"No Buy" March update

$35.00 coffee & breakfast
$17.00 diet Coke
$25.00 buying lunch at grocery store
$9.00 buying milk for coffee

That's my estimated list of extra purchases throughout a regular month. 

The first extra purchase was $2.67 well spent for a breakfast treat on the way to school one morning.  It had been a rough morning with lots of tears and whining.  We were crazy early to school so we stopped at the store, bought a muffin and some juice boxes and had a picnic breakfast outside school.  Our moods were immensely improved with the unexpected special treat.  Until Phee tripped and scraped her knees.

We sort of fell apart for a couple weeks while Phee has strep throat.  Which turned into 4 weeks of antibiotics as the first round didn't take care of it.  Poor baby.   Prior to this challenge, I knew that I wasted the most money when we had these difficult days and weeks.  I get tired and lazy and rushed and then I don't do any food prep and I'm much more prone to forgetting anything I have prepared when we run out the door in the morning.  These weeks of strep throat just reinforced that knowledge and I'm much more eager to put the effort in at home and get my prep done.  And, if I have to put a giant post-it on the door so I don't forget my lunch, so be it.

So, after all of that, I think I spent maybe $25.00 on extras.  A big improvement!

Some tips and tricks:
  • Take milk to work for coffee.   I don't have to buy more for work and what I have at home doesn't go bad.  I grabbed a mason jar and that's what I've been using.  It's easy to see how much I have and when I'm going to need to refill.  Plus, who doesn't love a mason jar?
  •  Make snacks from scratch.  I have a fantastic granola bar recipe.  I need to make it more often because it's a great breakfast and a great snack.
  • Keep a bottle of your favorite dressing at work so you don't have to transport for lunches or veggie snacks.
  • Keep a stash of canned soup at work so that you have lunch on days you're rushed or forget your lunch in the fridge at home.
  • Spend the time prepping food on the weekend.  Cut up veggies, peel oranges or citrus, make a big container of salad.  You can quickly prepare your lunch when all the work has been done.
  • Have leftovers?  When you put them in the fridge, put them in serving size containers so you just have to grab one and go for lunch.
  • Use cash.  It's so much easier to see what you're spending and if you have it in your hand, you might be more inclined to hold onto it.
  • Meal plan.  It helps with lots of things, especially saving money.  The leftovers from your dinners make great lunches.  And there are some great breakfast casserole or baked oatmeal recipes out there that help make sure you get a good breakfast.
Overall, the month wasn't as bad as it could have been if I wasn't being mindful of my purchases.  There were some unnecessary purchases and a couple lazy days.  But, it's nice to come out of the month knowing that I can, in fact, live without all that diet Coke that I think I need.  And, if I just spend a little bit of time planning every day, I can certainly remember to get my lunch, snacks and milk to work.

I'm going to try to keep this up.  Even if I do make the occasional extra purchase, cutting out $60 of unnecessary spending each month adds up to quite a bit over a year.  And that I can live with.

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For April, I'm going to try to put down the phone.  With the way March went, Phee has had lots of TV time, and, while I might snuggle with her on the couch, I usually am also messing around on my phone.  Because, really, how many times can you watch the same episode of Arthur?  But, it's a bad habit and I'd like to stop.  We have a nice chunk of time to play after dinner and we'll both have a lot more fun if I put the phone down.
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