So I’ve decided to expand our yearly February “no grocery store” commitment. This year I thought about expanding it to “no restaurants.” My only 2 exceptions were gasoline and whatever Valentine’s Day plans my husband makes. The more I thought about it and looked around me at our first world home crammed full of first world “necessities” I became increasingly aware of my “first world spoiled-ness” (Is that even a word?) and was convinced we need to simplify our lives.
So, after my “first world” epiphany, I began to plan. I wrote out a whole month of meal plans carefully planning fresh foods for early in the month and frozen and canned goods for later in the month. I purchased our typical budget ($400/mo.) worth of food on January 30th. It took 3 people to roll the carts out and stuff all those groceries into our van! The only thing I made SURE we had an abundant excess of was toilet paper. ‘Cause Lord knows, we don’t need to be running out of toilet paper in this house.
We’ve eaten good this first week of the fast. We had fresh spinach all week, fresh apples, bananas (they were gone by Tuesday), grapes, blueberries and many other goodies. We ate these fresh produce items first knowing they would spoil quickest. Confession time: I will admit we had one slip-up. We had an incident where we had ordered lunch at an organization a few months ago and they couldn’t find our payment. We were there, it was lunch and didn’t have time to run home to pick up anything. So we went to Wendy’s and let the kids eat from the value menu… (I told them they’d better be glad Mommy was being flexible)…. while I sat and drank my free Wendy’s water. Lesson learned: From now on, we take a bag of snacks and bottled water with us wherever we go, at least in the month of February.
So, I’ve already spent our budget this month, so how is this saving us money?? My hope is that it will make me think about what we DO have and make use of it instead of me joining in our culture’s “throw it away or buy a new one” mentality. My only example thus far is this….. our children needed paint brushes for a canvas painting art class they just began taking. I somehow missed the memo that they needed to bring their own brushes. I thought the class fee would cover brushes. In the past, I would have run out and purchased them both their own set of new brushes (along with at least $50+ of “necessary” stuff I didn’t know I “needed” until I got to the store). But because of this spending fast, I asked my daughter to go through all of her paint supplies to see what she could find. Did she find a whole package of brand new brushes? Nope! She dug like she was digging for a golden treasure. (Did I mention this also accomplished a goal of cleaning up her art area??) She squealed when she found 4 used, crusted up old paint brushes. We washed them up, put them in her backpack and took them to class with her. She leaves them in class for when her brother goes in right after her and he uses them. They are careful not to lose them because they are the only ones we own. Since the brushes cost about $6 per package, I think I’ve saved around $12. Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right???
(Do you hear the intended sarcasm?? Go ahead, read it again with the sarcasm….) Whoa – that’ll surely make this whole “spending fast” thing worth it, right??? BUT a second thought crosses my mind…. I didn’t just save $12. I saved $62+!! $12 for brushes and $50 of “needed” junk. Oh and did I mention…. it taught my children to be happy and thankful for what they do have, to share what they have and to take care of their things….
It taught my children to be thankful for 4 old brushes.
There are lots of people have have 30 day no-spending challenges or spending fasts, etc. Google them and maybe they have some good ideas that will inspire you! Wanna hear the next step in my February project? My goal is to make $500 extra this month by selling odds and ends using Facebook yard sales and eBay so we can increase our emergency fund……
Stay tuned to see how this project goes…..
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Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan. She homeschools them both. In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time… nevermind.
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