No Spend Year (April Update!)

So far we have still been doing relatively well with this whole trying not to spend money on frivolous things journey! I was so proud of the Mr. for finding a used pair of boots that he really wanted for when we go hiking. He found them on eBay and I’m pretty sure they are never worn! And he raves over how comfortable they are!

We were also able to go to the museum in Antietam, MD and camping without extra spending. We took our own food and drinks, played the free putt putt there and avoided the gift shop where everything was so expensive!

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We were working on his skipping rocks technique! 

Also, since the boy is starting his own little composting business, we told people nearby that if they were getting ready to get rid of something that the chickens would enjoy, that we would gladly take it! The chickens have been enjoying cabbage, lettuce, spinach, avocados and even some bread!

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They have been eating a lot less feed! 

And even though new buckets would look great for the boy’s composting  service, we decided to peel off labels and scrub down ones that were given to us instead! They will go out to his customers today. We did purchase easy to remove lids for them.

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He put in lots of elbow grease for them to look that great! 

And we are still growing pretty much everything from seed to save money. I love weird varieties of plants, so growing from seed is about my only option. I am going to get the squashes, watermelons and gourds growing in the greenhouse this week! They can go in the ground at the end of the month!

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All of the flowers have popped up too now! 

We also got back a nice little tax credit for the solar panels! So instead of buying something new, we dropped that money on the loan that we have for them. They won’t take too long to pay off either!

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And now for the things that I have bought: I purchased a nuc of honeybees, because most of my bees died this winter.

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They are doing well! 

We also have to buy fencing for the garden, but that needed done because of the old fencing breaking.

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It’s still a work in progress! 

Even though we are still spending money on our homestead needs, we are making huge financial strides! My braces (Invisalign) will be paid off next month. We still have no vehicle payments. We have no credit card bills (thank goodness!) and we are getting close to another $10,000 leap on our mortgage! We should have this place paid off before I’m 40!

Are you making your debt snowball roll?! We are trying!

No Spend March

We are chugging along with our no spend year. I have spent money on gifts this month (I bought my baby niece some food and not candy for Easter and gifts much deserved to 2 work friends,but that’s it!)

Our big money saver is that we sold our panel truck! It was a hard choice to make, but we were not using it. We are glad to have more money in our savings and one less vehicle to tag and insure!

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Bye bye to the blue beast!

I’m doing my best to keep gardening costs down by using what we have and starting everything from seed! I also save my own seeds and plant mostly heirloom varieties to help with the seeds saving.

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Garlic that came up on it’s own (30 free garlic plants!) all replanted! 
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Pepper plants started from seed
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Saved Roma tomato seeds 

I have also been mending so much around here! We are up to 3 pairs of paints that are hole free and a certain pup decided to tear a hole in his bed, but all are fixed!

The screen door to the garden was ripped and broken and we almost bought a new one, but we used some old paint that we had to fix it up and put some reused wire fencing on it. Good as new!

We also try to do as much as we can around here, instead of paying others to do it for us. I am the dog groomer:

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Our sweet Izzy after her spa day

And we have been doing all of the work on the camper ourselves!

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New seat covers! 

And the pollinator garden is slowly being completed by us mainly using materials that we have!

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Lots of labor, but we are doing it by ourselves 

Instead of buying eggs from the grocery store or an egg dying kit, we used food coloring that we already had and brown and white eggs.

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I ❤️ How they turned out! 

And instead of going out to eat or paying to go do something, the boy and I took a nice walk locally! We hadn’t walked on this trail in a few years!

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Always interested in the rock formations! 

Overall, I’m thinking we are doing well with our no spend year! I’m hoping to continue spending less and gettting this house paid off!

No Spend February

We made 3. major achievements this month! 1. We paid off the truck!

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No more truck payments! 

So, we are officially vehicle payment free! Of course last month, instead of putting more money towards the house or the solar panels, I needed new tires for my car. They were leaking air constantly and not safe, so that’s definitely a must!

