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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

31 Day Challenge: No Spending = Savings!


A Google search of 'Tune Up' revealed the following definition:
An Adjustment for Better Functioning
A search of 'Adjustment' revealed the following:
A Small Change, A Minor Correction, A Modification

What is Tune-Up Tuesday? Find out more HERE!

Today is the first day of a new month; a fresh start and a clean slate! What are we going to do with it? What are we going to write on it? We need to have goals and plans. Oh, they may not always go exactly as we planned but by planning, by being intentional, we at least ensure we are heading in the right direction.

When DH and I got married, we had a substantial income between the two of us and we lived accordingly. Over the past four years, things have changed and I mentioned before we are now at about 45% of where we were. EEK! None the less, we have determined that it is best for our family for me to remain at home. I am so thankful for a husband that recognizes the importance of a mommy at home. Over the past year+/-, we have been taking steps adjust our lifestyle to reflect the change in income. We have made some big improvements in a lot of areas however, we are still finding ourselves not where we want to be: increasing our savings. We’ve been talking about it and have decided to do a 31 day challenge during the month of October.

Our 31 Day Challenge will run though the month of October. We have decided to spend as little as we possibly can. We’re trying to see just what we can save when we spend only what we truly need to as often needs aren’t really needs.

Obviously the bills (hydro, mortgage etc.) will be paid.

We plan to decrease our fuel cost this month: DH obviously needs to drive to work, we both need to drive to church and we need to have the occasional trip to the store. It isn’t that we will not drive anywhere but, rather, that we will carefully consider our trips and attempt to cluster them together to do as few trips as possible using our gas wisely.

After careful consideration, we have decided that our grocery budget for the month is $100 ($25/wk). We can do this because we have a well stocked freezer full of meat that DH has purchased on sale as well as a well-stocked baking cupboard. I live in Ontario, Canada where coupons are generally worth 20% or less of the purchase price and are mostly for processed foods that we don’t usually buy. That isn’t always the case and I do strive to use coupons when possible but I wanted to mention this for my US readers simply because I know that with coupons, many of you (Money Saving Mom etc.) can get a whole lot for next to nothing. Where I live,  milk is $4.79/4L of homo and eggs are $1.99/dz. Those are our two main staples. In purchasing those, we still have a fair of our small budget left for fresh fruits and veggies (very important to us!). I do have plenty home made pickles, lots of canned peaches, frozen berries etc. Of course the girls and I love to bake which means I’m dabbling with home made breads.  With all of this, for short term this budget is manageable. The point of this exercise is to help us see how much we bought before that we can get along just fine without. It will also help us to realize how much we can save if we put our minds to it.

In terms of clothing and such, DH and I are not in need of anything ourselves and the littles have already been outfitted for winter which means that clothing isn’t something we need to think about for this month. (Though I have to admit that Gymbucks at Gymboree starts today and if you are reading this Thursday morning about 9am to 11am +/- then I am probably there shopping. I already had planned to purchase Christmas outfits and such and with coupons $25 off $50, shopping off the sale rack is quite a deal! Also a big thank you to my mother-in-law who contributed to the “Gymboree Fund” for today LOL)

So in a nutshell: For 31 days we are paying essential bills, spending $100 on groceries and driving where we need to. It will be exciting to see what we have to add to our savings at the end of the month. I probably will not share an actual number but possibly a percentage. Right now our saving percentage is 0 so anything is up LOL.

Does your family have a regular savings plan? Do you often mix up needs with wants? What helps you differentiate?

Do you have a tune-up you are working on or completed? Link up (directly to your post) or share a comment! If you could mention TUT and link back so others can join in too, that would be appreciated!


  1. GOOD LUCK!!! I'm anxious to see how it goes for you. (I"m not going to share this with my DH, because he'll make me do it too! I'm just not ready for this yet.)

  2. Thanks Amanda. I'm not sure I'm ready for it either LOL. It's a one month trial thing at our house. I am not sure I can commit to more just yet. Baby steps right?

  3. Definitely, good luck! My weakness is a good bargain and my husband's is not differentiating between needs and wants. I think we might have a hard time with such a challenge but it would probably be good for the both of us.

  4. We have done this a few times at our church. Not just to save money, but it seems like so many people Me included, tend to take spending for granted. First of all when we start thinking that "I can't do without this (other than life's essentials), then we are placing those items up as "gods". When we start putting more emphasis on buying (my weakness is soda pops) than what I give God in my tithing or offering then I placing sodas above God. I spend about 15 or 20 dollars a week on cokes. Needless to say, that's what I need to cut out. I give tithes and offerings, of course depending how much I earn and usually that is far less than what I spend on cokes. What is wrong with this picture? People don't mind going out and spending 30 or 40 dollars on a meal for two, or paying 8.00 per ticket for a show, but when it comes to giving tithes and offerings they give "what they have to" if any at all. When I wasn't working, my husband used to hand me a dollar as I was leaving and say this is for the offering plate, like it was some big deal. That really use to get to me. Anyway, I'm going to cut out cokes and then whatever I save, I'll give to the church. We place so much ahead of God without realizing it. TV and the computer are two more weaknesses I have. I used to read my Bible every night without fail. Now, I'm either watching TV or Blogging or playing games on the computer. I don't want to go through withdrawl symptoms so one thing a month is what I'm going to work toward. Thank you for giving me that push. I know this really isn't what you had in mind for Tune up Tuesday, but I think for me, it's a good thing. Thanks again.

  5. Oh, I am with you on the bargain area Andrea! And sometimes I too have trouble with needs vs wants. But you know, even if it isn't a textbook perfect month of only buying needs, the fact that we pay attention to what we are really spending is a great step!

    PJ: Welcome to TUT! Everything you mentioned is perfect material for Tune Up Tuesday! Though if you tune everything up all at once what will we blog about? LOL. I to have many areas that I want to work on. I find that I make so much more progress by choosing one small area and working on just that one thing for the week or month. I look forward to hearing about the progress you've made next week!


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