Monday, January 7, 2013

31 Days of Nothing 2013, Week 1

Wow!  We're already rounding out Week 1 of the "31 Days of Nothing" Challenge!

Here are a few observations/strategies from this week:

1.  It's incredible how wonderfully stingy I've become when faced with the prospect of not being able to run to the store for anything I want. For example, I realized that I only have half of a bag of ground coffee that is supposed to last me for the rest of the month (yikes!).  In response, I've taken to making only 1 Cup's worth of coffee in the pot.  Usually I'd just make a half a pot and throw out most of it, but I'd like to see how far I can stretch this half a bag of necessary caffeine!

Here's Six more ways I've been Stingy!  

2.  Because I'm only buying the necessities, I've decided to shop locally instead of making my bi-weekly trip to Aldi, saving me 40 miles per trip on the car/gas.

3.  Compared to our last home, our new home is an Energy Star Rated House, thus making our power bill MUCH lower than our previous residence despite the fact that it is nearly 3x the size!  That said, there's always ways to save more, so I've dropped the daytime temperature to 66 degrees and nighttime to 67 degrees (I just hate being cold in the night). Can't wait to see how much that lowers the bill!

4.  This is a great opportunity to use up those old, dusty cans and boxes in the back of the pantry.  Much better to use them now before they expire and waste money throwing them out!   We're going to be using that year-old dried milk, that canned ham & those canned whole potatoes this month!

Well Stocked Pantry
5.  This is also a chance to hang out at home, leisurely finish some outstanding crafts/home projects & just relax.  So many times we are tired from an over-extended weekend.  We are using this month as a kind-of "hibernation & relaxation" opportunity!

6.  As with last year's challenge, this is a real exercise in keeping our priorities in mind and an affirmation of how very lucky we are that we don't HAVE to go to this extreme to survive.   This is certainly not true of so many, particularly in these bad economic times.  

Meal Plan Week 1*:
Tuesday: Frozen Pizza
Wednesday: Chicken, Stove Top, Beans, Cranberry Sauce
Thursday: Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs
Friday: Chicken Fingers, Wild Rice, Kale
Saturday: Macaroni & Cheese, Hot Dogs, Corn
Sunday: Fish & Chips, Clam Strips
Monday: Turkey Goulash

*With some variation, our other meals are typically:
Breakfast: Bagel Sandwich (husband), Egg on Toast/Crumpet (son), Cereal (me)
Lunch: Leftovers (husband), PB&J/Can Fruit/Chips (son), Soup/Egg on Toast (me)

Purchased at Grocery Store This week:
Bagels (2)
Ham (2)
3 Diet Cokes (don't judge!)
Total:  $27.63

Total Money Spent This Week:
Grocery:  $27.63
Drug Store:  $23.00
Gas:  $0.00 (Still have half a tank!  Woo Hoo!)
Total:   $50.63

OK, now it's your turn!  What have you been doing to keep up with the 31 Days of Nothing Challenge?  Leave your totals, strategies & thoughts below!

Linking Up at Tip Junkie, Today's Creative Blog, The Frugal GirlsFunky Junk Interiors and these other Great Parties!


  1. Thanks for your awesome site!

    I took a similar challenge, starting on the 5th to purchase nothing that i would find/store in my pantry or freezer. no meat, no dried or canned goods. only fresh dairy and produce. since we just started a couple days ago, not much to report. however, i will say that i also expanded the challenge to no eating out and no new crafting supplies (much tougher). I did make sure I was stocked up on coffee and soda and tea specifically before the 5th. we ate out on the 4th -- made sure we said it was our last meal out for the month. surprisingly, Daddy was fussy yesterday when he realized I really meant it, but he ended up making a delicious "free" lunch. My take on eating out is, what's the point of challenging yourself to use up freezer and pantry items, then going to a restaurant six or seven times in the month? :)

    1. So true! It is so hard that first week to break the habit of eating out. Great job & keep us posted!

  2. love the blog Heather! you really present some very useful tips for everyone. keep the frugal tips coming.

  3. My husband is SO behind the new policy of no eating out this month that he is searching through the pantry for meal combos. Frugal is fun sometimes. Thanks for posting your week's helps.

  4. I also tend to throw some coffee out (although I sometimes reheat the coffee in the pot to avoid wasting). How much coffee are you using for brewing one cup of coffee? I would like to try that as well.

    1. I fill the pot to the #4 line with water and only put in 1 tablespoon of coffee. You may need to experiment a little depending on your machine. Cheers!

    2. I dump my leftover coffee into a pitcher to use as iced coffee when their is enough. Pitcher stays in the very back of the top shelf of my fridge where its practically ice cold. I use liquid flavored creamer when ready to drink it.

    3. Their is supposed to be there. Oops :-)

    4. Christian, I've heard that some people make coffee ice cubes to add to their iced coffee. Regular ice cubes will dilute the coffee.

    5. I know some people find it strange but my husband makes enough coffee for two days then puts half in the fridge in a mason jar. Then he just heats it up in the microwave the next day. It honestly tastes the same as fresh. And less fights about the coffee pot having to be washed everyday. :)

    6. I pay extra for fair trade coffee, so I would never throw it away. One great idea is to freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays and use it to make frugal iced cappuccino. For each serving, I use 4 coffee cubes, 1/4 cup French vanilla coffee flavouring (I use International Delight brand), and 1/2 cup milk; blend all together in blender. Yum!

  5. I just wanted to tell you how much I love this blog. I have started really cutting back on expenses like hanging out my clothes to dry. I only use the dryer when it is raining for days on end! We also keep the heat cut down and use our fireplace since we were given free wood! I have a question though. How long past due expiration dates can you use canned foods? I have boxes of them that were my mom's and I brought them to our house when she passed away. Some are about a year out of date but my neighbor says they are still ok. Any ideas?
    Thanks for all your tips.

  6. I don't understand having the heat higher at night than during the day. Aren't you under covers at night? We turn our heat down into the low 50's at night and I don't even notice it...with my flannel sheets and down comforter and heavy crocheted bedspread (and, if it's REALLY cold) the electric blanket turned on just till I warm up.

    I've only recently discovered your blog. I've been living frugally for over 31 years of marriage but I still see things in your posts occasionally which I haven't actually tried yet and so I love reading it!

  7. Great post, but I can't help noticing that you and your family eat hardly any vegetables.

  8. Lovely to find someone else who's doing this challenge. Your well-stocked pantry is amazing! I just have one spare cupboard for mine! As for tips, I just wrote a post on saving money if you are a film fanatic:
    I'm looking for more money saving blog hops if you know of any?
    Have a good weekend!

  9. I came across one of your recipes and then noticed this challenge. After a bad accident & loosing just about everything - it's a long story- point is, this was difficult at first, but it's a lifestyle now to live frugal and last a month at a time. I'm thrilled to find your "fake" recipes -they're going to be helpful♥

  10. Wow…outstanding service and products to meet our office needs. I Love all and the colors you choose are perfect. I want this furniture for my new house. Thanks a lot for sharing
    Traditional Wooden Cot


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