Home > Category: Low Spend Month
Viewing the 'Low Spend Month' Category
January 11th, 2020 at 09:14 pm
Since the girls left my plan is to start making meals around food we have on hand. It's not a ton, but one does buy extra during the holidays and when trying to please different palates. But the extra is definitely not as extensive as someone with a deep freeze might have. In a future post I may list what I have to use up.dinner.
This morning I decided to prep our
I had everything on hand except the cauliflower which I had purchased for $1.99 a day earlier. I made just half a batch. It smelled so good. I almost suggested to my husband that we have it for lunch, only to realize he had already made his salad for lunch. So as I put it into the fridge...I dropped the entire thing. It was in a oval pyrex dish with a glass lid. Glass shattered everywhere! Luckily, no injuries, but it was a big clean up.
I guess I can say I used up some stuff and decluttered a frequently used dish. I have a round one that I will probably try to use as a replacement (I never use it and thought of letting it go just the day before), but it may be too small and have to be replaced.
It was tempting to go back to the store to buy the ingredients needed, but we usually shop on Sunday, so I will wait and make something else. We have leftover shrimp and cocktail sauce, and I could make a small batch of taco dip with items on hand. It will be an appetizer type meal of a night.
Budget is in check so far. There has not been a lot of extra spending since the new year started. I have put money towards our oldest daughter's conference she needs to attend in February, and also paid for youngest daughter's books out of current cash flow. I have redeemed shares of her ESA to cover housing portion of the semester bill due on January 20. I did sell most of it sometime back and had it in a money market, but did need to sell a little more to cover everything. Happy that both transactions were at high share prices!
Did you, or do you, have food to use up from the holidays? Are you shopping your pantry this month to make meals?
February 1st, 2019 at 03:33 pm
In January we earned a nice amount of interest on our savings. We always save all interest, even when we were paying on debt. Although back then our interest earned was piddly!
$66.07 FNBO Direct
$81.13 Navy Federal CU
$147.20 Total interest earned
In December our total was $118.73. We have increased our monthly interest by $28.47 because we moved a large amount of cash from one bank earning 2.15% to a CD at the other bank earning 3.2%. At about $150/month, we are on schedule to save $1,800 in interest this year.
We did a great job with extra savings this month. We only spent $31 on fuel for our vehicles. I think we both need to fill up soon! We saved toward the Big Goal as planned, but also since we were under budget we have added $545.05 to our emergency fund.
I've decided for 2019, continue the Big Goal saving with $350 a month ($175 each paycheck), add in credit card rewards and other snowflake money and interest earned. Any extra we save is going to our emergency fund. I think there are some expense we will incur in 2019 that are hard to anticipate the amount, so any extra cash saved will be helpful. I'd rather money from those come from what we have stashed and marked as EF money, than from our BIg Goal money.
Here's to a great year of saving!
January 20th, 2019 at 06:41 pm
The challenge this past week was to eat as much from the pantry, fridge and freezer as possible. In other words, not to buy more food before I ate what we had. I did really well. There wasn't physically anyway to actually eat it all, so as a result I have had to toss some food.
I didn't grocery shop until Friday night in order to buy more eggs and sausage for the rice mix. Because I buy organic eggs, I spent about $9.
I tossed out about a cup of cooked rice just now. It didn't go bad, but going forward I'm reducing most processed carbs. I'm also going to toss out the last bit of spaghetti sauce. Oh, and I had to toss the lunch meat as it was turning bad several days after the expiration.
I did eat up the following:
rice dinner mix
eggs (husband helped)
turkey crumbles (husband ate)
canned navy beans
I still have several slices of bread in the freezer, the sweet potato fries, dried cranberries, sour cream, 3 veggie burgers, 1/4c tomato sauce, dry kidney beans, and some corn chips.
I'm very happy with the progress, but honestly some of those items are not doing my body any favors and I may have to throw those out as well. Going forward we are going to focus on eating low carb vegetables and avoid all the processed carbs that our daughter's still can eat!
How is your low spend month or frugal month going? Have you been able to rein in your spending?
January 17th, 2019 at 03:20 pm
I'm making great progress using up the food, or just using what I have on hand. I ate the rest of my Barley Potato soup yesterday. I had it with a salad at lunch and with a sandwich at dinner.
I have used up these items:
2 slices of cheese
2 slices of bread
Today, I will likely eat a sandwich for lunch with an apple and cucumber slices. I think I will make rice and eat that with the navy beans and salsa for dinner and probably lunch tomorrow.
