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.

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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!

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

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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.

Wow.

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.

Honestly.

We got rid of…

Drum roll please…

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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.

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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 - www.diyjahn.com

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.

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.

Why?

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.

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Here’s the after of the living room counter:

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Here’s the after of our kitchen counter:

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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…

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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).

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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:

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The center cabinet:

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The far cabinet:

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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.

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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?

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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:

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Dresser after:

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Bedroom Closet 1 Before:

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Bedroom Closet 1 After:

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Bedroom Closet 2 Before:

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Bedroom Closet 2 After:

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Hallway Closet Before:

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Hallway Closet After:

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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:

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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 - www.diyjahn.com

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.

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – 30DMDC

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge

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 for the month of April. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing!



30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

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?

What Do You DO During a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

First of all, I’m sure you’re wondering what all the challenge entails, right? Well, here’s a day-by-day guide of what we will be doing! Mind you, we will be adding some fun twists on our Facebook groups and Newsletter – so make sure to join and sign up below!

(These daily tasks and explanations for the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge are taken from Erin’s site: A Welder’s Wife – click here to see her site.)

Day 1: 5 items
Find 5 items you can toss or donate. I am going to keep a box for the entire challenge of donate items. If an item needs tossed, I will do so instantly. 

Day 2: Countertops
Clear your counter tops of everything, wipe them clean, and add back only what is necessary. Everything else needs a new home, tossed, or donated. 

Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes
I read the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris, and learned about the benefits of meditation. I am a skeptic, but I wanted to give it a try anyways. The instructions I have read for beginners include: concentrate on your breaths, focus on the in and out motion, and if you find yourself drifting, bring yourself back to your breath. I thought this would be great to try before bed, to help unwind from the day. 

Day 4: Junk Drawer
We all have them, but why? It’s time to break up with the Junk Drawer for good! Find a place for everything by giving a new home to the item, tossing, or donating. 

Day 5: Clothing
Time to cull your wardrobe! I am trying a capsule wardrobe for first time, and loving it! I started at the beginning of October, but I feel after some time there are pieces I don’t wear. It’s time to find these pieces a new home! 

Day 6: Digital Cleanse
Turn off all electronic devices for one day. Take this time to enjoy the company of your family, time outdoors, reading a book, etc. I realize this is hard for a lot of people [myself included], but I am really excited for this day’s challenge! 

Day 7: Accessories
Time to clean out jewelry, hand bags, belts, scarves, etc. Just leave the shoes for another day. I did this one about a month ago, and I should have gotten pictures of the before and after. It was amazing what I was able to let go of. That being said, I still feel like I have a few things I can part ways with. 

Day 8: Shoes
Time to purge shoes! Another hard one for me. While I don’t have a lot of shoes, I still have more than I probably need. Until recently, I had my old cheerleading shoes from 2002! They are still in great condition, but they had ran their course. Now I just need to decided on everything else. 

Day 9: Pamper Yourself
When was the last time you took time for yourself? Today is all about you! Enjoy a nice soaking bath, an all natural face mask, or maybe even go get a pedicure/manicure. 

Day 10: 10 items
Find 10 items to donate or toss! I’m sure over the past few days there have been some things that have stuck out to you. Grab them up and give them a new home. 

Day 11: Social Media
Social media is designed to help people connect through multiple platforms, but how many of these people only post negative posts, do you actually know that person, and why did you follow that person to begin with? If a person isn’t adding anything to your life, it is time to defriend them. Don’t worry, they won’t be notified. You should only follow or friend people who add something to your life or make you happy. 

[Added bonus: Clear out and sort your emails. Unsubscribe from all promotional emails. You have much more important things in your life than to delete multiple promotional emails everyday. Even if you feel you can’t do without a certain store’s promotions, unsubscribe! Give it a try and see if you miss it. I didn’t! Plus, if you do miss it, you can always resubscribe.] 

Day 12: Find a product to use up
Is there a lotion you have just a little left in, or a sauce that is about to expire? If so, take today and use it! Today you will gain some space! 

Day 13: Pantry
Look through everything and check expiration dates. Throw out anything expired or you will not use. 

Day 14: Pots & Pans
A hard day for anyone who cooks a lot. Be honest with what is your favorite to cook with and what pieces you neglect. A tip I have seen is to see if lids fit more than one pot/pan. If so, you can let go of a few lids, and free up some space. 

Day 15: Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier
Wish you had more time in your day? Waking up just 30 minutes earlier can help you achieve a more successful day. Use this time to finish up some cleaning, write in your journal, take your time getting ready, etc. 

Day 16: Linens
The truth is you only need 2 sets of sheets per bed. Everything else is only taking up space. You could repurpose the extras into reusable paper towels, toss them depending on their condition, or donate them. Towels are the same. I’ve seen some minimalist only keep one towel per person; however, that will not be the case for my husband and I. To each their own, but be sure you find new homes for what doesn’t fit in these means. 

Day 17: Cleaning Products
Do you hoard cleaning products like I do? It’s time to be honest with what products you use and what you are holding onto just because it’s a cleaning product. 

Day 18: Journal for 15 Minutes
One thing I have always wanted to make a habit is writing in a journal. Take 15 minutes to write down whatever is on your mind. Who knows, we might all be surprised at the end of this exercise. 

Day 19: Skin Care
All cosmetics have an expiration date. Most are 1-3 years. Purge the expired and then see what’s left. From here, purge anything you haven’t used in over a month. If there is anything else left to question, it goes. You will be left with what you use and works best for you. Who knows, you may even develop your skin care system. 

Day 20: Make Up
Same rules apply as did on Day 19. In addition, if it isn’t your color, purge it. 

Day 21: Go for a walk
Enjoy today by taking a walk outside. 

Day 22: Medicine
Purging the expired medicine may rid you of more space than expected. Remember to dispose of medicine properly. If there is more left than expected, see if there is any medicine you have that doesn’t work for you and dispose of it. 

Day 23: Mail/Paperwork
This is probably my least favorite day. I don’t have as much as some, but I have enough to make this task a pain. It is something that has to be done, however. Only keep papers needed to pay your current bills and papers needed for tax purposes. Everything else can be shredded. 

Day 24: Guilty Pleasure
Probably my favorite day of this challenge. We’ve all been working hard and need to enjoy ourselves from time to time. Today, we have the opportunity to take an hour to enjoy a guilty pleasure. This can be anything from enjoying dessert before dinner, watching reality TV, etc. I will probably use my time to read a book I’ve had my eyes on for a little while. 

