Just a couple of days in to The Dollar Diet challenge, my 12-year-old came home from school giddy with excitement over the birthday party she had been invited to attend.
Her joy was my panic.
I've started compiling a list of the things we're running out of as we get deeper into the month of February. And I'm trying not to feel too desperate about it. On the list so far:
There's all kinds of frugality going on in the online and print editions of today's News & Observer. I don't know about you, but there's nothing like a jolt of enthusiasm and new ideas to make the frugal journey go a little more smoothly.
So how are we doing one week into our frugal February?
It's time for an update.
In case you were harboring suspicions that we're eating spaghetti every night on this Dollar Diet of ours, I thought I would give you a peek at what we're eating this week, which is pretty typical of what we might have during a normal week when we spend $50 a week on groceries.
Pasta is on the menu at our house, but typically just once a week.
Our meals are nothing fancy, but easy to put together and fairly healthy.
It's less than four hours until kickoff and preparations for our Super Bowl XLV "party" have begun.
(Just because we're not spending any money this month doesn't mean we won't be having fun.)
I love to batch cook.
There's just something wonderful about putting in a few hours in the kitchen on a leisurely weekend afternoon and winding up with a freezer stocked with meals ready to go during the work week.
That's especially comforting this month when I'm faced with trying to make 28 dinners - plus breakfasts and lunches - solely out of what we have on hand in the freezer, pantry and fridge.
I knew this would happen.
Just when I signed myself up for a month of not spending, the temptation began.
On Feb. 1, right off the bat, the opportunities for especially good deals began to roll in from the 24-hour deal sites such as Groupon, Living Social and Twongo.
If I hadn't been on the Dollar Diet, I'm fairly certain I would have pressed the button on a Living Social deal for half off a tour of a Fuquay-Varina brewery. It would have made the perfect birthday gift for my husband.
Two days later, I was sorely tempted again by Living Social with an offer for tickets to Raleigh's downtown IMAX theater at less than half price, with popcorn and a drink thrown in. My 12-year-old daughter would have loved that one.
Then today, Groupon offered up a $20 Barnes & Noble credit for $10. I know I would have gone for this deal too. But I didn't.
On top of those bargains, all the grocery store circulars this week were practically screaming at me with their Super Bowl food sales. Cheap popcorn, cheap ice cream, soda, chicken, hot dogs. Cheap, cheap, cheap.
I've been a savvy shopper long enough to know that more deals, and possibly better deals, will come around again. With any luck, after Feb. 28.
I also reminded myself that a vacation from spending also means a holiday from coupon clipping and deal hunting, which, like anything else, can turn into a chore.
I chucked the ads in the recycle bin and went for a walk in the neighborhood to soothe myself. I'm only partially exaggerating.
Four days into our quest to spend no money in February, we're still holding steady at $0.
(If you haven't sworn off spending for the month and are interested in checking out the daily deals on the Internet, go here to see my colleague Sue Stock's handy list of all the daily deal sites that have offerings in the Triangle. The list is located along the right hand side of the Taking Stock blog.)