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!
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
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
Lunch: Soups & Salad Bar @ Camp
Dinner: Leftover Soup
Any Snacks: Pretzels
Wednesday, January 13
Lunch: Leftover Soup
Dinner: Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip
Thursday, January 14
Lunch: Leftover Casserole
Dinner: Pita Shell Pizzas
Any Snacks: Fresh Veggies & Dip
Friday, January 15
Lunch: Leftover Pizza & Chips
Dinner: Leftover Casserole
Any Snacks: Pretzels
Saturday, January 16
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.”
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