One young Catholic family on a Journey towards Intentional and Communal Sustainability. One Artist, one full time Mama and two babies, we'll tell you about all our successes, and failures, as we try to make it in our overly Consumeristic society on just the bare necessities.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Half Way There

Today is September 15th, which marks the half way point for our Spending Free Month. (See our original post with our rules and such here.)  So I figured I'd give you an honest recap of how we've been doing, and what we want to do for the next 2 weeks!

What we've spent money on:
A case (30 lbs) of pasture based butter (as explained here)- $102.25
A new saw blade for Joey's rotary saw- $10.78
Parking downtown for the art museum (of which we're members)- $5.00
Dog Food (whoops!  we ran out on the second day of the challenge!) $35.66
An Emergency Safeway run for frozen pizzas and juice when I was in bed with Strep Throat- $32.50
A few things for my Sister-in-Law's housewarming party that we didn't know we needed- $35.80
A "new-to-us" electric pottery wheel for Joey's studio (as explained here)- $525.00
Brent Pottery Wheel (not ours)

Farmer's Market- $22 over 2 weeks
Groceries for the first half of the month- $84.08
A meal for a homeless man downtown- $8.64

Without the wheel, that totals $300.91. (with, it's $825.91

Yup, way WAY over our $0.00 goal!

(By the way, this does not include our monthly bills and expenses that we can't get away without paying, such as electricity, water, our raw milk share, etc,)

However, with the exception of the emergency Safeway run, my sister-in-law's party purchases, and the homeless man's meal, all the other purchases fell within the rules.  Joey couldn't build any more raised garden beds, his goal for this month, without a new blade for his saw, and the other items fall into the category of "stupid-and-prideful not to make" (I'm not going to let our dogs go hungry, or deal with the repercussions of dumpstered food for them, nor will I pass up the butter sale that only happens 3 times a year, or the wheel deal that we've been searching for for months just because of our blog).  But, in the attempt to be completely honest, I've laid it all out for you fair and square.

So what are we going to work on for the rest of the month?

Joey is still working on raised garden beds for our yard (we have HORRIBLE soil!) and will need to find both lumber and dirt/manure/compost to fill them with.

I need clothes.  Like WHOA!  I'm loosing weight from my pregnancy like I can't believe, and I don't fit in any of my clothes right now- just that weird in between stage.  But I have a sewing machine and decent skills, so I'm going to try my hand at something like this.

I still haven't gotten my hands on a yogurt maker... hint hint, Dyno-Mom!

mmmm.... looks good, right?
I'm throwing a fancy cocktail party for some friends at the end of the month (which was planned before the month long experiment began) and I will need to procure several items somehow- including h'or d'ouvres and drinks. I'm going to try my hand at making homemade crackers and bruschetta bread, as well as try to invent a few drinks with the liquor we have on hand (not much, I might add!).  I MAY make a purchase of 2 here, like a bottle of wine, but I'm going to try and do everything sans money if I can. Anybody have any good ideas?

Joey will be explaining his 1 week rule for his "found objects", as well as showing you how he's been using the things he's discovered on his night time city explorations.

And so much more!  But all in all, we're going to be trying even harder to keep to our original plan.  As the month progresses, it's gotten both harder and easier.  I am getting super comfortable with packing lunches and snacks for the road so we don't get caught with a cranky, hungry toddler or growling stomachs, but I need to work on remembering our water bottles.  More than once have we been caught racing home to get something to drink!  I've done pretty well with my No Dryer Challenge, but some unfortunately cold, wet weather over the last week has caused me to have to plug it back in for a few days.  Otherwise we'd be naked.  If I were better at checking the weather reports and planning laundry days accordingly, I think I could do a lot better.  Also, Joey and I have both lost about 5 pounds this month- which I think is at least in part due to the fact that we haven't gone out to eat once!  THIS is our weakest point.  Even though we always try to choose the most "real food" option out there (hello, Chipotle and Sazza Pizza, I love and miss you both!), we eat out WAY too often.  We just love it too much, I guess.  But it's starting to feel more like the special treat it should be at this point.  I can't wait until Joey and I get to go on a date in October!  I'm going to pick the best restaurant ever, and know that it will be only a once in a while treat from now on!

So keep watching, and we'll keep trying to amuse and inform you.  Hopefully we're not the only ones getting something out of this blog.... hello, anybody out there? ..... We'd love all your comments with your own sage advice and honest questions and will keep trying out new ways to make a month without money both fun and interesting!

***Taking part in GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursdays***


  1. Limiting eating out is a huge money saver. We do our very best to eat out on a very limited basis. We like eating at home better anyway. For instance, last night we had a steak dinner at home. :)

  2. Megan,

    Thats the thing, almost always when I go out I order things like chicken. Don't get me wrong, I love chicken, but it seems silly to pay $10 for it, maybe I should go for steaks at home for some kind of middle ground.

  3. Absolutely! Steaks at home were awesome. Just spring for a good cut of steak and it is still WAY cheaper and you still get a tender, juicy, yummy STEAK!

  4. We have saved so much by planning a weekly menu. I go to the grocery once a month and use only the cash I have budgeted. Our monthly spending for food is $150. Before we used cash I would end up spending more than I thought because I was just swiping plastic.

  5. Andi, That's such a great idea! I have tried it in the past, but only do it a week at a time. I'm going to be trying my best for the next 6 weeks to keep a plan with the challenge over at Keeper of the Home (

  6. You can easily make your yogurt at home without a machine! Just use a crockpot or a low oven.

  7. Alicia, I think I might attempt this method this week. I've been avoiding it because I hate babysitting and I'm notorious for letting things get overdone. I wanted the safety of an temperature setting on a yogurt maker!