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!
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)
Monday, January 18
Lunch: Leftover & Frozen Grilled Chicken (from this summer)
Dinner: Hamburgers (frozen from this summer), Green Beans (canned)
Tuesday, January 19
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)
Wednesday, January 20
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
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)
Friday, January 22
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
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!
- Milk (half gallon)
- Vinegar (1/3 Cup)
- 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.
- When warmed, remove from heat and gently stir in vinegar.
- Allow to sit for 10 minutes. If the milk has not curdled at this point, add another tablespoon of vinegar and allow to sit.
- 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).
- 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..”
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