2. On the awesome list is that made another $10K leap on the house! You know, when you look at how much you owe and it is no longer in the $80K’s (for example) and now in the $70k’s!! That’s exciting! That will definitely feel good to get paid off eventually!

3. The Mr. has been doing a great job of packing his lunch! For pretty much ever, he has been a “pick up a snack while working” kind of guy. But after I showed him a quick write up of how much that really costs per year, he changed that habit!

For Valentine’s Day I actually had parent-teacher conference day until almost 6pm. So, it was easy to not go out to eat! But, we enjoyed out weekend and my parents even took our boy for a night. It was very quiet around here without him! 😳

My Mr. made me a beautiful pollinator garden for the special occasion out of upcycled wood. We just need to get the bamboo to fill it, but we have a free source for that! It is quite an invasive plant!

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Pollinator hotel! 

We were able to make a few bucks this week too! The dead hive provided us with some honey to sell. We will use that to help buy us another colony! Bees are not easy to keep! (Or cheap!)

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Honey! 

And soon I will have a surplus of eggs to rehome!

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Delicious eggs! 

Also, the Mr. blacksmithed some beautiful mantel brackets for a beam of barn wood for a customer! They turned out beautiful!

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In the garage! 

And now, in their new home!! They loved them just as much as we did!

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And the fireplace looks beautiful! 

Our electric bill came, and I was expecting a nice bill because February was pretty cold, but to our surprise it was $0!!

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Yippee!! 

And to save a lot of money, I start my garden from seeds. Getting plants from the nursery is pricy, and you can only get certain varieties, so I save my seeds and use the heirloom varieties yearly! And this year, I got involved in a seed swap to get different varieties! (I did have to pay shipping)

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So many different flowers, beans and veggies that I can’t wait to plant! 

It was not a perfect month because we still needed to buy items for the camper, and we started picking up some candy for the boy’s Easter basket. Oh, and we got Chinese out one time, but used the money from our crafting and not the bank. So, we haven’t been perfect, but it’s nice to be able to create a growing savings account and work on our debt snowball!

So, have you been working on spending less?!

No Spend mid-February Update

Last month we were able to put extra money into our savings and are proud of another major achievement! We are now officially car payment free!! Yay!!!

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The Mr.’s beast is paid off!

I also managed to not spend money on valentines for my students! I used thread and cardstock that I already had to make these:

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Friendship bracelets for my students!

My hubby was so sweet and made me my Valentines gift!

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Pollinator hotel

It was crafted from some old redwood fence posts that were given to us by my dad! The empty shelves will be filled with pieces of cut up bamboo  and will be home to a lot of pollinators to lay some eggs! The total spent was $0 and it is way better than expensive flowers or chocolates!

My boy is such a sweet soul, especially  for a teenager. He doesn’t ask for anything. So, when I saw this pattern for a crocheted poke ball, I made him one! I had all of the yarn already here!

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My boy loved his poke ball!

We did spend a little money on our new lights set up! We like to grow different varieties, and starting from seeds allows us to have our pick of whatever heirlooms that we want!

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Our seed starting rack! Sherman is playing “Where’s Waldo!”

We haven’t been spending money on anything, but when I was in the craft store, these were hard for me to not buy! I loved them!

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I actually didn’t buy them!

So, for the first half of the month, we have been doing a pretty fantastic job! It’s kind of odd not going out to eat or just going shopping for the fun of it. I think when spring arrives, and there’s more to do, it will be easier to be consumed with outdoor living! Is anyone else having a great no spend month?

No Spend January

Month one of our no spend year went pretty fantastic! The Mr. has managed to not eat out for lunch a single time! He never eats a huge meal, just grabbed a snack here or there. But he’s saving is around $80-$100 a month by just packing! I have also not spent money on eating out for lunch! I will continue to be a packer.

We had to buy a new hot water tank for the camper because the old one was leaking and was original to the camper. I also bought these necessities:

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Seeds for the garden (used PayPal money from craft sales!) 
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The boy’s birthday cake! (Got it 1/2 off because it was from Christmas!) 
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Bought the boy ice cream on his birthday and another for a neighbor that shares his bday! 
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Towel for a baby shower gift. Not much money because I crafted it myself! And made the gift wrap! 