Day 25: Crafts
We all have those projects we said we would do, and they are still waiting for us. Time to push the guilt aside and purge these crafts. Only keep things you plan to make within the next two months. Everything else can be tossed or donated. 

Day 26: Keepsakes
If you have followed my posts, you know I have purged my keepsakes. However, I feel by the time I reach day 26, I will have a new found hope in finding more I can part with. Keepsakes are extremely hard to purge, because most people tie memories to items. It is important to remember the memory, but not attach it to things. 

Day 27: Evaluate Priorities
Make a list of everything important to you at this time. Arrange each item from most important to least. We may find some adjustments are needed. 

Day 28: Phone Apps
How many of us have applications on our phone we don’t use? Time to uninstall! One thing I have previously done is uninstall Facebook from my phone. I found I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook for hours, and only finding myself mad and aggravated when I decided to stop. Since uninstalling it, I probably get on Facebook once or twice a week to check my notifications for event information from friends and family that aren’t local. For the applications you cannot delete, group together so they don’t take up so much screen space. This will declutter your phone and declutter your mind when you use your phone. 

Day 29: Contacts
Are you like my husband, who still has contacts from 10 years ago? Do you still talk to that person? Do they have the same number? If the answer is no or I’m not sure, it’s been long enough, and it’s time to delete it. A cleared contact list will save you time and distraction from thinking of the past. You are meant to live in the present, so let’s clean that contact list up a bit! 

Day 30: Reflect on the Past 29 Days 
Take time today to think of where you started and how far you have come. Do you have more space? Is your space less cluttered? Have you discovered things about yourself you didn’t know before this challenge? How did you enjoy the mindful exercises? Did you develop new habits?

(These daily tasks and explanations for the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge are taken from Erin’s site: A Welder’s Wife – click here to see her site.)

Thank you, Erin, for letting us take this amazing challenge! We are so excited to share the results with you when we are finished.

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com (1)

How Do You Join Our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

So, now that you’re psyched to join the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge, let’s talk about how!

Mailing List

We have an awesome mailing list that gets weekly updates and motivation for the challenge. If you are feeling up to the challenge, use the space below!



Facebook Groups

As with any challenge, you will need a great support system to complete the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. We have two Facebook groups for just this purpose. Request to join one or both using the links below!

Frugal Living Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiscalfast/

LGBT Frugal Living Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1730263597191949/

What inspires YOU to get rid of the clutter & take the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

Leave your responses 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.

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

To start of the new year, my wife and I made the decision to spend absolutely NOTHING. Now, I know that sounds crazy, but we ended up saving well over $2,000 to put toward debt – definitely a winning situation. I wouldn’t say that it was easy, but I would definitely say that we learned many valuable life lessons from our experience. We gave you a recap of the No Spend Challenge about a month ago, but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about all the things we learned. Here are the 10 lessons we learned during our No Spend Challenge. Enjoy!

10 lessons we learned - www.diyjahn.com (1)

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). The goal of the challenge was to help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

If you would like to do your own No Spend Challenge, sign up for our e-newsletter below! We’ll send you tips and tricks to complete the challenge. Don’t forget to visit our No Spend Challenge page (CLICK HERE) to see what we did each day of the challenge!

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on at any point (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

This will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

When we started paying off our debt back in October, we thought it would be impossible. Our debt is almost three times our combined income – it’s definitely not going anywhere fast.

But then we started experimenting…

We found new ways to live our lives, we budgeted tighter and tighter each month, and soon the debt didn’t seem quite so daunting.

After less than four months we had paid off over $20,000.

That’s when we decided to take it a step further. Instead of budgeting tighter, we would stop spending entirely for 30 days.

So we did.

The results were amazing, but the lessons we learned topped those by far. Here are 10 lessons we learned by spending NOTHING.

Lesson #1: You don’t need money to be happy.

For the longest time, I have equated food with love. I know this is a problem that many people have and that I am not alone, but I struggle to find love elsewhere. I see food as the ultimate sign of happiness, love, security, comfort. So giving up eating the foods I want to eat for an entire month seems like somebody is legitimately removing love from life – it hardly seems worth it.

But the thing is: food isn’t love. And money isn’t either.

My wife and I spend many nights cuddled on the couch watching television or sitting at the table playing board games. We focused on painting. We spent time reading. We went on walks. Did these cost money? Well, you could say that they all did to some extent – while we don’t have cable, we do pay for Netflix and phone service to watch it. We may not be paying for it now, but at one point or another we bought the board games, the painting materials, the books.

The point is: we didn’t need to go out of our way and spend money to be happy. We were happy enough to do our own thing – there were plenty of free things to do in our community. And above all: making the choice to be happy is not a financial one.

Click HERE to read my post on Making the Choice to Have a Good Day.

Lesson #2: Getting out of the house is essential.

Of the 10 lessons we learned during our NSC, this one came the hardest. We did our best during the month of January to use as little gas as possible when going about our days. Other than my wife’s drive to work and our Tuesday dinner every other week with friends, we did not use any gas.

As someone who works near home (or lives at their work), this meant that I never actually left the grounds for my work / home. I never knew that this was an issue before – that it could be an issue – but I am saying this clearly now:

Leaving your home is an essential part of your life: whether you need to go somewhere or not, find time to get out of your house.

Lesson #3: Tell your friends, they’ll surprise you.

At first, it was scary to tell people that we were on our journey to pay back debt. Unfortunately, many people equate the accumulation of debt with an inability to understand finances. What I mean by this is that many people will say “well, it sucks that you’re in debt, but you did it to yourself so deal with it.”

I’ll admit that that’s true, I did take the debt on by myself. At the same time, it can really be frustrating when people invalidate you for making these choices. Which is why my wife and I didn’t tell our friends about our journey for quite some time (even though I tell you all on here).

But when we did tell our friends, we were surprised by their response. Most of them were supportive and excited to help us along. We had friends who bought us meals a few times during the month just to help us get through. One friend was amazing and bought us soda when we ran out (we have a horrible addiction). Most importantly, they asked how we were doing, they offered to help, and they cared to talk about the situation with us and make us feel like we were important.

So, as part of these 10 lessons we learned, I encourage you to tell your friends your struggles with debt, they may surprise you.

Lesson #4: You have more food than you think.

I used to look into my cupboards and see the food we kept and not realize how much it was. In fact, when we started the NSC, we stocked up on some foods that we considered to be essentials thinking “there’s no way we’ll have enough food to last us the entire month.”

Boy, were we wrong.

We got through to the end of the NSC and opened our fridge, our freezer, our cupboard: do you want to know what we found? MORE FOOD!

