Mar 26 2011

grocery shopping update [day 304]

I’ve gotten a few questions on my new grocery shopping plan.  I shop more frequently, but buying less, limiting myself to 25 items or less.  You can read the story about the downsizing and new shopping plan that was published in early February 2011.  Take a look.

Here’s the before and after photos of my pantry.  The after was taken a couple of weeks ago and even has less in there today.  I don’t have photos of the refrigerator or freezer, but they are sparse as well.  Here’s some of the results or the new way of shopping.

Money savings.

I started shopping at Aldi versus Kroger, Tom Thumb, WalMart or Target.  That, coupled with the 25 items or less, has produced the following monetary results.  These amount reflect groceries, the occasional toiletry items and some wine.

February 2011: $268.95

March 2011 (so far, 1 week left): $149.89

I started this in mid January, so I didn’t look at that month.  Here’s what I spent the 2 months prior.  Continue reading

Jan 19 2011

the clothing experiment update [day 237]

Here’s the experiment.  I decided to reduce my wardrobe by 50%.  I also threw out a mini-challenge.  Take 25 pieces of clothing from your closet, place them in a box or plastic tote.  Put it away for a month and see if you miss any of the stuff in it.  If not, take it to the thrift store.  If so, take out the item(s) you missed.  Here are some updates.

50% reduction

I still have a long way to go on achieving a 50% wardrobe reduction.  I’m close, but I still need to purge some more stuff.  I went through my drawers and got rid of about 40% of that.  I need to make my 2nd and 3rd passes there.  I also had 2 loads of dirty laundry that were not included.  I didn’t count the pieces, but just guessing, I need to get rid of about 75-100 more pieces.  I’ll do that later in the week.

my boys did the mini challenge

I had both of my kids pull 25 clothing items out of their closets.

My youngest, 10, has some emotional attachments to his clothing, and to stuff he’s never even worn. Wow, we all start this process early. He has a lot of hand-me-downs that he intends to wear. The process was not easy for him.

My oldest, 11, is way pickier than I thought. I learned a lot about him in the process. He hates yellow and thinks it makes him look like a clown. He won’t wear anything with a collar. He had a lot of clothes in the back of his closet that were too small, and some clean laundry. I thought he had a lot of clothes, but he doesn’t because his brother, being the same size, has hoarded them all.

50 pieces of clothing is going to the resale shop.  And my boys? They feel good about it. It’s easier to keep their rooms clean.

others taking the challenge

I have gotten some great responses to the mini-challenge.  Besides the several people doing it, here’s some great feedback.   Continue reading

Sep 27 2010

just updates [day 123]

Just a few updates today, no rants.  😉


My son’s birthday is next week.  We shopped on eBay for gifts or I told him he can have some money to spend.  He doesn’t want a party, but just a barbecue with some of his neighborhood friends.  Other than a few Lego things, there’s really not much he wants.

My friend, who’s in the hospital for a while, had a birthday yesterday.  I went to see her, but I didn’t bring a card or a gift.  I told her I would take her out to dinner for her birthday as soon as she could go.  The birthday dinner thing seems to be the best thing.  You get to spend time with your friends, share a good meal and have some great memories.

Helping the homeless.

I went to an orientation for Our Calling.  This organization, started by Wayne Walker, is quite an impressive operation in helping homeless and broken people.  There are many ways to help people through Our Calling, from serving people in person to financial and donations.  I sat for a little while with a man named Jeff, who is now clean, off the streets after many years and is out there helping others.  His comment to us was, “… thank you for helping me, because now I can go out and help others.”  Check it out if you have a minute.

I can’t end this section without also mentioning our local homeless shelter, The Samaritan Inn.  Suburban homelessness exists, only it’s more difficult to see since they aren’t hanging out under bridges or panhandling in our downtown areas.  Our suffering economy (as opposed to the economists that need to make it sound like everything is stable and improving) has severely increased the homeless population over the past few years.

If you’re in the Frisco area and have any desire to work with these organizations, I’m starting a Go Group (through Preston Trail Community Church) that focuses on helping the homeless.  Join me!


I’m probably going to need tires on my 14 year old SUV before this challenge is up.  I’m starting to look on eBay and craigslist, however that is going to require me to know way more about tires than I ever wanted to know.  I’ll keep you posted on this one.


I’m past the 1/3 mark for the year!  Time is flying…

Sep 3 2010

wow [day 100]

Wow.  Day 100.  It seems like I just started the challenge, but it also feels like I have a long way to go.  I have two kids birthdays and Christmas right around the corner.  Not sure how I will handle those.

Updates: I did hear from the guy with the AC filters and I’m getting them tonight.  Joe wants a binder for school, but is willing to buy it with his own money.  He says I grounded myself with the challenge.  In cleaning out my garage, I did want to buy a few organizational things, but I found some creative ways to store stuff and it also forced me to get rid of more stuff.

Here’s a funny photo I thought I would share this morning.  I love staged photography, but this was not staged.  This was on the floor in an abandoned house.  It speaks for itself.

Aug 25 2010

1/4 year into the challenge!! [day 91]

Where does the time go???  It’s been that long already?  Today I’ll just do a few updates on the challenge.

What have I learned?

Many good things, but mostly that there are good alternatives to a lot of the purchases I would have normally made without the challenge.  I borrowed tools and gardening equipment, things I would have normally purchased.  (Jeff and Thad, I don’t have the missing shop vac.  LOL)  I also seem to lend out more of my stuff to people that know I’m doing this, as they are rethinking purchases as well.

What’s the biggest change?

I would have to say impulse buys.  With the challenge, I’m not even inside too many stores, but before the challenge I would buy things I just didn’t need, or want for that matter.  I do this thing with my kids when they want something, I make them wait 24 hours, then if they still remember it and still want it, I will take them back and let them buy it.  (with their money)  I will do this myself too, even when the challenge is over.

Where there any surprises?

I’m constantly surprised by the number of people reading my blog and how they have changed some of their shopping habits.  I didn’t expect so many people to follow my progress, and some of them I don’t know very well.

I’m also surprised by the amount of money I’ve saved.  I must have spent a lot on junk I didn’t need!  I have no debt and I won’t even consider changing that.  I didn’t have a lot before the challenge, but I would justify making a purchase before I had the money for it.  I live more within my means now and have money to help others when I have the opportunity.

My house is easier to clean. I just don’t have as much stuff… well, the garage is not included in that area yet, but as soon as it’s not 150 degrees out there, I will be making it into an art studio.  I have taken loads of stuff to the resale shop, and I still have several more to go.

What happens after the challenge?

I get this question a lot.  Hopefully I will still keep many of the lifestyle changes I have made to do this challenge.  I plan to, as that’s the purpose.  I might buy something retail afte it’s over, but that won’t happen without looking for the item second hand or trying to make sure I really need it.

If you have a question about the challenge, post a comment here and I’ll answer.  Thanks for following the challenge!!!!!