Things I Did Not Buy March

Those candle holders outlined in pink are just perfect for my candle shelf, but #yobn too bad so sad. I am a *bit* sad about this one though, because I think they would reflect the candle light beautifully and also allow me to put a couple of candles up higher. They are at Haven & Space in Berry and the deal with that place is a little bit like Costco – if you don’t buy it when you see it chances are you won’t see it again.

Maybe I will add this to my List Of Things To Look For in 2019 which will be very easy, just look back through all these posts and see what I did not buy. And speaking of things I want to add to my List Of Things To Buy In 2019.. I would like to get a decent ring.

I have several rings which no longer fit me. One of which is mystic topaz that I bought in Hawaii and I am thinking now maybe I will get that put into a new setting of some kind. More than likely silver because I prefer that.

It might be time to take my stuff in and get a price on having this done, because jewellery sitting unworn is a bit of a waste, and it is technically not *buying* something. I’m probably going to visit a local jeweller to do this and will likely buy a ring locally in 2019 but I do like some of the rings available on TVSN, mostly the NY Gems and Dallas Prince stuff.

I have been eyeing this ring for about 6 months now. But I have no idea what ring size I am. Interestingly I asked them to send me a ring sizer back when I ordered my Pilates machine, and it has never arrived. I wonder if this is fate, or perhaps #yobn special powers.

This top is totally my thing, except for the neckline.

This is the kind of thing I went looking for in the latter half of 2017 and did not find, so I ended up with these tops from Factorie.

TVSN had themselves a little Easter Saturday sale, and HOOLEY DOOLEY I would so have bought a couple of things, if not for #yobn magically selling out my sizes. My Boo Radley dress I did not buy in January at $59.95 was now $34.95, but totally sold out in my size.

And this cute little dress which I totally would have bought in black was only available in grey in my size and I did not love the grey one. You can see why – look how all the details pop on the black one and kinda vanish on the grey. I have seen a lot of their garments locally and have always been impressed with the quality even if the item was not my style.

These would have been a great addition to my winter wardrobe and at those prices I would not have minded breaking my #yobn pledge – when we are talking about saving over $100 and it is a designer one loves and enjoys, it becomes a bargain and we have a rule about that in this house, too.

This post became too long to add in the IKEA stuff so that will be a post on its own! ;)

2018yobn

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #3

March was the first month where something was purchased. Yes, it was a need, not a want. Even so.. in keeping with the spirit of the challenge, this is our first nay month.

No Spend Days

While I do want less spend days, I do not want to let them stop us from having experiences. As The Other Half was on holidays for the first two weeks of March, the spend days were more often than usual this month. My goal for a 13 day stretch of no spending was a bit unrealistic given the situation.

A Note About Fuel

That is the first time you will have seen fuel on our spend lists this year, and I want to point out that was not fuel for my car. The Other Half buys his own fuel and it does not appear on our spend lists because I have zero control over when he chooses or needs to do that. On this occasion I bought his fuel. The no-spend challenge is 100% mine and I am only counting buying decisions I make, or money that comes out of *my* accounts.

I have not put fuel into my Polo yet this year. You might think I am not using it, but you’d be wrong. It is not driving very far when it does go driving, but it does get out and about and racks up 30kms or so each week. My car is incredibly fuel efficient. I will get at least 600kms out of each tank of fuel and if you do the maths, 30×13 = 390. I estimate I will need to fill it up around week 20 (15th of May) of this year unless I suddenly up my mileage.

The other Polo does a lot more driving but even so, putting fuel into that car is quite rare. If you are interested I will go through The Other Half’s account and give you a chart of his fuel fillups. I am going to ask him to track his fuel from now on but it will not be seen in the no-spend spreadsheet.

A Note About Large Numbers Seen Above

We did our regular eye tests at Specsavers this month, and both of us needed new prescriptions, thus new glasses. I got one pair as my change was not hugely significant and all my old glasses and sunglasses will still work, The Other Half got two new pairs of reading glasses.

There is a large number for Bulk Nutrients in the final week of March – I bought 15kg of protein. I’m going to talk more about that in a separate post next Wednesday.

No Spend Goals For April

This month I should have no trouble at all meeting my March 13 day no spend goal.

