You may recall my announcement about taking Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s Family Financial Challenge. We have been working at it all month, and here are some of the things we’ve done and some things I’ve learned. The challenge was broken down into four weeks, and you can read about them below.

• Week 1 – Cash, Cash, Cash

Using cash only means using prepaid gift cards as well for us, because I am often paid with them. I actually haven’t found it that difficult, but we have broken the rule a couple of times when we needed gas in the van and didn’t have cash on hand. I obviously forgot to calculate gas into our budget, so I learned that it is important to consider all of your expenses when doing the budget. I also learned that it’s a good idea for a couple to do the budget together. My husband has our vehicle most of the time so gas wasn’t something that I thought of because I don’t often have to purchase it. I’m sure he would have thought of that right away if he had been involved in the budgeting process.

• Week 2 – Food

Eating meals that we prepare at home is something we have been focusing on for a few months, so we just continued along those lines. As a family who once ordered food weekly (and often more) we have seen a real savings by planning ahead and making our own meals. It has also helped me create great blog content!

We followed the suggestion and tried to make meals with what we already had on hand, and I was able to come up with several meals without going to the grocery store. Here are a few examples of what we ate:

  • tuna casserole
  • pancakes
  • spaghetti
  • chili
  • soup & sandwiches
  • homemade rolls
  • broccoli casserole

It  is amazing what you can come up with when you think there are no groceries in the house.

• Week 3 – Family

video games

We didn’t have any big outings planned for the month, so we were able to save money by staying at home. We played board games, the kids played video games, we all watched movies and we just spent time together. It has been a month of stomach bugs and head colds so no one was that anxious to be outdoors, but we did have a visit at Grandma’s house and one of the kids had a sleepover with Grandma.

• Week 4 – Clothes

Going through clothing is an ongoing battle for me. My oldest son obviously manages his own wardrobe but I still have three growing children who constantly need clothing removed from their drawers. With a broken arm, I’m not doing any heavy lifting right now so I haven’t done a lot of clothing work this month, however I did take several boxes out of the house in December so I still think I’m doing okay in this department! I have always given away these clothes, but I could try and sell them in the future in order to raise a little money, or if I know someone who wants to swap used clothing, that could be a money saver as well.

Overall I think it’s been a successful month for us. We have goals for the coming months and years and this project is helping us work towards them.

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
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