April Showers Bring May Showers…April Purchase Totals — Buy Nothing New for a Year!

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for…have they been able to keep their New Year’s resolution for another month? Well, of course we have! But I will say, it is getting increasingly difficult, especially when it comes to taking care of our 7-year old and his crippling addiction to Skylanders. The bad weather (and minor flooding in our shop) has made for a rather dull month in terms of purchases, but we have been keeping busy, don’t you worry! The next couple of months should prove to be interesting, with our desire to completely redo our back yard from re-claimed materials, and as well, finish up some other pesky household projects. Now that the focus is off of getting our downstairs showroom space renovated and open, we can focus a bit more attention back on our home, which is, admittedly, a neglected space since we opened the shop 2 years ago. images-7

So in a nutshell, we accomplished a couple of things this past month. Another birthday party out of the way (this time without a sweat…we’re pros!), a cheaper alternative to a traditional oil change, our first successful barter of the year (for the business, but still, we did it!) and 16…SIXTEEN! days without purchasing one. single. thing. It’s amazing what you don’t need when you take the time to think about what you already have.

Here are our itemized expenses for the month, barring mortgage, utilities, taxes/insurance and medical expenses:

April 1st: Nothing Purchased!

April 2nd: Nothing Purchased!

April 3rd: Grocery Shopping

  • 101.23, all food at locally owned grocery store in the neighborhood
  • 60.63, warehouse club, all food

April 4th: Supplies for Oil Change

  • $32 at discount auto store for lots of oil and oil filter for my big’ol truck. Next time I will buy it by the case at the warehouse club!
  • $10, Mechanic a block away from my house…labor cost.

April 5th: Nothing Purchased!

April 6th: Thrift Store(s) and drug store

Lime Green Vintage Curio Cabinets. Ultra-fab!

Lime Green Vintage Curio Cabinets. Ultra-fab!

    • Less than $100 for these fabulous cabinets that weren’t on the floor of the thrift shop I bought them at for longer than 5 minutes. You snooze, you lose. I won.
  • $28.13 on 5 new shirts and one (almost brand new pair of Steve Madden shoes!) for the summer, one of which was a bit small for me, but fit my brother like a glove!
  • One of the shirts was also a Penguin (new/retro style) in perfect condition, which would have retailed for somewhere around $85. Those of you that know me know that I am not very materialistic or brand oriented, but there is something about Penguin by Munsingwear (and a pair of shoes that actually fit my duck-like feet) that makes my inner fashionista emerge.
  • $8.28 on personal hygiene items at chain drug store



April 7th: Cat litter

  • On a previous blog I had mentioned the outrageous expense of the preferred “pine brand” that I use. One reader had suggested that I check out Menards and purchase wood-stove pellets for a fraction of the cost of the litter. While I didn’t have an opportunity to do that this particular day, I was lucky enough to find it on clearance at the chain grocery store we sometimes shop at. $16 for 40lbs….not bad!

April 8th: Dinner out with the family

  • $63, dinner for 4. We tried a new restaurant right outside the neighborhood for the first time. Unfortunately it did not live up to our expectations, so we will not be back. An expensive lesson, especially considering that we’ve scaled back the number of times we can go out to eat per month as a money saving measure.

April 9th: Warehouse Club

  • 91.94, all food
  • 16.40, personal hygiene item
  • 71.66, gasoline

April 10th: Afternoon “date” with the boy and drug store

  • Some much deserved Mother/Son bonding time.
  • $5.36 at the donut shop
  • $11.99 for a Neti pot. I don’t want to talk about it, they frighten me, but Melissa swears by it! Personally, I can’t think of something I’d rather do less than water-board myself. Then again, I don’t suffer from allergies or sinus issues, so I guess I’m lucky in that respect!

April 11th: Nothing Purchased

April 12th: Nothing Purchased

April 13th: Nothing Purchased

April 14th: Chicago Park District and Skylanders via eBay

  • $362 gets us summer camp for over half the duration of the break AND swim lessons. Can’t beat that!
  • There is a terrible scourge among us. Parents of children 12 and under need to heed this warning. I beseech you, protect yourselves now and don’t EVER let the Skylanders into your home. I’m joking, of course…though it is the closest thing to street drugs for kids. You can’t have enough, and if you use them too much, they run out of “energy” forcing you to buy more. And more. And more. We found that we could purchase them at a 3:1 retail cost by going through eBay. Our oldest boy is testing the boundaries, here…if you’re a parent and you don’t know what they are, consider yourself lucky! 3 Skylanders, $15 plus shipping.

April 15th: Nothing Purchased

April 16th: Grocery shopping

  • 105.59 all food at locally owned market in neighborhood
  • 123.34 warehouse club, all food
  • 18.79 on plants/flowers (bulbs) for the garden at the warehouse club ($40 value)

April 17th: Nothing Purchased

April 18th: Nothing Purchased

April 19th: Nothing Purchased

April 20th: Nothing Purchased

April 21st: Nothing Purchased

April 22nd: Morning “date” with the little guy and Children’s Museum

  • $18.02 at the pancake restaurant, Dad likes his country fried steak when he can get it!
  • Free admission at the children’s museum since we’re members

April 23rd: Nothing Purchased

April 24th: Dinner with the family

  • $48.56, Dinner for 4 at our favorite new neighborhood burger spot! Money well spent.
  • Took the scenic route and walked to/from dinner instead of driving…it was such a nice day! Free and priceless!

April 25th: Nothing Purchased

April 26th: Snack run

  • I had a small medical procedure done last week (no big deal, please no flowers), and whenever I’m “home sick” I like snacks. In this case, it took $20 to cure that craving. Ice cream (2 flavors), pistachios, and Sausalito cookies…just like being a kid again! Sometimes you have to splurge, right?

April 27th: Nothing Purchased

April 28th: Nothing Purchased

April 29th: Charitable Contribution


  • $32.31 for donation and fees thru website for a charity that does wonderful work for the city of Chicago!


April 30th: Girls (and kids) brunch


April Month-End Totals:

Food/Grocery: $ 502.73 family of 5

Household Supplies: $ 34.79

Entertainment: $ 184.94

Gas/Vehicle Maintenance: $ 113.66

Travel: $ 362 (park district classes)

Other: $ 113.11


April Total Cash Spent (*not including mortgage, taxes, insurance or utilities): $ 1310.23

What do you think?