Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spending Fast: Day 4

I just added up our projected income for the month and subtracted all of our bills and it leaves us with $40 a week in groceries and no money to be able to put into savings. I'm not even sure we can eat on $40 a week. I guess we're going to have to try, though. I sense a lot of oatmeal, beans, lentils, and potatoes in my future, and probably not many fresh fruits and vegetables, which kinda sucks and I'm not looking forward to.

We are already living pretty frugally, but I guess it's time to tighten our belts a little more. I just turned the air purifier off and turned the heater down even more (which is almost off). Maybe I can start using my dry shampoo more instead of showering to cut down on our water usage. Anyone else have any other ideas on how an already frugal family can cut down even more?

I did find out that the desk that I have been wanting to get on Craigslist is going to be OURS!! I will finally have a study space! YAY! I also am selling some stuff on eBay, if anyone would like to check it out.

Also, if you are in the PDX area, I would still love to clean your house. ;o)

For the month of January I'm having a sale on my soap. Use code "SUNSHINE" to get 10% off your order in my Etsy shop! Any soap sales help us be able to put money into savings. Tell your friends!


  1. hey! Tomorrow I am going to do a post about your soap on our blog... then after I am done going through all our handmade soap stash I will be hitting up your shop (not until after though ;) But maybe the post with get you some traffic. Is there anyplace else locally you can sell your soap wholesale? If you already have some made that might be a way to some money. Best of luck with the groceries!

  2. Wow, thank you in advance for the soap mention! Can I tell you how much I really, really appreciate it?! (Hint: It's a lot!)

    I want to be able to focus more on selling my soap locally, but I am starting school next week and it will be a really hard class for me. I'm working part time for the sole purpose of being able to have time for this class and then for my class next term. I'm really looking forward to graduating in June because as soon as I'm done with my classes I'm hoping to either be working more hours at my current job or I will get another part time job. I have never worked so little in my life! I usually work multiple jobs at once, but we made the decision that I would have a part time job so that I could focus on my school work. This is going to be the third time I've taken this class, so I really, really want to do well. It just means I have to scrimp at other places in life. Everything is temporary!

    That was a long answer for a short question. I don't know how much I will be able to focus on really promoting my soap stuff because this class is my main focus right now. But I would really like to sell *some* soap versus *no* soap, which is kinda where I'm at now. I've had a lot of people hearting things in my Etsy this past week, but no one is buying. I'm running another week of ads to see if that helps and I'm doing the sale now. Crossing fingers at this point!

  3. Brittany I'm joining you in the spending fast! After Christmas (which I admit husband and I probably spent a bit too much on ourselves) I'm ready to try this. I'll be documenting my progress through my twitter account @rainyisle if you'd like to throw some words of encouragement my way. :)

  4. Wow, what a challenge! Hope this fast goes well for you two :) I re-tweeted your sale.

  5. I hope it goes well, too! We really don't have much of a choice, though, unless we keep wanting to take money out of savings for random wants. If we end up having to take a wee bit out for grocery money I am okay with that, but I want that to be a last resort. I don't think it will be a bad thing to try and be extra, extra frugal for awhile. Famous last words. :o)

    THANK YOOOOUUUU for RTing my sale!! I really appreciate it!

  6. I know it's not really the produce season here in the NW, but trading sure is a great way to cheaply meet some needs for variety!

    Also, bartering is way too underused here - I say bring yourself some bars of soap to the farmer's market and offer to trade for what catches your eye! It gets your product a wider audience and you may just get yourself somethin' delicious!

    Swapping something like a bar of soap for, say, a box of apples from a neighbor's neglected tree is a way to eliminate all sorts of waste. My neighborhood is full of fruit trees that never get harvested, and this year, armed with a Foodsaver and (future)canning skills, I'm gonna get some free food, dammit!

    But if you've got a friend, buying staples in bulk is also good. I've split Costco bags of beans with a friend and it made a lot more sense than her having one all to her self and storing it for years.

    Sorry for the long ramble... I've had a lot of coffee! :)

  7. It's funny you mention trading because tomorrow I am trading some soap to an artist friend who has a calendar that I want. But that is a good idea! No farmer's markets right now, but in the spring I will keep it in mind!

  8. Great post, stay positive - it will work out. My suggestion was going to be similar to Jenny. Do you guys have a membership to a Sam's Club or Costco if one is in your area? Obviously it's an upfront yearly cost, but worth it. It's a great way to get things cheaper and in bulk so your buying less at a regular grocery store. My wife and I purchase all our beef and chicken there for MUCH less than the same amount would be in a Safeway or other food store.

    Other staples like pasta, soups, etc can be picked up for really cheap and in huge quantities to last you a long time and help stretch your food budget so that you could get fresh veggies or other items.

    Good luck!

  9. Oh, and my other suggestion was going to be looking into selling your soaps and stuff at farmer's markets, craft festivals, etc when the spring and summer come around. In my area (Maryland), crafters can get a table at popular craft festivals for around $20-$50 and can make that back pretty quickly.


  10. Chris, hi! My boyfriend and I don't spend enough money on beans, lentils, and such to justify the yearly cost of a Costco membership. We are basically vegetarian but eat fish and normally we shop at farmer's markets for fruits & veggies, which is also pretty cheap. But since it's January the farmer's markets aren't happening yet. Also, there isn't a Costco close to us.

    Normally I make more money and aren't so hard on ourselves. The spending fast is only a temporary thing. I normally work multiple jobs and it is only because of school that I am working part time. As soon as I am done with school in June I will ramp back up into making more money. I have two classes left before I finish my degree so it's only temporary! That's also why I'm not focusing on trying to sell my soap in large quantities at this moment in time. The amount of time it takes me to make soap, package it, and would take for me to set up and do a farmer's market (pretending they were happening right now) combined with my current job would take up more time than I am able to do and still be working part time and able to focus on school.

    Whew! Does that even make sense? :o)

    I definitely am going to try and get into markets and such but it would be after June. There just isn't that time on the table until then.

    I do appreciate your comments and ideas!

  11. Homemade soup goes a long way when you're short on grocery money. And it's a lot better than the canned stuff. I even find that some canned soups are on the pricey side for what you get. I just buy the stock (which can easily be found on sale) and add 1-2 carrots, 1/2 chopped onion, 2 celery sticks, garlic, spinach, barley which is filling b/c it's high in fiber and garbanzo beans. It lasts a few days. Serve it with a piece of bread and it's great. Dried beans are also cheaper than canned so check out your bulk food section at the grocery store. Good luck! -Mara

  12. Agreed! I actually make my own chicken stock. We don't hardly eat anything processed. I buy a whole chicken, roast it, and then we eat off the meat for a few days. I freeze all of my veggie leftovers in a bag and then when I have bones to make stock with I mix everything together and boil it all down so only half remains. I talk a little more about what I do here:

    I make a TON of soup, hence the name of my blog! :o) Yes, we also buy dried beans in bulk. Buying canned beans is bizarre to me. Just requires a little foresight to either prep the beans or make sure you have enough time to get them ready, if needed!