Day 20/ 30 Days of ‘Nothing’/ Lions

Never has a month lasted so long.  Well, excepting the months I’ve spent waiting for my children to arrive- which, come to think of it, has comprised a sizeable portion of my adult life.  So, maybe a rephrase is in order:  this month has really dragged.  (There, that’s better.)

 This morning at breakfast we were cataloguing the growing list of things we are running out of, and one of my kids said, “Finally it’s feeling like 30 days of nothing.”

 But still, the list of what we DO have is wayyyyy longer than what we don’t have.  Hubby agrees.  “Yeah, it really hasn’t been that bad this month,” he said at breakfast.

I am getting a little tired of the kitchen, between the more careful/thoughtful cooking AND all the canning we’ve done this month.  But really, we are so far from deprived. 

But it looks like we have saved somewhere in the range of $500 this month, between groceries, and less gas and no Amazon.  My husband was really impressed. 

I’m impressed, too, esp. when I looked at our bigger-than-average bank balance.  We’ve always had enough:  usually a little in savings, and for years our only debt has been our home.   

But we have always, always lived paycheck to paycheck.  Having money left the day before payday is a new experience– one I’d like to have a little more often.

We’re talking about continuing this– on a more moderate scale– in the future.  Maybe designate $500 a month for groceries instead of the $300 it looks like it will be this month.  Buy ONE book a month instead of my usual 3 or 4.  Run errands a little less often.   Seems like it might be doable. 

What I really don’t want to do (well, kind of I do, but mostly not)–I don’t want to run out October 1st and spend every penny I didn’t spend in September, and then go back to business as usual with Walmart stops 3 days a week, etc.  I have realized a lot of it is unnecessary–and probably poor stewardship of the blessings I have been given.


Daily minutia:

Breakfast was pancakes again– hubby got an unexpected day off and he enjoys making pancakes.

Lunch was partly my 4 year old’s doing. She found this book:  Bible Food Fun: A Step-By-Step Cookbook at the library and so this morning together we made “Daniel Lions”– cheesy little scones shaped like lions.  I served them with lentil soup and watermelon.  Yummy.

We spent the afternoon picking the ‘last’ of the apples–7 bushels.  (At which point I ran away screaming and had to be pried out from under the table).  We canned and canned.  24 quarts, and there are still sooo many apples.

Family, friends, call me.  I’ll give you some, really.

Due to my canning-induced exhaustion, I decided it would be a dandy time to pull a casserole out of the freezer.   It is currently cooking  (a chicken biscuit pot pie) which I am serving with tomatoes and apple crisp.  (If we can bear to look at any more apples, that is.)  They are wonderful apples–we’re just a bit overwhelmed by the sheer quantities.   I really need to get a picture of my pantry to show y’all.

30 Days of Nothing, my foot.

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  1. It really is amazing…..usually my husband does the bills but since he is gone I’m doing them and I can not believe what our balance is! and truthfully we have not been as good as we could have been (could be still, it is only the 20th!)……..I’m amazed… husband will be even more amazed….he’s tucked away nicely in a 5 week course where he has no free time and no need for the checkbook so he does not even realize we are doing this experiment! I think he’ll be pleasantly surprised……and thankful for the timing!

  2. This has been so amazing to read about. My hubby lost his job in January of this year and the new job paycheck was a huge cut. So we learned very quickly to live off of less. I still see though that there are things I can cut. Once a day pop is a luxury and coffee at the church coffee bar on Sundays. I am in awe of how blessed we are.

    Oh and I am very curious to see the canning. I had our first garden this year in effort to curb the grocery bill (see above) and I amazed at the amount of canning for just our little garden. I can’t even imagine that many quarts of apples!

  3. Mary,
    Thanks so much for your comments, I really appreciate it.

    Oh, and I would seriously pay you for apples…although the little guy and I picked a bunch of tomatoes today that will need to jump (I wish) into cans tomorrow first.


  4. Have you ever heard of a victorio stariner? It makes making applesauce a much quicker process. You can just wash and quarter your apples, cook them down and put them through the strainer. The applesauce comes out one side and the peels and seeds come out the other! A friend introduced me to hers and it’s been a love affair ever since! I believe you can find then at


  5. I would gladly take some of your apples, if I lived closer. I’ve been craving apple crisp and apple pie.

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your 30 days. I think that this might be something that we will try.

