Cover image courtesy EverydayHDR. Written by Mr. Crumbs.
How’s everyone doing with the fiscal fast this month? We hope you’re faring better than we are…
For starters, I wouldn’t call this fiscal fast a flop, but the experience hasn’t been nearly the same as our first one. We’re still within the rules (more details below, and you can decide), but it has definitely been somewhat of a let down.
During our first fiscal fast, we really were confined to the house. We did tons of walking and biking, got really creative in planning out our driving and in all, had a lot of fun as a family. We also had a pre-paid CSA (community supported agriculture), so running out of fresh fruits and vegetables wasn’t ever a thought.
A few bucks a week (funded by selling items around the house), also allowed us the occasional half gallon of milk or ice cream.
So then – what’s been different so far?
We had planned a trip to Oregon.
To be honest, the trip was already booked and we were going to go whether or not it broke the fast, simply because it allowed us to see good friends that we hadn’t seen in over three years (and they’re now in the Midwest – much further than Oregon).
See the cover photo? And the last photo at the bottom? Those were taken by my best friend and fellow blogger Blake at EverydayHDR. Aren’t they beautiful?
If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen our mentions of this trip and requests for creative solutions in funding this sort of excursion. We loved your feedback, and considered implementing a lot of the suggestions you made like having a garage sale, taking on side work and selling items on Craigslist.
Tiffany even started going through kids things, and put together a bag of books and games for pre-readers to sell.
Anyone local interested who has a 3-5 year old?
We estimated a rough budget for the trip, allowing $250 for gas (our destination was 13 hours away), $400-500 for 4 nights of lodging and $150 worth of food (grocery shopping locally once we arrived, and not eating out). In total, it was going to cost us anywhere from $800 to $900 for the 5 day trip.
We consider ourselves extremely blessed to be able to do this without spending a dime out of pocket.
First, we found a company in the Oregon area who was willing to barter lodging for services. In exchange for 4 nights’ stay in a small space with a kitchen, we are doing side work to help build content on their website. Hour for hour, it turned out to be a very fair deal and we hope it’s a bartering/working relationship we can continue going forward.
Secondly, we had switched our newsletter service to a new company a few months ago. Because we had the referral of a fellow blogger, we received a $500 gift card as a thank-you gift for our business. We knew it was coming, but had no idea it would come in time for the trip. Opening the mailbox and seeing it arrive just days before we were scheduled to leave was a complete shocker, and we consider ourselves truly blessed for this to have happened.
Thanks to these two circumstances, the entire trip was funded.
Basically, for a large part of February so far, we were able to go on a trip, eat well, and not think too much about how to make things work.
And we got to see the Goonies house (TOTALLY cool!).
While going on a 5 day excursion really was great, and it was awesome to see our close friends and spend time as a family, we haven’t yet experienced the fiscal or even grocery “stretch” that our initial fast did for us.
We were still frugal on our trip – we went grocery shopping instead of eating out, did free activities like hiking and sight-seeing and enjoyed the amenities at our lodging rather than paying to to go to touristy places. We even brought home the leftovers we didn’t finish! But we splurged on steak for dinner and treated our friends to a delicious dessert when they had us over for dinner.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re incredibly thankful for the opportunity to see our friends, eat and sleep for free, and spend the time away as a family. But it’s now past the halfway point of the fast and we’re feeling a bit spoiled.
We limited the gift card for using JUST on the trip, and while we still have $100 left on it, we’re determined not to use it unless we absolutely have to. During our first fast, we scrounged up roughly $6 a week to buy a few odds and ends from the store, so maybe we’ll do the same as we run out of milk or need produce. Of course, the whole purpose of the fast is to do without, so we’ll do out best to stay away from the store for as long as possible.
Oddly, we also received a $75 rebate check from Ebates after we got back from the trip. The amount would definitely allow us to pick up milk or ice cream or whatever else we wanted – and we believe that to use it is well within the rules – but we’ve stuck it on the fridge and have no plans to use it at the moment.
In the freezer there are several bags of frozen fruits and vegetables and enough meat to stretch out until the end of the month. I also made the “fortunate” mistake of double buying a bag of potatoes (I love potatoes) last month, so we have a pretty sufficient supply of root vegetables available to eat as well.
However, we go through fruits and veggies really quick in our house, so I wonder when we’ll feel the pinch of not being able to make a smoothie or craving a fresh vegetable as opposed to a pre-cooked frozen one.
I’m willing to bet that if we end up caving and allocating a few dollars towards groceries, it will certainly be produce.
We filled up one car for the trip, but did NOT refill the tank once we got home. Our last fill up was with 300 miles left to go, and that was it. That car is down to one tick, so we officially switched to the other car yesterday that now has a half tank.
Ultimately, we’ll see how it goes. We still have roughly two weeks left to go and we’re hoping that’s enough time for that attitude of contentment that we LOVED about the first fast to settle in.
How are you doing with your fiscal fast?
We love hearing YOUR feedback! We are extremely encouraged when we hear updates of others and their journey on a month of no spending. We’d love to hear how YOU were able to be creative, and stretch yourselves and your dollars!