Even after an entire month without buying groceries we STILL had plenty of food to last weeks. In fact, it’s March 2nd and we are just now finishing up the food that we had. Finally.

I’ll write more about this on another day, but the point is: one of the most significant of the 10 lessons we learned was that we had far more food than we needed.

Lesson #5: Necessities and luxuries are different.

There are so many things in life that we consider necessities that truly are not, but we didn’t really realize this until we were about halfway through the challenge. Right about then we started running out of shampoo and conditioner. We didn’t know what to do.

We had always been the people to buy the more expensive versions of these things believing them to be necessities. We thought “if we want to work in the professional world, we need to look nice each day and that means that we need shampoo and conditioner.”

The problem is that that just isn’t true. There are many things we believe to be necessities that are actually simply luxuries. In fact, most things can be made on your own.

Lesson #6: Try making before buying.

Which leads me into the next segment: if you run out of something that you truly believe to be a necessity, try making it before you buy it.

Most importantly, do some research online before shopping. You would be surprised what kind of information is available for those who simply look. For example: I learned how to make my own ricotta cheese, evaporated milk, sweetened and condensed milk, and coffee creamer just by some simple research and experimentation.

Here are a few things we learned during our NSC that can be made easily at home (don’t worry, there are plenty more).

  1. Buying Bread at the Store VS. Making it at Home
  2. Buying Pasta at the Store VS. Making it at Home
  3. Using Store-bought Cleaning Products VS. These All-Natural Recipes
  4. Shampoo & Conditioner VS. the No Poo Challenge

Lesson #7: First world problems are for real.

Do you ever get home from work late? I know I do. The first thing that comes to mind is that horrible feeling of “Oh crap, now I have to find and make dinner.”

I open my fridge, my freezer, my pantry and see a ton of food staring back at me, but for some reason my mind registers all of it as “bad” or “inedible” or even “too much work.”

So, instead, I complain about having to eat fast food, pay for it, and drive out to get it.

That, my friends, is a first world problem in real life. If you have food and complain that it’s “not what you want” then it may be time to reconnect with your thinking and remind yourself: you are lucky. You have so much in your life. You are well fed, clothed, and loved.

So, for the 10 lessons we learned, here’s an important one: Feel blessed. And don’t complain about problems that aren’t really problems.

Lesson #8: Helping others comes first.

No matter what, my wife and I truly believe in the importance of helping others before ourselves. If someone were to come to us and ask us if they could eat at our house – we would accept them graciously and offer them the last of our food.

In fact, we had to do this a few times. Perhaps it was not because the person did not have the money, but they instead needed to feel wanted or loved. One of my college-aged friends came over and asked if they could use have some of our food. We watched a movie and served dinner. They ate all the food they were given, went back for seconds, ate a ton of dessert, stayed later, at more of our food, and by the end of the day they had eaten more food than we do on a normal basis.

Now, I know that that may seem frustrating and to be honest, we were pretty peeved about the situation, but at the same time, we note that food gives them a sense of belonging. They felt safe enough and welcome enough to make themselves at home.

We are always here to help those in need, even if it means less to go around.

Lesson #9: Some things are worth the money.

Let’s just say that there are things in life that should never be given up (or luxuries that are simply worth the money). The most important one that comes to mind is toothbrushes. It seems simple enough, but buying a cheap toothbrush can do more harm than good sometimes.

You need a good quality toothbrush to keep your oral hygiene good and keep you from expensive dentist visits later in life. Being proactive about healthcare is never something that should be skimped on.

Also, tampons, but I know that I have some male readers so I won’t get into that.

Lesson #10: Saving $$ doesn’t need to be hard.

There were days that we were beyond frustrated, sad, and tired that we simply wanted to go out and buy something. We knew we technically had the money so why couldn’t we go spend it? Well, the unfortunate truth is that we are so far in the hole we simply can’t waste our money right now.

Basically, that means that this is being forced upon us. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Saving money – it absolutely doesn’t.

Saving money can be as simple as using different, less expensive items. It can mean giving in to your needs and avoiding your wants, but it can also be freeing.

Letting the control of money leave your life means grabbing hold of your non-financial life and letting it soar in the wind.

Of the 10 lessons we learned, I hope that you remember to do your best to save money. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard.

10 lessons we learned - www.diyjahn.com

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

Ultimately, the No Spend Challenge taught us the important of living life to the fullest on our frugal, skimpy, and crazy low budget. These 10 lessons we learned will help us to continue our journey to debt-freedom.

What do we plan to do with that in the future?

Well, it’ll be awhile before we have enough food in our home to do a NSC again (and that’s probably okay). So, for now we are doing the following:

  • Limiting our budget to only $300 a month
  • Finding new and weird ways to save money each and every day
  • Working and side hustling for most of our free time to earn extra money
  • Paying off our debt as quickly as possible
  • STARTING A NEW CHALLENGE – the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – on April 1 (read more about this during our post on March 7th!)

That’s all for now, folks, but I sincerely hope that you will stay tuned, follow along, comment, and share our journey with your friends and family. Thank you for reading our 10 lessons we learned by spending nothing.

Follow the Frugal Friday Linkup HERE!

What’s the most important financial lesson you have learned?

Leave your response in the comments below!

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.

No Spend Challenge Recap – NSC Series

No Spend Challenge Recap

This past month (January) my wife and I, along with many of our blog followers / readers completed an awesome challenge known as the No Spend Challenge (NSC). Now that it’s all said and done, it’s time for us to give you a full No Spend Challenge Recap to let you know how it went!

No Spend Challenge Recap - www.diyjahn.com

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). The goal of the challenge was to help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

If you would like to do your own No Spend Challenge, sign up for our e-newsletter below! We’ll send you tips and tricks to complete the challenge. Don’t forget to visit our No Spend Challenge page (CLICK HERE) to see what we did each day of the challenge!

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on at any point (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

This will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



No Spend Challenge Recap

As the end of January approached, my wife and I started thinking about how the month went. There were hard days – days that all we wanted was a sub sandwich or some fast food – and other days we barely noticed that the challenge was happening. Let’s start by delving into a brief overview of each week before we do a full-on No Spend Challenge Recap – here goes!

No Spend Challenge Recap - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Week 1 – No Spend Challenge Recap

During week one we had to spend around $5 for a bottle of medication. If you all remember, I was suffering quite the migraine that week and it was HORRIBLE. We also spent $30.12 on gas which we had decided from the start didn’t count toward our NSC. Overall, week one went very well and we were surprised at how well we were able to eat.

