No Spend September: Free Family Activities (Podcast #13!)

Free Family Activities

Hey No-Spenders! Jen here. We’re almost mid-way through the #NoSpendSeptember2018 challenge and while my spend-hog kids have declared it “the worst month of their lives,” Corinne and I are having fun (mostly!) and feeling like we’re getting more quality time with our clans.

Aside from the gag-ilicious stew I made this past weekend from fridge scraps (adults liked it, kids weren’t sure), the backpack I bought on Amazon because Annie was falling down the stairs with the too-big one I tried to recycle, and Corinne convincing her mother-in-law to buy pizza for her kids, it’s been a VERY successful challenge for us so far. Listen to our wacky convo about it all in Episode 13 along with a bunch of the free and fun things we’ve done with our families and partners to make no-spend exciting. Here they are listed out for your reading pleasure as well:

  1. Go to the library. Make it a weekly trip. Get lots of new books, DVD’s and audiobooks.
  2. Play board games, cards and solve puzzles: Dig into that closet and have a ball rediscovering old games and puzzles. Ramp up the gaming and host a “Board Game Olympics” show-down with several games. Teach your kids the rules of chess (and learn yourself). Play poker with pennies.
  3. Set up an obstacle course around your house. Make a mess, but have a blast.
  4. Make a dedicated basement (or other) space for free, messy play. Speaking of mess, make an out-of-the-way space for your kids to make a mess and not have to clean it up every day. Keep it out of your eye-shot so it doesn’t stress you out.
  5. Make iMovies. Interview your family members, dress up and act goofy, and use the iMovie or another app to make movie trailers or little home movies. Use the slow-mo and time-lapse features. A slow-mo of your kid spitting is fascinating (yes, I have 2 boys!). If I can do this, anyone can.
  6. Make cards and write letters to friends and family. Who doesn’t like mail, especially the unexpected type? Decorate, write a quick note, and send! Walk to the mailbox for extra credit.
  7. Go for a hike or “adventure” walk in your neighborhood. Look for treasure, new creatures, or count things (like fire hydrants or basketball hoops).
  8. Make a picnic dinner for your backyard or local park. Pack it up and head on out! Make the food mess outside, but eat fast before the bees and flies find you!

For lots more ideas, check out this long list. And please share your no-spend ideas in the comments below!

In homemade playdough,

Jen & Corinne

No Spend September: Tips for Grocery Shopping on a Budget (Podcast #12!)

No Spend September: Grocery Shopping on a Budget

No Spend September is underway! Whether it’s September or February,  you can challenge yourself to a “spending freeze” any time of year! Check out the rules and tips here, and just dive right in. You’ll be suprised how eye-opening and how fun this challenge really is!

To kick off the frugally fun journey, we talk about ways to save money while grocery shopping in episode 12 of the podcast. Plus, you’ll hear updates on how the no-spend month is going for us just a few days in. Stay tuned for more thrifty tips in episodes 13, 14, and 15 too!

For now, here’s a quick run-down of our best grocery shopping budget tips:

  1. Make a grocery list and stick to it.
  2. Avoid impulse buys.
  3. Leave the kids at home, and if you can’t, give them their own budget ($1?) for spending, or bring surprise snacks or toys with you to keep them busy and avoid giving in to their whims.
  4. Set a weekly grocery budget and try to stick with it. Calculate your grocery budget which includes toiletries and diapers by multiplying the number of people in your household by $40. (Listen to the podcast to hear how Jen is trying to stick with $200 per week for her family of 6… which is crazy!).
  5. Buy on-sale items. If your list includes cucumbers for lunches and cherry tomatoes are on sale, swap one for the other to save some cash.
  6. Buy organic produce when you can following EWG’s Dirty Dozen, but don’t sweat it. However, if you buy eggs, dairy, meat or fish, buying organic and certified humane can definitely be worth the extra expense
  7. Don’t forget about frozen fruits and veggies. They’re often more rich in nutrients than fresh produce depending on how far your fresh produce has traveled and they last longer. But buy the Big Bag. 🙂 

Share your “no spend” journey with us on social media using #NoSpendSeptember2018 and check out Jen’s favorite lady Jordan Page on Fun Cheap or Free for more budget-friendly tips!

Need some new recipes to try in your meal plans this month? When you subscribe to our newsletter, you’re in the loop on all our free resources. Right now, our subscribers have access to our 3-Step Weekend Prep guide. The recipes inside are great for saving time and money!

In lists and brownies from scratch,

Jen & Corinne

Join the No-Spend-September Challenge! Rules and Tips Here

No Spend September Challenge with Delish and Healthyish
Hi everyone! Jen here. Has summer spending been out of control for you too? Ready for a little challenge to put fire under your pants and money back in your wallets? Join Corinne and me as we challenge ourselves to only buy absolute essentials (including paying bills!) during the entire month of September.

Just the act of paying attention to what you’re spending money on will help you be thrifty in the coming months. Of course you’ll need to get creative with ways to have fun, but we know you can do it (and we can too!). Invite your friends to do the challenge with you and post on social media with #NoSpendSeptember2018. Here are the rules and some ideas to help you get started, and listen to this month’s podcasts (new one every Wednesday!) to get more tips and tricks:

  1. Only buy absolute essentials. Groceries, gas, medicines, toiletries, etc. Try to grocery shop only ONCE per week and stick to a certain budget. Personally, I’m going to stick to $200 per week on groceries for our family of 6. And since we’re not spending on lunches, dinner or drinks out, I’m going to have to send my husband with a packed lunch every day. This not only means one more lunch to pack (AAAAAAHHH!), but also more groceries to stock up on. I’m going to shop exclusively at Aldi and try extra hard to meal plan and stick to my list. If we run out of something toward the end of the week, I’ll bake it, make do, or we’ll go without.
  2. Give yourself $20 (or a set amount under $50) for “can’t avoids” for the whole month. Hang on tight to this extra cash… you may need it for a birthday present, a broken shoe, or a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party. You can also EARN more September spending money by selling things on Craigslist or Ebay. For example, I just remembered that I have a high school reunion on September 15th, so I posted a few old baby items on Craigslist and I’ve already made $50 that I’ll be able to spend at the reunion venue for dinner and drinks. Goodbye, Ergo, Hello “free” money!
  3. No online shopping unless that’s how you do your essentials. Need some new shoes? Check the local thrift store or wait until October. You can use your “can’t avoid” cash, but think about if there’s any way you can go without or trade shoes with a friend. You can also post your shoe need on Freecycle if you have one in your area. I just got an awesome shelf for free on Freecyle. If you absolutely need to spend money on a non-essential, consider “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Take some money out of your grocery budget and eat dried beans for the week. October’s looking pretty good now, isn’t it?!?
  4. Take advantage of all the free things to do in your area. Libraries, museums, hikes, biking trails, picnic dinners in scenic places and at-home movie nights with popcorn are not only so much fun, but doing them will help your family diversify their activities and many of them will stick with you for the long-term. Check blogs and free events pages of your local paper to get ideas. Instead of going out to dinner with your partner, find a new recipe to cook together.
  5. Keep track of your spending on essentials. This one is optional, but aren’t you curious about how much you spend as a bare minimum? What’s your baseline? If you do this, you’ll know how much EXTRA you’re typically spending per month. Imagine if you could do a no-spend month a couple times a year! All of a sudden, you wouldn’t feel drained by holidays and birthdays.

Keep us posted and don’t forget to hashtag your adventures with #NoSpendSeptember2018. This journey starts on September 1st (which happens to be a Saturday…), so get ready!

Good luck!!