Last week was intense. I survived 1 whole week without spending money. Our pantry and refrigerator are still technically "full" but can I make it a second week? I think so. Challenge accepted. On Monday, ready with my over night oats, I headed to work with my lunch bag packed. I had meal prepped to the best of my ability for the week. We were also able to scrape together skillet Mac n cheese with the last of my organic heavy whipping cream. I add water to the carton a couple of times and shake it hard to be sure and get every drop. Normally, the heavy whipping cream goes bad before we can finish it. Not this time.
On Monday night, Gabe began to ration our food. " I want a snack, but I want to leave enough food for the week". I laughed and assured him that eating one snack would be ok. We had late night corn tortilla quesadillas and Dragoon Ojo Blanco beers on the couch. The corn tortillas were imported from Mexico by my thoughtful aunt, Tia Estella. We see her maybe once a year and she always comes bearing gifts. On her last visit she gave us a bottle of Mexican Brandy, tortillas and home grown jalapeños. We had three packs of these amazing Mexican corn tortillas in the freezer. Believe me, there is a difference.Tia Estella's generosity is unparalleled. The world would be a better place with more people like her.
Overnight oats, quinoa and veggies on repeat at work. They're getting a tad boring but it's sustenance nonetheless. Last week we found a dusty old bike in the garage and sold it. I was able to barter with those $30 and bought a Cuisineart coffee maker and a waffle iron with that money! I found a woman online that buys out estate sales and sells things for a profit. The Cuisineart coffee maker alone is worth $99. I Bleach it out and run vinegar through it and it's good to go. Advice: Always keep a lookout for online deals and don't be afraid to ask people for money off. Fruggle = borderline shameless. I'll just sit here in shame drinking my fresh brewed coffee and eating my Belgian waffles.
When my car was out of gas and my baby was out of food I realized that not spending ANY money would be unrealistic this week. The rules changed to only the necessities. I got an amazing deal on organic baby food and Kingston is happy. The mortgage needs to be paid, the electric bills are pending. When I pay my credit card now, it's a different feeling. There has been a light switch flipped in my head. I pay this bill knowing there will eventual be an end and I will never have a credit card bill again. I am happy to make this payment.
For dinner, I found a fancy bag of flour and threw together a "gluten free"pizza. The bag of flour may or may not have been expired. What's one year of expiration if it's still sealed? Eh. The crust was something similar to that of old ,dried, cow rawhide only thicker. I figured I'd hide the crust by topping it with everything sitting in the refrigerator. Even with the crust cleverly disguised it was an abomination, like a large "gluten free" frisbee. On the plus side, if anyone needs a good recipe for papier-mâché this is it. Piñatas for days. We were able to salvage the toppings by scraping them off and eating them solo.
As the days went on, the meals got pretty creative. We found stashes of frozen Tamales in the freezer and topped them with molé sauce and queso fresco for a quick hearty dinner. As word spread about our "No spending" week people started volunteering food. For some reason, people are uncomfortable with me not shopping. I've gladly accepted my role as a moocher. Taking food is technically cheating of course but when your mom shows up with queso fresco you don't say no. "It's for the baby". When your supervisor gifts you Tequila infused jam you don't say no. When your co worker gives you Paleo granola, you don't say no. I'm happy to report the people around me are also being more concious of their spending habits. A couple of co workers vowed "no shopping this week". Misery loves company. Let's do it.
We still hadn't grocery shopped, and I was still scraping together meals from the pantry and the refrigerator. As I ran out the door for work, it became second nature to throw things in my lunch bag. I made a quick tuna salad and threw it in along with some granola bars and water. Packing my own lunch has probably saved me about $30 a week. This is a habit I will continue to follow after this no spending challenge/experiment. I do have my eye on a Kate Spade lunch bag though. Old habits die hard.
The week of no spending turned into the $39 week because of gas and baby. Necessity. Normally, I would have spent this $39 on lunches for work. This experiment has made me frugal and conscious. I'm awake. Life isn't always supposed to be comfortable. Sometimes you have to bust your ass. Actually, you should always bust your ass. I've gotten comfortable living the Mommy life and working part time so I can be with my new born more,but as baby turns one, it's time to get back to it. He will appreciate it when he has a fully funded college fund. Since the experiment, I've transitioned from part time a full time schedule at work and even worked about 10 hours of overtime. Money in the bank.
On the last day of the challenge, Gabe and I split one egg for breakfast, we're relieved it's over. I don't think either of us will ever take little things like this for granted again. I look forward to having my own egg, maybe even two! We celebrated day 14 by going out for sushi and taking a trip to Costco.We purchased snacks and food for the week including nitrate free salami and fresh mozzarella. Very exciting.
After these two weeks I've decided I'm officially breaking up with my credit cards. It's over, it's not them, it's me. It was fun while it lasted. According to Dave Ramsey, financial guru, you pay them off and close them ASAP. According to my best friend, Mr. " I don't need Dave Ramsey I have a Masters in business", (as he snaps his fingers) you keep them open and limit your use of them. I'm going with the bestie on this one, he's pretty much always right. Snap. Snap.