Thursday, September 3, 2009

No, We Won't Eat Rocks and Sticks

Part of the reason I loved Small Notebook's No Spend Month was that it wasn't totally crazy and out there. I liked that Annie suggested that the amount be expanded to $350 from $250. First, we live in one of the most expensive areas of the country. But that aside, for me, this month is not about asceticism or extremity. I have done the whole "living off of the extreme minimum" thing. I have lived off of Ramen (my low came when I stopped even caring if I cooked it, and would just eat it raw... ah, college). I know people who live off of canned soup and bagels, or obtain all of their food from dumpster diving. Both very cost efficient, but just not where I'm at right now. I'm not foraging for food this month: I just want to become more mindful of the ways that I spend money. And I still want my family to live comfortably, with occasional treats.

As Ben and I sat down to think about the ways that we spend money, one of the big realizations was that we pour money into our house. There are *lots* of unfinished little projects that seem like they will be fairly inexpensive, but then once you rip the sink out of the wall, or whatever it is, end up costing an arm and a leg. Part of this month will mean just waiting on all of that stuff. I do plan on mulching my garden. And possibly planting a few bulbs for spring. But all of that will have to fit into our $350.

Here's what our pantry looks like right now. It's fairly well stocked after my mom's run to Costco: we have a 25 lb bag of flour, oats for bread and granola, raisins (one of our special treats), honey, and other things we have found are worth it to buy in bulk. We have diapers for the month (no, we're not currently using cloth diapers, here's one reason why, paired with the fact that our laundry machine is on its last legs... for more on cloth diapers see everything I have to say about cloth diapers). Our whole Costco run came in at $127.85. I'm feeling good about the month! Join me tomorrow for crafty ways we have found (or learned) to save money around here.

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