Most eye-opening piece of week one? The food thing. There were a couple of nights where we came home and were hungry, tired, etc. from work. We didn’t want to cook, we didn’t want to pick food, and nothing at all sounded good. Normally we would have eaten out on those nights, but since we can’t, we realized how we have tons of food and we’re lucky to have this problem. So, we will definitely be more conscious of this going forward after the challenge.

To read the full Week 1 Update click HERE.

Week 2 – No Spend Challenge Recap

Week two went super well. I remember feeling on top of the world as I finished week two – thinking we could do this forever. It was easy. Cake! We had extra money being thrown at our debt, our food was getting used up, and we were on our way to paying off our credit card debt! It was a great week. My favorite food of this week was the homemade soft pretzels. YUM.

Most eye-opening piece of week two? I think it has to be the fact that we still have so much food leftover and we are no where near emptying our cupboards, pantry, freezer, or fridge. In fact, we have so much food that we are trying to figure out how to store it soon so that it doesn’t go bad. Go figure, right?

To read the full Week 2 Update click HERE.

Week 3 – No Spend Challenge Recap

By this point we had just paid off our credit card debt and were on top of the world as far as debt repayment goes! However, this week was also a struggle. There were a few days where all we wanted was to buy some food that wasn’t leftover. We were struggling. We were tired. But we held our own and for that I am proud of us. My favorite food from this week was the homemade minestrone-like soup – definitely going to be using this recipe more often!

Most eye-opening piece of week three? I think the thing that has surprised me most is how much money we allotted for ourselves in our budget unnecessarily. Even with another gas purchase this week, we will probably only use $60 for gas for the month (rather than the allotted $120), groceries we normally allot around $250 and we clearly don’t need that much – as can be told by the fact that we haven’t bought any all month, and as for fun money? I will say that fun money is a necessity. We need to be able to leave home and get a dinner out once in a while. That being said, we normally allot around $100 for this each month (or more sometimes!). We are going to cut that down to $20 every two weeks while we are living frugally and paying off our debt.

To read the full Week 3 Update click HERE.

Week 4 – No Spend Challenge Recap

This week we ended up spending again, but not on anything that went against our spending goals / rules for the challenge. We spent $27.68 on gas and another $5.52 on medication. Again, both acceptable so I would say that we did pretty damn well. This week was hard again in that by the end of the challenge we were so ready to be done. All we wanted was to go out and buy some food that wasn’t what was in our freezer. My favorite food from this week was homemade Chinese lo mein and beef teriyaki! So Good!

Most eye-opening piece of week three? How surprisingly hard it can be at times. We are caught between two mindsets – one of wanting to be happy, living a life where we aren’t so “stuck” and aren’t so unbelievably stressed so often. The other of wanting to be debt free. I guess for us it can be hard to choose priorities at times because we like to dream so freely, but we are learning to live a quieter life.

To read the full Week 4 Update click HERE.

No Spend Challenge Recap- www.diyjahn.com

Funds – No Spend Challenge Recap

So, what was our total spending for the month of January?

$68.32

WOW! Can you believe that we ONLY spent a little under $70 for the entire month of January? Since 2015 we have spent $68.32.

How is this different from what we normally spend? Well, let’s see. Normally, we budget around $400 per month for “needs” and use other money for payments on things that we pay every month. Now, we also don’t always stick to that $400 budget, but even if we did, that saves us a total of over $330 in one month that we got to put toward debt!

There’s more though! In December our budget included money for Hulu, Progressive (car insurance), and Advocare (Spark energy drink). For January, we took these services out. No, we didn’t get rid of car insurance, but we did switch to Geiko and lower our monthly payment by over $40 (plus we have better coverage now!). So with these payments included we saved about $500 – which isn’t even including the extras we would have spent beyond our budgeting!

I would say that saving $500 is well worth the hassle of a No Spend Challenge!

Debt Repayment – No Spend Challenge Recap

We paid off a TON of debt in January and are super excited that we no longer have credit card debt!!!! Thanks to a lump sum check put entirely toward debt, we no longer have to ever worry about credit card debt again. Now, we did not close our accounts because we didn’t want to jeopardize our credit score, but we definitely we only be using them to pay them off entirely in the future!

Other than the lump sum check, which I won’t count in this because it was not directly caused by the NSC, we were able to put a total of $2,918.58 toward our debt! I don’t know what you think, but that’s a lot of money! $$

I had many questions about how much of this was minimum payments and how much was “extra” so here’s a little breakdown of how our debt budget works: At the beginning of January we had a minimum payment due:

  • $66 Credit Card
  • $130 Credit Card
  • $40 Student Loan
  • $467.92 Student Loan
  • $139.04 Car

We also have other debts that are in deferment.

That being said, our minimum payments for January were a total of $842.96. Therefore, we were able to put a total of $2075.62 toward our debt! While the NSC saved us about $500, we were able to scrounge up EVEN MORE extra funds than we thought possible due to the challenge.

Would you stop spending for an entire month to save $2075.62?!

To read our full Debt Repayment Update and see how much we ACTUALLY put toward debt, click HERE.

Food – No Spend Challenge Recap

We still have a LOT of food in our cupboards and we desperately want to use it all up. That’s all I want. Empty cupboards, fridge, pantry. Why? Because then we can restock it with foods we will truly enjoy and actually eat – and by doing so, save money in the long-run.

We had a lot of yummy food in January. We learned how to bake a ton of different types of bread, make a millions kinds of pasta, and learned so much about canning and growing foods. We tested new recipes, we used up milk to make ricotta cheese, and we got super domestic and frugal in our attempts to have people over and feed them despite not being able to spend any money.

It was such a great lesson for us to learn, but it also means that since we still have food in our house we can’t stop going. We have made the decision to continue the NSC on through some of February (until all our food is GONE!). We are getting closer, but we are still thinking that we have until the 15th before we use up our food. That being said, we are allowing ourselves to buy things such as milk, eggs, and butter since those are staples and we are basically out.

I’ll update you guys around the middle of the month as to how it’s going! Wish us luck!

