I read about the 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero back in October thanks to someone posting it on Facebook. For one of my new year resolutions I discussed (and begged) for Dave and I to do this in January. We decided to do it and I am SO SO glad we did! It was an experience I wouldn't change for the world. First I will explain exactly what we did...then I will explain all I learned!
First, the idea is that you don't spend anything except on essentials. Each day you are given a task to do and that you are supposed to follow. Day one for example is to read the ground rules and basically just commit to doing the challenge. Each day that follows gives you task to help you along with your goals. Week one is mostly about food and meal planning, week 2 was cleaning and organizing, week 3 was getting creative, and week 4 was finding ways to make money. I can tell you that we DIDNT do all the activities. We mostly focused on the spending zero part of it, but I loved some of the ideas she gave and actually did read the ideas everyday. As far as the no spending we actually went the whole month only buying milk, cheese, eggs, bread, fruits, and veggies plus bought a few birthday gifts that we previously knew about. We used only what we had on hand for meals and got creative with activities with the kids. Some days were definitely harder then others, but all and all I would do it again!
For more information go here.
So what did I learn?? Where do I begin? I never thought this month would teach me so much! So here we go.......
-I found that I had enough in my pantry to make at least 24 days worth on meals! Glad that without shopping we could do that in case we needed to live off of that for awhile.
-Leftovers became gold! We ate everything we had because we couldn't take anything for granted.
-I learned to become resourceful. When we ran out of paprika I looked online for a substitute. In fact I found a lot of substitutes for things I never thought of before. I also learned how to make homemade tortillas that were so good and now my kids won't even ate store bought!!!
-I learned what my weaknesses (and Daves) were with our spending. Donuts for the kids while shopping, chocolate and candy for me, soda runs for Dave. Hitting fast food when tired instead of just going home to make food. All things that add up quickly and made us very aware what we need to stop spending on.
-The kids learned to be grateful for what they had and were given. They hated hearing "not this month we aren't spending money." But really did learn to enjoy the treats give at school and even enjoy the snacks they did get even if they were carrots :)
-A night at home playing board games with the kids and having popcorn is better then anything that requires spending money!
-That no matter how tired I can go home and cook for my family and its alway better food then fast food. In fact after this was done fast food simply didn't sound good anymore.
-We saved 800 dollars!! And this could not come at any better time since we needed earnest money for the house just the next month.
-We could do hard things and survive! The last week meals got not quite as good and we were dying for some chocolate/ soda, but we did just fine. So proud that we did it and proved to ourselves that we could be disciplined.
So go check out the link before the picture and try to do this if you really want to save some money for one month! So grateful to whoever put it on Facebook and so glad I was able to convince Dave to do it! GOOD LUCK!!