Day 12: Just a little camp table…

….and birthday party supplies, and birthday presents and bread, orange juice, and eggs, and….basically, I should not venture alone into WalMart these days, thankyouverymuch. I already decided that we’d not economize for my daughter’s 13th birthday. We do moderate birthdays and it’s not her fault I decided to do 30 Days of Nothing, after all. So that meant I spent $11 at the dollar store for treat bags, $30 for a birthday gift, and $15 for ice cream, cups, plates, and Oreos and M&M’s to go on the ice cream cake she requested.

Legitimate grocery expenses include $14 for 10 loaves of bread and 2 packages of hamburger buns at the bread store, and $20 for a gallon of milk, 2 dozen eggs, and 4 cans of frozen orange juice.

Totally or partially unjustified expenses today include $3 for coffee shop coffee, $7 for lunch at Panda Express, and…. $29 for a small foldup camp table. I totally justified the camp table in my head at the time. We are going camping in a couple weeks, have invited some of the kids’ friends to stay with us in a small cabin, and I really wanted to be the gracious hostess and have enough mealtime table space for everyone. (The cabin table seats 7 or 8 snugly) We used to have a camp table, but some of my offspring who shall remain nameless BROKE it this summer…so when I saw this one that seats 6, I grabbed it.

Nevertheless, I am feeling very unprincipled, and like I being a terrible example of spendthriftiness this month. But because the camp table is obviously not groceries, and because I’m counting the birthday stuff separately, I still have $106 for groceries to last the rest of the month.

Breakfast: Bacon, juice, and Aunt Edie pancakes (crepes) with powdered sugar and butter. We call them Aunt Edie pancakes because back in the 70’s my Aunt Edie came to our house and showed my mom the recipe.
Lunch: Spaghetti and apples
Dinner: Teriyaki hamburgers, tomatoes, corn on the cob, grapes

Grape jelly post still coming, but perhaps not till late this evening. I have a busy day today.


  1. Celebrating a birthday is in a different category than groceries. We’re almost halfway through the month so you’re half way there.

    And something like a camp table. IF you didn’t buy it this month you’d buy it next month so it wouldn’t have been a real savings anyway.

    I used to be good at stuff like this before kids. Now it’s so hard to be as frugal as I used to be.

  2. I agree that Birthdays and camp tables are necessities, things that you just HAVE to spend, even when you’re being frugal. We’re doing really well on groceries this month, but I have a friend’s pre-wedding party to co-host plus her wedding gift itself. It’s a good thing we’re saving on groceries, it makes me feel a little better about the spending for the others.
    Take care, thanks for the email, Sleep more!
    Heather BT

  3. That’s the thing about trying to stick to a stringent budget…things happen, events creep up, surprises come out of nowhere..and then you get those really good deals on things you know you’ll need in a few months, like your camping trip..and well, what can you do?

    I think the important thing is to just remember that not everything is set in stone. We can’t be so rigid, I tried it. It doesn’t do anything but make you ill and your family miserable.

    I haven’t been able to stick to the “don’t spend a dime” mentality but I have noticed a HUGE drop in need to simply buy things this past year, since I’ve decided to be more cautious of what I spend and what I spend it on.

  4. Mary,
    For me, this has been such an eye-opening “experiment.” I’ve enjoyed watching my pennies so closely. Rather than being TOO upset when I’ve overspent, I’m just thankful simply know where and what my money has been spent on. And I’ve enjoyed the challenge to think before I spend…. to question, “Is this necessary?”
    So, keep your eyes on the goal, but more importantly, rejoice that you HAVE one established!

  5. I feel your pain. I have been doing a shameful job of staying on task this month and this morning was my big blowout walmart/SAMS grocery trip. oy. I think I am going to have to try again next month. It is SO hard. Hang in there!!!

  6. I’m lovin’ reading your blog this month Mary! Today I went to Aldi and I really didn’t need tons of stuff so I thought I would try to get by for $50…by aisle 3 I thought I’d try for no more than $60…by aisle 4 I figured I better allow myself $70!!! That’s pretty much what I spent, but it was a lot better than the usual $130-140 that I spend in that one store! ~~Pam

  7. Happy birthday to your daughter! 🙂

    I have been doing this too – not knowing that others were! We’re trying to live out of our pantry/stockpile and I only buy fresh fruit and veggies – and if I run out of the milk I’ve frozen that was on sale then I’ll have to buy milk too. I haven’t been grocery shopping for stuff other than fruit and veggies in over two weeks now. It feels good 🙂 And dinners are starting to require more brain work to think of something yummy, healthy and using ingredients we have!

  8. ouch. Milk eggs and orange juice would be under $10 where I live, if I wait till the juice is on sale.

    I’m glad I don’t have to grocery shop in your neck of the woods.

    And happy birthday to your daughter. How is she doing?

  9. oops, I must have counted in some birthday stuff in that $20 ….the milk was $3, 2 doz eggs $3, and OJ was $5 for 4 cans… $11….


  10. To my way of thinking, as long as you don’t go overboard…a person has a budget (in this case for you this month you have $200) for Necessity, so that when birthday and such come up you can splurge on stuff…within moderation of course….Happy birthday to your daughter!

  11. please, please… Aunt Eady’s pancake recipe.

  12. “Nevertheless, I am feeling very unprincipled, and like I being a terrible example of spendthriftiness this month.”

    * G r a c e *