How to: When Real Life Meets the No-Spend Challenge

Whew…we made it through one week of this No Spend Challenge and I have to say, that while I know we are being successful in our attempt not to spend money, it’s definitely been a CHALLENGE.

I guess that was the purpose?

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to check out Andrea’s Week 1 update, you should definitely take the time to do that! You can find it HERE.

Week 1 Recap

We finished up Week 1, still having only spent that original $72 on food.

As far as other savings go, we also managed to pass up the yearly craft show we love to go to which allowed us to save $16 in entrance fees, plus who knows how much on miscellaneous items we really didn’t need. Of course, it was hard to decide not to go, after all, it’s something we look forward to each year, but when we thought about how that money could be better used, it really was a no-brainer.

By all accounts, despite that one extra can of olives, Week 1 was a complete success.

Week 2

But, that’s in the past now, and it’s time to talk about Week 2, which I personally think is going to be EVEN better.


As we did in Week 1, we made up our meal plan ahead of time and checked all of the cupboards thoroughly. In the end, we spent EVEN LESS than last week, coming in at a grand total of $54.06 for food this week. That’s a two-week total of 124.30, which actually comes in under our normal ONE-week budget. Talk about success!

And don’t worry…my family isn’t starving at all.

The Meal Plan

If you know my family at all, you know that we enjoy eating simple meals, and while we normally have three things on the plate (meat, starch, vegetable), we often eat the same things week after week, just in a different form.

This week is no different.

(Want to see our breakfast and lunch plans? You can find those HERE.)

Day 1: Mongolian Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and Broccoli

As I mentioned before, this is one of our absolute favorite meals. There’s always enough for leftovers which means that Justin and I can have some for lunch the next day as well.

In this case, we had to purchase chicken for this meal, but we already had the cauliflower rice and broccoli in the freezer.

Day 2: Turkey Burger Taco Fries

Turkey burger is my new go-to for anything tacos-related in our home. (We love tacos!) Not only is it less expensive than ground beef, but it’s considerably cheaper and saves us a lot of money.

Taco fries are a twist on those cheesy fries you can get at certain fast-food restaurants. We cook the fries in the oven, make everything just like we would for regular tacos, and then add it all together in a bowl.

If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should. It’s a hit with the adults AND the kids, which is always a win in my book.

Day 3: BBQ Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and steamed veggies

We already had everything for this meal in the freezer, so it’s a great one to insert into a no-spend week. Of course, my husband will use his favorite BBQ seasonings on it, and everyone in the family will enjoy it.

(It’s getting cooler in our neck of the woods, but we barbecue year-round. Do you?)

Day 4: Chicken Breasts with Rice and Steamed Veggies

As I mentioned last week, something we do regularly is a “Sauce Your Own Chicken” meal. Plain chicken barbecued, and then everyone gets the chance to pick their sauce of choice from the fridge. It’s a huge hit and another one I highly recommend.

Have a picky eater? Let them cover their chicken with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, Ranch dressing, or whatever else they might love that you have stored in the back of the fridge. Not only does it allow you to use up some of those aging condiments, but it keeps everyone happy and tummies full.

Day 5: Steak and Hot Dogs with French Fries

So, we had ONE steak left in the fridge from last month, and we are pulling it out to eat this week. Since we have hot dogs left from last week, the girls will enjoy those (they love hot dogs), and Justin and I will split the steak. Of course, this will happen on a night that my father-in-law already has plans to be out of the house.

Have I mentioned that French Fries are my weakness? I could seriously eat them, and really any form of potato, each and every day.

Day 6: Brisket with Sweet Potatoes and Veggies

I have no idea how my husband plans to cook a brisket, but I’m always happy to eat one, especially if it comes with sweet potatoes.

Day 7: Breakfast for Dinner

…and, last but not least, a weekly Brumley favorite: breakfast for dinner. We purchased bacon AND sausage this week, so it will be a toss-up as to which one goes with those omelets we plan to make.

If you had to choose, which would you pick?

I tend to think that we should just cook both and eat the leftovers as we please over the next few days, but…that might not be the fiscally responsible thing to do when we are supposed to be saving money.

What’s Your Plan?

Have you made your meal plan for this week? I’d love to know what you are eating…leave a list in the comments below or message me privately on any form of social media so we can compare notes!

Of course, once again I didn’t purchase any household products as part of my grocery budget. Instead…I went to Costco! Eeeek!

(But that’s a story for another post…)

Tip: You don’t have to wait until the start of a month to start a No-Spend Challenge? How about a No-Spend Week? Or No-Spend Weekend? Find the FREE printable HERE and get started today! You’ll never know what you can accomplish until you start.