Grocery Spending

We absolutely smashed our grocery goal this month. We were nearly $60 under budget. $20 of that is me taking $10 off our Coles shop twice, but I think a fairly good portion of our saving is because we’ve stocked up big when things we regularly use are on special and we’re not having to buy as much stuff when we shop.

We also bought fruit and veg in bulk including 15kg of potatoes while on our way back from the food festival. I made a huge pot of soup the following weekend and we have plenty of leftovers from that. On colder days I have the soup with protein added.

We bought a big 5kg bag of Laucke wholemeal bread machine mix this month – it was on special for $13.10 and we will not need to buy bread mix again for quite a while. The Other Half is the one who eats bread for the most part but I will usually have one slice when we make an occasional loaf.

Coles March – $105.75
Aldi March – $434.28
Bulk Fruit & Veg $19.47
Total grocery spend – $559.50
Grocery cost of $18.04/day.

Grocery Spending Goals For April

For the rest of this challenge I will be trying to get that daily number down, but it might creep back up a little bit when I do some new maths.

I’ve noticed we are getting low on dishwasher tablets, so that is on my keep an eye out for a good special list. April has 30 days, so I am setting the budget at $600 this month. If the special on dishwasher tablets is good enough, I may blow the budget, just so we don’t have to buy them again for a while. This will be the first time we have had to buy them in 2018, and I had not bought them for a long time in 2017 because the special was so great we stocked up HUGE.

Shopping Incidents

There were a couple of “incidents” this month with grocery shopping.

We’d very carefully planned out our Coles shop and everything went perfectly. We spent $84 at the checkout and if I spent $80, I earned another $10 off my shop. Right before I went to pay, the checkout asked me if I want to take $10 off my shop – and not realising this would mean my total became $74 instead of $84, I stupidly chose yes.

I was so mad at myself, then I became mad at Coles and felt a bit like I’d been scammed. I think $10 off should be a form of payment almost like a gift card, not a reduction in your overall spend.

In the meantime, unknown to myself, Aldi had weighed our one lot of sweet potatoes twice, and charged us twice for them. We only bought one lot of sweet potatoes. I am not normally someone who asks for a refund but it was nearly $10, so I took the receipt in and explained what happened. They gave me a refund.

This has happened occasionally since we began our receipt spreadsheets but usually they have selected the wrong item eg once they chose red onions instead of green capsicum, and I nearly went mad trying to work out where these onions we supposedly bought had gone, then asked the other half if he remembered putting them away. He did not, and checked the receipt again, we eventually worked out what happened.

So before we leave the store in future I will be checking the receipt. Plus I will keep a closer eye on the screen as the checking out happens. Usually I am so busy watching The Other Half fill the trolley with scanned items that I forget to look at the screen.

I have to tell you, The Other Half at the checkout is quite a sight to see and I was not sure how I would be able to look away from it. :) But on our second shop this month, I stood behind the trolley and set my eyes firmly on the checkout LCD readout, and before we left the store I double checked the receipt to make sure the items were correctly scanned.

March Thoughts

Overall March felt a bit like a fail. But it really was not. The grocery spend was the lowest it has ever been. I did some big batch cooking to bring it down even more.

2018yobn

The Sock Project

socks

As mentioned in Monday’s post, socks are my kryptonite. I also said “But not buying these socks was one of the harder moments of this challenge for me.” My brain said – You might need socks later, and Aldi do not always have them available. It is just $6, what does it matter. You better get these now!

The way things work right now, I tend to have 7-10 pairs of socks that I wear over and over until they get a hole in them, then I either buy more because they are on Special Buys at Aldi, or dig some out of the Long Forgotten Socks drawer.

Rather than buying more socks, I figured it would be a good time to catalogue the socks I have and try wearing one pair each day.So the first task was to pull out all the socks from the Long Forgotten Sock Drawer, wash them, then pair them up again. I discovered I actually had two Long Forgotten Socks Drawers.

When I pulled the socks out of the dryer, The Other Half laughed at me and said how are you going to pair all these up? I did not initially comprehend the magnitude of the problem. After 40 minutes of sock pairing, I had to take a break, and I still had half the basket to go.

51 pairs of thin socks I can wear around the house.

13 pairs of long socks for wearing with boots.

8 pairs of bed socks.

5 pairs of fluffy long socks for house wear in winter.

17 pairs of black sports socks.

