January No-Low Spend Challenge 2014: Week 2

As you may recall, I am following along with Precious over at Frugal Makes Cents Two in her Money Saving Challenge for this year.  For the month of January I will be following along with Carla on her “Low-No Spend January Challenge.” I think this goes along perfectly with our family decision to go to all cash for expenses.
It is now January 16, 2014....time to check in and see how I have been doing on my challenges....

For January, then my goals for the No/LOW spend challenge are as follows and this is how I have done this week:
  1. $100 a week for both groceries, household and health and beauty products. Our freezer is pretty full, thanks to the ¼ hog we got for Christmas. I think this is totally doable. Our spending on groceries and household stuff skyrocketed in November and December with extra spending and impulse buying…time to reign it in. Whatever is left each week will be divided into ½ in savings and ½ to debt repayment. Well, this week we went over again. I spent $137.27 at the store. I am buying more at the store and not eating out, so I think that is why I am going over every week. Also the price of everything is going up...I spend close to $20 a week on milk alone for Bill and the kids. As Kim from "Out my Window" said, I think $100 is too low for my family of 5 each week. I am going to have to re-evaluate how much we are spending and my have to increase our weekly budget. 
  2. No eating out. We are putting this as a family goal. We have already warned the kids that we will not be getting fast food in January. We will not turn down eating out if someone is treating our family, such as my in-laws taking the whole family out, but we will NOT be spending money on eating out.)  This was a fail this week. For a variety of reasons, we went out to dinner on Sunday night to Bob Evans....but we used gift cards that we got for Christmas and we had a free kids' dinner coupon from November from Rebecca's birthday, so we only spent $9.50 out of pocket which included the tip.I will have to say that it was a nice change of scenery. And I am okay with us breaking it, because it was not fast food. It was a treat, which is what we want eating out to be and our kids really do need to be able to go out every once in a while to learn how to act in a restaurant. So although I would have liked to have gone the whole month without eating out, this was okay even if it did mean a fail at the challenge.  
  3. I would like to have 15 no spend days. I found a resource that I will use to track our spending and hopefully help me get a better grip on where our money is going. I can say that I am on track for this one...last week I had 7 no spend days. This week, I have had  4 No-spend days for a total so far of 11! Finally something I am doing right! YAHOO!!! I would have had 5, but my dear hubby stopped and got himself a Mr. Pibb one night he was working. I know, I know, but considering this is the first time he has stopped all month, I think that is great. 
  4. I am going to try to do the 52 week money challenge. I am still trying to decide which version I would like to do. I will update when I decide. I have decided NOT to do this.
So this week was not as good of a week as last week. But I am not going to let that get me down. I will just keep moving forward and use this challenge as  learning tool to get a better grip on our money. I believe that it is helping. One step at a time.  

This past week was not a complete failure. I also did several things this week that helped me to save money! 

  • I cut my own hair. Well actually I cut it with the help of my hubby. I think it came out cute and I saved $15 by doing it myself. 
  • I received 3 free 12 pack Coke products coupons in the mail from redeeming them when they were discounted for 30 points during a special back in November.
  • I borrowed "Happier at Home" from the library instead of buying it. I also requested a couple of frugality books that were recommended by Precious over at "Frugal Makes Cents Too"
  • I redeemed 900 points from Pinecone Research for $9 in my paypal account.
  • I ordered a bridal shower gift through a tuition reduction program (TRP) at my daughter's school. I ordered a Target gift card for the gift and 2% of what I spent goes back to my daughter's tuition account. It is not a lot, but every little bit helps.
  • I made an extra payment of $27.39 to the MasterCard. Again, not a lot but every little bit helps. 
  • I ordered 2 Walmart gift cards through TRPs from Rebecca's school for future diaper purchases and household needs from Walmart. I am going to spend the money anyway, why not use gift cards and get a small percentage back for her tuition. 
So, overall I would call this week an okay week.  

How did you do this past week? Any attempts to save money or keep from spending money? 


  1. I like the new picture of you - that hair style is so much more flattering for you :) I would count eating out for only $9.50 a very frugal meal!

    1. Thanks for the compliment Jane! Yes, $9.50 is a very frugal meal for the 5 of us :)

  2. You did a great job on your hair... i'm debating on cutting my bangs as well! :) As for the groceries, I tend to agree, Rachel. $100 isn't a lot for a family of 5. I'm in Canada and *usually* budget $150-180/week for groceries, but then *another* $40 for "misc" which would be household items, beauty products, etc...

    1. Thanks Carla! Yeah I think I will have to budget higher, probably close to $120 a week for food and maybe $25-30 a week for household stuff....

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I think you did really well. Sometimes the grocery budget does need some tweaking the first couple of months. Since you are not eating out, you will have to budget a little more money. But in the long run, you will save. $ 9.50 for the 5 of you for dinner out is fantastic. We budget money in a miscellaneous category for eating out and any other entertainment clothing, etc, so if we want a take out pizza, we don't feel guilty. This month we have gotten a couple of Subway subs but used Christmas gift cards that we got.

    Love your haircut. You and DH did a great job. That program for getting money off tuition is terrific.
    Keep up the good work! :-)

    1. Thanks Precious! Yes I LOVE that we can get some money off of her tuition. It really does help, and since I only buy giftcards to the places that we would spend the money anyways (like Walmart) then it works.


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