Can Your Family Survive a No-Spend Weekend?

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When I was asked to participate in the Ziploc® Fresh 180 challenge, requiring my family and me to attempt a no-spend weekend, I straightened my necktie and put on my creative beret (they’re making a comeback) and got right to it. My approach? Creating games, making things and treating everyone to a little cheer – or as some call it, “chocolate.”  Who’s in?

Friday Night

Make a game of the night.  Begin by jotting down a list of 10 to 20 things you’ll all keep an eye out for in the neighborhood.  Things such as a red front door, a black cat, a blue recycling bin with broken lid, a water bottle cap, a broken mailbox flag, a car that hasn’t moved in several years, an elm tree, etc. Then, give each family member a copy of the query and see who finds the most items on the list during a family evening walk.  The winner gets to choose the movie that everyone will watch later that evening.


Since I’m such a scavenger for junk, anyway, this makes a no-spend weekend project enormously FUN! FUN! FUN!  Kind of like solving a riddle.

The impetus for this came while at a friend’s wedding where this adorable sign hung in the entryway. (Sweet, right?)

Anyway, I got to thinking about how it would be fun to have a similar style sign at our house. I thought about which shape worked best for our family, and since I’m a fan of directional signs, I decided we’d make an arrow-shaped sign.

Here’s how my family approached the project:

  • Dumpster Diving: I find (re)usable stuff in all kinds of places; on the side of the road, at yard sales, even in my neighbor’s dumpster (spied during my morning walk with my dog, Bernie, of course).  The piece of wood I found for the arrow was taken from the floor of my neighbor’s guest house which was being demolished. I especially loved this plank because of its deep texture, the natural holes and knots and the chalky white (presumably) drywall compound which coated the piece.
  • Technique: First, using a pen, I drew the shape I wanted in the wood.  Next, using my handy jigsaw I cut out the shape.  It took all of seven minutes. Of course, I wore safety glasses and clamped the board to the table while using the jigsaw, so as to avoid losing a finger or an eye from flying debris.

With the arrow done, I evenly spaced out the globe lights (which had been safely stored in Ziploc® brand big bags) and drilled holes using a ¾” wood drill bit.

Then came the fun part… putting the lights into the holes and turning them on—voila!

The three things I like about doing projects like this are: 1) nobody else will have the exact same thing in their house, 2) it was doable in one afternoon, and 3) it was free.


Everyone loves cookies, so my family and I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies to take to our next door neighbor.  Since our neighbor wasn’t home when we stopped by, we wrote them a note that we left on the doorstep, containing a quote by Charles M. Schulz that said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post and to provide related images for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.  And, all photos were taken by me, myself and I!



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