45 pairs of socks I can wear for workouts.

Plus 5 extra ones I had washed and forgot about, not pictured
The pair I was wearing at the time I did this – not pictured =

Total = 145 pairs of socks.

Dear Brain, I do not need to buy any more socks right now. So please shut up. ;)

If I wore only one pair per day I would be set for 145 days. The truth is, I do not wear only one pair per day. I wear one workout pair, then I have my shower, then I wear another pair of thin socks for the rest of the day. So in reality I am set for about 50 days.

You can expect the occasional Sock Friday where I montage together some of the cuter pairs, during this project.

No socks were purchased in the making of this post, but many, many, MANY socks were paired.

2018yobn, Aldi, shopping, Snoskred Socks

Things I Did Not Buy – February

20salestyles

Noni B had a $20 sale, luckily none of the dresses I love were included. I already own one of the above tops – the Effie – I did like the Candice and Shelly but KTHXNOBUY. :)

tempted1

We went to the local cheap shop to buy, of all things, Isopropyl Alcohol which we use for cleaning laptops, phones and tablets. As this is a cleaning item it is not on my Can’t Buy list. ;) Last time I’d paid some ridiculous amount for it at Bunnings for what seemed like a tiny bottle of it – here we got double the size for half the price. While there I spotted these colourful hanging things for $12.99 and the pompoms were velvety and so gorgeous, but KTHXNOBUY.

socks

You guys, YOU GUYS. Socks are like my kryptonite. I am a firm believer that you can never have too many socks and this one time I bought a truly magnificent set from Aldi, when I went back the next week to get more they were totally sold out.

Aldi socks are perfection in my opinion especially the workout socks. They have never once let me down yet, not a single blister ever, and they are my main go-to for a workout sock. PLUS you get three pairs so they are $2 a pair which is CRAY CRAY.

This did lead me to do a big clean out of the sock drawer which provided me with an extremely shocking discovery, I will tell you about that on Wednesday. In the process I re-discovered a few old favourites that had vanished. I do have enough socks to last the year. I really do. But not buying these socks was one of the harder moments of this challenge for me.

PS Sorry if I am absent a little bit last week and this week, The Other Half is on holidays and we are catching up on some chores and activities we have been meaning to do. :) There are several emails I have not replied to and I am not leaving a lot of comments. I’ll get to it soon, I promise!

2018yobn, Aldi

I Bought Something(s)

yobnbase1000

We all knew this moment would arrive eventually. We’ve been holding out hoping that we could just struggle on with the current batch cooking pan and we made it two months, nearly three, but you tell me, would you like to keep eating out of this?

rusting1

Yes that is supposed to be a non stick cooking surface, but as you can see parts of it have flaked off leaving the surface underneath exposed, and unfortunately that surface underneath is rusting.

We had two cooking pans which I could use for batch cooking, the first one rusted to a point we were uncomfortable with some months back, and we were down to just the one pan.

We tried using baking paper hoping that would solve some of the issues, at the very least keep the rusted area away from the food, but that did not work out for us. Paper + Gravy = soggy mess. I was able to rescue that particular cottage pie with a lot of skill and talent, but clearly this was not an option for future batch cooks.

pans

The hunt was already on for a pan we could use which was dishwasher safe – the reality is, we are not going to manually wash a pan. We are dishwasher users and we know it. So some of the options were out before we even began. I was looking online at some options via commercial cookware shops in Sydney, and due to The Other Half having two weeks of holiday we planned a trip up to buy a new baking pan.

Then fate stepped in. We listed our tandem kayak for sale on a couple of local secondhand sites in November 2017, after buying a second single kayak. I’d had a few enquiries, mostly from people who wanted to pay $500 for a kayak that currently retails for $5,000. Second hand prices on our particular kayak were mostly $2,500 or so, and we wanted to get at least $2,000 for it.

roasting1

There was no particular rush and we were happy to sit and wait for the right person to enquire. On the last day of February, they did, but they were in Canberra. They wondered if we could bring it over to them, and we decided that we could kill two birds with one stone – sell the kayak and buy some new cookware. So I began looking at commercial cooking places in Canberra, and I found this one with some aluminium pans that might work.

