January Money Diet Halfway Point – Check In and Win

Check In with your progress | January Money Diet


We’re fifty percent in! Happy January 16th, my friends. You’ve officially crossed the halfway mark of January. For the next two weeks, we’ll stick together and encourage each other to finish the January Money Diet STRONG.

We can accomplish such good things with our money this month, if we all stick together and persevere.

The Prosperous Heart To keep your momentum going, I challenge you to do a mid-month “weigh in” and report your progress in the Comments section of this page. If you participate, you could win a copy of one of my favorite, most-thought provoking money books, The Prosperous Heart–Creating a Life of “Enough” by Julia Cameron. This book has dozens of exercises to help readers explore what true prosperity looks like. As you might guess from the title, author Julia Cameron suggests that having a truly rich life isn’t about making and hoarding more money.

To be automatically entered, just leave a comment on this page with your results so far in the January Money Diet. I’ll do a random drawing this Friday and choose a lucky winner for the book.

I’ll go first.

Our Family’s Progress

We’ve done well with sticking to the diet. A Starbucks gift card from my friend Sandy has given us several coffee and hot chocolate splurges.

The kitchen pantry and shelves are much more organized, and I’ve been cooking things we already had on hand. However, I really need to take inventory of the freezer. It’s jam-packed and I need to straighten it out and cook some of the food inside.

I’ve given away two bags of clothes and books this month–17 things. I need to give away 14 more things.

I figured our net worth on January 1. Because I track it monthly, we hit our goal for 2016. I set a new goal for 2017, which includes paying off my $4100 car loan.

We’ve been fairly obsessive about saving energy, turning off lights and keeping the heat down at night.

I’ve planned meals, and we’ve eaten well this month.

I will run an ad this week to sell a no-longer-needed pet habitat in the hopes of earning $25.

For the “nesting” challenge of creating a peaceful space, I’ve been working on my home office. It still needs a lot of attention.

It’s snowing here in Colorado today, and I think I’ll make a cup of tea this afternoon and sketch out some garden plans. I want to add a new raised bed to our urban homestead next summer, and it’ll be fun to think about what to plant.

But I haven’t begun the “finish a project” challenge of repairing the drywall hole in the ceiling.

How About You?

Confession is good for the soul. Check in, leave a comment, and let us know how you’re doing so far on the January Money Diet.

Have a wonderful MLK Day and stay strong! You’ll hear from me tomorrow with an easy, foolproof strategy for saving money — without sacrificing one bit.


The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Grateful thanks to Evelyn at Our Hybrid Lives for mentioning the January Money Diet in your excellent blog. If you’re blogging about the diet, let me know so I can link to your site. You can leave a comment below with a link to your blog, or e-mail me at elizagcross (at) gmail (dot) com.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

January Money Diet Halfway Point – Check In and Win

  • Louise Weldon

    I am working on getting rid of 31 things. I stopped the newspaper delivery and most of my magazine subscriptions. I took a bit bag of mags. to the hospital waiting room.
    Trying to buy needs and not wants.

  • Kimberly Schrieber

    Earned $20 today selling perfumes that I never use! 🙂

  • Kristin

    Hi Eliza – Thank you for the inspiration. This is the 3rd year I have participated in your January money diet but the first time I have ever posted! I had to share with you that I just re-evaluated my mobile phone plan. After researching our historical data usage, I found that we had WAY more data then we needed. So, I will save $114 a month by reducing our data plan!
    Earlier this month, I gave away baby items to an expectant mother, took stock of our net worth (it has increased by 25% from last January), used a gift card for a nice dinner out, fixed holes in my leggings and sweater, and have been using all of my sample bath items!
    I hope to plan my garden this week; I love thinking about fresh veggies this time of year!

  • Glenda

    I dropped my cable this month and also got a special deal on my internet bill. It amounts to a savings per month of $150. I havn’t even missed it as I have Amazon Prime and it provides more than enough entertainment.

  • Colette Winston

    I am pleased with my success in my second year of the January Money Diet. My VISA credit card balance was just over $20,000 2 years ago. I have successfully whittled that down to under $2,000, and hope to have it paid off for good by the end of March. This has been my only debt for many years. I have learned valuable lessons about spending and “instant gratification”, and have developed strong will-power. I continue to sell a steady stream of my “collections” and have given away too many things to count!
    Apart from a few groceries, I’ve only spent money on chicken feed and an anti-biotic for one little hen.
    We are working at making meals from food out of our small chest freezer as well as using up canned goods.
    Since we heat with wood, I have been drying our laundry by the old stove, and my frugal husband is our electricity patrolman. He even reads by the light of a headlamp.
    Future goals include climbing Mount Robson with our daughter and her family in May. I’m collecting special equipment second-hand. We are also planning a trip down to the eastern U.S. for a wedding. Since we neither one care for flying, the road trip will be a fun treat!

