Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dollar Diet: A new 30 day challenge ...

Disclaimer: No, this isn't a new fad diet. It's a diet for our wallets, not our muffin tops...

Last month, I was busy clipping coupons  spending quality time with our family in the living room while Casey read the newspaper out-loud to Beatrice Kate. When I overheard him telling her about this family and their month-long commitment to no spending...I told him to hand over the article.

Basically, for the entire month of February, they didn't spend a dime on unnecessary expenses or really any expenses at all. They ate out of their freezer and pantry stock piles and only spent $10 a week on fresh veggies and fruits. Hmmm, I thought. I bet we could do something like that. My stockpile has gotten pretty big and now that Beatrice Kate is drinking milk from a sippy cup, I finally have had room for actual foods in our outside freezer.

I looked over at Casey and said, "Well, how about it?". Being the cheapskate he is frugal and responsible family figure he is, he was naturally all about it. And so, The Collins Family will embark on a new journey for the entire month of April.

Why April? Well, I didn't find out about the idea until February and we had about 6 family birthdays and celebrations (ahem... and a very special one at that) during the month of March. April seemed about like the earliest and most logical month to try it.

Why would we even consider doing this? Because, like the family who started this, we are a one income family now. I want to have the piece of mind that if something were to happen and Casey lost his job, we could "get by" until things got better. Oh, and also, I really, really like a challenge. Seeing how low I can get my grocery bill each week is a fun game for me (Uh, hello $30 for $110 worth of stuff this week!). Knowing that I could feed our family for (basically) free for an entire month will be point of pride for me.

So, in about five days we will start our 30 day commitment to not spending money. Really, we mean it. Not even a quarter or a dime, or even a little, measly penny. Well actually, we will spend a little money on the stuff we have to spend money on. Here are some basic "ground rules" we'll go by...

We will: 
  • Pay our mortgage because State Employees Credit Union doesn't care about our experiment. They got to get paid, ya'll.
  • Pay our utilities like electric, gas, etc., but, we will make a notable effort to decrease our usage by turning off lights, opening windows, hanging a clothes line, etc. 
  • Continue with Stroller Strides because it's the only social interaction Beatrice Kate and I get daily. My sanity is worth the money. Divorce is not.
  • Go for Doctor visits- having a preemie ain't cheap but I can't disregard her health. Afterall, we need to get an update on Operation Fat Baby on April 11.
  • Pay for Gas- because if Casey doesn't go to work things could get hairy. BUT, we won't make any unnecessary long distance trips or spend time driving around aimlessly. We'll even go the speed limit to save on gas.
  • Accept any and all offers of free food... so, who's buying?
  • Spend around $10 a week on fresh vegetables and fruit, milk and/or eggs. At first, I was hesitant to limit our money on fresh items because, unlike a lot of super-coupon-ers, we don't eat any packaged products. Like, ZERO. Everything that's made in our home is made from start to finish in our kitchen. But, we are scheduled to start our co-op box around April 5, so I think $10 is reasonable for us to supplement what's needed each week.
And now, the not so fun stuff. We wont: 
  • Buy any gifts. I have a giant (and I mean GIANT) bucket of gift items upstairs from things I've gotten on sale or for really cheap throughout the years. If an occasion springs up, I'll dip into that to find something for the special guy/girl. 
  • Buy any new clothing 
  • Eat out. Yep, we won't even succumb to the alluring smell of fresh coffee from Starbucks/Carabu/McDonalds. Also, no splurges at the grocery store. If it ain't fresh, we ain't buying it.
  • Pay for entertainment. No movies (ha! Like we actually go to a movie theater), no date expensive date nights (again, Ha!), no new books, etc.
For full disclosure I will admit that: We will buy a couple of bags of dog food on March 31 (Cooper will boycott our family if he doesn't get his dinner), I will go to the store one, last time for random things with my normal ~$70/week grocery budget, I prepared a few "freezer meals" for us to eat- in case of emergency- this weekend. Also, you should know that Beatrice Kate uses cloth diapers (during the day) and cloth wipes and I make all of her food, so we shouldn't have to worry about those expenses (in theory!).

Otherwise, if we don't have to spend money on it to keep bill collectors away, then we're not buying it for thirty days. THIRTY DAYS. Frankly, I don't know if we can last for thirty days, but we're going to try.

Of course, I'll keep a daily journal of the trials and tribulations of this little journey here on the blog (naturally, along with all the other cute necessary updates about Beatrice Kate and our family).

But I have to warn you: It could get nasty. Especially if we run out of coffee.

1 comment:

  1. I might have to treat you to a Starbucks one day for good behaviour! ;) btw what cloth diapers do you use? ittibitti just launched in the states and I love'em. (well as much as you can love something you have to scrape poop out of!)