On further googling it turns out these are not dishwasher safe, and The Other Half said to me, can’t we get something stainless steel, like our two fantastic Sunbeam Banquet frypans which get dishwashed regularly without any issues whatsoever?

ellise

Honestly, if I still had the box this came in, we could box our Ellise up and sell it as brand new and nobody would ever know. They are costly up front but you get your moneys worth long term. I’ve cooked in that frypan 2-3 times a week for over 18 years now. It performed so brilliantly and dishwashed so well, we bought a second one, though I managed to break the lid on that one sadly. Glass & Snoskred = a very bad idea.

Apparently no, commercial cooking places in Canberra did not seem to have anything stainless steel. I ended up looking at IKEA and I found the KONCIS which claims to be dishwasher safe and half the price of any commercial options. We thought we would give this a try, so we planned to stop at IKEA for lunch after dropping off the kayak.

backway

We took the “back way” over to Canberra. They have finally finished sealing it and Google Maps will now route people this way BUT I have to say it is Not Great, Bob. Do Not Want. Cannot Recommend. I nearly wore a hole in the passenger side floor trying to brake, even though there is no brake on that side of the car, which is clearly a design flaw. :)

windfarms

On the other hand, you do get a closer view of those wind turbines that Joe Hockey was so upset about, out near Tarago. Not much closer, but closer than you see them on the Federal Highway.

tarago

Also out near Tarago, we saw this large air force plane doing loops. I’m pretty sure it was a C-17 Globemaster.

We dropped off the kayak, spending nearly two hours with the new owners chatting and taking them through how it works. Then we headed to IKEA for a Swedish Meatball lunch – The Other Half had a chicken parmagiana which was one of the best he has ever had, he rated it a 9 out of 10. They did have this Salted Caramel Tart which tempted me but we had other dessert plans.

saltedcaramel

I have never once been to an IKEA without buying candles, but this was my challenge to myself today – only buy things we need, not things we want. I have enough candles to last the year if I ration them effectively. But to make sure we were good and tempted, we walked through the entire store. I took some photos of items I did not buy – a post for another day. What did we buy?

koncis

2x Koncis $14.99.

vardagen

1x Vardagen $9.99 as we had an incident with our current muffin tray and we wanted to try out the anodised aluminium.

part2

This Lyckad $9.99 and this Lyckad $6.99 to replace long-ago broken baking dishes, 2x Vildkaprifol @ $4.99ea as these are much better fitting oven gloves than the Iris we own now and those Iris are a bit stained, 3 sets of Plattboj $3.99.

bastis

2x Bastis refills. I use these to remove cat hair from various surfaces, then I discovered that you could go straight to the source and lint roller the cats themselves. They absolutely love it!

We got out of there for less than $90 and not one candle purchased. We were going to go to Frugii Dessert Laboratory as we thought it was near to an IGA store and we have been on an IGA tour looking for their carpet cleaner. However it turns out that was a SupaBarn, not an Supa IGA. So our dessert was cancelled. We dropped into Heatherbrae on the way home instead.

chaibee

The obligatory chai latte fingernails shot.

dessert

Dessert was a small crispy donut with cream. I also picked up a cherry and apple pie for desserts this week as The Other Half has gone camping – which makes three dinners and desserts where I can have what I love without having to worry that he does not love it too.

I made a massive Chicken Cacciatore filled with things The Other Half does not eat AKA olives, mushrooms, and anchovies on Monday and there are leftovers for the next two nights and maybe even nights after that. It is so nice to not have to cook for a few days.

So, I will have to make a new graphic for the end of month #yobn post this month. Nay, something bought in March. Rule No 1 of this challenge went as follows – If we both agree that we NEED something, we will buy it. Everything else here was also a need, not a want.

I was down to one ceramic baking dish after some of our old ones cracked and broke last year, the oven mitts were too big for our hands and food stained, and I won’t post the photo of the muffin tin because it looks so bad, after some of the coloured Coles patty pan liners left their colour behind – yes I did not even know that was a thing that could happen, but it has not washed off even after several dishwashings. Only plain white ones from now on, but the coloured ones were handy to tell my baked goods apart from his baked goods.

2018yobn, IKEA, shopping

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #2

yobnbase1000

You would think that month two would be harder than month one, but my experience has been that it was even easier to avoid buying anything. Once I got into the habit of ignoring stores, I just kept doing it.

