31 Day No Spending Challenge List // & 50 things to do instead of spending money

happinessThis August we are attempting a 31 Day No Spending Challenge. This means all month long we aren’t spending on non-essentials, but we are of course still allowed:

  • Our bills/utilities
  • Groceries
  • Household essentials like diapers, toilet paper, toothpaste, etc..
  • Gas/Car-related maintenance
  • And though this isn’t essential, I’m allowing for a couple of instances of eating out. J brings a lunch to work almost daily, but occasionally it’s not practical for him. And an occasional $5 pizza for dinner will be allowed. I have to be realistic here because I don’t want to throw in the towel at the first lapse.)
  • Also allowed is the possible extra grocery/gas expense associated with camping. We still plan to actually have fun this summer! 🙂

Here’s what’s not allowed:

  • Hobby supplies
  • House/Garden/Personal items that aren’t essential
  • Anything for Hannah that isn’t necessary (she’s got plenty of everything she needs right now)
  • Clothes
  • Media: books, mags, downloads, rentals, etc. unless they are free
  • Gifts. We have one birthday to celebrate in August (my niece who lives with us) and I’ve already got her gift, so we are good to go!)
  • Entertainment like going to movies or events
  • Anything else that’s not essential

To keep me motivated/distracted/busy, I came up with 50 things I can do that will cost me nothing (except some groceries/gas money here and there) to refer to throughout the month, in case I need reminded there are plenty of things I can be doing with my time that won’t cost money. It really wasn’t that difficult: I just put down in one place some of the seasonal to-do items I need to accomplish, some free things I want to take advantage of for the remaining days of summer, and listed some general ways I like to spend my time that cost me nothing. I also put down lots of projects I’ve been procrastinating on that I have the supplies for. Maybe this will be the month I get around to them. 🙂

To Do List (items in orange are the things I definitely want/need to accomplish)
1. Get caught up on the little work projects I’ve been putting off, and get more organized
2. Plan and research Yellowstone/Jackson Hole trip (Sept.)
3. Take 18 month photos of Hannah
4. Go on an anniversary date (with a gift card we have stashed away)
5. Go on a free date (Frisbee in the park and a picnic, maybe?)
6. Paint the little bathroom (extra paint from basement)
7. Paint the kitchen chairs (extra paint from bookcases)
8. Begin Christmas gift planning: budget, idea list, and gifts-to-make list
9. Get rid of 100 things
10. Clean up the garage
11. Cut out pieces for the triangle quilt I bought fabric for (might not have enough fabric, but I can start, and see what else is needed)
12. Finish garden stool project (have supplies)
13. Finish scrapbooking 2011 photos (already printed photos and have the supplies)
14. Make Christmas gifts / cards (if I have the supplies)
15. Paint the raised garden beds (extra paint to use up in garage)
16. Tidy up the landscaping in the front yard (prune and move things as needed)
17. Divide up the Hostas (if weather cools down)
18. Food preservation and garden journal/plan update for 2015
19. Can pickles with garden cucumbers
20. Harvest, dry and save seeds from cucumbers and peppers
21. Dry herbs from the garden
22. Make some herbal remedies for wintertime
23. Take some pictures of the yard (for blogging and scrapbooking purposes)

Summer Family Fun:
1. Utilize “free days” in my community (Ours has free Saturday admission to swimming pools, Dinosaur Park, Aerospace Museum, Children’s Museum, depending on the date)
2. Splash pad at the park
3. Farmer’s Market (groceries are an acceptable expense, and they have great deals)
4. Nature Center (already have membership!)
5. Pack a picnic for the park or rec area
6. Backyard kiddie pool
7. Help Hannah play with bubbles, sidewalk chalk, water the plants, etc.
8. Roast marshmallows and sit around the fire pit
9. Eat some meals on the deck
10. Bike ride our nearby trail (borrow bike trailer for Hannah)
11. Farmer’s Market (because groceries are an allowable expense)
12. Plan our Fall Bucket List

Boredom Killers:
1. Manicure/pedicure
2. Write in my journal
3. Read a book I already own
4. Go for a walk
5. Do some yoga
6. Bake cookies
7. Blog post
8. Organize a closet, drawer, etc.
9. Make a new jogging playlist
10. Try some new at-home workouts (YouTube, videos I have already..)
11. Go to the gym on base for fitness classes (if Jonathan’s ever home to watch Hannah for an hour…)
12. Go to the library for books, music and movies
13. Make a project with fabric scraps
14. Practice shooting photos with my camera
15. Take a nap (haha! riiight)


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