Lessons Learned – No Spend Challenge Recap

We learned SO much during our No Spend Challenge – it’s hard to think of what all I can put here (and perhaps I’ll need to write a separate post devoted to sharing these lessons in more detail). Regardless, here is a little bit about what we learned during our month of no spending:

  1. You don’t need money to be happy. 
  2. Getting out of the house once and awhile, even if you don’t HAVE to go somewhere, is an essential part of life.
  3. If you tell your friends you aren’t able to spend money, they’re more than likely going to support you.
  4. You probably have more food than you think you do.
  5. There are so many items that I thought were necessities when it turns out they were only luxuries.
  6. Before you buy anything, do some research and see what you can make yourself: you would be surprised what you find.
  7. First World Problems are for real. I complain about so many things, but in reality, I’m so lucky.
  8. Helping others comes first. When people are around and they need food, that’s priority. All else can wait.
  9. There are some things I don’t think are worth skimping on (case in point: toothbrushes)
  10. Saving money doesn’t have to be hard, but in either case, it’s worth it in the long run.

Facebook Group – No Spend Challenge Recap

During our NSC, we had a group of challengers helping us along (and doing it themselves)! They were ROCKSTARS and I hope that they enjoyed it (though I’d love to hear some testimonials to the fact).

We started a Facebook group, but it wasn’t a huge success. That being said, I’d love to MAKE it a huge success. So, if any of you are interested in joining our No Spend Challenge Facebook group – head on over by clicking HERE. You’ll get tips on saving money, living frugally, paying off debt, and a built-in community to help you along the way.

Share it with your friends! Let’s build this community up!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiscalfast/

No Spend Challenge Recap

Would we do it again? Yes, yes we would. The funds alone speak for themselves. My wife and I are considering implementing a “No Spend Week” every month until our debt is paid off entirely. We are even considering a big scary goal of $50,000 of debt gone this year! We’ll see if we can make that happen.

In any case, this challenge was exactly what we needed to build up our mindset of paying off debt, to get us started, and to push us past our comfort zones. We paid off a ton of debt, saved a lot of money, and learned SO much more than we ever expected.

I’m ready to do it all again. Are you with me?

What have you done so far this year to push you out of your comfort zone?

Leave your responses in the comments below!

No Spend Challenge Recap - www.diyjahn.com


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, clickhere.

Week 4 Update – NSC Series

Week 4 Update

It’s time for our FINAL update: the week 4 update! Now, this won’t be the recap of the entirety of the NSC, but instead we will focus on this week’s update like a normal week and do our recap later this week – so stay tuned. Onto today’s update!

Week 4 Update - www.diyjahn.com

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Funds: Week 4 Update

 

So, this week may have been a little bit more spend-y than last week because we did have a couple of necessities to purchase. To be honest, I’m not surprised since we haven’t spent money on purchases in 31 days (WOW). So, here’s what we spent:

Gas: $27.68
Medication: $5.52
Again, these are totally understandable purchases and don’t go against any of the rules that we set for ourselves, so we feel pretty good about them. I can’t wait to show you guys the full challenge update later this week (and our debt repayment update tomorrow).

Food: Week 4 Update

 

We STILL have a lot of food leftover in our cupboard. I can’t believe how much food we must have had at the beginning of the challenge that we STILL cannot get rid of it all. In any case, we will be extending our challenge for as long as we are able to feed ourselves. Stay tuned! 🙂

Onto our meal plan:

Here’s what we ate this week:

Sunday, January 24

Breakfast: slept past breakfast
Lunch: Leftover Minestrone
Dinner: Minestrone again (we are getting a little tired of it, but still like it lol!)

Any Snacks: 

Monday, January 18

Breakfast: Shakeology
Lunch: Leftover & Frozen Hamburgers (from this summer)
Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner

Any Snacks: German Chocolate Cake (it was a staff member’s birthday)

Tuesday, January 19

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Veggies, Leftovers
Dinner: Homemade Egg Noodles with Two Types of Sauces

Any Snacks: Storebought Cookies (brought by a friend)

Wednesday, January 20

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftovers Hamburgers from the Freezer
Dinner: Homemade Chinese Lo Mein & Beef Teriyaki

Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip

Thursday, January 21

Breakfast: Panera Bread & Cream Cheese (Work Meal)
Lunch: Mexican Restaurant (Work Meal)
Dinner: Leftover Chinese Lo Mein & Beef Teriyaki

Any Snacks:

Friday, January 22

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Spaghetti
Dinner: Pizza Ranch Pizza (brought by a friend)

Any Snacks: 

Saturday, January 23

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Frozen Hamburgers on Bagels
Dinner: New Pot of Minestrone & Homemade Bread

Any Snacks: 

Overall: Week 4 Update

Overall, this challenge has been enthralling, exciting, and also extremely hard as we close the finish line. There are times where there is nothing we want more than to go shopping for absolutely anything. However, we are so excited to be almost done and know that we have learned SO much. I will expand on all of this in the full challenge recap later this week.

The most eye-opening thing for our week 4 update? How surprisingly hard it can be at times. We are caught between two mindsets – one of wanting to be happy, living a life where we aren’t so “stuck” and aren’t so unbelievably stressed so often. The other of wanting to be debt free. I guess for us it can be hard to choose priorities at times because we like to dream so freely, but we are learning to live a quieter life.

Looking past our week 4 update – forward: I’m mostly just really excited to share our debt repayment update with you tomorrow and our full challenge recap later this week! I can’t wait!


 

Have questions you would like to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading our week 4 update! If you didn’t already share, I’d love to hear your week 4 update for the final point of the challenge!


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.

Your Turn: Week Four – NSC Series

Your Turn: Week Four

Alright readers and challengers, it’s your turn: Week Four! Let us know how the challenge is going for you by leaving a comment below.

In your comment you can do one, a few, or all of the following list (or anything else you can think of) – it’s your turn, you choose!

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Ask a question (all questions will be answered on Sundays, so if you ask a question it will either show up in tomorrow or next Sunday’s post – and we’ll reply to your comment as well)
  • Tell us your goals for the challenge
  • Let us know how your first week went
  • Give us examples of what food you’re eating
  • Tell us your successes
  • Tell us your failures
  • Let us know what your favorite blog post was
  • Explain which topics you WISH we would talk about
  • Ask us to write a specific post
  • OR ANYTHING ELSE – it’s your turn: week four!

Today’s quote is by Les Brown. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Your Turn

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Posts from Week Four:

This week we gave you some great tips to get out from under the weight of debt! That being said, it’s easy to forget what all you have learned as the week goes on. That’s why each Saturday we post a recap of the weeks posts! Here are the posts from week Four!

Week 3 Update

We told you all about how week two of the No Spend Challenge went for us, what we did, and what we ate. This is also where we answer any questions you may have!

Week 3 Update - www.diyjahn.com

Debt Snowball Method VS. the Debt Avalanche Method

Are you concerned about the quickest way to pay off your debt? In this post, I’ll tell you what each of these methods entail and which one I use to pay off my debt at lightning speed!

