As for the pressure of back-to-school shopping...
Last year we spent around $300 at Gymboree on back-to-school outfits and probably about another $200 at Children's Place and of course paid on credit. So this year I resolved to only spend money on what she needed...and the truth is she didn't need much. Her clothes from last spring still fit and were in good shape so we just bought a few items at Marshall's...new shoes, 2 new shirts and a pair of shorts for around $50 which we paid for in cash. And she looked and felt great!
But I have to tell you I really, really had to fight the urge to follow the August tradition of a back-to-school shopping extravaganza. But in doing so we saved $450.
I did have a moment of weakness and bought her a really cute backpack and matching lunch box and had them both monogrammed for a grand total of $60. Which is a lot for a bag for a six-year-old...but it was in June...before we started the experiment...and I paid cash.
Dinner: Crunchy tacos, beans and corn. I forgot the cheddar cheese ($4) and normally I would have called Mike to pick some up on his way home, but we did without. Note: Tacos with mozarella aren't so tasty.