My main goal for 2018 when I began this challenge was to make it to the end of January without buying one thing that I consider a part of this challenge. Included items are things like clothes, shoes, homewares, that kind of stuff.
Over the month of January I saw various posts from other people which gave me some new ideas.. So I’ve added in a couple of extra goals to this challenge. Some parts of this post might be a little boring, other parts might inspire you to set yourself a new challenge.
No Spend Days
One of my great inspirations in life though she probably has no idea how much so – Frogdancer, without whom I would not own chickens – has a new blog about finances. I love what she did here with this intentional spending spreadsheet. I thought I might try something in Google Calendar to track my no-spend days. But then I remembered, I have The Other Half who is a spreadsheet master. He quickly created something pretty easy for me to use –
That does not look like much, but when you click on the tab at the bottom, it does this! MAGIC!
This will help me to set goals and also to streamline the way I do things. I would love it if I can get my spend day down to once a fortnight plus my occasional mani/pedi.
Just a note about the TVSN there – that is a part payment for my exercise equipment I bought in December. While I am not counting that in my buy nothing 2018 challenge, because I did not buy it in 2018, I *am* counting it as a spend day.
My current No Spend nemesis is mushrooms. Right now we usually do one shop a fortnight and a small top up the following week, usually just fresh beef mince and fresh mushrooms for my pizza. I can freeze the beef but I have never frozen mushrooms before. I’ll give this a try next grocery shop and then foodsave the mushrooms and freeze them. If that works, I might do a big mushroom prep once a month and freeze enough for pizzas that month.
No Spend – Sum It Up January
I managed a total of 21 no spend days in January, with one long streak of 8 days with nothing spent. I could have managed 12 days if not for the fact I needed to get a script at the chemist on the 18th. But, bonus, I figured I might as well stock up on things while there, so I would not have to go back for a while. I think I have enough vitamins to last until March now.
But wait, whoa, what is that big chunk o’money on the 14th there? That was grocery shopping plus a credit card charge for a hotel booking I made for a trip to Canberra in September. The price was too good to pass up and it is right in the middle of Floriade.
No Spend Goals for February –
February has 28 days. Why not try to make 23 of them no spend? I definitely will have two grocery shops this month, my TVSN will come out one day unknown ahead of time and I may need one manicure.
I will be tracking our grocery spend for 2018 mainly to see if there is anywhere I can do things more economically, thanks to An Exacting Life for the inspiration on that one. This spreadsheet took us longer to figure out and create. Did I want to enter in all the information from our grocery receipts to one spreadsheet? Turns out, yes I do.
And thankfully our Aldi Overlords have made this pretty simple for me. On every Aldi receipt there is a 4-6 digit number for each item. We buy the same items over and over, so I can have one spreadsheet with all those numbers and the item description.
Then when I go to enter in the fortnightly shop, I just type in the number from the receipt and all the info pops up, then I can put in the price I paid for it.
Coles did not make life quite so easy, but the good news there is, we really only buy about 30-40 items from Coles these days. So I will give those items their own item number, and print out a handy reference chart.
Already I see one thing we will be changing. See soy milk at Aldi and then soy milk protein plus at Coles? Notice the $1 extra per litre I am paying for soy milk with extra protein? I get plenty of protein already in my diet, so I will be buying the plain soy from Aldi from now on.
This week Aldi was out of Almond Milk, and I had to get it from Coles, where I discovered it is ALSO $1 more than I can buy it for at Aldi, as is the regular soy I normally get from Aldi!!. It is the exact same product. Why should Coles get an extra dollar per litre for almond and soy milk? I needed to buy it, but we have a large fridge and I can make sure to have a couple of backup containers with long useby dates in future.
Sometimes Aldi does not have things that we need for our fortnightly shop. Leeks is one example. They tend to run out of leeks fairly regularly and I never buy them from Coles because they are so Up Money there. Leeks are a staple food for us, we use them instead of onions which we both tend to have a bad reaction to. I might have to look into freezing them.
We also use a spreadsheet for our shopping list which you can see here, plus you can grab your very own copy all set up and ready to use. I will do a post on the grocery spreadsheet in March after I have been using it for a while, with instructions and a link to your very own copy. If you want a copy in the meantime comment here and I will email you one.
I will do a mini-shop at Coles today as I am trying to stock up on specials we usually buy *and* to earn bonus points. 2000 points = $10 off a future shop, so I found enough specials in the second week and I have planned it out to exactly $60.72 – I can gain $30 off future shops.
My plan for Coles this year is to stock up on the things we always buy that have long use by dates when they are on super special, eg cooking chocolate, cinnamon muffin mix, frozen fish fillets. That way I will not have to buy them when they are Up Money AKA not on special at all.
Grocery – Sum It Up January
Coles January – $165.70
Aldi January – $489.59
Bulk Meat – $23.24
Total grocery spend – $678.23
Grocery cost of 21.87/day
I used one $10 bonus for Coles this month, without which our spend would have been $175.70, pushing us up to 22.20 spend per day. That is one reason I am willing to sacrifice a no spend day in order to earn bonus points. It is not something I would do all the time, though.
Grocery Goals for February –
Bulk buy chicken breast if it is on special. Stock up freezer items if they are on special. Can we get grocery cost down to $20 a day? This might depend on specials available at Coles. If I can keep Coles to $120 this month that would leave me with $440 for Aldi – 28×20=560 -120=440.
Ahh, maths, my least favourite thing. But data, that is more interesting!