know, I’m all about helping others to get out of debt. I jumped on the idea and was able to get a blog post ready to be posted to her site. The blog post is (SURPRISE) called: Start a Side Hustle Today to be Debt Free Later

But I couldn’t very well leave you all out of the loop. So, today I’m sharing my guest post with you so that you can have the opportunity to learn from it as well! I hope that it benefits you in your journey and I would love, love, LOVE it if you would be willing to visit Bella Creative and share the love by commenting.

You can find the post by clicking HERE or by using this link:

Don’t forget! If you want to learn some awesome new ways that YOU can make money online, visit our Make Money Online series by clicking HERE. Side hustles don’t have to be impossible to find, I’ve centralized them to make your life easier! I’ve also checked to make sure they’re all legitimate so that YOU don’t have to.

Thanks for reading, guys!!

Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

It’s time for our first 30DMDC Update: Days 1-6. This past week has been insane. Not only has the weather shifted from beautiful, warm spring days to shivering, cold, rainy, hail-filled days, but our house has shifted from managed clutter to uncontrolled chaos.


Because we are working our way through the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. What is the old saying…? Something like… “it has to get worse before it can get better.” That has never been more true for us. In completing the daily tasks, our living room has become a war zone for our things.

We have a giant pile that we are donating, tossing, or otherwise getting rid of, a pile for things that we need to keep, but that need a new home, and a stack of boxes with things we are keeping, but that we are unable to put away since the storage area is in the process of being overhauled.

In any case, we are super excited to have this challenge to get this clutter out of our house once and for all. And we know that it is bound to get better as this month goes on. So, without further ado, let’s see what we did for each of the challenge days in our Update: Days 1-6!

30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!

For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!

30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

Day 1: 5 Items

Day 1 was exciting for my wife and I. We were so ready to get a move on for our 30DMDC that we threw away way more than the recommended / required 5 items.

First of all, I need to admit something to you all. When we started this challenge we still had all of our Christmas decorations up. Yes, you read that right. In April, we still had our decorations up. Yikes.

So, we decided to start the challenge by taking down Christmas and going through ALL of our decorations in the process (for every holiday) and deciding what we needed to keep and what we didn’t. We ended up getting rid of a TON of items and are super excited about it.

Then we moved on to the actual challenge topic of 5 items. We picked 5 items that we knew needed a new home:

  • 2 Umbrellas – we had four umbrellas in our house and there are only two of us. Needless to say, it was time to get rid of two of these.
  • A Whiteboard – this one was hard for me to get rid of because my parents left me notes on it for a long time. They were all still there and hadn’t been erased, but because it was so full, we couldn’t use it. Instead, we were simply storing it because we didn’t want to get rid of the notes. So, we decided to compromise by taking a few pictures of the notes and then letting it go. Camp will use it and enjoy it, we’re sure!
  • A Lunchbag – it was time to get rid of this lunchbag. It was taking up space and we never used it..
  • A Movie Stand – this used to be used to hold our CDs near our stereo system, but we rarely use the stereo and we rarely listen to CDs anymore – it’s all MP3 or record (funny how the world works, isn’t it?). Time for this guy to stop taking up space!

Day 2: Countertops

Our counters were insane. We have two kitchen counters (one is wrap-around bar into the dining room) and a living room counter (our old cabinets were repurposed into a new entertainment center. They were both FILLED with stuff and we couldn’t believe how big of a difference cleaning them off made.

Now, in each of our updates I’ll be sharing pictures of our progress. So, here are some pictures for our Update: Days 1-6. I don’t have a before picture of our kitchen counter, but here is the one of our living room counter.


Here’s the after of the living room counter:


Here’s the after of our kitchen counter:


Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes

I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m not so good at the meditating thing. My wife and I tried multiple times throughout the day and just couldn’t get it down. I feel like we failed miserably at this day of the challenge, but we definitely tried. On the other hand, we did watch part of the sunrise of the lake…so…


Day 4: Junk Drawer

Today was a hard one for us. Why? Because we don’t necessarily have a junk drawer, per say, but we DO have a TON of places where we keep a lot of junk. We decided to focus on two of these places and tackle those – it took longer than expected. The first was the cabinet under the living room counter. We kept all hosts of electronics, tangles of cords, tools, duct tape, amps, movies, etc. down there. So, we took some time to sort through it all and threw away a TON. Here’s a before photo of just one section of the area (it has three sections, the center one is as larger as the other two combined).


