Debt Busting: Week Three


We’re getting serious about casual spending this month. For more details about our debt busting plan check here.

Week 3 by the Numbers


  • Week 3: $ 80.60
  • Total for March: $312.97

The goal for the week was $80. Seemed very attainable. Chris would be gone and we had a few things already on hand. I did a $75 shop early last week and had all my meals planned out. I thought I would make it but ran out of Henry’s milk and while picking that up I had a serious craving for chocolate. Lindt Mint bar it was.

The original budget for the month was $500. It might look like I will coast through the end of the month but we’re going away this weekend and will be using grocery budget for eating out.

Casual Spending:

  • Rachel – Week 3: $20.31
  • Rachel – Total for March: $44.84


I knew I spent more when Chris was out of town but I didn’t know just how bad it was until this week. I literally itched to go out and have a meal at a cafe. For all my indiscretions this week there were at least a handful of times that I wanted to eat out amd didn’t. And I didn’t because I looked at my spending app and saw my dollars for the rest of the month dwindling at an alarming pace. Thank you spending app for keeping me honest.

Silver lining: I now recognize that I need to a) keep myself quite busy and b) have more interesting food at home. I ate two meals in a row to use up items and I was not happy with my lame salad topped with pulled pork from the freezer and a bit of cheese. The lame meals were a result of my “still working on it” grocery measurement skills. While I am getting much better at the meal planning, I am still buying too much or too little of some items. Resulting in some odds and ends that I have to create something from. I did well making a slaw of grated carrots and finely diced celery, with an avocado mixed with spices dressing, one day. But my sad salad for lunch and dinner the other day made me crave eating out.

Shout out to my younger sister for treating me to a beer while we were out on a long walk.

And eek, $5.16 left for the month.


  • Week 3: $0
  • Total for March: $55

Car for this weekend is already booked and I will be ZipCar-ing a bit this week. Expecting the number to end up in the $120+ range for the month. Which is still great considering our insurance alone used to be $145.


  • Week 3: $5.99
  • Total for March: $72.28

Watched The Social Network on iTunes ($5.99). I really enjoyed this movie in the theatre when it first came out and was excited to watch it again. Second time around it wasn’t nearly as gripping. My date for the evening (sister Margo) was watching it for the first time and she couldn’t get into it. Anyone else seen it? What did you think?


  • Week 3: $0
  • Total for March: $349.88

Nothing sold this week but after my swap meet success last week, I am looking at getting a swap meet table in April.

Goals for Week 4: Stay focused this weekend when we go away. I’m sticking to the original plan of using grocery budget to dine out while out of town. As soon as we cross the border I plan to hit the grocery store for fruit and snacks.

Anyone have travel or dine out tips for me for this weekend?

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  • How’s the library video collection? My library carries a vast dvd collection. I haven’t rented a dvd in years. We always find something at the library. Often we don’t even get to watch all the movies we borrow. But it’s free, so who cares? When I have a craving to watch something, I head to library. I can usually find something to interest me.

    Just an idea about saving you money… (Not that 6 dollars is all that much. But you do seem to have yourself on a tight leash.)

    • Dee – thanks for this reminder. Even worse… we have DVDs that I could have watched. It was more that I really wanted to see that movie again.
      And six dollars counts!

  • It sounds like you’re doing a great job tracking your spending this month Rachel. I’ll be curious to see how the remainder of the month goes with $5.16 left in casual spending. Maybe you’ll be getting creative? 😉

    • Very creative. I promised myself to be legit – no using gift cards, etc. So far I’ve been good but last week was a doozy and I was also treated to a beer (and fries) by my sister.
      The bigger test will be this weekend. I’ll be using grocery money for the casual dining on our trip. Can I still be frugal and mindful while eating out?

  • I’ve just stumbled across your blog this week and am really enjoying reading your families view on life and things! I’ve really appreciated the posts about kids. My husband & I are expecting our first in May, and we both want to keep things as simple as possible. Sadly, most of our friends and family look at us like we are crazy. So, your posts give me hope that we can do it!