Debt Snowball Method VS. Debt Avalanche Method- www.diyjahn.com

Need Help Paying Off Student Loans?

Use this simple step-by-step guide to help you get out of debt FAST! This infographic will show you exactly what you need to do.

Need Help Paying Off Student Debt- www.diyjahn.com

Side Hustle Ideas You Haven’t Thought Of Yet

Since we have been working our tails off to earn extra cash and pay off our debts FAST, we tell you our secret tips to earning some cash on the side.

Side Hustle Ideas- www.diyjahn.com

Your Turn: week four

Alright readers and challengers, it’s your turn! Let us know how the challenge is going for you by leaving a comment below.

In your comment you can do one, a few, or all of the following list (or anything else you can think of) – it’s your turn, you choose!

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Ask a question (all questions will be answered on Sundays, so if you ask a question it will either show up in tomorrow or next Sunday’s post – and we’ll reply to your comment as well)
  • Tell us your goals for the challenge
  • Let us know how your first week went
  • Give us examples of what food you’re eating
  • Tell us your successes
  • Tell us your failures
  • Let us know what your favorite blog post was
  • Explain which topics you WISH we would talk about
  • Ask us to write a specific post
  • OR ANYTHING ELSE – it’s your turn!

Your Turn

Week 3 Update & FAQ – NSC Series

Week 3 Update

Hello, my favorite readers! Today we are giving our update and I can’t BELIEVE that we are already only a week away before we hit our finish line. We have spent 24 days spending NOTHING. How crazy is that? Anyway, as I have said before, each Sunday I’ll be giving you all an update on any funds we have spent, what we have eaten, and how we are doing. So, here we go with our week 3 update!

Week 3 Update - www.diyjahn.com

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Funds: Week 3 Update

It’s official! We have paid off our credit cards entirely and will never rack those up again. For those of you who don’t have credit card debt – please stay away from it. It’s ugly and horrid. For those who are still struggling with it, we are with you! We feel your pain!

This week went super well as far as not spending money goes! We spent nothing (even when we drove to Des Moines for work and all we wanted to do was stop for a soda at the gas station). We will be getting gas this coming week, but we’ll let you know about the cost in our next update.

I can’t wait to share with you guys what our finances look like during our February Debt Repayment Update on Feb. 1st!

Food: Week 3 Update

 

Food! Last week I mentioned that my wife and I were considering extending our challenge beyond February 1. I have to be honest, it’s a hard challenge. There were days this week that I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was go buy Subway, but you know what? We couldn’t! We don’t have the money.

Instead, we had to work through it and it’s been hard, but possible. As for extending it? As long as we have food in our pantry we will be extending the challenge! For right now, that looks like it will be another week or two into February, but don’t worry – we are still going to celebrate with you at the end of this month! Can you believe we are already almost there?

Anyway, onto our meal plan for the week.

Here’s what we ate this week:

Sunday, January 17

Breakfast: Doughnuts @ Church
Lunch: Subway (work meal)
Dinner: Pasta Roni (the last box of boxed pasta that we own! We won’t be buying this anymore)

Any Snacks: 

Monday, January 18

Breakfast: Shakeology
Lunch: Leftover & Frozen Grilled Chicken (from this summer)
Dinner: Hamburgers (frozen from this summer), Green Beans (canned)

Any Snacks: 

Tuesday, January 19

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Sandwiches (with homemade bread, the last of our sliced turkey and cheese, and some lettuce!)
Dinner: Pork Chops, Lentils, Stir Fry (we had frozen pork chops that we had grilled this past summer, a bag of lentil blend from Hy-Vee, and some veggies that we desperately needed to use up)

Any Snacks: 

Wednesday, January 20

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Sandwiches again and the last of our potato chips
Dinner: Mac-n-Cheese & Leftover Frozen Hamburgers (again, grilled from this summer – and the last box of mac-n-cheese that my parents had given us over Christmas)

Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip

Thursday, January 21

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Egg Sandwich Grilled Cheese (YUM)
Dinner: Homemade Minestrone-like Soup (we needed a garbage soup for some of our leftovers and some tomato juice we had lying around. This soup is DELICIOUS)

Any Snacks:

Friday, January 22

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftover Minestrone
Dinner: I had Pork Loin and Mashed Potatoes (work dinner) and my wife had leftover soup & bread

Any Snacks: Wine & Cheese @ work

Saturday, January 23

Breakfast: Peaches & Cream Stuffed French Toast & Sausage @ work
Lunch: Chili, Salad Bar, & Bread @ work
Dinner: Leftover Minestrone & Bread

Any Snacks: 

Overall: Week 3 Update

Overall, this challenge is going quite well I would say! I am surprised at how it’s not as hard as I expected, even now that we are over three weeks in! It’s definitely saved us money, made us think differently about money, and is helping us to use up the food that we have in our cupboards, freezer, and fridge!

We STILL have only spent $35 for the entirety of the new year (with our gas and medication purchase from week one). I honestly expected to fail at it. I know that’s horrible, but I expected we would have spent way more – fallen off the wagon or something, but we are doing SO well. Other than the gas purchase this week (which is allowed), I think we will make it without ANY excess spending. We are going to do this!

The most eye-opening thing for our week 3 update? I think the thing that has surprised me most is how much money we allotted for ourselves in our budget unnecessarily. Even with another gas purchase this week, we will probably only use $60 for gas for the month (rather than the allotted $120), groceries we normally allot around $250 and we clearly don’t need that much – as can be told by the fact that we haven’t bought any all month, and as for fun money? I will say that fun money is a necessity. We need to be able to leave home and get a dinner out once in a while. That being said, we normally allot around $100 for this each month (or more sometimes!). We are going to cut that down to $20 every two weeks while we are living frugally and paying off our debt.

Looking past our week 3 update – forward: I’m still in shock that there is only one week left officially. This week we only expect the gas expense to occur. When our paychecks come in, the majority will go toward debt repayment (barring the needed amount for our budget for February). We will continue the NSC through some of February for as long as we possibly can, but will add the rule (starting Feb. 1) that we can make some necessary purchases (such as eggs, milk, etc.) only as NEEDED. So that will be an addition.

Questions: Week 3 Update

This week we received a couple of questions for you all! Although we have already answered them by replying to your comments, I want to share two of them here so that everyone can learn from the responses. Feel free to leave any more questions you may have in the comments!

What did we do about the No Shampoo Issue?

