No Spend September: Day 2

Another successful day on the mission to only spend on Needs for a month.

I walked to the Max to get to work and had several meetings that filled up my day. ¬†Our office provides coffee so when I can’t get coffee at home, I can get it at work. ¬†I ate leftover roasted red pepper and tomato bisque for lunch because Andy ate the spaghetti with meat sauce I was dying to eat. ¬†The sacrifices we make for love…

After cleaning out the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, I realized I HAD to go grocery shopping.  I initially thought I was only going to get a couple of things, but I ended up stocking up so that we would be able to eat for a minimum of two weeks.  For tips on how I shop for maximum savings with maximum sanity, see Saving on Food, Part 1: Groceries.

For dinner, I was inspired by this post on Smitten Kitchen:

I cubed¬†a large cucumber, a ripe avocado, and two heirloom tomatoes and mixed them with a large dollop of plain nonfat Greek yogurt. ¬†I stirred in a little of a dill dip mix that Andy found at the farmer’s market. ¬†Then I chilled it for a couple of hours in the fridge and let the flavors meld. ¬†OMFG, this salad is a game changer! ¬†Andy and I agreed that it would need to become a constant in our fridge.

Because we can’t live on salad alone, I also made a pizza with whole wheat crust (the kind in a tube because ain’t nobody got time for homemade crust on a weeknight), heirloom tomato slices instead of sauce, a generous sprinkling of basil, fresh mozzarella (thanks, half-price manager special!), some shaved parmesan, sliced uncured jalapeno cheddar bratwurst (again, thanks, half-price manager special!), and some artichoke antipasto from Trader Joe’s. ¬†Andy said, and I quote, “This has to be one of the best pizzas you’ve ever made, and it’s not like your other pizzas aren’t great.” ¬†I would call that a win. ¬†Unfortunately, I don’t have photo documentation of the pizza, so I’ll just have to make it again.

We play Geeks Who Drink on Wednesdays so that was an activity where I knew there would be some temptation to spend money. ¬†The whole reason bars and restaurants do Geeks Who Drink is to bring in people who are going to spend money on a normally slow night. ¬†I usually try to order either a beer or an appetizer or something, but I stuck with club soda. ¬†I like the carbonation and taste, and it’s hydrating. ¬†If no one at our table had been purchasing food or drinks, I would have felt bad about not buying anything and taking up space at the restaurant. ¬†However, we’re there every week, Andy tipped extra for the service I received, and the other five people at our table ordered food and at least two drinks each. ¬†As soon as No Spend September is done, I’ll resume buying something during trivia because I like to support local business, but for now I’m sticking to the goal at hand. ¬†Bonus: I won a beer so I can use that to save some $$$ when teacher training is done! ¬†And our team won by 10 points!

Day 2 verdict: Success!

Spending: $153 on groceries, and I only used my car to go to the grocery store.

Income: $.60 interest income

 

 

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No Spend September: Day 1

No Spend September is underway! ¬†So far, so good, as I had a day completely free of spending (bills don’t count as spending).

How did I get through the day without spending? ¬†Here’s an overview of my day, my temptations, and my successes.

I got to work around 7:15 am and was in meetings from 8:00 am-5:00 pm with no breaks. ¬†Can’t spend money if you don’t have a free moment! ¬†I didn’t even think about things that are normally tempting me during the work day, like a delicious Consuelo’s Spanish omelet burrito.

No photo available of a Consuelo's burrito because they never last longer than a minute in my possession.

No photo available of a Consuelo’s burrito because they never last longer than a minute in my possession.

We had a working lunch at Rainbow, where I ate the peanut cashew vegetables with tempeh along with a tomato bisque because that’s a normal combination… whatever. ¬†The food was delicious. ¬†Thanks for buying me lunch, CSU!

I got home around 5:30 pm too exhausted to move. ¬†I may have crowded my way onto the bus by pretending I couldn’t hear the driver say they were at capacity because there was no way I was going to wait for the next bus. ¬†Andy was brewing a barleywine for 6 hours last night (…) so I had the house to myself. ¬†I wanted to cook dinner but all of my creative energy was sapped. ¬†This is when I REALLY wanted to order a pizza. ¬†Like so bad. ¬†SO BAD. ¬†But instead, I ate some hummus and tortilla chips to replenish my energy stores, watched a few episodes of The League, and then mustered up the ability to make…wait for it…tomato bisque because evidently I just can’t get enough. ¬†By “make,” I mean I took a carton of roasted red pepper and tomato bisque (see! it was different…I’m not a soup addicted weirdo), cut up an heirloom tomato, fresh basil leaves, and some leftover tofu I needed to use, and heated it all in a pan. ¬†It did the job and didn’t require a trip to the grocery store.