    I was wondering, what is the app you use for keeping tack of your spending?


    • Thanks, Laurie. And I applaud you for keeping it simple before the baby arrives. It will make your life so much easier!

      The App I use is called Budget by Deskescape and it was .99. I only use it to track our variables but it has good functionality and you could use it as a master budgeter as well. It also has the ability to create multiple budgets. I found that helpful when I made a one off budget for Christmas.

  • Hi! I am wondering what app you use on your phone for budgeting? I find so many are cluttered. Also, I live just South of the Border and wanted to let you know that the Haggen in Ferndale is having a Grand Re-Opening Sale. They are very close to the freeway. If you look at the ad online you can find lots of good deals. If you don’t have a Haggen card they are super easy and free. Thanks-Tracy

    • Thanks for the tip on Haggen. I actually have a card for there and will check it out.

      App info above. It is from Deskescape and it just called Budget and was .99. I’ve tried many as well, including some more expensive options that download all your financial transactions. Ultimately I found them too cumbersome to use and they required a lot of training to understand. After a lot of trial and error, what has worked best for us is an excel spreadsheet of our debt that we update monthly and tracking our variable spending. Oh, and communication. My husband and I talk about our finances, spending and projected income quite a bit =)

  • Which iphone app do you use to track expenses – I think this would really help keep me in check! Thanks!

    • Budget by Deskescape – just .99. My suggestion is to start simple and just track your variable spending for a while. Once you have the hang of that you can use the more advanced features and set your budget.

      Hope it helps – good luck!

  • Travel tip – travel cups for the family

    I am a single mom, with 2 kids 8 and 3. I was a -full-time student last year living a few hours away from my parents.. and if I can make it there.. it was an inexpensive trip home. Except the travel with kids.

    So to save on money – Buy a 1 litre or 2 litre containers of juice, and bring two reusable, sealed and leakproof containers. One is for water, the other for the juice. Keep the juice in a cooler/cooler bag in the trunk and refill containers as necessary. (BTW… you need to have good quality container or else you will be cursing while they leak in the car – I am not a starbucks fan… but I am very impressed with their stainless steel drinking containers both hot and cold.
    Foogo by thermos is miraculous for keeping drinks cool!)

    Good luck.

    • Thanks for the tips. Going to bring a little cooler, water bottle and a sippy cup for Henry.

  • Hmm.. that’s a mighty tight budget for the last week of March… But hey, people have lived on less! Id just make sure you have snacks on hand and if you find yourself thinking that you “need” something, think of how you could replace that item with something around the go use instead! Good luck! :)

    • I try to remind myself that most people in the world live on a lot less. Good to give myself a bit of a “first world problem” reality check once in a while.

      Flip side: so much temptation in the first world!

      And yes, thanks for the bring snack reminder.

  • I think this series of posts is great. I think you’re doing really well and I like it that you’re also honest about the occasional slip ups like the chocolate bar.

    As for traveling tips I would suggest to make sure you have enough snacks and drinks with you when you travel. If I have nothing with me I also tend to wait to eat when I’m really hungry and then eat (and spend) more. While dining out I would try to limit the number of drinks you’re having to save some money.

    Most importantly: have a great weekend and enjoy!

  • Hi Minimalist Mom,

    This is my first time commenting on your blog and I want to say thank you for the inspiration. I love your story and your decision to become a minimalist. I’m in the process of becoming one myself. We are selling/giving away most of our material things and moving into an RV. I’m glad I found your blog to help me keep going through this transition that can be hard some days.


    • Thanks, Mariza. So neat that you are moving into an RV. Jorje who comments on here regularly is also planning on moving into an RV. Great way to see the country!

  • I used to fool myself that even if I ate out more on the weeks my husband was out of town, it all evened out because I had to buy less food, too. Um, NO–because HE was eating out, too, and even without that it doesn’t take many restaurant meals to add way up!

    • My ability to justify expenditures knows no bounds. Having a budget and writing it all down is helping me stay honest.
      And yes, it doesn’t make sense to feel entitled to eat out because my spouse is traveling and eating out.

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