Updating on the No Spend Challenge progress.
What I spent the last couple of days:
– $2 at the dollar store for nail polish remover. When you have 5 girls in a house, this is a necessity if you want peace. My fingernails are bare, but my girls are always painting theirs and their younger sisters’ nails. I really wanted a pedicure a couple of weeks ago when I was going to an important event, but I did a DIY pedicure instead and it looked great.
– A virus is making its way through the kids. Instead of doing something fun this weekend, my husband and I took turns staying home with sick little ones. Saturday, Hubby bought lunch out for the oldest who was time-crunched on his way to work, and brought home lunch for the 5-year-old who is sick (and the 3-year-old who would have been jealous).
– I rented a movie ($3.99) on Amazon for the sick child who didn’t move from the couch all day. One can only read so many books. At some point I had to get up and do other things, and a movie kept her entertained. This wasn’t purely necessary, because we have two dozen movies already, but she insisted she “doesn’t like any of those”. I’m going to remember this when we have a yard sale next weekend, and sell most of them. I don’t mind spoiling a sick child a little bit.
– We paid a few bills. We bought groceries, but I’m way under budget for food so YES.
Things we did to save money:
– I’ve become obsessed with our sky-high water bill. Despite efforts to conserve water, our bill is double what it was two years ago when we moved from one town to another. (Many of the people in our county complain about high water bills, making me think something’s rotten in Denmark.) I did some diagnostics on the toilets (putting food coloring in the tanks to see if it leaked into the bowl), and sure enough, one of the commodes had a leak we didn’t know about. Hubby searched on YouTube, found an instructional video to fix the problem, and did the job. I also put a few clean rocks in each of the tanks to displace some water, meaning we’ll use less per flush.
– Hubby and I had our budget meeting. We’re thrilled that so far, we’ve saved over $4,000 towards a down payment for our house. This is above and beyond money we save each month to pay our taxes, so I’m very happy with this.
– While doing budget meeting, I noticed that hubby’s business expenses were low this month. When I inquired, he said that he’s been working on reducing his spending by being more miserly in his use of consumable items he uses daily for work. He’s even been cleaning the workshop (not his favorite activity!) and lo and behold, came up with enough stuff he doesn’t need that he decided to have a yard sale this Friday.
– I’m proud to mention that I haven’t wasted any food this week. I used shriveled asparagus in a quiche, weepy zucchini in a chocolate cake, and managed to salvage over-whipped cream. (Pro tip: if it’s begun to separate, you can add more fresh, cold cream and beat it again to save it.)
– I did a freezer inventory and created a menu plan for the week that uses up most of the ingredients in there.
– Since ObamaCare/ACA passed, our health insurance premiums have tripled, our deductible doubled, and we do not qualify for any of the subsidies. I decided to contact an independent insurance agent to investigate other options. We cancelled our policy and got another that is HALF the monthly cost AND has a lower deductible. Savings = $250 a month!
Update: we now have insurance through a medical sharing program called Liberty Health Share. I haven’t written a review yet, but if you want to check it out, it’s here. Our insurance premiums are still much lower than they would be if we went through the ACA marketplace.
– Speaking of using things up, I had a bottle of spray deodorant I bought months ago, but never used because it contained alcohol and stung my armpits terribly. Looking at the ingredients, I realized it was basically the same as homemade glass cleaner recipes I’d seen online (alcohol + essential oils). I used it to clean my bathroom mirrors and chrome. It worked perfectly and smells wonderful. It gave me a thrill to be able to use it instead of tossing it.
It’s the little things, people.