A “no-spend” summer…or, I really want to cut back expenses!


Why not?  I was going to do a “no-spend” June but heck…now is as good a time as any to try for a NO-SPEND SUMMER!  June…July…August…I’m going to PENNY PINCH!

It’s a good time for a no-spend anything around here!  Two new car payments, a down payment on one, a  vacation for our oldest’s 18th birthday…way too much eating out over the past couple months while I recuperate from Valley Fever…we’ve definitely been going through an extended money-bleed.  Usually we have a couple of those per year…once around the holidays and once in the summer.  I figure that it’s time for some first-aid, before we bleed to death!! 😉

There are only a few other budget categories where I’m able to cut back, but they some are BIG ONES!

Youngest kids’ activities.

Groceries.

Household supplies.

Eating out, take out & fast food!

Some fairly easy changes to make…

A nearly effortless way to save on food and household items is less waste.  Try as I might, we have so much waste.  Meal-planning will help reduce that significantly.  I really don’t like to meal-plan but I’m committed to giving it a try and sticking with it for more than the first week!

I figured out a way to consolidate the little kids’ activities so we’ll save time and money.  If Katie joins the performing dance team at her dance studio, she’ll get four classes weekly for about half of what I was paying monthly just for tumbling for both her and Dakota.  He was being a pain at his classes anyway (said he hated them and acted up every time) so I’ll have him take a break (he can practice at home because we bought them a good tumbling mat).  I will save roughly $150 monthly and we’ll have more time to take advantage of free/cheap activities like our community pool and opportunities for homeschoolers.

Another part of my plan is to give up many of the organics I buy.  **gasp**   I didn’t think I’d ever want to do that, but I’m not convinced the price difference is always worth it.  I find myself not eating certain in-season fruits and veggies because I can’t find certified organic locally, or if I do, it’s just way too pricey.  I was eating more fresh produce before I became obsessed with organics.  I will continue to buy locally grown, in-season (and often non-certified but grown without pesticides) through our local farmers’ markets and CSA-type delivery services, but if conventional is all I can find, then I’ll wash it really well and then peel it if necessary and use it.  This allows me to shop for produce in less-expensive ways such as Market on the Move, Costco, Sprout’s and a local ranch market with dirt-cheap prices (but no organics).

I do feel strongly that I should continue to buy organic dairy, pastured eggs and grass-fed beef and grass-fed butter for most situations.  If I need a ton of butter to make cookies for a potluck, let’s say, I’ll buy the store-brand butter.  If it’s for a one-day treat, then I’ll opt for the savings over the health benefit.  I like to buy Just Bare chicken which I guess is still factory-farmed, but I feel a better choice than other conventional options.  (True pastured chicken isn’t available locally enough to buy it regularly.)  I will buy humanely raised or pastured pork products as well.  I will try to feed the family less meat and dairy overall because I really think we overdo it on beef, milk and chicken as it is…I think we can all benefit from eating more vegetable protein and less animal product anyway.

I will continue to avoid GMO products.

I will stop buying “healthy” processed foods like Annie’s and Amy’s and organic cereal.  They’re just too pricey for what they are.   I will also avoid spendy “gluten-free” substitutes and learn more about using the large quantities of almond and coconut flour I’ve purchased.

I will begin making homemade yogurt again and switch to homemade milk kefir vs. store bought.

I will use my Sodastream and real fruit instead of buying six-packs of flavored sparkling waters.

I will of course avoid preservatives, HFCS, white sugars and processed grains, etc.

I will try my hand at fermented condiments and get back to making my own condiments, period.

I will go to Costco 1-2 times per month and any household items I don’t make I will buy there, as well as supplements, pain killers, etc.  Their prices on toilet paper and the like are very competitive and buying large quantities keeps me out of the stores and helps me avoid getting into the habit of shopping for entertainment.

I will avoid Target, Walmart and the grocery store unless I need something specific.  I.E. Walmart has the best price on organic milk.  Fresh & Easy carries affordable organic grass fed beef.  Target carries the Just Bare chicken.

I will stop purchasing even “safe” commercial cleaning products for the most part and will make my own when possible.  With essential oils, castille soap, baking soda, vinegar, lemons and water, you really can clean almost anything!  I also have supplies on hand to make homemade shampoo, hand soap and body wash!  I just haven’t used them in a while!

Fast food, eating out and take-out…I’ll just stop for the most part. With more planning, making snacks and lunches ahead of time is totally do-able and will stop us from grabbing take-out on a whim.  When we do buy it, I’ll utilize our coupons and Entertainment books, so we’ll at least be saving.

Food is the one area in our budget where we consistently spend an insane amount of money for a family of six…so I think attacking these areas most fiercely will help make a big difference!

 

 

 

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