As you can see, it’s very much a junk area, filled to the brim with stuff we definitely don’t always need. So, we got rid of a ton and cleaned it out. Here are some after pictures:


The center cabinet:


The far cabinet:


After that, we took to tackling a china hutch that we had sitting in the living room. It was filled with diabetic supplies, pet stuff, mailing stationary and stamps, batteries, you name it. I guess this could have been our “junk cabinet” if you didn’t know that the one under the living room counter existed – haha!

We decided that instead of simply going through the cabinet, getting rid of what we don’t need, and reorganizing it, we would find a way to empty it out completely and use the space under the living room counter for this stuff as well. Now that the china hutch is empty, we can put it in storage until we have a good home for it. It’s hard to fit in our tiny house, but once we buy a larger home, we know that we will want it.


Here’s what our junk pile (stuff we are donating or tossing) looked like after this day’s task! Pretty crazy for only halfway through our update: days 1-6, right?


Day 5: Clothing

Wow! Who would have thought this day would be so difficult? My wife and I went through our clothing not long ago, so we thought that this day would be easy. Boy, were we mistaken. We had so many things to get rid of / donate by the end… And, since our dresser was falling apart, we decided to get rid of it completely. You’ll notice it missing in the before and after pictures.

We got rid of enough items that we can now fit all of our clothing into only two closets – leaving our bedroom free with tons of space – hooray! We repurposed an old garbage picking find for a t-shirt cabinet and added some boxes that were empty for socks and unmentionables. It feels so much more spacious and clean now!

Dresser before:


Dresser after:


Bedroom Closet 1 Before:


Bedroom Closet 1 After:


Bedroom Closet 2 Before:


Bedroom Closet 2 After:


Hallway Closet Before:


Hallway Closet After:


Day 6: Digital Cleanse

Well, this day came as a surprise to me. I didn’t think that it would be possible – especially since my wife was out of town for the day and I knew I would want to be talking to her. However, since I was at work for 15 hours straight yesterday, there wasn’t much time for anything digital. So, it wasn’t too bad. I will admit though: I used my phone a little bit. I texted my wife a few times and I also used it for GPS to get us to a few locations.

Update: Days 1-6 – Week in Review

Favorite / Least Favorite

I think my favorite day during this first week was the countertops (day 2). This one really made me think about what we actually need out as opposed to what we simply set on the counter because we don’t want to find something else to do with that item.

My least favorite day was probably the meditation day. It’s not that I have anything against being alone with my thoughts, but I really struggle with the process of not thinking of anything – of simply breathing. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it really is. I guess that’s definitely something that I’ll be working on in the future.

Number of Items Removed

Honestly, with the giant pile of stuff that we have removed from our lives, I haven’t had a chance to count any of it. My goal is to have it counted by next week’s update. Until then, you can look at this picture of the mountain that is sitting in our living room and guestimate what that number may be:


One Thing I Learned

I’ve learned so much already in this short week of the challenge, so it’s hard to choose only one thing. I would have to say that the most important thing I learned this week is that you don’t need to keep things for “just in case.”

This is such a hard lesson for me because I was raised to believe that it’s better to have things than to need them later – not that that’s a bad lesson, it’s just very, very different than what this challenge is teaching me.

When I look at things, it’s hard for me to accept that even though there’s a possibility I may need it in the future, it’s not necessarily worth storing for the time being because it only adds to the clutter. Now, there are cases where that is different – things that you inherent from your parents or things that you want to pass down to your children, those are worth keeping.

That being said, we had two griddles – a large one and a small one. The large one would be awesome for making grilled cheese, pancakes, etc. for a large number of people. We were saving this “just in case” we needed it when we have kids. We aren’t even in the process of trying for kids yet so this item was being kept for an unknown time in the future that is at LEAST years away. How crazy is that?

Hard lesson, but good lesson.

Update: Days 1-6

So, that’s it for the Update: Days 1-6. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! I think right now, I’m most looking forward to the pantry day. My wife and I don’t do a lot in regard to shoes and accessories so those days will be good, but won’t produce the giant results that we are so excited about!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge -

I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.

What does your Update: Days 1-6 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to come at the cost of a healthy budget – though I’m sure many people think otherwise. It’s so easy to believe that when you are on a budget, you can’t afford all the good things in life. Today, our guest blogger and Registered Dietician, Lisa Rutledge, is telling us about how we can start making better choices on our frugal budgets (that don’t even have to be boring or hard to find!). Enjoy!

Healthy Body and Healthy Budget -

So many people want to eat well however there is a common myth that makes changing seem harder than it really is! When trying to make healthy changes to their eating habits, one of the most common difficulties I hear from people is how they struggle to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Healthy eating is perceived as expensive (among other things such as time consuming and boring). I think this stems partly from the erroneous belief that certain specialty foods have to be eaten for health (I’m looking at you goji berries and protein powder!) as well as an overemphasis on fresh fruits and veggies.