If you aren’t watching The League yet, someone should probably “take care” of you.

I worked on cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry while my soup was cooking. ¬†I added any hot sauce that was nearly out to my soup and threw out anything past its prime or questionable. ¬†I will probably have to make a grocery trip soon, but I now know exactly what I have in reserves so I can work on planning meals and making a “needs” list. ¬†No rando “want” food purchases during this experiment.

Other temptations I avoided: a TOMS shoe sale, a Sierra Trading Post sale, the idea of owning a yoga bolster and wanting to make that an immediate reality, and a yearning for avocado because we were out.

“Saved”: I could have easily spent around $200 on my Wants. ¬†I didn’t drive anywhere by walking and riding the Max, so I saved on gas and car wear-and-tear.

Income: $1.77 in interest and two found pennies.

 

Digit Update: Real, Tangible Savings

Digit update

Holy crap! Digit has saved me over $250 since I’ve joined! ¬†I currently only have about $8 in my Digit account because I’ve been transferring every $50 to my savings, but that is real, tangible savings that I never missed from my checking account and wouldn’t have saved on my own. ¬†Digit is now offering bonuses if you leave your money in their account (they use the interest they earn on users’ money to pay themselves), but I get a better return rate on my savings account. ¬†If you haven’t tried Digit yet, you need to do it. ¬†I never miss the money and it’s a nice surprise to see how much has accumulated when I get the handy account balance texts. ¬†It is also so SO easy to use. ¬†All commands are done via text so you don’t even have to log into the account online. ¬†I only do it when I need a screenshot to post. ¬†Digit is phenomenal. ¬†Do it.

Curb Appeal: Weekend Project

This project is more like a half a day project and part of that is literally watching paint dry.  We wanted to spice up our house and add a little curb appeal.  I have been doing some mystery shopping (hilarious and a tale for another post) and did a shop at the Home Depot paint department.  I ended up with a bunch of paint chips and we decided our plain white front door needed a new look.

Before

Before The Inferno

We hemmed and hawed about whether we should go with a nice mustard yellow, a vibrant red, or a bright orange. ¬†We settled on INFERNO!!!!!11111 ¬†It sounds so intense. ¬†It’s really just a nice orange¬†with a red tone.

Behr Inferno Semi-Gloss

We got a semi-gloss in Behr’s mid-range exterior line so that it was a reasonable price and would have solid coverage in minimal coats. ¬†We only had to buy a little can and we still have probably half of it left. ¬†We didn’t need primer because the door was already white and the paint already had primer in it.

Because this was our first paint project since buying our house, we had to invest in plastic floor covering, painters tape, an angled paint brush, rollers, and a paint pan. ¬†Total we spent about $55, but we won’t need to repurchase a lot of this stuff for future projects (at least for a while). ¬†We didn’t go with the high-end stuff so that we could save money, but we also made sure to get quality items that wouldn’t necessitate another trip to Home Depot or trashing a bunch of stuff.

We rolled up the entry rug, put newspaper and plastic down because we were very paranoid about orange paint on the wood floor, taped the edges of the door and hardware, and then went to town.

Andy and The Inferno!

Andy and The Inferno!

We started with the rollers and covered as much as we could.  Then we finished the first coat with the brush.  The second coat we did entirely with the brush because we liked the way the paint went on better with the brush.

A lesson for when you paint your front door: you can’t shut it until it’s mostly dry or you risk either it sticking your door shut or peeling the fresh paint off the edges. ¬†So when your boyfriend immediately says he wants to leave to go do something, be prepared for your argument about why you should both stay to watch the paint dry.

After The Inferno!

After The Inferno!

We really like the way it turned out and it complements the blue of our siding nicely.  For roughly $55 (that cost will go down when we use the supplies for other projects) and a couple of hours, we were able to change the way our house looks from the outside and add major curb appeal.

As a result of this project I have concluded that I need a career change.  I would like to be the person that comes up with paint color names.  For example:

Only slightly related

This color is “Dignity Blue.” ¬†Obviously.

Fall Challenges

Crow at Yoga on the Rocks last year

Crow at Yoga on the Rocks last year

I am going to start 200 hour yoga teacher training on September 5! ¬†I have been thinking about this for a while and I shopped around for a program I like and that works with my work schedule, and the program at¬†Elan Yoga & Fitness came out on top. ¬†It is more affordable than other programs, I got an early bird discount for signing up in advance, I get a free membership during training, it’s focused on the two types of yoga I am interested in learning more about (vinyasa and hot yoga), and, most importantly, the studio is welcoming and dedicated to sharing yoga with everyone. ¬†I’m really looking forward to starting the program, but I thought I would give myself a few challenges to help me fully commit to this experience in all areas of my life. ¬†Training runs through mid-November, which will give me ample time to build some good habits.

