Week of January 13-30 : What Have we Bought? — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

My desire to publish expenses weekly has been outweighed by reality. Honestly, I think by next week’s edition I should be able to devise a system that makes it easier than what I’m working with now (read: a stack of receipts held together by a paperclip, lost. And found.) This list also includes our first physical item (non-food) purchases of the year. Would love to hear your feedback to help validate our efforts so far. So without further ado, here’s what our expenses over the past two weeks have looked like. Perhaps next year our resolution will be no more food…



January 13: Nothing


January 14: Nothing


January 15: Nothing


January 16: Nothing




January 17: Grocery shopping

  • Food: Started (and subsequently ended 2 weeks later) a gluten-free diet: $57.46

January 18: Nothing

January 19: Lunch out and groceries

  • Boys afternoon out at a restaurant/bar: $17.23
  • Food: $93.59

January 20: Sunday Brunch Breakfast Date

  • Sometimes you need to sneak away in the morning in order to get any time alone. We were in need of a re-charge, and our $43.50+tip for a world-class (gluten-free for me) breakfast at a local fancier-than-a-taco-stand Mexican restaurant in Oak Park was just what the doctor ordered! A dinner date would have set us back twice as much!

January 21: Renewed internet data-backup service

  • 1-year, $50. This is good, considering our work computer crashed just 2 days later.
  • Home repair/maintenance as it is our home computer.

January 22: Nothing

January 23: Nothing

January 24: Haircut!

  • Finally got that $5 (+tip) haircut that I blogged about a couple weeks back!

January 25: Groceries, Home Repair/Maintenance, Gasoline, Charitable Donation and a product return

  • Warehouse Club
    • Food: $111.71
    • Home repair/maintenance: $25.12. I finally caved and bought the two-pack of smoke detectors. Some things just cannot (and in this case, probably should not) be purchased used. This 2-pack of First Alert smoke detectors came with an automatic $10 manufacturers rebate, and was too good to pass up. The best I could find was some on Craigslist in Joliet, but the trip alone would have cost me over $10 in gas, plus the expense of the detectors themselves. This is the first tangible thing purchased this year, for those keeping score!
    • Gasoline: $75.00, and at 20 cents cheaper per gallon than non-club-membership stations, this saved me around $5. Fill up 10x per year and the membership pays for itself!
    • Product return: -4.49. Purchased some organic lettuce that went bad about 2 days after bringing it home last time. The nice difference between club stores and a conventional grocery store is that you can return anything, at any time, with no explanation. This literally sat in my fridge for 2 weeks until I was ready to shop again. Not bad! How many times have you just thrown something away instead of returning it? We all have. Not any more!
    • Charitable donation: purchased $10 worth of sugar and cream for a coffee event that my son’s school was having. Donated my purchase to the non-profit instead of asking for reimbursement.

January 26: Thai Food delivery

  • Dinner for 5: $42.80 +tip.

January 27: Breakfast at airport and groceries

  • Coffee and baked goods for 2: $15.03. They’ve pretty much got a captive audience here. Impossible to get coffee past the TSA!
  • Groceries in Florida $9.97: needed a few gluten-free things for visiting Mom’s house.

January 28: Toys at a thrift store in Florida and batteries for said toys.


  • $3.18 bought me a gift for each of my boys. I always bring them home a little something special when I travel, and normally even the smallest item sets me back $10 a piece, especially if I bought it at the airport. Needless to say, they were THRILLED with their vintage Hess truck and talking Optimus Prime!
  • $3.49 bought me the batteries that powered the $3.18 toys. Ain’t life grand? Luckily they were on sale. This purchase will also fall under the repair/maintenance category. Even with purchasing the batteries we saved big: these toys brand-new would have cost well over $40 together.


January 29: Groceries, Lunch and a drink at the airport during a 3 hour delay

  • These groceries were of the adult beverage variety: $34.36
  • Horrible chain restaurant at PBI airport: $17.53 plus tip. Again, a captive audience. But that snack and margarita did the trick!

January 30: Coffee run and Grocery store

  • Chain coffee shop (I have sinned, but we were out of java at home): $4.20
  • Coffee and Bread: $19.39. We probably need to find a cheaper alternative to coffee (the majority of that purchase.) However, after spending 15 years in the coffee industry, I am very particular. The Whole Foods market fresh roasted coffee averages $12.99/lb. which is $2 higher than it was last year. The quality for the price is hard to beat, but I may need to find an alternative with the amount we consume at home and at work!

There you have it, in detail, every expense over the past 18 days (7 of which had ZERO purchases made.) How many times have you swiped your card these past couple of weeks? Bought anything new? Do you think our smoke detectors, batteries and 1-year subscription to internet backup service are justified/exempt, or do you think we broke our pact? Let us know in the comments section below!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Great job! I admire your discipline. It is amazing how much food costs when you add it up!

  2. admin says:

    Yes, it’s a bit scary…we feed 3 adults and 2 children, so it does add up quick!

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