The good news is that there are ways to eat well while cutting back on food spending and keeping your healthy budget. Before you give up on trying to eat healthy or worse, run into debt buying pomegranate juice and moon dust, hear me out.

Not surprisingly, there is middle ground between eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night and breaking the budget with boxed salad and wild, organic salmon. Sure, it may require a bit more planning and preparation than if you had an unlimited budget, but with time and practice any extra effort it takes now will soon be a thing of the past.

Related: Saving Money on Groceries has Never Been THIS Easy

In fact, money aside, many of these tips can help you eat a wider variety of food on top of eating more antioxidants, fiber and other healthy nutrients.

1.) Buy seasonally and follow the sales.

Sales change from week to week so you can be guaranteed to eat a wide variety of foods if you buy what’s on sale. It is important to keep in mind that variety doesn’t have to be day to day or even meal to meal. One week of eating more broccoli and the next eating more carrots is a cheaper way to eat healthy.
This is a great way to save money on the more expensive foods such as yogurt, breakfast cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables. It may also open your eyes to new products or brands you hadn’t thought to eat before.

Buying produce that is in season means that it will likely be more flavorful and higher quality for a lower price. Check out this chart by SOS Cuisine for what is in season in your area.

Related: Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back on All Your Groceries (Save TONS!)

2.) Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Packaging and freezing techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade. This means that frozen produce is not only equally nutritious and sometimes riper when compared to their fresh counterparts- but the tastes have improved too. They are often more convenient to prepare since they are sold washed, peeled and cut up.

This time save with cooking can increase your chances of actually eating a vegetable at supper or fruit at breakfast. Of course, they spoil a heck of a lot slower than fresh fruits and veg so you can stock the pantry and freezer with all different kinds which allows for more variety. Forget eating broccoli all week to avoid it from spoiling! You could have a different vegetable every night if you’d like.

3.) Freeze individual sized leftovers to make your own microwave dinners.

Rather than buying TV dinners- that leave much to be desired in terms of flavor and satisfaction, make your own. Apart from the obvious save in the sodium and bad fat department, they’ll allow you to enjoy a decadent meal for way less.

Don’t like eating leftovers from last night or a cold sandwich? This is a perfect tip for you! Simply freeze the meal and save it for another week. Added benefits include helping you crawl out of a sandwich or salad rut and enjoy a homemade hot meal in the middle of the day.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Produce (in your DINING ROOM!)

4.) Try eating more plant based protein such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu.

Beans and pulses can be seasoned to match almost any flavour combination. When used as a substitute for meat in your favorite dishes, beans can save you up to 70% of the cost. For example, a serving of boneless chicken thigh costs ~$1.50. 3/4 cup of cooked lentils is a serving of meat and alternatives, and costs about $0.45. So, you could reduce your protein costs by about 70% by substituting beans for chicken.

If meat is a must in your house, try diluting the meat with beans (or tofu or edamame). This preserves the meaty flavor while cutting down on the cost of the meal. This idea works really well in dishes like Sheppard’s pie, Ratatouille and chili.

Of course there are other protein rich foods such as eggs (2 eggs = $0.60), cottage cheese (3/4cup = ~$1.30), canned tuna (1/2 a can = $0.80), and even peanut butter (2 tbsp = $0.17). Even better to keep your healthy budget!

SAve money while eating

 Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Also, one last tip! Throwing out spoiled or uneaten food is a HUGE waste of money. Change your buying habits to better suit what you can actually eat or try using a basket labelled “eat soon” in your fridge to highlight foods to be eaten asap.

There is nothing more frustrating than setting a goal to eat better, buying a ton of fresh food, then having it spoil before all of it can be eaten. Plan out meals in which to use the fresh food then buy only what you need. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect when trying to throw meals together with what is in the fridge!

Looking for recipes that will help you have a healthy body on a healthy budget? Download my recipe e-book for delicious and balanced meals that are quick to make any weeknight.

Simply click here and follow the instructions.

easy and inexpensive recipes

About the Author

Lisa Rutledge is a registered dietitian nutritionist, health coach, and food behavior expert. She works in private practice and specializes in mindful eating as well as chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). Here goal is to help people repair / rekindle their relationships with food.
Lisa takes a non-dieting approach to healthy eating and truly believes that all foods can fit. She believes in feeding not only your body, but also your mind. Her philosophy about food and meals boils down to getting it done, not getting it perfect.
Along with consulting with clients one on one, Lisa loves to spread the word about food and nutrition through presentations and workshops and through her blog and online videos.
You can find her at: