October is “Cent-sational”!!!

Well, dear Ash Street, I woke up this morning to discover Barclay had had a bout of diarrhea last night, sometime between 12:30am when he went out for the last time, and 7:30am this morning which is when he typically is let out.  It’s the first time he’s done that since we’ve had him and gauging by its consistency, the poor fella REALLY. HAD. TO. GO. at some point in the middle of the night.  

Why this level of detail, you may ask???  Well, I know YOU aren’t asking since one of our mutual loves is sharing our scatalogical insights via the very handy poop emoji.  But more importantly, for you readers out there, I share because it struck me as I was cleaning it up this morning, that it is a perfect metaphor…the ultimate symbol, so to speak…for dumping (ahem) the news of our October challenge!

A couple of weeks ago, as we basked in the glory of our successful pantry challenge, Ash Street noted that her grocery bill had dramatically dropped over those four weeks.  And while our original challenge, which was to cook from Hettie Mackinnon’s “From Asia With Love” remains in effect, we decided to layer a slightly more difficult, more competitive edge to the October challenge, in which we wrestle with our spending habits to see which of us can spend the LEAST this month!

Here are the rules:  1)  The challenge runs the full month of October BUT we are each allowed to exempt a 7-day stretch during that time since we both have a trip planned during the month.  2) We track all individual expenses EXCEPT recurring payments for things such as the mortgage, car insurance, etc.  Basically, this is an exercise in reining in discretionary spending rather than fixed items on the monthly tally.  3)  At the end of the month we share our spreadsheets with the one another and our enormous, invested readership!

The stakes are high.  If I win, Ash Street ferments me a (hopefully VERY. LARGE. JAR) of the pickles of my choice.  I’m already debating between these Italian mushrooms she makes which are insanely delicious OR these certain specific Korean pickles I adore.  If Ash Street wins, I supply her with a batch of her favorite marinated artichokes from Costco.  

I’m  feeling punny this morning so I hereby proclaim this challenge “The October Cent-sation”!!!  Ash Street:  whadya think???

xoxo, Prairie Ave

Dearest Prairie Ave,

I see your paraedoliac metaphor and fully approve of its use! That is a truly foul thing to wake up to. Poor Barclay, poor you!

Of course, in gearing up for this October challenge, I’ve already felt a panicked urge to purchase things I think I “need”. Was I on the Tennis Express website last night looking for any last minute finds? Indeed, indeed I was. But I stopped myself, I reigned it in and embraced this challenge a whole day early (crown me victorious already!). Now I do have to admit, and this was not by design, that I grocery shopped yesterday. We agreed to not “stock up” before this challenge, but as I was still dating someone in Atlanta after summer, I got into the habit of grocery shopping there every weekend and so fell into the natural rhythm of shopping at a week’s end. I tried not to fully stock my fridge yesterday, but it’s fairly well supplied. 

This past week, I poured through my budget spreadsheet of the past year to see what I could possibly cut. Where’s the extra fat? Well, the A-word comes to mind, and that’s going to be a particularly difficult part of this month. Friends ask me out for drinks! But a couple of beers out here, and there, and it really adds up. So this will not only be a good money saving challenge, but good for the ole liver as well. I love this challenge because while stakes appear low (a jar of artichokes or pickles?!), we know how high they really are! Two qualities that bind us together: a) we’re fiercely competitive (how many HOURS did we play jazzminton in the Florida pool?!) and b) we can both be very cheap if need be. (We can also blow a wod of cash like there’s no tomorrow) I do fear what this challenge portends for November, when we’re cut loose.  

I know how much you love those Italian mushrooms, and those Korean pickles. It must be so sad knowing that you won’t be getting them any time soon;)  Game ON Prairie Ave! Game. ON.

xoxo, Ash St

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