I keep seeing so many Youtube and blog posts about people doing the "January No Spend" challenge. I know that I would have failed and failed miserably at doing that. First, because my son Josh was home on leave and we had already planned on going out and doing fun things and second, because there are some amazing after Christmas clearance deals and thrift store scores with people having cleaned out their closets in December (so they can write things off on their taxes). That being said, I do love a good challenge, so I am planning something for February.
It is completely unrealistic for us to say we will not be spending any money in February. However, after talking it over with my hubby, who really wants to get back on a tighter budget again, we agreed on a $100 grocery budget. Now before you say that's just impossible to eat healthy on $100, let me tell you how we plan on doing this.
Our 2 big freezers are stocked up with meats, some dairy products, homemade soups, fruits and veggies from our garden, juices, etc.. Our pantry is also stocked with canned goods, baking ingredients, nuts, spices, condiments, cereals, pastas, etc.. We also will have Walmart Gift Cards (that I earn through Swagbucks) and a $50 Safeway gift card (that I cashed in some reward points through our credit card for) to stock up on any great deals that may come during the month. The $100 will go towards fresh fruit, veggies, salad stuff (we eat lots of salads), fresh dairy products, and anything else that we find we need (like bagels...we love bagels).
This challenge comes at a perfect time because our fuel bill for our vehicles will be coming in during February. We did a lot more running around when our son was home on leave and our bill will reflect that. This will free up extra funds to cover that.
Doing these kinds of challenges always forces me to be more mindful of my purchases. It also gets my creative juices flowing when it comes to meal planning. I dig into my cookbook collection and look for inspiration there. It actually becomes a game for me and one that I will come out the winner of! ;)