No Spend September

This sounds really hard until I think about the fact that I’ll be busy every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. ¬†Then Limited Spending October and November will follow (no fun money for two months is not really realistic). ¬†I am trying to save up a six month emergency fund and this should help make a big dent!

Healthy Eating Challenge

I figure I should also focus on eating as healthy as possible during teacher training because I will be completely immersed in yoga and learning about the body.  I will eat whole, healthy foods.  With No Spend September, eating out and alcohol will already be cut because they are Wants, so it will be less of a challenge to focus on clean eating if I have multiple reasons.

Fitness Challenge

As part of the teacher training program I am supposed to take at least three yoga classes a week in addition to the lectures. ¬†I’ll also have 24 hour access to the fitness center and studio. ¬†I’m going to make a goal of doing two yoga classes that are more athletic (vinyasa, hot, anusara, etc.) and one yin class a week. ¬†I will also work in at least two days of either strength training or cardio.

Stay Sane 

On days that I don’t do a yoga class, I’ll meditate for ten minutes. ¬†I will also commit to getting at least seven¬†hours of sleep a night (I do this anyway…I am a zombie with any less than¬†seven¬†hours. ¬†If I could sleep ten every night I would).

Call Your Mom

I will remember to call my mom while I am busy.

 

I’ll do my best to document all of this, but you know how I am. ¬†If you want to play along with any part we can do it together! ¬†Let me know.

The junk that clutters my brain and phone memory

I have a strange sense of humor and my phone is littered with pictures of things I’ve encountered¬†that make me laugh. ¬†This is not related to frugal living,¬†is barely related to Fort Collins, and is not appropriate for any audiences.

"Rocket" salad

Red rocket salad, am I right?

 

Letters to Santa from my hometown paper.

Letters to Santa from my hometown paper.

2014-04-04 18.51.03

As much as I didn’t want to pass it up, they were all out.¬†

2014-02-17 15.56.13

Breakfast of champions

Breakfast of champions

As seen in a Fort Collins bathroom stall

As seen in a Fort Collins bathroom stall…

From the mural at Avogadro's Number

From the mural at Avogadro’s Number. ¬†Someone get that kid glasses.

This is a vending machine in a Swiss train station with snacks and pregnancy tests.

This is a vending machine in a Swiss train station with “party sticks”¬†and pregnancy tests.

Boob luv

Boob luv

Three parking spots.  Yes, I am responsible for that parking job.

Three parking spots. Yes, I am responsible for that sad parking job.

2012-03-16 18.25.49

Kids are hilarious. By hilarious, I mean idiots.

2012-07-23 17.09.59

2012-02-11 15.23.13

The biggest creep I know, creeping on my bath time

The biggest creep I know, creeping on me in the  bath

2012-08-27 14.37.04

The creme de la creme: The Most Wyoming Vehicle of All Time

The creme de la creme: The Most Wyoming Vehicle of All Time

 

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

I wrote this post last fall and for some reason never posted it.  Here you go:

In order to maximize our CSA share, I bought 30 lbs. box of roma tomatoes.  What does one do with 30 lbs. of roma tomatoes?

I suppose this was an option:

 

Instead, I opted for roasting them.  I think I made a wise decision.

This is in a box that holds a case of beer bottles. THAT'S A LOT OF TOMATOES.

This is in a box that holds a case of beer bottles. THAT’S A LOT OF TOMATOES.

By buying in bulk, I saved on the normal cost of tomatoes, plus these are locally grown and so flavorful and delicious.

I halved all the tomatoes and laid them out on cookie sheets covered with parchment. ¬†The parchment prevented the tomatoes sticking to the pan and allowed me to use the pan multiple times in a row. ¬†I drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil and roasted them for 40 minutes at 375¬į and then increased the temperature to 400¬į for the last 20 minutes.

Roasting

Roasting

I had multiple batches so I seasoned them each differently. ¬†I sprinkled some with red pepper flakes, some with oregano and basil, some with rosemary (the rosemary tomatoes were my favorite), some with 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe’s, and left some unseasoned.

After they cooled, I put them into quart sized freezer bags, marked them with the date and the type of seasoning, and stacked them in the freezer.

These tomatoes were absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever made. ¬†I didn’t use canned tomatoes or marinara sauce until they were gone. ¬†I used up 30 lbs of tomatoes in probably less than two months–that’s how spectacularly good they were. ¬†This fall I’m going to do at least 60 lbs. because I want my freezer to have these FOREVER. ¬†I don’t think you’d get the same flavor using store bought tomatoes because fresh-from-the-farm tomatoes are so flavorful, but roasting helps bring out the flavors and caramelizes them slightly so that they are unreal delicious so it’s worth a shot if you can’t get your hands on farm-fresh tomatoes.