No Spend September: Days 14-20

The week of the 14th through the 20th was spent trying to track down refunds for poisonous dog food, doing yoga, and trying to avoid giving in to wants.

Successes: Wednesday & Friday were entirely No Spend Days!

I also got a refund from Amazon for the dog food and a sincere apology that my dogs were ill from it.

Overall, I stayed under my weekly spending goal, which includes any “flexible” spending–so anything not a bill. Besides my “challenges” I only spent money on groceries and ended up with money to roll over to the next week.  Considering what I’m about to list in my challenges, that’s a pretty great success.

Challenges: Once a year, the CSU Bookstore sends out 40% off coupons for one green “professional wear” shirt to all of the employees.  You have to present your coupon with your name on it and your campus ID and it must be green, something you can wear to work, and not a jacket.   Fridays are “Get Your Green On” days so most employees wear their CSU gear on these days.  OF COURSE the coupon came during No Spend September.  Because this is my one yearly shot at a discount for something I will put into the rotation of three shirts I can wear on Fridays, I bought a shirt for $37.  It is Under Armour and I did not buy the really expensive vest that I REALLY wanted.  This is my compromise and I’m content with it.

I bought the new Youth Lagoon record from Vinyl Me, Please because it was on sale for like a day and was a special edition.  I’ve listened to it about 100 times (probably not an exaggeration) since so WORTH IT.

I bought a Pizza of the Week from Krazy Karl’s (whatever large specialty pizza they are promoting for the week for $8 instead of normally $13) because I didn’t have time to cook between work and yoga so I got carry out (no delivery fee or tip) and picked it up on my way home from work.  I learned my lesson on why adults should avoid Campus West while school is in session.

I made the mistake of stopping at Arc after yoga one day.  I found a Fiestaware mug in a discontinued color because I have the best Fiestaware karma ever, a mirror for our mirror wall (wood frame!!!), and a Pendleton wool blazer that will be gifted to my aunt.  I spent $30.

This is our mirror wall, plus Cowboy Andy on Tour de Fat day.

This is the only picture I have of our mirror wall, so you get a bonus Cowboy Andy with a Genessee and coffee on Tour de Fat day.

Could have been worse.  Could have been better.  Not shopping is hard.


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



Celebrating America by Getting Outside

I celebrated the 4th by getting up early (at 9:00…) for a vinyasa yoga class, focusing on the concept of freedom–freedom from negativity and anything holding us back from being our best selves, which was a fitting meditation for wellness month. I followed it up by lazing around by Amber and Mirela’s pool, eating a boatload of Doritos and hot dogs (it was ‘Merica Day, clearly I needed to eat something processed and horrible), and synthesizing some vitamin D while managing to not get sunburned (it’s a no-melanin miracle!).  While this photo is not actually from the 4th, it sums our day (and us in general) up pretty nicely.


If you don’t already know, we’re hilarious.

Later that day, I found myself in bed at 9:00 pm, with three dogs who were TERRIFIED of fireworks.  I tried to soothe them with some Bon Iver.  It worked fantastically.  It did not work at all.  Why was I in bed so early, torturing myself by trying to sleep with three insane dogs flipping out and barking every time they heard a pop?  Because I woke up at 2:15 am to go hiking.  I might also be insane.

I met up with Courtney in Thornton and we drove up to the Grays Peak trailhead to get started on my first 14er before 6:00 am.  Fun fact: Grays is the highest point on the North American Continental Divide. I got to show off my dirt road driving skills that I procured while growing up in Wyoming because the road was a rutted out mess.  Thankfully, Courtney has a Jeep because I’m not sure my Subaru would have made it.  The mountain air was crisp and cold when we got out of the car, and had that perfect mountain smell that always makes me feel like I’m home.

At the trailhead.   Cold nose, early morning.

At the trailhead.
Cold nose, early morning.

We set out on our 8 mile round trip hike with the intention of trying to do Torreys Peak as well once we summitted Grays. Unfortunately, things were a little slower-going than we planned and we decided to just do Grays. The wildflowers only bloom for about 3 weeks and were in full bloom and absolutely beautiful while we were there and took our minds off the elevation and lack of oxygen.

Wild flowers (Grays on the left)
Stolen from Courtney.

The summit was awesome in the truest sense of the word.

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At the summit!

At the summit!

On the way down, we were surprised on the trail by a family of mountain goats!  I had never seen mountain goats in the wild before and we were lucky enough to see four, including a baby.  Obviously, I took 800 pictures, but I won’t subject you to all of them.

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Mountain goats

Mountain goats

We were completely famished afterwards and stopped at the Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs to eat a mountain pie on a mountain. I considered this a necessity because, after the chia seeds, bagel with greek yogurt cream cheese, protein bar, cereal bar, and oat and nut bar, I was still famished.  It was the single greatest pizza of my life and I know a kale salad or something would not have cut it.  I desperately needed carbs!  We did get whole wheat crust and lots of veggies with ricotta cheese, so there are certainly worse pizzas in the world.

When we got home, I slept for 13 hours.

Frugal in FoCo pro tip: We live in one of the best places in the nation (or anywhere) for getting outdoors and there are lots of free places to hike (or bike or climb or paddle…).  While we chose to drive to Grays, there are lots of hikes right outside of Fort Collins that are accessible by bicycle or bus, or even walking.  It’s a great way to get back in touch with nature, unplug for a while, and not spend a dime.