Page 458

I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
936 articles written by Shannon

This is the first week of menu planning during no spend months. I am already enjoying the challenge of trying to come up with a variety in our diet with the rationing of food groups that I am doing. I also am trying to get lots of protein into my diet due to blood sugar issues. On Friday I received my order of coconut flour and have begun experimenting with making baked goods with a lower carb count. I hope to post some recipes and results at a later date. Lots of beans & grains and a few new recipes this week…

Breakfast: Leftover porridge, yogurt.
Dinner: Beans & rice with the fixings.
To do: grind & soak flour for bread.

Breakfast: Millet Porridge with sunflower seeds.
Dinner: Cheddar Broccoli Soup, Soaked whole grain bread.
To do: make bread, prepare baked eggs, start porridge soaking before bed.

Breakfast: Baked eggs, bread.
Dinner: Fried beans, stir fried cabbage, bread.
To do: soak granola in morning, start crock pot porridge before bed

Breakfast: Overnight crock pot porridge
Dinner: Crock Pot fried rice, roasted butternut squash.
To do: bake granola, roast squash, prep eggs before bed

Breakfast: leftover porridge
Dinner: Eggs, blender batter pancakes, butternut squash pudding.
To do: blend pancake batter in morning, make pudding, soak beans for soup, make yogurt

Breakfast: granola + yogurt
Dinner: Minestrone soup, blender batter bread.
To do: blend batter for bread in morning, cook beans, prep roast in crock pot for Saturday

Breakfast: granola + yogurt
Dinner: Crock Pot beef roast, carrots, green beans, bread.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of our family’s no spend months. I am pretty excited about this whole project and am hoping it will change some of our habits and save us some money to finish paying off our student loans.

Ramping up the challenge

We have decided that not only will we not be spending for two months, but we will also try to save & make money everywhere we can.

Gas. Frankly, our dependency on foreign energy sources makes me sick. We need to cut back as it is, challenge or no challenge. We will not be taking the car anywhere besides my husband’s work, our weekly milk & egg pick up and 1-2 trips to the park/library per week. The park and the library are both within 5 miles from our home. Now that gas prices are practically half of what they were we won’t save as much, but this could save us approximately $100.

Energy. The one place that I know could save us some money is in my dryer usage. We wash approximately 4 loads of laundry per week plus approximately 5-6 loads of diapers. According to the chart on page 7 of this page, it costs $.46/use to run the dryer. If I do 10 loads of laundry per week that totals $4.60/week. That may not seem like much but over two months time that runs us a total of $36.80. Realistically I am setting a goal to hang half of our laundry on drying racks for a savings of $18.40.

Selling our stuff. Oh man do I hate stuff. We have been de-cluttering and paring down our junk as much as possible. I will be posting the piles of unnecessary stuff that we will be either giving away, or hopefully selling. Why clutter our lives with unimportant objects? Lets sell it off and hopefully make some money while we’re at it.

Preparing food to sell. We have a close family member who does not have the time to prepare healthy meals for himself. In the past I have prepared double batches of easy-to-freeze meals like soups, stews, casseroles, etc. I am hoping to get back into that now that I am full on cooking for my family. This doesn’t bring in much money, but possibly $50 over two months.

Between the above savings of $168.40 and the possible $400 we will be saving in grocery money we could save well over $500.

Preparing: in the kitchen

Before last night I had not bought groceries in two weeks. Last night I bought some tea, cheese, chicken, fruit and vegetables. Knowing that I wouldn’t be buying food for 2 months didn’t bother me up until the past couple of days. Now I am feeling the freeze coming on and I’m a little anxious to see how this will go. I know we have enough food in the house to feed our family, I am just thinking we’ll be eating nothing but pinto beans and canned vegetables the last two weeks :).

I have calculated out the following items weekly rations:

  • butternut/buttercup squash: 1 per week
  • large heads of cabbage: 1/2 per week
  • chicken: 1 lb. per week
  • beef roasts: 1 every other week
  • apples/pears: Eat them fresh for the first two weeks and then 1 qt applesauce per week
  • jam: 1/2 jar per week
  • peanut butter: 1/2 jar per week
  • cheese: 1/4 lb per week (pulled from the freezer)

So that will basically be what we are eating every week with beans, grains, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, dried seasonings, almonds & sunflower seeds, and canned vegetables filling in everything else.

I have a feeling we will get to a point when fresh food is all used up and everything will be canned or cooked. This whole challenge is forcing me to do things I have wanted to do for a long time, but never made the time.

  • I am planning on sprouting sunflower seeds to keep us getting some sort of fresh greenery in our diets.
  • I may even plant some herb seedlings for a window garden.
  • Because I am able to get milk and eggs I am making yogurt and butter from those.

In the spirit of full disclosure I should tell you that I have 17.5 pounds of coconut flour purchased from Tropical Traditions on the way. We will also be receiving a bulk order of grains, beans, nuts and seeds around Thanksgiving time. These were both pre-planned purchases. So if nothing else – rice & beans, right?

Preparing: household & everyday life

As we have started to run out of things the past few weeks I have tried to come up with ways NOT to have to buy them again, knowing that this challenge is coming up. I finally made the jump to cloth rags instead of paper towels. It is about time. Since the baby was born I have been using the last of the store-bought laundry detergent up. I have the materials for homemade and will be whipping up a 5 gallon bucket of that this week. We stocked up on vinegar and peroxide for cleaning purposes as we were already low. We also stocked up on toilet paper because in the words of my husband “we will never NOT have toilet paper in this house.” *smile*.

From time to time I like to give random gifts to family & friends as a way of showing our thankfulness for having them in our lives. I am hoping to get off a gift package as well as a couple of ‘internet’ packages today before the clock hits 12, but if it doesn’t happen before then we will still pay the postage on these when my husband mails them off (the post office is on the way to work :)). Likewise, since their is already money set aside I will make the online purchases next week if time does not allow today. Giving is too important to put a hold on.

Preparing: our hearts

I have found myself thinking “What do I need to buy before Saturday?” I don’t want to think like that. As long as we have food to eat and a warm shelter we are not in need of buying anything. I am hoping this challenge will be a sort of consumerism cleanse for myself and my family. Mostly myself. My husband is a very practical and thrifty man – he doesn’t buy much that isn’t completely useful or needed. Perhaps nothing. I don’t buy a lot of unnecessary items either (I don’t think), but I think taking a break from the mass consumption that is everywhere this time of year will be a good thing, both physically and spiritually.


If you would like to join me for No Spend Months, please leave a comment so that I can follow along with you. Feel free to copy and paste the button from the top of the page or leave a link to my blog. Thank you for following our frugality journey.