Grocery Challenge-Update 1

So far the grocery challenge is going well. Of course, this is only the fourth day. I have hit one snag though. The grocery store where I performed the mystery shop only had skim milk in one gallon sizes. I can’t drink a whole gallon of milk before it goes bad so I didn’t purchase any. My new challenge amount will be $5 to allow me to buy a couple half gallons of skim milk over the course of the month.

Just finished my last final yesterday. Should have more time to keep this blog updated now. I’ll be attending the Dave Ramsey event here in Kansas City tomorrow and will have a post about it next week.

April Income

Here is my April Income divided by source.

Online Income




Mystery Shopping






Medical Study


Interest earned




I started a job in April so online income will probably be lower in May as I have less time to spend online.

Update 5-5-07: I have now updated the table with my correct job income. Interest and medical study income were added also. That should be all my sources of income now unless there is another one I forgot.

Are You Frugal for Others?

There are many ways to distinguish between frugal and cheap. One way is if you are frugal not just when spending your own money but with other people’s as well. For example, I don’t have to pay for water at my apartment but I still don’t leave the water running when I’m brushing my teeth. I just don’t like to waste anything even if I am not paying for it.

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One Month $1 Grocery Challenge

After having someone post a link to one of my posts on Frugal Village, I browsed the forums there. I noticed they had a grocery challenge which had a similar concept to the food budget portion of my one month challenge. Since I’ve once again started eating too much and spending too much on food since the challenge ended I’ve decided to start a new one month challenge for May. My one month challenge for May will be to have my total food expenditures total less than $1.

Groceries have been accumulating in my pantry the last couple of months so this will be a good way to use them up. I also have two mystery shops in May that will give me a total of $10 in free groceries that will allow me to supplement my pantry and provide some fresh items.

You might be wondering how I plan on meeting this challenge when I couldn’t meet the $30 goal of the previous challenge. There are several factors that will be working in my favor this time. The biggest is that I know work in a pizza restaurant and will be able to get free food when working there. Also I am getting my wisdom teeth pulled out in May and will probably not feel like eating much for a few days. I may have an opportunity to do some restaraunt mystery shops as well. My plan is to have a weekly posting detailing my results for each week. Check in on Friday for my first report.

Simple Living and Frugality

Although they are not the same thing there are large areas of overlap between them. I’ll assume you already know what frugality is. Simple living or voluntary simplicity as it is also called has many different definitions. To me it means using a minimum of products and services. Others have a different idea of what simple living means. If you visit you can read how others define it and find hundreds of resources on simple living.

If you are living simply you are most likely living frugally. By minimizing the products and service you consume you are spending less money. The savings are ongoing because having fewer things means fewer maintenance costs. On the flip side if you are living frugally there is a good chance you are living simply. Many frugal people are probably practicing voluntary simplicity without realizing it.

I want to emphasize that simple living is not the same as living like a monk. (Although that is a valid form of simple living if it is your preference.) Although I live simply I do spend money on more than just the basic necessities. I will spend my money to see a movie, travel, or on other things that aren’t necessary. It is just that when I do so I make a conscious decision that the money spent on the activity is worth the money being spent. Also I do these activities rarely enough that when I do do them they are a special treat. I could do better and am trying to do so but I think that I am mostly living in accordance with my values.

Simple living doesn’t mean a reduction in quality of life. I think it leads to a better quality of life. Having fewer things means fewer things to worry about. That peace of mind is worth a lot to me. Everyone is free to live their own lifestyle but I think that if more people would choose to live simply it would raise everyone’s quality of life.