 

This is a great question! We were nervous about it, to be quite honest. We ran out of shampoo and attempted to shower without it (only water and conditioner), but this did not work. Okay, we didn’t expect it to, but we wanted to be lazy. Anyway, we did some research and have decided that we will be a shampoo-less home.

Instead, we made our own hair-cleaner from baking soda, water, and essential oils. It’s fairly easy (1 Tbsp baking soda, 1 cup water, a few drops of lemon oil). The lemon oil helps to control natural oils.

After researching, we are finding out that chemicals in hair products are bad for you, too. Go figure! It seems like everywhere we look there are chemicals! Others who have completed the “no-poo challenge” have said that their hair was greasier for the first few showers, but after a week or two became more soft and flowing than ever! Not only that, but all dandruff and dry scalp issues became non-existent. Using this homemade concoction is a more natural approach to hair hygiene and can help you to keep your vibrant and soft hair.

That being said, my wife and I were certainly nervous at first (and still are, a little bit). We have tried it a few times now and it definitely makes our hair look different, but not bad. We are hoping that by the end of next week we’ll start seeing some of these great results!

How do you make homemade ricotta cheese?

 

Oh! Excellent question! Here’s the recipe we use for delicious homemade ricotta cheese – a great way to save milk that’s about to go bad!

Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Milk (half gallon)
  • Vinegar (1/3 Cup)

Recipe:

  1. Slowly warm the milk over a burner (on Medium) to a temperature of 200′ – If you don’t have a thermometer, this means it should be steaming and foamy, but should not be boiling. If it boils, take it off right away.
  2. When warmed, remove from heat and gently stir in vinegar.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. If the milk has not curdled at this point, add another tablespoon of vinegar and allow to sit.
  4. When the milk has curdled, pour ingredients into a cheese cloth (can also use a thinly slotted strainer if you don’t have a cheese cloth).
  5. Allow to drain for 10-60 minutes depending on how dry you would like the ricotta cheese. Don’t forget to save the whey (the stuff that drains from the cheese) to be used in recipes!

Have questions you would like to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading our week 3 update! If you didn’t already share, I’d love to hear your week 3 update for the mid-way point of the challenge!

Quote for today is by Joel Osteen: “Start believing TODAY that things are going to change for the better. Your best days are still out in front of you..”


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.

Your Turn: Week Three – NSC Series

Your Turn: Week Three

Alright readers and challengers, it’s your turn: Week Three! Let us know how the challenge is going for you by leaving a comment below.

In your comment you can do one, a few, or all of the following list (or anything else you can think of) – it’s your turn, you choose!

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Ask a question (all questions will be answered on Sundays, so if you ask a question it will either show up in tomorrow or next Sunday’s post – and we’ll reply to your comment as well)
  • Tell us your goals for the challenge
  • Let us know how your first week went
  • Give us examples of what food you’re eating
  • Tell us your successes
  • Tell us your failures
  • Let us know what your favorite blog post was
  • Explain which topics you WISH we would talk about
  • Ask us to write a specific post
  • OR ANYTHING ELSE – it’s your turn!

Today’s quote is Victor Kiam. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”

Your Turn

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Posts from Week Three:

This week we focused on how to manage money and pay off debt (or build your savings)! That being said, it’s easy to forget what all you have learned as the week goes on. That’s why each Saturday we post a recap of the weeks posts! Here are the posts from week three!

Week 2 Update

We told you all about how week two of the No Spend Challenge went for us, what we did, and what we ate. This is also where we answer any questions you may have!

Week 2 Update - www.diyjahn.com

How to Build a Budget That’s Right for YOU

In this post, I give you easy-to-follow steps to create the perfect budget that’s just right for you and your situation!

How to Build a Budget - www.diyjahn.com

Why we LOVE cash budgeting (& you should too)

The best way for us to save tons of money each month is to follow a cash budget. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely to blame when it comes to blindly swiping a debit card. Cash budgeting solves any issues we may have had! Here’s how to start the right way.

Cash Budgeting - www.diyjahn.com (1)

How to Stay Out of Debt with 1 Simple Trick

I’ll tell you all about the one simple trick we implemented to keep us from accruing thousands more in debt!

How to stay out of debt

Your Turn: week three

Alright readers and challengers, it’s your turn! Let us know how the challenge is going for you by leaving a comment below.

In your comment you can do one, a few, or all of the following list (or anything else you can think of) – it’s your turn, you choose!

Here are some examples of what to include:

  • Ask a question (all questions will be answered on Sundays, so if you ask a question it will either show up in tomorrow or next Sunday’s post – and we’ll reply to your comment as well)
  • Tell us your goals for the challenge
  • Let us know how your first week went
  • Give us examples of what food you’re eating
  • Tell us your successes
  • Tell us your failures
  • Let us know what your favorite blog post was
  • Explain which topics you WISH we would talk about
  • Ask us to write a specific post
  • OR ANYTHING ELSE – it’s your turn!

Your Turn

Week 2 Update & FAQ – NSC Series

Week 2 Update

Good morning, readers! Can you believe that we are over halfway through the No Spend Challenge? I certainly can’t, but I’m so glad that I’m feeling better than last week when I was writing my update (that migraine was horrid). Anyway, as I have said before, each Sunday I’ll be giving you all an update on any funds we have spent, what we have eaten, and how we are doing. So, here we go with our week 2 update!

Week 2 Update - www.diyjahn.com

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



Funds: Week 2 Update

This week we did super well at not spending anything. Even better than week 1! Now, I know what you’re thinking: how can you do better than week one if you didn’t spend anything in either week?

Well, as you’ll remember, the first week of the NSC we had to spend around $5 to get some medication for my migraine. Thankfully, that $5 was a medical need so it didn’t count against our challenge. However, this week we have not had to spend a single dime (except on normal bills) so we put all of our income toward debt!

So far, we have almost $2,000 extra that we have put toward our debt this month and we are hoping to be rid of all credit card debt by the end of the month (though you’ll know for sure once we post our February Debt Repayment Update on Feb. 1st!

Food: Week 2 Update

Each day of the NSC I’m surprised at how little we are suffering due to the lack of funds for the month. We have barely cut into our stash of foods and have been able to eat really well, despite not grocery shopping. It really makes me think about the problems that I think I have – they’re first world problems. I can survive for much longer on the food in my pantry, fridge, and freezer than I ever anticipated.

Since we are realizing this, my wife and I have talked about extending the challenge beyond the end of January if we still have a significant amount of food leftover. We hope to make a huge dent in our food storage so that when we go shopping next time (hopefully not until mid-February) we can buy items that we actually enjoy and truly want to eat. Instead of stocking up food that we never eat, we’ll purchase foods that save us money and that make us happy.