February

One thing I do receive is a lot of emails and SMS messages from various stores telling me about their sales and bargains. While I am tempted to opt out of those things for the duration of this year, that feels like it would not be quite cricket, to me.

It is good to be tempted, to be reminded to look at the websites for the stores I usually like to buy from. It feels great to look at things I would like to buy and say no, I don’t NEED that.

No Spend Days

NoBuy-Feb18

I met my goal, which was – February has 28 days. Why not try to make 23 of them no spend?

We do not normally grocery shop on a Friday but The Other Half had to work on the Saturday, so we chose to get shopping out of the way. Magically the TVSN came out that same day, making one spend day for two things. Seems like it was meant to be.

This month was a bit more tricky on the nails front than usual. When I had my nails done on the 30th of January I got them cut quite short and I had hoped I could get most of February out of this set. I don’t know if it is due to better nutrition or taking my vitamins every single day but in just over 2 weeks they had grown as much as they usually would in 3-4 weeks. They do grow faster in summer – in winter I might be able to get 4-5 weeks out of a manicure.

Luckily, chicken breast was on special, so I killed two birds with one spend day. I would not normally have my nails done on a Saturday. I’m a weekday get my nails done kind of girl. But it worked out perfectly this time.

I also had to sacrifice a no spend day to a haircut. I tried to make it for our Saturday shopping day, but my hairdresser was not working that day, so a random Thursday it was. I’ve followed her to three different salons now and she does the best job plus she has an accent I adore. Had I been able to schedule it for Saturday I would have only had 4 spend days this month.

I would have liked a longer no spend stretch, but I feel like this month went pretty well.

No Spend Goals For March

I want at least 13 days in between shopping where I do not spend. I’m aiming for the 11th to the 23rd. This might be a little tricky though, The Other Half is on two weeks of holidays around that time. If I can’t manage that I would like two no-spend stretches of 7 days.

Grocery Spending

bonuspoints

My goal for February was to keep Coles to $120 and Aldi to $440. The first week of February was the last week of my spend $60 for 3 weeks to earn 6000 bonus points. We really struggled to find enough items to buy in that last week, and in the end I said hey, why don’t we try to buy enough eggs and ham with long use by dates and stock up for the entire month, then not go to Coles for the second fortnight.

colesfeb

One reason I like to avoid Coles is because the food we buy there is generally junk food. The chocolate honeycomb went into a baked cheesecake and also mini no-bake cheesecakes – I had some cream cheese nearing the use by date and I saw a great recipe which I’ve used before for no-bake cheesecake on The Annoyed Thyroid.

For the baked cheesecake I followed this recipe, only I replaced the caster sugar with honey, and swapped the lemon for chocolate honeycomb. That little cookery moment fed us dessert for many nights afterwards. I’d say at least 12 nights, and one of those nights we had family and friends round and served it for dessert.

It seems like Coles knew what we were trying to do AKA avoid going there entirely, and thus they tempted us with this lovely offer.

theyknew

There was no way I could have put together another $70 worth of shopping. So while it was tempting to get another $10 off our shopping it was not especially cost effective in this instance. Kthxno, Coles! But the local butcher had chicken breast on special for $6.99 a kilo, so we took the opportunity to stock up with the money we would have used at Coles.

After the first fortnight and the chicken breast, we were at $334.53 for our monthly shopping. This left us $225.47 for our final Aldi shop on the 24th. We spent $232.05.

Coles February – $60.40
Aldi February – $454.56
Bulk Meat – $51.62
Total grocery spend – $566.58
Grocery cost of $20.23/day.

While we went over budget and I did not meet my goal, I am counting this month as a massive win because we were able to keep our Coles shop to just once.

Grocery Spending Goals For March

March has 31 days. I want to try and meet the $20 a day goal this month. That gives us $620 to spend on groceries in March.

February Thoughts –

I’m really happy about the way the freezing mushrooms has been working out. This month I bought the button mushrooms twice, and somehow managed to get 3 packages of mushrooms to freeze around 200g each. This means I can completely skip buying and preparing mushrooms for one fortnight of March, or I can use the mushrooms in something else.

The Other Half goes camping in early March, so for 3 days it will just be me eating. This means I get to make the foods he does not love but I do love. I am going to try adding feta cheese and olives to my Muffin Tin Meatballs – he will take half the mince as burger patties for the BBQ – and I will probably make Chicken Cacciatore with anchovies, olives and mushrooms.

