Day 7: $43.37

Well, I did it. Broke down and went to the store. I was hoping to spend no more than $40 since doubtless we will be running out of many more items before the month is over, and folks, all I have to spend is a slim $200 $156.63.

I have to tell you, shopping feels like a different animal when you’re holding only cash- a finite amount that must last a very long time. I so did not want to hand off that $100 bill and have it broken down into smaller quantities. I need to remember that. I’ve heard for years that shopping with cash cuts spending, but today I felt the power of that myself.

We got 2 gallons of milk, 4 lbs of sugar, 25 lbs of flour, a gallon of vinegar, a gallon of ice cream, 3 dozen eggs, a bottle of dish soap, and a bottle of makeup. Yes, makeup is essential – so there. But ironically, it cost $4.37– exactly the amount I went overbudget. Ahem.

I ALMOST bought a chrysanthemum, 10 lbs of potatoes, two McDonald’s sandwiches, a packet of popsicles, a bushel of pears, and a lawn swing. But then my daughter pried me out of the store. And a week’s worth of shopping was over and done in 22 minutes. It was very sad. I do so love to shop.

Today’s meals
Breakfast: Cold cereal and milk
Lunch: Roast beef dinner at my dear mother-in-law’s house
Dinner: Yummy leftovers from the dinner at my mother-in-law’s

Sometime this week, due to popular request, I hope to share a step-by-step canning how-to, with pictures. Just to prove to y’all that canning doesn’t involve witchcraft or sterile fields. Should be fun. Meanwhile to those of you not interested in food, I do apologize. I realize that this blog has gone foodie. I will try to toss in a bit more variety this week. Maybe even a book giveaway. Yeah, that would be fun.


  1. See, just Like I said, I came back and there was a new post!
    It’s almost like magic, or like you’re getting even less sleep than I am! (far more likely)
    Take care.
    Heather BT

  2. Where do you shop that you can get that much for that cheap? I listed out what I bought this week and I spent $60.

  3. You go girl! I have not been commenting much but Pete and I have been discussing with awe your mission. And how we are so not cut out for it.

  4. You’re doing a fantastic job! Keep up the hard work- I’m sure it will be rewarded! Love the blog!

  5. I am pretty much ONLY interested in food.
    We are WAY overbudget right now and I am trying to find a way to justify some new foundation – now that I know that it’s an essential purchase, I’m going to lose the guilt! 🙂

  6. just found your blog…and I love it! I am trying the slim down food budget for Sept. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. It’s funny–I just googled ‘cheap meals’ earlier today, then I stumbled on your site. I’ll be adding a link to your blog on mine!

  8. True Confessions: Ummm…makeup counts? Oh! I counted hair dye as a “life necessity” rather than a “grocery item”. Yikes. Guess I better go add $11 to my total! And I agree with you–makeup is soooo not optional!

  9. ya know, I switched to the cash-only system for food last month (part of a bigger budgeting experiment) and it totally rocked. You really really reconsider each item that way. It’s pretty cool. LOL

  10. Remember, peeps, I am working out of my large pantry, freezer, and garden too. Though I’m sure I could get by on less than the $225 a week that I USUALLY spend, there’s isn’t a chance in heck I could feed everyone on $50 a week all the time. But a month….maybe…..


  11. Isn’t it funny about cash? Even though I don’t use credit cards, it’s still easier to spend money off of my debit card than to spend cash. Funny how our brains work.
    I’m looking forward to the canning guide. I’ve been interested in canning for a while now, but growing up I was always told how dangerous it is. I’m still working on getting past the canning fear.

  12. We’ve been on a cash system for our food and “extras” for a while, and it is a great physical reminder. Of course we spend a little more each week than you are this month, but still.

    I think it’s funny that you had to defend makeup as essential, but didn’t even mention the ice cream! Now that’s my kind of family.

  13. It’s vanity that catches us everytime. Read my weekend trying to renew my license – . Makeup and a curling iron almost cost me the renewal.

    I want to thank you for the inspiration you are providing with your blog. I’m really enjoying it and have added it to my read list.

  14. I’ve been shopping the Buy 1/Get 1 sales at my store (Publix) and stacking 2 coupons on them, so I get the items for nothing….sometimes literally. I also check into to see their recommendations, and I post food savings and coupons for organic food on my site.
    Good luck, with a little planning and some coupons you should come pretty close.

  15. Wow, I think I might have been able to buy this where we live (a little town in the Mid-West) for about $30 (minus the makeup). We have Aldi’s here, which is a dirt cheap warehouse store.

    Do you have any food coops out there? Have you heard of AngelFood Ministries? They have a website and I have no idea if they are in your area but I know they are all around the country. Basically you sign on and once a month you order a $25-$30 box of food and get twice the amount you would have paid in the store. There is no income restrictions and you can buy more than one box. They also have “extras” you can add on, like steak boxes and such.

    Cash only is the way to go to limit spending. When you see that wad of money slowing dwindling away it’s a strong reminder to slow down!


  16. I just made your apple muffin/donut recipe and I have to tell you it is one of the best muffin recipes I have ever made. So easy and so tasty, my husband just finished his third and is talking about a fourth one before bed. Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Hi Mary,

    I think I’ve commented before but it’s probably been a while. I’ve been following your challenge this month and have been inspired. My husband has been even more inspired by your bountiful garden. The small garden he grew didn’t produce much this year. He is very much looking forward to the canning tutorial. Thanks for sharing!


  18. You’re doing so good! I’m not doing as good. Hubby and I went car shopping yesterday for my son, spent all day out and about when I only thought we were spending the morning. Needless to say, we ate out for lunch and dinner–and came home without a car. While we were out, I had to fill up on office supplies that I ran out of–paper, ink, discs for orders. Today I had to hit the grocery store for eggs, milk, bread, you know the staples stuff you run out of between paychecks. Even when you don’t want to spend, you spend. The only difference is that I am more conscientous (sp?) of the money I spend. There were a few things I “wanted” but put back and added them to my birthday wish list which is in just one short week.