No Spend Challenge 2017

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

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

no spend challenge

No Spend Challenge 2016

Some of you may remember that we did a No Spend Challenge for January of 2016 as well. If you weren’t around, here’s a link to that information: http://diyjahn.com/no-spend-challenge/

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

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

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

No Spend Challenge 2017

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

Rules:

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

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

Join us for the No Spend Challenge 2017!

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

Follow this link to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nospendmonth

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

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

Help us to Create a Community

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

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

Thanks for reading!

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.

Your Turn: Questions, Comments, Updates, Let us know!

Your Turn!

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!

Today’s quote is by David Guy Powers: “Each day is a new life. Seize it. Live it.”

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 Two:

This past week we focused on how to save money on your grocery bill. We talked about everything from saving bacon grease to growing your own food, making cheap bread and even desserts! That being said, it’s easy to forget what we read once we get to the end of the week – therefore, each Saturday during our “Your Turn” posts, we’ll give you a quick snapshot of the week’s posts. We’d love to hear some feedback for them in the comments!

Week 1 Update

We started the week with our week one update on Sunday, which told you all of our meals for the week, our money spent, and how the week was going! This is also where we take some time to give you an answer to any questions you may have.

Week 1 Update

Making Homemade Bread can Save You TONS

Did you know that just by making your own bread you can save HUNDREDS of dollars a year?! How crazy is that? Well, it’s true. Check out our post for why homemade bread is better, a cost analysis, and a recipe for you to try!

Making Homemade Bread

3 Homemade Dessert Recipes You’ll LOVE

In this post, we gave you some ideas for desserts using ingredients you probably have lying around your house! My favorite is the Creamy Cream Cheese-Cake, but I really love them all.

homemade dessert recipes (2)

Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

In this post, I tell you all about how my wife and I are learning how to can (and why you should too)! In order to live a healthier, happier, and richer life – canning is almost a necessity. This post will tell you all about why I think that’s true.

Save Money on Food (1)

Are You Ready to Learn How to Grow Your Own Food?

If you are looking to grow some of your own produce or herbs indoors, this post is for you! We show you the easy way to start growing your garden, why you should do it, and how you can save a BUNCH of money on your groceries each month.

How to Grow Your Own Food - www.diyjahn.com

How to Save Bacon Grease & Why You Should

Bacon is one of the most versatile foods you can get – plus, it’s just really delicious. Did you know, though, that you could save money by using bacon grease? All you have to do is learn how to save the grease – and we’ll teach you!

How to Save Bacon Grease - www.diyjahn.com

Your Turn!

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!

Week 1 Update – NSC Series

Week 1 Update

As I’m writing this week 1 update for you all, I have a horrible, awful, no-good, very bad migraine (ugh!) so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. 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 1 update!

Week 1 Update

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 1 Update

This week we did really well at not spending any money. In fact, we didn’t spend anything outside of the parameters that we set.

We, of course, paid our bills on time so I won’t include those. Other than bills, here is what was spent:

$30.12 – Gas. We decided right away that gas would not be included in this challenge because it’s necessary to get to work. So, while we are not allowed to do a ton of extra driving, gas expenses themselves won’t be penalized.

<$5 – Cash. We spent this money to get Naproxen for my migraine. It’s a necessary medical expense because otherwise this migraine would stay forever and we don’t have any at home. This is another instance that we decided at the forefront – medical expenses won’t count into our NSC. So, we don’t feel bad for this.

Food: Week 1 Update

We were very fortunate this past week to live at camp. Not only did I get a couple of meals from the camp, but we also had a friend who took us out to Pizza Ranch one day and another who ordered pizza a few days later. This was unexpected, but very much appreciated! It definitely made the whole not-spending-money-on-food thing easier.

Here’s what we ate this week:

Friday, January 1

Breakfast: Egg Patties, Banana
Lunch: Pizza Ranch Buffet
Dinner: Hot Dogs & Toast (because why not?)
Any Snacks: Hot Cocoa & S’mores (gotta love camp life)

Saturday, January 2

Breakfast: N/A
Lunch: Hot Dogs & Mac n’ Cheese
Dinner: Pizza (from the friend who ordered it)
Any Snacks: Pistachios

Sunday, January 3

Breakfast: Leftover Tacos
Lunch: Leftover BBQ Ribs
Dinner: Homemade Pasta & Cheesy, Garlic Sauce
Any Snacks:

Monday, January 4

Breakfast:
Lunch: Me: Leftover Pasta, Wife: Potluck @ Work
Dinner: Turkey Burgers & Baked Potatoes
Any Snacks: Leftover S’more Dip (from the potluck)

Tuesday, January 5

Breakfast: Homemade Cinnamon Roll
Lunch: Leftover Potatoes & Turkey Burgers
Dinner: Homemade Spaghetti (with both homemade noodles and homemade sauce)
Any Snacks: Crock Pot Apple Spice Cake

Wednesday, January 6

Breakfast: Braided Chocolate Crescent
Lunch: Homemade Crescent Roll Grilled Cheese & Leftover Spaghetti
Dinner: Hamburgers & Tater Tots
Any Snacks:

Thursday, January 7

Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll
Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti
Dinner: Homemade Turkey Bacon Ranch Wraps
Any Snacks:

Friday, January 8

Breakfast: Bagel & Cream Cheese
Lunch: Ramen (my parents had given us some over Christmas because they knew that they wouldn’t eat it)
Dinner: Didn’t eat much: migraine
Any Snacks:

Saturday, January 9

Breakfast: Migraine
Lunch: Migraine
Dinner: Catering food (whenever we help at catering events, they feed us great food!)
Any Snacks:

Overall: Week 1 Update

I would say that this first week went really well. We got by without spending anything (I mean, $35 is so little compared to what we COULD have spent!). We aren’t dying, we haven’t run out of food (in fact, we have way more than I think we’ll be able to eat so we may need to extend the challenge). It’s been a great experience and really has made me think.

The most eye-opening piece of this week? I would say it has to be 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.

Thanks for reading our week 1 update! If you didn’t already, I’d love to hear your update for your first week of the challenge!

Quote for today is by Ben Franklin: “Well done is better than well said.”