Monday, February 4, 2013

~Review of No-Spend January~

It was tough, but I did it! I managed to stay committed to not buying anything unnecessary in January*.

I was tempted many times but I used some self control and held back on whipping out the credit card.

So what did I learn?

1. Preparation is key, especially with a baby. Before we go out I always give myself lots of time to pack food and drinks for both of us so that we aren't caught in a situation where we are starving and not close to home. I didn't have fast food once! (With the exception of Tim Horton's a couple times after running). I only ate out twice at a restaurant- once when I already had dinner plans with some friends at the beginning of the month and twice when we went out for a post-long run brunch.

2. I definitely get a rush when I buy something. Unfortunately that feeling doesn't last very long and then I need to buy something else. Not buying anything extra in January helped me overcome the need for that feeling and to get enjoyment elsewhere.

3. Getting rid or reducing the temptation to buy things helps. Out of sight, out of mind. I unsubscribed to a bunch of retail store emails that just taunted me on a daily basis. Sale, sale, sale, sale!

4. A sale doesn't really save you money-- you still have to spend money. Unless it's a sale on a necessary item. I read a quote somewhere-- "My wife saved so much money we went broke!"

5. Pinterest is awesome but it also makes me want to spend money! I need to pick only a couple ideas and complete them rather than buying all the supplies for 10 projects that I never get around to doing.

6. Groceries are expensive, or at least they are for us. I followed a few other blogs that were doing a no-spend January as well and they barely spent any money on groceries! I know the food prices in the US are cheaper but I have no idea how these people spend only $30-$50 a week on food. We spend $15 on yogurt alone a week! We have been meal planning- mostly so that we know what we are eating ahead of time so it isn't a frantic rush to make dinner, but also to try to save some money and not waste any food. I hate throwing out food! There is definitely room for improvement here.

7. I'm going to continue reducing the amount of money I spend. I need to simplify my life and if I am not constantly shopping (either in person or online) then I am making time for other, more important things. I want to work on my photography skills, make some photo books, read more books, cook, run & workout, spend time with my little family and enjoy all the small things in life. Time is going by way too quickly and I am missing out on great moments because I am trying to find the best bargain on something I don't need.

8. I still love shopping, clothes and eating out! I don't think that will ever change. I just need to reduce the amount of time and money I spend on those things.

9. There are lots of things to do for entertainment in the winter that don't cost anything-- skating, sledding, going for walks, inviting people over for dinner, having play dates at people's houses, going to the library, window shopping, etc.

Reading & drinking



*Ok, I bought a few unnecessary things. At least I'm honest!

Firstly, a new pair of running shoes.

Secondly, I ordered a new hat for Audrey for our family pictures this month. If I didn't, it wouldn't have arrived in time. 

Thirdly, I ordered Audrey's birthday invitations since I wanted to send them out a month in advance.

Fourthly, a pair of earrings that I got for 50% off since they were from a sample sale. BUT I made money selling a few things on Kijiji so that more than paid for them.

Fifthly, I signed up for the SeaWheeze half marathon. I was afraid if I didn't it would sell out. 

Sixthly, we did go out to a children's play centre for a playdate last week which cost $7. My friend lives in the opposite end of town so it was easiest for us to meet somewhere half way. 

Do you have any great money saving tips you want to share?
How do you keep your grocery bill down?
What cheap things do you do for entertainment?


  1. I need to try this one day! I am so bad at spending money on useless things that I "need".

    I agree about groceries being expensive! I am working on doing the meal planning too, I find when I actually stick to it (which isn't very often) we do save lots of money!

  2. Awesome job! I'm sure my husband would love for me to try this!

  3. You are right - I think that I could not spend $30-50 a week on food - my costs are on average more like $60 for two adults and a toddler. Food is cheaper in the US - plus they have a better couponing system!

    1. My "tips" -

      - hubby is fine eating PB and J for lunch and I enjoy leftovers, so I try and meal plan so that dinner can also be lunch the next day

      - I try and batch cook as much as possible - bean salad, macaroni salad, pasta, cookies (oh yeah), stew - anything that will freeze. For example, I make my own pasta sauce for roughly $6 and it lasts for two dinners and two lunches

      - Personally, I don't buy processed frozen food, protein, many organic things - that can really add up! Formula kills my grocery budget :-(

      - I buy in season fruits and veggies as much as possible. During the winter, I use frozen veggies quite a bit!

      - I only buy certain non-perishables on sale (PB, jam, cereal, toilet paper, etc.) I will cry if I have to pay full price for toilet paper :-)

      and also - it may be that your food prices in Alberta might be a bit more than mine in Ontario.

  4. Good work!!! I think you did awesome and have great tips!! I think meal planning is a must. I NEED to get back at it! :) I can't wait to see the hat for Audrey and what you guys are wearing for photos!!

  5. Awesome job! I might have to try this.

  6. Have you ever shopped at the Bulk Barn? It's great for dry goods and everything I've bought there is less expensive than the other grocery stores (even Walmart) and very fresh. Well, except nuts, they were about the same. There's two, a small one in the NE on 32nd and a large one in Okatoks.

    Good luck on the SeaWheeze! It looks really fun and I considered it too but decided on some trail races instead. If they offered a training shirt rather than training shorts I might have done it, lulu shorts be short. ;)


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