  • Steph

    I am doing OK. I had a few events that I couldn’t get around spending money on, but I am doing well with meal planning and using up things I already had. I found out that I like to stop for things…drinks, snacks, whatever! I have never had $10 sit in my wallet for weeks. It is difficult to just drive home. My give away pile is adding up, but it is all still in the house. I have had paint sitting around for months to spruce up my dining room and I think I will tackle that next weekend. I rearranged my living room to make the fireplace the focal point and made my first fire ever! We have been in our home for two years and my husband recently had it inspected/repaired as an anniversary gift

  • Betty

    This is my second year on the money diet and I’m enjoying it even more than I did the first time. I’ve shared the idea with many of my friends and family members – they like to kid me about it and I haven’t found anyone who wants to join me. I am glad to have my husband’s support on this project and we are doing very well. I have to buy some necessary groceries this week but so far this month I have only spent $18. – just using what’s in the house, and we are eating very well. I’ve given away 30 books which makes my library look so much neater and I’ve given home-made baked goods to my neighbors. I will continue to share but the 31 thing challenge is met. We figured our net worth the 1st of the year and feel very blessed. We own/maintain 2 homes and have 0 debt. We have a very nice nest egg and feel secure with our future needs. I sold a bracelet to the jewelry store for $56. For the “creating a peaceful space” I chose my library because it’s my favorite place to relax and it was getting cluttered – also spent some time on my sewing area – I spend much time making quilts and also has a way of becoming cluttered. I finished a small patriotic wall hanging that will hang on my front door around the 4th of July. I started it 2 years ago and other projects always took priority until now – what a good feeling!
    I’m feeling in charge of many areas in my life including the time I spend with my grandchildren – Oh, I forgot the garden – we have plans to make a smaller garden this year – we enjoy gardening and have a knack for over planting and then need to find homes for all the crops but I did find a need for food yesterday in an organization that provides food for families that are from out of town and have family members in the hospital – a room is provided for them at very little cost and volunteers provide free meals. I will look into that further next summer when our crops are flourishing. I love the January diet and reading the stories of others progress. I think I’m up to date on the challenges – thanks for providing this fun month – no holiday let-down in this household! Betty

  • Peggy

    I am doing well on my give aways. I have my project to finish but haven’t started. I did find a group called produce on wheels and got my 60 lbs of vegetables for $10. Please check them out and see if they are in your area. I also repurposed a wreath for January and eliminated some devices to reduce my monthly budget. I just retired so I had my budget. Now I am trying to live it and tighten it up. A great free app is Mint. I have my relax spot and have been focused on spending an hour a day quiet and focused.
    More to do.. I love January diet month.


  • Nancy

    I have posted a piece of paper on one of my kitchen cabinets titled, 2017 January Money Diet Things I’ve Done. Every time I do a task that is consistent with the money diet I add it to the list. Here are a few things on my list

    1.Put LED lightbulbs in most used lamps in my home to help save money
    2.Did not order on line from S.P. to buy non-essential items
    3.Packed my lunch to the ski hill instead of purchasing there
    4.Had dinner at a friend’s house instead of going out to dinner with her.
    5.Am wearing a lightweight down jacket in my home instead of turning up the thermostat in our recent sub zero weather.

    I will keep adding things to the list the rest of January.
    Love the January Money Diet.

  • Hilary

    I’m a great planner and list-maker, but I often get stalled in the accomplish phase! The JMD is a great re-energiser! Began my JMD with a continuation of three initiatives started last September: diet (wheat-free, down 31 lb.), exercise (pedometer and a PBS exercise program), and de-clutter (minimalism and Marie Kondo).
    I’ve set up a donation box and put in at least one item each day, plus I packed my Christmas decorations in a new bin, and donated/recycled all the things I didn’t use this Christmas.
    In the kitchen, have kept only my very fave coffee mugs, and am being very creative (thank you, internet) with beans and spices – so far, have only bought veg and cat food at the grocery store.
    The net worth and earning more have been more difficult, but the end-of-January deadline is a great focuser! I’m taking a tutoring class in February and will start volunteer tutoring afterwards (I’m retired and have chosen doing more rather than earning more for the time being).
    The nesting weekend was my favorite – I rearranged the bedroom to add a reading place with good lighting and started a list of books I’m going to request from my library – books I’ve always wanted to read, but never got round to.
    Future goals? Cancel cable TV and set up my Roku properly, figure out a monthly set of financial and volunteer actions from now until September.
    Thank you for the JMD – it is a lovely rejuvenator and motivator!