My husband returns home tomorrow. We will have the rice mix for dinner, but we already talked about wanting to add a protein to it, so I will go to the commissary to buy that. We can eat eggs with cheese and turkey crumbles for breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning. I will propose sandwiches for lunch, with carrots and dressing. Although there could be leftovers from Friday night, too. And finally, I think I can make Pepperoni pizza for dinner on Saturday night, which should provide leftovers for Sunday lunch. At that point we will need to go to the store!!
I guess it's time to make a meal plan, so I can make a grocery list for Sunday's shopping. I will still have a couple things in the pantry and freezer that I can incorporate into the meal plan, so I will have fewer things to buy.
In addition to Uber Frugal Month, I've been inspired to eat from what we have on hand and be mindful of using things up because of the government shutdown. We have families living right by us that are not getting a paycheck. The community has rallied around them to provide food, formula, baby food, diapers, wipes and gas gift cards. I am a big believer in an emergency fund of course, but it's not wrong to help out our fellow humans in their time of need.
January 15th, 2019 at 05:33 pm
Here's what I ate yesterday. I think I was a little snacky, so no judgements, please. Here's the Barley & Potato Soup Receipe
1 cup of cereal with milk
2 Cinnamon muffins (this used up the milk and 1 egg)
Leftover taco meat
2 tomato slices
(ate the two above with cheddar cheese and tostitos)
2 servings of Barley potato soup
The soup used up the potatoes, garlic, celery, chicken broth, the yellow onion, and two carrots)
1 slice of provolone cheese
1 serving of grape juice (I use in my water for flavor)
1 lemon (use in my water)
Today, I ate:
1 cup of cereal with almond milk
Spinach salad (used up red onion, half a cucumber and 1/3 of a tomato)
1 veggie burger
1 slice provolone cheese
I expect to eat more of the Barley Potato soup for dinner, likely with another salad like I ate for lunch today. I'm sure another snack will be eaten as well.
It has only been over 24 hours since I have embarked on my use it all up quest, but I feel good about my plan and progress so far.
that I modified slightly, mostly the seasonings.
January 14th, 2019 at 03:48 pm
My husband is traveling this week. Both of our daughters are back at college. The fridge and pantry are very likely going to be more than adequate to sustain me this week, and maybe through the weekend with my husband home, making it an no spend grocery week!
Before I get to the list of what I have, I will say some of these things are not what I normally eat. The Cheerios were requested by my daughter when she was home. And now they are left here. I did eat Cheerios and milk this morning. And to use up the milk, I made cinnamon muffins, which I will freeze and use if and when I have a sugar craving. But at least at this point we can say I didn't waste the milk!
Here's what I have in the pantry:
Honey Nut Cheerios (4 cups)
Microwave popcorn (1 bag)
Pistachios (1/2 c.)
Almonds (1.5 cups)
Canned veggie soup
Canned navy beans
8oz dried kidney beans
Rice dinner mix
Peanut butter (1/3 jar)
Chicken broth (2 cans)
Tostitos (1/2 bag)
Bread (13 slices)
Here's what I have in the freezer:
4 veggie burgers
1/2 bag sweet potato fries
15 oz of crushed tomatoes
1/3 bag of chocolate chips
Ice (ha, ha)
Here's what I have in the fridge:
1/3 bag spinach
1 tomato and 2 tomato slices
1/2 yellow onion
1/4 red onion
8 oz turkey lunch meat
leftover taco meat (1 c.)
4 oz prepared turkey crumbles
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese
Provolone slices (5)
Salsa (6 oz)
1/2 jar tomato sauce
1/4 jar pasta sauce
Sour cream 4 oz
Grape juice (2 servings)
I also have three medium potatoes and garlic on hand.
That is actually a lot of food! There is no way I can eat all of that in five days by myself. I'm going to focus on the perishables first. Some of the fridge items (lunch meat, turkey crumbles and eggs) can likely still be good for the weekend and are things my husband eats, so while I may eat them, I'm going to focus on other things.
I'm pretty sure I need to make a soup to use up the potatoes, onion, celery, carrots. That sounds like potato soup, but I don't want to buy more milk, and don't think almond milk would taste right would it? It is unsweetened. I think maybe a barley vegetable soup would work though.
I'm going to save the rice dinner mix for the weekend when my husband is home. But I think I could make some sort dish with the rice, navy beans and the salsa. It would make quite a bit, I might even be willing to eat it for breakfast!