Anyway, onto our meal plan for the week.

Here’s what we ate this week:

Sunday, January 10

Breakfast: Slept past breakfast
Lunch: Leftover Beef Tenderloin & Mashed Potatoes (from Catering)
Dinner: Cornish Hens & Veggies

Any Snacks: 

Monday, January 11

Breakfast: Shakeology (we decided to start getting healthy again, and since we have a huge stock of shakeo left, we have started drinking it for breakfast! Yum! We add some dry milk and water and we’re good to go for breakfast).
Lunch: Soups & Salad Bar @ Camp (We had a retreat group at camp that requested to have meals prepared, so we got to join them for lunch on Monday & Tuesday).
Dinner: Homemade Creamy Chicken & Dumpling Soup

Any Snacks: Homemade Soft Pretzels

Tuesday, January 12

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Soups & Salad Bar @ Camp
Dinner: Leftover Soup

Any Snacks: Pretzels

Wednesday, January 13

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftover Soup
Dinner: Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip

Thursday, January 14

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftover Casserole
Dinner: Pita Shell Pizzas

Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip

Friday, January 15

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftover Pizza & Chips
Dinner: Leftover Casserole

Any Snacks: Pretzels

Saturday, January 16

Breakfast: Shakeo
Lunch: Leftover Casserole
Dinner: Homemade Lasagna (we learned how to make homemade ricotta cheese to use up the rest of our milk when it was about to go bad, so we are made my brother some homemade lasagna, with homemade ricotta, noodles, and sauce for his birthday!)

Any Snacks: Chips

Week 2 Update: worst moment – The worst moment for food this week was when we pulled our hamburger out of the freezer. We had a big roll of five pounds that we had bought in preparation for this challenge. We opened it to realize that it had gone bad – there must have been a hole in the package. It was oddly colored and smelled horrible. Anyway, we had to throw it away which was unfortunate because we were looking forward to some beef for our meals.

Overall: Week 2 Update

I think that overall the second week of this challenge went really well. I’m still not feeling super challenged by the idea of not spending any money. In fact, even though we are halfway through, I’m still super excited about what we are doing and looking forward to learning new things every single day.

And we still have only spent $35 for the entirety of the new year (with our gas and medication purchase from last week), so I’d say that’s really good since we normally would have spent HUNDREDS of dollars by now. How crazy is that?

The most eye-opening thing for our week 2 update? I think it has to be the fact that we still have so much food leftover and we are no where near emptying our cupboards, pantry, freezer, or fridge. In fact, we have so much food that we are trying to figure out how to store it soon so that it doesn’t go bad. Go figure, right?

Looking past our week 2 update – forward: I know that this next week will present a few challenges. First of all, there will be more traveling. Now, all of the traveling is for work so  I know that we won’t have expenses for gas or the like. However, it’s so easy to grab a soda or snack when you’re on the road. The hard part will be keeping myself from doing that.

Another challenge that I foresee is that we just ran out of shampoo. So, we are going to need to figure out a homemade replacement soon so that we can stay cleanly! I don’t think it will be a problem, but it certainly will give us a challenge that we weren’t expecting.

Questions: Week 2 Update

This week we received a lot of questions for you all! Although we have already answered them by replying to your comments, I want to share some of them here so that everyone can learn from the responses. Feel free to leave any more questions you may have in the comments!

Have you ever tried to make homemade vinegar?

No, I have not personally tried to make my own homemade vinegar.  It looks like vinegar can be made from any fermenting alcohol, but you need Mother of Vinegar to start – you can buy that or make it (here’s a website:http://makezine.com/2010/03/12/in_the_kitchen_with_jarod_make/ ).

For the actual vinegar, it looks like you add that M.O.V. to alcohol and let it ferment longer (here’s a website for that recipe: http://naturemoms.com/homemade-vinegar.html ).

It looks like it’s definitely possible and probably a cheaper way to get vinegar, but very time consuming – with most recipes needed to sit for around 2 months or so. If you start now, you could be using them around March!

What order do you think these tips should go in for someone new to frugal living so that it’s not overwhelming?

There isn’t really a specific order, but I recommend picking one or two tips per week to start implementing (or per month if you have less time to devote). This way you won’t get too overwhelmed with the amount of information. Keep reading posts to keep you inspired, but don’t feel like you need to do everything at once.

The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your time is to write down SMART goals (read how to make them by clicking HERE).

I’ll be creating a class and releasing it soon that will teach you how to transition to a frugal life. In that, there will be a specific order to the goals so that you slowly convert without having to do it all at once. It’ll end up saving you THOUSANDS of dollars, so I hope you all give it a shot. Let me know if you are interested in the comments!

How can we entertain guests when we don’t have any money to spend?

There are a lot of ways to entertain without spending a fortune! Some of my favorites are inviting people over for a potluck-type meal and playing board games or watching movies. If you need to cook, soups are easy to make on a low budget. One of my favorites is Creamy Chicken & Dumpling Soup – which takes ingredients that you probably have lying around!

If you’re in our email newsletter, you’ll get that recipe today! Easy, cheap, and delicious meal. If you need more ideas, I’ll have a FREE ebook out with some homemade food recipes toward the end of this month, so keep watching!

What is the cost of a bread-maker, is it worth it, and what is the energy usage?

Making bread without a bread maker can be REALLY hard and like you said, very time consuming… but homemade bread is SO good. Having a bread maker saves me a ton of time. Honestly, I can put in the ingredients (takes 5 min) and then set it and it’ll do everything. I can set it the night before or right before work and have homemade bread when I wake up or when I walk in the door at night – still warm. It’s AMAZING.

As for how much it costs, you would recoup costs fast. I received my bread maker as a hand-me-down from my in-laws who were no longer using it. It’s an Oster brand, old one, but I LOVE it. We use it every single day and it works great. You can get a newer one on Amazon for around $60 or a used one there for about $30, so the costs would be recouped within a few weeks / month. REALLY cheap and definitely worth it. Here’s a link for one that is a good brand (Oster) and a good cost for either the new or used:

When it comes to energy requirements, I would say that a bread maker uses around the same energy as like a microwave or toaster oven (so less than a big oven)


Have questions you would like to add? Let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading our week 2 update! If you didn’t already share, I’d love to hear your week 2 update for the mid-way point of the challenge!

Quote for today is by Christine Louise Hohlbaum: “Life can be beautiful. It doesn’t have to be expensive.”


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.