Best laid plans, and no spend update

As I was de-cluttering my only drawer in my kitchen last week, I came upon a set of plastic sticks from a gift I received more than a year ago.  My two sisters had bought me an edible bouquet.  If you don’t know what this is, this will show you.  Nice thought, but not really appreciated when I know what these things cost.

Anyway, I just couldn’t bring myself to toss these out, until last week. They went in the bag of things I would be getting rid of. Then I read this post by Green Dragonfly and had to dig them back out to use!

Here’s the stash I had been storing, for no other reason than they couldn’t be recycled.


I had this all worked out in my head, I’d pull out some scraps of fabric (boy is that bag diminishing!), and sew the pieces together to make a really special tent for my grand daughters smaller dolls.

Right! Have you ever crafted with a 4 year old?  They listen to you explain what the project should entail and then take over and do it their way 🙂

Here’s what she came up with.  The white fabric is the front door opened up.


We pulled out the masking tape to join the plastic sticks for the frame, as you can see it doesn’t sit flat, but she’s over-joyed with her accomplishment so I didn’t point it out to  her.

Of course the thread was too slow and the masking tape was used instead to attach the fabric walls.  She even used her scissors to cut a scrap for a pillow.


I want to give a huge thank you to Janette at The Green Dragonfly if you craft with, or for, children you will love this site. Janette also has free crocheting and sewing patterns available.

That was the fun part, now for the frustration part of life.

January Money Diet Update

If you have been reading my blog for any time now you will know I rarely shop.  The only time I really “blow” my money is when it comes to groceries.  I tend to pick up that candy bar at the checkout, or buy treats for the grand kids to have when they visit.  In November, I fell victim to the bakery section of the store when they had freshly made pumpkin rolls available, it was the only time I’ve missed having an oven.


So knowing I over spend at the grocery store I thought I would take on the January Money Diet.  While I normally don’t think about spending money on a regular basis, I know it’s there if I need it.  Instead, this month I am thinking about not being “allowed” to spend money as I run into things I feel I need to buy.  Here are a few of the things I’ve run into.

  • I need a gift for my daughter-in-laws birthday which we will be celebrating on February 4th.  What I want to get her I will need to order as I found it on Etsy.
  • Before

    I have a jewelry box I am working on for my grand daughter, which I would like to take to her on February 4th.  It needs knobs for the drawers and while I considered making something, I want it to hold up for  a long time.  I left this rather plain to allow it to grow with her into adulthood, and had wanted to use something (don’t want to give it away yet) that would last as well.  Again I found what I wanted on Etsy, but that would involve shipping time, I don’t have.

  • We were  having some cold days and my one craving became yet again hot chocolate. I finally broke down and bought a container, two days later it warmed up to spring like temperatures. Sure I had things to drink here, tea and water being what I normally drink, but I just wanted the comfort that tea can’t give in the form of hot chocolate. Total cost $4.
  • IMG1219I’m dealing with the loveseat.  I just don’t let myself look at the bottom where books keep it level after the leg broke.  The need to have it repaired has been replaced with other frustrations.
  • I have a vanity I am supposed to be working on as well.  I can’t as I was asked to use white paint and I’m out of white.  This isn’t a big deal as I a have other things I can be working on, but having a money diet has forced me to choose which project gets my attention this month based on which one I have the supplies for rather than which one I want to move out of here the quickest.

When I took on the January Money Diet it was with the stipulation of only buying necessities.   I can so easily convince myself that each of the above items is necessary.  I am still struggling with this issue and may have convinced myself that the birthday gift and the knobs on the jewelry box are necessities.

If I wait until February to purchase these, I will, first, probably find something else at the last minute that costs more than what I was going to buy for the gift. Secondly, if I wait to buy the knobs for the jewelry box that means I will need to hold on to it, and find a place to store it until March.  Living in a small apartment means I really don’t want to be storing things here for any longer than I need to, no matter how small they may be.

  • If you are trying to get a handle on spending I encourage you to check out the January Money Diet, if for no other reason the wonderful ideas you can get daily.  Here is my favorite inspiration so far, for someone like me who enjoys up-cycling things.
  • After all my complaining about the money diet, I would be leaving you with a possible bad taste in your mouth when considering whether or not to attempt this in your life, whether it’s January or another month.  I’d love for you to visit Frugal Trenches, who has been having a wonderful month of no-spending with her children.  It is a joy for me to read her daily posts on how this is positively affecting their lives.
Did you take on a challenge (or resolution) for January that is turning out to be more than you bargained for?