Today for lunch I will eat the leftover taco meat with those two tomato slices and likely an apple or a small salad. Tonight might be soup for dinner.
I'm realizing I should freeze the bread if I'm not going to eat the turkey lunch meat or the veggie burgers. I can use the bread from the freezer if I change my mind.
I'll update you on my progress this week to eat it all up!
What you make off for lunch or dinner if you had my fridge, freezer and pantry to eat from? Have you done this where you focus on eating it all up to help the grocery budget?
June 21st, 2018 at 02:56 pm
After guests our fridge and freezer are nearly bare. I did buy a few things on Tuesday night to have for dinner. Last night we simply ate grilled cheese, sweet potato fries from the freezer and apples for dinner.
I would go to the store for groceries buy we leave again here shortly for five nights. So I don't want to do a big stock up.
Tonight I have potatoes, carrots, onion and milk, so I think I will make potato soup. I probably need to get cheese and maybe celery. That uses a few more things up without buy a lot extra.
I can make a grocery list and meal plan while we are away and be ready to hit the grocery store when we return from our trip.
At least being a little frugal with meals helps offset the dining out we will be doing.
March 30th, 2018 at 05:31 pm
I guess it was January when I last made a point of using things up. I was doing an Uber Frugal Month with spending and using things we already had on hand was part of making that work.
I had some diced butternut squash in the fridge that I didn't even get to then! It's almost April! Late this morning, I threw the squash in a saucepan with garlic, onion, ginger and carrots to saute' for several minutes. Oh yes, there was salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. I added some chicken broth (made from bouillon) and simmered for another ten minutes. And then in the end added a cup of milk (I was going to use coconut milk, but it had gone bad, oops!). Finally, blended it with my immersion blender.
My food stores are still pretty limited from the Uber Frugal month. To me this means we are buying only what we will actually eat and use! Far less food waste or extra money spent.
I know it's a holiday weekend for many and could mean more spending on groceries, but be sure to check your pantry before you go shopping. Maybe you already have ingredients you need, or possibly you have something on hand that could be used instead of something you think you need to buy.
Yesterday, I listed six new items to eBay. These were items we found this month to let go. These were ones that may have a chance of selling for a few dollars. I'm hoping for some quick sales!
I hope you all enjoy your weekend! Stay frugal out there.
January 29th, 2018 at 12:18 am
For the purposes of this blog and January Uber Frugal month, I am closing out our budget. We went grocery shopping today, but I am not including it since most of the food will cover more days in February than January. I did include the fuel we bought for the van, which was $41.96.
It doesn't show in my screenshots, but we were over our budget by $36.05. Not bad at all considering several things were not planned, such as the dinner on Friday, buying vitamins for our daughter or buying a new fridge water filter. And yes, our groceries are probably inflated, not for eating more food, but for buying high quality food. We are dieting so we are actually eating less..and have both lost weight!
I zeroed all the categories out. This is how I end each month in YNAB. The remaining amount that we didn't allocate to anything this month $1,648.89! Lower spending does pay off! I will add the money to various long and short term goals. Some may go to the Big Goal, most of it will go to bigger expenses that we expect later this year.
Just so you know we are very unlikely to have spent all of that $1600 in a regular month. Compared to December 2017, we spent $1200 more than we did this month. And we spent $450 less than last January. I feel we were very successful this month.
January 27th, 2018 at 07:20 pm
We had a very nice time eating out. We did really good considering it was a brewery...we didn't drink! And I only had water with my meal. We spent three hours there and spent $38.61 on our entrees and DH's diet coke. He tipped generously with $8, for a total of $46.61 spent. So we are definitely over our frugal January restaurant budget. However, you really can't say no to an invite by friends that you don't see that often.
We stopped by the grocery store last night before coming home because we needed eggs. I did remember a few other needs(flour, turkey crumbles, cheese) as well, along with two requests from our daughter. We spent another $29.94 in groceries. We are now over the Uber Frugal budget in groceries too.
Despite going over budget in a lot of budget categories this month, we have done really well. I purposely put the budget low to keep us thinking about our spending. We have months where we just don't monitor it as closely. That's why I find these low spend months so helpful.
Here's what the Everyday Spending categories look like right now. I will probably end our reporting of our spending and Uber Frugal month after today. We have guests coming and I need to get some things purchased (specifically groceries) tomorrow. Notice how there's just $10 left! That's cutting it close isn't it?
The good news is there is plenty of cash to still be allocated to savings. I'll share that amount tomorrow!! It's a pretty big number.