From December 27 to the time of this writing (which is actually 1/26; I'm a bit behind in my blogging!) we have spent $309 on items other than regular bills and pet stuff (see previous post). That feels like a lot, but in reviewing it, I don't see much that could be helped. Here is a breakdown of our unavoidable spending:
$100 - Gas
We had to go out of town once, and that alone cost us about $30 in gas for the van. Also, I am currently in a local production of The Secret Garden, and have had to attend rehearsals 30 minutes away from home. If not for those two things, this number would be less than half what it is. It doesn't take much gas to get Jordan to work and back.
$157 - Groceries
We did make one cheaty trip to the discount food store, which accounts for a lot of this. It was probably a good idea, though--we've already used up some of the stuff we bought, and we really have not gone out to eat or stopped for fast food this whole time. My mom has kindly taken us out a couple of times when we were spending the day together, but other than that it's been meals prepared at home. So, if we've traded fast food for spending a bit more at the grocery store than we'd hoped, I'd say it's still a win.
$42 Food exchange (milk and eggs)
I've given this one a lot of thought. We pay about $3 for a dozen eggs and $6 for a gallon of milk. The quality is excellent--the milk is from grass-fed cows, and the eggs are from hens who roam about daily on grass paddocks rather than staying caged. All the products are from local farmers. I consider this an investment in our health, so we probably won't be giving it up.
Jordan's clear vinyl shower curtain was a torn-up, nasty mess. Normally I throw these in the washer with a couple of towels, but his was too tattered to survive that. I was very disappointed with the quality of the one we ordered, but at least it was a 2-pack. Kind of aggravating to have to buy this during the spending freeze, but what can you do?
Overall, I feel we've stuck to the spirit of this spending freeze and I'm satisfied with our efforts. I can tell it is making a huge difference in the areas we wanted to change--particularly in helping us reset our spending habits! Our Amazon orders have dropped off to the point that the UPS man probably wonders if I'm still alive! :-)