I started up a free site for our small town and I have been able to find homes for our no longer needed items. The boy scored some military gear for free in his size! He loved it all!

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All free! 

We have been eating at home for every meal and no one has complained yet! The picture below is the best pizza I have made to date, as well as my cinnamon rolls!

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Delicious 
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Also delicious! 

We were able to drop a little extra down on our mortgage and almost have the truck paid off! Gotta keep that debt snowball rolling!

Next month I am going to see how much money we go into the month with and compare it to what we end the month with. That way I’ll be able to tell you all how much we will be able to put into savings!

Baking/cooking and not spending $

This weekend is a continuation of below freezing weather. I’m really missing those warm summer days and growing my own food! However, I have been enjoying making soup with the tomatoes that I preserved and eating my own pickles, catsup, garlic and green beans!

I have been making most of our meals from scratch, and made some awesome cinnamon rolls earlier in the week and then a pizza that was perfection today!

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Cinnamon rolls! 
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Best pizza I have ever made! 

To keep busy, I have been crocheting lots of messy bun hats!

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Crocheting away! 

I also made this matching set for an adorable little girl and her beautiful momma!

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I love the way they turned out! 

While I have been crafting, the mister has been out pounding on the anvil! This is a bottle opener for a friend out of a railroad spike!

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Bottle opener! 

And the only extras that we have purchased so far: a McFlurry for my birthday boy and another for a neighbor that shares his day!

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McFlurry x2

And we also bought the boy an ice cream cake for his day! It was a great deal at 1/2 off because it was a Christmas cake! I added some extra frosting, some sprinkles and put the 13 on it. No one knew it was a Christmas one!

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Happy birthday to my big teenager! 

And I will continue to sit around and enjoy my footed pajama pants (feejays) and dream about warmer weather!

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Love these pants! 

Is it so stinking cold where you live?! Stay warm friends!

 

2018 is going to be a No Spend Year!

I know what you’re thinking… you have to spend money to stay alive! You’re right! I also don’t want my belongings repo-ed or to starve! So, of course we are going to pay our mortgage and other bills. We are also going to definitely be buying food, but staying in our budget!

Now on to the reason why we would do this! My mister is a police officer and has been for over 20 years. His job has definitely changed in the past couple years, with many more dangerous changes in the future. I would love for him to be able to retire sooner instead of later!

The objectives to our challenge: (I don’t like to call them rules!)

Groceries

1. We have a budget for how much that we spend on our groceries per month. We will stick to that budget and you won’t be seeing us eat out! (Unless we have a gift card!)

Eating out

2. Lunch packing is in our future. No coffees, teas, sodas or drive thrus. (Which is really easy to me because I don’t go to them!)

Shopping

3. Shopping for new items is going to be avoided. No buying more clothes or shoes or whatevers. If we really need something, we will try to find it second hand. Gifting will be interesting this year!

Business

4. The buying of business items, will still happen. Also, I’m sure that we will still need to buy gardening items. But, whatever money is made from the homestead will go back into it!

Travel

5. We are planning on packing up the family and heading west on a road trip this summer. We definitely will be watching what we spend, but we also want to make sure that this is a great experience. So, sending will happen.

Gas

6. Yes, we are going to have to buy fuel, but we really don’t waste it. I might just need to find alternate transportation to work. Walking or  🚲 ?

Household goods

7. We don’t use disposable items, like paper towels or commercial cleaners. But, we will need to spend money on toilet paper and laundry detergent.

Emergencies 

8. We definitely won’t scrimp on medications or doctors visits. Also, if a NEED must be replaced, it will be. We need to make sure everyone here is very well taken care of.

Pets

9. All the pets will be taken care of including fed well and receive vet care when needed.

Online shopping 

10. This is the hardest to avoid! We will only be making purchases to benefit our homestead.

Overall this will be a way of separating out our needs from our wants! We will be updating on how much we have been able to save! Anyone else out there up for the challenge? Maybe only for a few weeks or months? 2018 is going to be a great year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