  • Jan

    I’m doing so good…so far. Best thing with the food is I now have a legal pad with the pages numbered and all foods in my freezer listed by shelf. I took everything out, threw stuff away that I couldn’t identify! And put back while writing down what was where. Now I just cross off and enter as needed -I now can actually locate frozen foods in my side by side freezer …great!

  • margaret Schwartz moravec

    Doing well, but not perfect! Have yet to do our net worth, but have been returning to the habit of getting rid of at least seven things per week. And it feels great!

  • Carolyn

    Bad stuff – I gave in to the phenomenal grocery store sales! My freezer is as yours – the good and the bad. On the upside, we are eating out of our freezer/stash as well as pantry. YUMMY! Gave away quite a few Christmas decorations and other items – who’s counting – an ongoing process.

    Looking forward to some sewing room time to refurbish some old garments in need of tlc!

    Thanks for your gentle nudges and inspiration – thanks to ALL!

  • Cindy

    I haven’t spent anything that wasn’t a necessity, or a regularly scheduled bill. I have focused on using up the food we have (and we have a lot!) and the canned goods that we have put up. I always have a garden plan going, but was happy to comply! I have struggled with a way to make some extra money. I collected a lot of books to sell but can’t find a great way to move them (Amazon and Ebay just seem to have too much competition! Does anyone want to buy a couple of dozen books in excellent condition, mostly on yoga and meditation? Oh, that’s right! No one here is spending money!!

  • Wow, reading everyone’s progress is inspiring!
    We gave away more than 31 things in a first-week purge (but needed the urging of the JMD to get them to the donation site!)
    In the home scavenger hunt, I found empty picture frames that had several years of dust on them. I used them to hang photos from our recent vacation, and to make a photo collage for my mother-in-law’s upcoming birthday. (Shh, don’t tell.)
    In our nesting weekend, rearranged the living room and have been spending a lot more time there reading and doing puzzles. Hooray!
    We’ve been continuing our meal planning, but making an effort to cook out of the freezer and pantry this month.
    I figured out net worth, though I’ve still not had time to go over it with my husband, the other half of the Finance Committee. In the process of figuring it out, I realized my jobs haven’t yet paid me for a significant amount of work I did last year, so I tracked down the folks responsible and am looking forward to those checks coming in.
    And my favorite part of the JMD: I planned our garden. Thanks, Eliza!

  • Meg

    Using food from freezer and cupboards not buying anything other than milk started to make my own bread again.
    I love reading but my book collection has got out of hand so I have started to sort them out will send some to charity some I will sell on Ziffit.
    Sorting out clothes that we no longer need really feel that I have achieved a lot this first half of the month.

  • Povy

    All is going well on my money diet. My husband and I have always kept our own expense list for the month and totaled it all at the end of the month. I write down everything on a large legal pad The expenses often continue onto the other side of the page. So far this month, I have only used up 6 of the lines on the sheet of paper! I think so far, shopping at home has been the best idea for me. Using up stuff in the pantry, that is way in the back and figuring out a meal to make from those ingredients.

    • Thanks for sharing your system for tracking expenses with your husband, Povy, and good job keeping those expenditures to a minimum this month! I’m glad you’re enjoying the money diet. xoxo

  • Linda Burgess

    I have so far sold 2 fishtanks and emptied and sold the chest freezer. I have donated boxes of items to charity. I have unplugged 9 appliances permanently. I have cleaned and made a relaxing crystal and buddha space. I have only spent $5.50 on a lipgliss and $20 on a goal celebration lunch…this is massive for a spender. With the money i have saved so far and the items I have sold i am getting ahead in my mortgage. Thanks for the motivation!!!

    • Finding new homes for two fish tanks and a chest freezer has freed up a lot of space — good for you. I am thrilled to hear about your progress on your mortgage. Doing the happy dance for you! 🙂

  • Susan Trimble

    So far have given away over 50 things. After going thru some of my books I started going thru my clothes. There is no way I will ever wear what I have. Been decluttering the whole house. It really is looking better. Our bedroom is really looking and feeling better. Have more things will try to sell. Our garden this year will be the same as past years. As far as meal planning goes, I’m still using some things I already had.

  • Sara

    Fun to read the comments from Jamie, Lyn and Anette and of course Eliza and to feel the motivation from the community!