  1. Okay, so it’s not going “perfectly”. But life isn’t perfect. I think you need to remind yourself that you’re doing a bang-up great job. This money diet is at the very least, causing you to give spending even more thought than usual. And that in itself is a good thing. Now try to think of all the times this month that you’ve resisted spending because of the money diet. Those are success points! Focus on those. I think you’re doing great!

    I’m sort-of doing the same with regards to grocery spending this month. Our freezers are full, so there’s not a huge need for me to buy much in the way of groceries. And by deliberately trying to use the freezers first, shop second, I’m making more plans for using up the freezer stash than I might ordinarily. I’ve had to buy a few things every week, but all in all, I think I’ve had more success points than failures.


    • Thanks, Lili, I think I needed a pep talk. I realized after hitting publish that I was over-thinking this. Yes, I needed to have the birthday gift by Feb 4th, but I’ve also saved in other ways. For example, like you, I have plenty of food to use up in the home already so my total grocery shopping has been under $30 so far this month. I will be doing some real shopping the early part of the week, but I don’t see myself having much trouble sticking to the list as that seems so easy compared to the rest.

      I did end up ordering both what I needed for the jewelry box and the birthday gift for a total cost with shipping of $18. I would have spent so much more trying to find something locally, so I’m okay with the fact that I spent the money. I’m telling myself that I have saved so much on groceries alone that I wouldn’t have if I weren’t trying to stick to the Money Diet that these two purchases are simply coming out of my grocery bill and in that way it’s like I never went shopping, if you can follow that reasoning.:-)


  2. You probably already know what I’m going to say, Lois! 😉 With goals, it’s not about whether you meet them or are “perfect,” it’s about what you gain along the journey. If you’re being more mindful of your spending, and more aware of your temptations, then I would consider it to be a success!

    Food is my weakness as well. I always impulse buy, when grocery shopping.


    • Again, I get a pep talk I needed. Yes, I am considering which are necessary expenses and which are not this month, it’s a fine line on some things. I did purchase the knobs and the birthday present, but I wouldn’t have been able to get them in time if I waited, so it was important to do so, to me at least.

      What is it about groceries? I could try to attribute it to my grandparents who believed having enough food and that included treats like my grandmother’s baking, meant they were well off after having so little growing up.


  3. I agree with the other commenters – you are thinking through every purchase, so that is a win. I also believe that if you spend now to save later (such as with the birthday presents, or doing a little stock-up of grocery items on sale) that it does pay off over the long run.


    • As for the birthday present, I did purchase it for two reasons. The main one being that I was getting something she would love and make her day. She doesn’t read my blog so I can tell you, she loves perfumes, but I hate the chemicals in them so I rarely buy her any. I purchased three small bottles of homemade fragrances made with natural ingredients and essential oils for $12 (with the shipping). It’s a treat to her to get a new scent as she’s really girly.

      As for the groceries, I had been stocking up all fall on staples which is why I haven’t needed much from the store, it’s something I do each year so I don’t have to worry about getting to the store if the weather is bad. But it skews my spending habits when it comes to sharing how I spend my money when I take on a challenge.


  4. While I haven’t been following the January Money Diet strictly, I have put together a new monthly budget that includes a specific amount for “miscellaneous” spending (gifts, projects, clothes, things for the home, etc.). I’ve found this makes me weigh my spending decisions more carefully — and often just the additional consideration time makes me realize I don’t really need the purchase. But when something carefully weighed does continue to feel like a smart purchase — good to go with it!


    • That’s a good idea and something I have been considering doing for the rest of the year. Once I reduced my spending to have extra money, I haven’t really been living with a budget and need to. Just because I have extra money doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be tracking my expenditures to find those places that are frivolous.


  5. I’m going to try a no-spend February. Not even groceries. I imagine I will probably still buy a few things, but it will be really nice not to spend so much on groceries – that’s my biggest area of spending.


  6. I have some of those sticks also, I keep thinking I am going to re-create a bouquet of fruit and haven’t yet. I need to dust them off and try it 🙂


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