  6. I’m amazed you’re doing this. You guys rock. I’d love to try this sometime.

  7. I would so come and pick your apples for you!! I did a couple bushels of peaches, and I have tomatoes for days, but there is just something about homemade applesauce. Yummm. It’s tons of work now, but won’t you be so glad for it in the middle of January?

  8. Isn’t it just amazing the differences a month can make? Saving $500 a month is a $6,000 windfall at the end of a year. Even if you put a 1/3 towards savings & 1/3 towards “familly fun” that’s STILL $2,000 / year you could be using to bless someone else’s life. Imagine the impact that would have on your family…

    Great post!

  9. I wish we lived close enought to swing by for some of those apples. Except really I wouldn’t be coming for the apples, just a visit with you. 🙂

    You keep apologizing, but I have loved reading about this. I’m glad you wrote about it.

  10. How can it be possible that your daughter looks both proud and adorable at the same time? What a cutie!! and the yummy scones help to complete the picture.

    For Angela, I tried that strainer thingy one year, and my family didn’t like the taste of the sauce so much. I figured it was because of leaving the peels and cores during the cooking.
    I know there’s a bunch of work for canning, but the food has to taste good after all that effort.
    I went back to the peel and core method.

  11. Well done, mary 🙂 almost done! I’ll take some apples, too! I won’t be at church, but my roommies will–we are good little garbage disposals 🙂

  12. Mary,

    I have really enjoyed reading about this. Don’t apologize, please, for writing about it. I am so looking forward to our month of less in October. (We couldn’t do it in September for a variety of reasons). We too live paycheck to paycheck and as I think about that, there really isn’t much excuse. It’s more about us not using as good as stewardship as we should.

    I am prayerful that we will be able to save $500 as well. It would go a long way towards helping my sweet husband see that we can afford to adopt a daughter from Ethiopia. And it would be wonderful to use that money now to help sponsor a child at AHOPE. What a blessing that would be for our family and for a child in need!

    Sorry to go on so long! I guess I just wanted to say that it’s been inspiring for me to read about how you have lived on less this month.


  13. I was going over my money last night and I found that I have saved alot too. I use the envelope system, 4 per month (one for each week) and I haven’t even touched the extra money that was designated for last week. AND I don’t have anything in mind that needs to be purchased. So my money sits and hopefully collects. My favorite thing about this month has been my change in attitude. And the fact that I haven’t stepped into WallyWorld–we used to go at least twice a week too–many times more.

  14. How could you stand being at W*lm*rt so often?
    The place gives me the willies–the bright lights, the clutter, the incessant public address system.
    I make a list for the place, then go once a month, get what’s on the list, then check out. Usually walking back to the car with a pounding headache.
    I’ll admit, there have been times when I send husband with list.
    Most of the grocery shopping is done at a much smaller store, with union employees. The prices might be a few cents higher, but is offset by me not needing therapy sessions when I leave.

    You’re doing good to wean yourself away from shopping.
    Life has other compensations.

  15. Mary,

    This has been a terrific test of self-discipline and living consciously!

    As the others have said please please no more apologies for what you are deeming boredom and we are finding so very VERY interesting.

    We too have been doing something similar but out of necessity…it IS so incredibly amazing at the difference in mindset when you decide you will not be spending or there is no money to spend, versus having more than enough and spending when you want.

    My definition of “need” seems to change a bit in each of those conditions.

    It thrills me to hear of what you are doing and the example that you and your husband are setting for your children…

    Keep it up! I’m looking forward to hearing how October goes…and what changes and what doesn’t!!!

    P.S. If you haven’t given all those apples away…I’d love to take them off your trees for you!!! And we DO live close!!!


  16. Mary, I’ve been lurking this month as I love these posts aboutyour Days of Nothing.

    I too live on the ‘envelope system’. Nothing extra is spent on anything, and we therefore have money left over to save and put toward new tires/oil changes/presents etc…

    BUT, although I do live without extra, I don’t live with NOTHING. And I’ve been very moved to hear about your experience.

    It makes me sad for those who must live this way all the time.

    I’d love to try this at my home.. I don’t know if we’d make it…

    Inspirational really.


  17. Ooooh! How freaking adorable is she?!? Seriously. I can’t hardly wait until the day I get my very own…