    My favourite part of the challenge so far was the nesting weekend, I am super happy about my livingroom with curtains with flower patterns and rearranged paintings.

    I have given 16 gifts so far, I baked fresh donouts for family and colleagues, used the post cards I found in the hidden treasure-challenge to send greetings to friends and mentors, and cooked a good friend a delicious dinner with a chocolate mousse dessert.

    I have also done some fun free activities, I took my boyfriend to a photography exhibition at the local cultural center and joined a free yoga-day, organized as a kick-off for a new yoga studio.

    I took my brother out to lunch one day, but that was the one time I ate out this past weeks. I also learned a new recipe, foil-baked vegetables and Salmon, delicious.

    I am struggling with the “Earning Money”-challenge, my dad offered to pay me 20 dollars in return for helping out to clean out the attic for one day, but it feels a bit like cheating, I will see if I come up with other ideas.

    • Sara, I love your spirit and the way you’ve approached these challenges so wholeheartedly. Your family and colleagues are SO fortunate to be the beneficiaries of your homemade donuts! I love the free activities you did, too. Thanks so much for sharing your progress with us. xo

  • Annette

    This is my second year doing the money diet. I just love it as it helps me get back on track after Christmas. A couple of years ago I finally paid off a huge student loan and a ton of credit card debt and vowed never to have any consumer debt again. The only debt I have is my mortgage. I keep an eye on my net worth and usually figure it out every month. So far I have cleaned out the freezer and kitchen cupboards and made a meal plan for the entire month. I will have to buy fruit, vegetables, milk and a few other small things but we definitely have more than enough to see us through the month, I made $90 selling CD’s (that we just didn’t listen to anymore)to a local music store. I have cleaned out all my closets and cupboards and re-organized the bedroom. It is so much more peaceful there now. I the process I donated 4 bags of clothing and shoes to charity which was much more than 31 things. We turn our heat down quite low every night when we go to bed and I find I sleep a lot better in a cool room. I still have to tackle the re-organizing and sorting through of all the storage bins in the basement and garage and will likely get to that next weekend. Thanks Eliza for being such an inspiration.

  • Jessica

    I’ve really enjoyed these challenges and the money diet has helped me feel more grateful for what we have. I’ve cleaned and organized my toddler’s closet and have given away 2 boxes of stuff from around the house. I haven’t sold anything yet but have a few purses and baby things I’m saving for a consignment sale at the end of the month. My money diet and my husband’s actual food diet of low carb and meat have been somewhat at odds, but I am trying to use things in our pantry and freezer and we are both becoming more aware of the money we spend on food and recommitting to not letting as much go to waste. Recently we have started composting our food scraps and I am looking forward to starting a garden in the spring. I’ve challenged myself to not buy any household consumable items such as cleaning supplies, toiletries, and diapers until at least April. We use mostly cloth diapers so I’m not worried about running out of those, and I’m guilty of “stockpiling” cleaning supplies and toiletries but my cabinets are full and it’s time to use it all up before I buy more…Thanks for all the tips and challenge ideas to help my family save money and focus more on what’s really important!

  • Lyn

    So great to check in today! I have three people coming over this afternoon to pick up stuff I listed for free on our town’s listserv. One pick-up is for a collection of 30 or so binders my kids and I have used over the years – – they are all in good condition but are currently collecting dust – – we’ve done so much uncluttering of old papers in past years that we don’t need them anymore! I have also gathered six other bags of books and other items to give to specific people or organizations and am in the process of collecting old craft project materials for a Craft Supply Swap that will be at our library this next Sunday!! We’ve been eating a lot of what we have, but I have gone over my food budget because of a New Year’s Cleanse I am also doing – – it calls for lots and lots of fresh organic vegetables – – out of season, out of price range, but I feel great. Trade-offs. To earn money, I have been trying to send in for two sets of Contact Lens rebates for both of my kid’s year’s supply of contacts – together it would add up to $240, but they make it really really complicated. I hope I can figure it out this week. Just did some brainstorming for next year’s garden and, best of all, am finally starting a sewing project I’ve been thinking about for years. I’ve also been cleaning out my home office, making it more inviting so that I can actually be productive and not distracted when I’m in there. Thank you, as always, for the inspiration. Here’s to more saving and earning in the next few weeks. Cheers from sunny and cold New Hampshire.

  • I’m doing fairly well this month sticking to my budgets! Admittedly, I have spent quite a bit of eating out as I’m home from surgery on Thursday but am still within my restaurant budget!

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