2018yobn

Things I Did Not Buy – January

yobnbase1000

It is a strange feeling to be out in the world and not want to buy anything. On the second day of the Year Of Buying Nothing, my parents took me to run some long put off errands. They both needed new mobile phones and haircuts. Apparently everyone else in the world also needed new mobile phones and my parents are not at all patient people.

After a couple of drop ins to the store in which the queue was too long, we finally got to speak to someone who sat us down and said they would send a consultant over. 11 minutes later – and I know because they counted every single minute and there was a robust discussion about whose watch was correct while we waited – we left the store with no mobile phones. While out I saw many things in many shops but all of them stayed there. Nothing especially tempted me.

kkltemptation

Every morning I like to tune in and see what Today’s Special Offer is on TVSN. On the 5th of January it was a beautiful Katherine Kelly Lang kaftan at a great price. Even though it was cold shoulder it wasn’t much of a cold shoulder and the embellishment was gorgeous. But I did not buy it, because YOBN.

notimpressed

One thing that is DEFINITELY not tempting at all is the range at Rockmans this summer. I have never seen so much ugly clothing in one place. The prints that are semi-nice are cold shoulder in a big way, so heck no.

largewater

In our ensuite bathroom we have a plastic container full of water for the kitties. It is a large rectangular shallow container which they love to drink from. The sister container to it is our pizza leftovers container but sometimes it gets used for other things and is not available for pizza night, so I would like to reclaim the second container. I thought maybe this would be the first thing to break our no-buy deal.. but then I remembered we have a second spare Christmas Lights container and they love that one so much out in the Nirvana.

mats

I could see about a million uses for these long “bath runner” mats in my house. We already make use of bath mats on the floor in the kitchen and in various places about the house. These are 1.4 metres long but a bit pricey at $19.99. Though that is a pretty decent price for a standard size bathmat when I think about it, let alone these which are massive. However, #YOBN, no deal.

mercuryglass

I love mercury glass and this would be perfect for the nirvana, but no sale.

booradleymixed

You know I love mixed media and Boo Radley. I saw this dress when it was first released and it is stunning. But, kthxno, #yobn! ;) You might want to take a look at the clearance rack though, because last I checked there were some great bargains. I usually click on lowest to highest price to see the best deals.

2018yobn

Freezing Mushrooms

yobnbase1000

As part of the No Spend Days I have added into my Year Of Buying Nothing challenge for this year, I wanted to give freezing mushrooms a try. I have never frozen mushrooms before, but I have become a lot more creative in the freezing things department since our deep freeze arrived.

I freeze a lot of fruit which gets used in protein shakes plus espresso coffee shots, most of our meat is purchased in bulk and frozen, sometimes for up to 6 months if the deal is a good one. I even freeze watermelon rinds for the chooks to enjoy on a hot day.

Sometimes these challenges can actually create super awesomeness. If I could manage to freeze the mushrooms, I could do a big bulk cook up every so often, whack them in the freezer, and every Thursday take out a packet for use on Friday. If I can do it in one hit, on a day that is not Friday, while listening to music or a podcast, and then have mushrooms for 2 months.. Wow that would be so great! Even greater would be if I can stock up when they are on special.

I have been pre-cooking my mushrooms for our weekly pizza for some years now, after one of my home made pizzas became very soggy and waterlogged due to mushroom moisture. There is a LOT of moisture in mushrooms.

cook1

How much moisture? I had two punnets of 375g bbq flat mushrooms from Aldi. I prepared them and cooked them in the oven. I then weighed them to find I now had 375g total of mushrooms – I had lost an entire 375g in the cooking process!

Mushroom preparation has been the annoying part of my Fridays for a long time now, and sometimes an annoying part of Thursday or Wednesday or whatever day I remembered that I needed to get fresh mushrooms for Friday and would head off to the supermarket *just* to get mushrooms. And while I was there, I would tend to buy other things – maybe things we did need like milk or vegetables, and sometimes things we did not need.

The part I least like is having to rinse them before chopping, but they do grow in soil and manure, so that is always going to be something I do, to satisfy my germophobic brain.

So I knew the moisture factor could be a problem when it came to freezing them. I did some reading and found that pre-cooking was recommended before freezing, so I just followed my normal steps –

prep1

rinse mushrooms, chop & lay them out on baking paper on a tray, cook for 12 minutes @ 200C (395F)

cook1a

then blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture, and lay out on paper towel to drain.

drain1a

Normally this is where the mushroom meets the pizza base. But not today. Today we have some new steps. Foodsave the mushrooms, then place them in the freezer. There is still quite a bit of moisture in these mushrooms even after cooking and draining, and that is the brown liquid you see in the next photo – which was taken after the mushrooms have been frozen.

frozen1

The foodsaver is the best thing we ever bought, it saves us enormous amounts of money because I can buy food when it is on extreme special and when I freeze it I never have to worry about freezer burn.

Then on Thursday night, I take the mushrooms out of the freezer and place them in the fridge to defrost. On Friday when it is time to build the pizza, I open the packet and place them on some paper towel to drain – as there will still be some mushroom moisture trapped inside the packet.

foodsaved2

This process is 100% a keeper for me. I tried two different types of mushroom – Aldi calls them “whole” and “bbq flat”. The next time mushrooms are on special, I will buy up and freeze. And now I am thinking of other things I can bulk prepare and freeze – capsicum is next on our list, just last night I froze some leeks.

foodsaved3

Every week I make pizza and it is the best pizza I have ever made, since last week. This time was no exception to the rule. I use the Aldi pizza bases, topped with pizza sauce, pizza cheese, mushrooms, olives, pineapple, capsicum, feta cheese, ham, bacon, pepperoni, more cheese, then an egg is poured over the top.

pizza

It was just far easier, having done the mushroom preparation a couple of weeks beforehand.

2018yobn, food

Year Of Buying Nothing Update #1

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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.

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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 –

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That does not look like much, but when you click on the tab at the bottom, it does this! MAGIC!

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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.

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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

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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.

Grocery Spending

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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The Year Of Buying Nothing 2018

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For the past couple of years my goals have been fitness related. I think I’ve done pretty well in that area, I’m at my goal weight, I’m running 5kms without stopping now. I am pretty happy with that. I’ve just bought a new piece of fitness equipment to do some toning which is what I need now, along with core strength. So this year my fitness plan = keep going on the current path.

Inspired by No Buy July, I had a thought kicking around in my skull brain about trying a year of buying nothing. YOBN for short, and that is how these posts will be tagged for 2018.

Realistically this is quite impossible, because one has to eat and get clean and live life, so groceries and toiletries and necessities are something most of us need to buy. When I say year of buying nothing, I mean things like clothes, shoes, homewares, that kind of stuff.

There may be times when I do NEED something. After a couple of solid months of running in 2017, all my sports bras which were initially clipping on the first set of closures are now on the last set of closures and I expect that after another couple of months I will need to go and have a new bra fitting. I will happily buy these when required and I will not skimp in this area.

The Other Half and I have had a quick chat about the rules. We’re not going to be super militant about this, the plan really is to make us think before we get out the $$$ and hand it over. We need to take some time and ask ourselves questions. Do we need this, or do we just want it? How is this item going to improve our lives?

For some years now we’ve had a “bargain” rule in place – if we were out somewhere by ourselves and found something that we felt was a bargain, we could buy it and the other one would be ok with it.

Many times in the early years of the bargain rule if it were me, I would take a photo and send it by our free messenger program (Kakao talk) and ask if The Other Half agreed with my buying it, but as time went on I tended to go with a modified version of the Nike rule of “just buy it”.

I feel like we’ve got everything we want or need, at least for a while. So it is time for us to focus on enjoying the things we have and not buying more things.

The Current Rules –

1. If we both agree that we NEED something, we will buy it. This will be good for us to separate “want” from “need”.

2. Items purchased from Aldi, Coles and Woolworths will not count as these are mostly groceries and toiletries.

3. Items from Aldi special buys WILL count if they are not groceries or toiletries.

4. Items which are not groceries or toiletries will be documented and posted on the blog once a month to keep track of any “shopping incidents” that occur.

I will reserve the right to add extra rules as we go, if we need them! At the end of each month I will post an update here on the blog. I may do a “what I would have bought” from time to time or I may just add that into the update post.

So, we will give this a try and see how it goes. At the very least it will be an interesting experiment. :)

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