Last year, my husband was at a really stressful job and he decided to leave to take a job that was less stressful for him, but it also had lower pay. All of a sudden we had less money to spend as a family, but we had trouble cutting back. We were spending money needlessly and were buying things we didn’t need. We were going out to restaurants more than we should have, and with two growing teenage boys, we knew we needed to start cutting back. Grocery prices and the cost of living were rising, and money was getting tight. 

I first heard about the Thrive Challenge from my District Manager, Gary.

He had won the Thrive Challenge and he came to talk to us about it at one of our morning meetings. After that, a few people in our store started trying it out. Our Store Manager Laureen became a winner, as well as our assistant managers Jonathan and Javad, and other associates like Jackie and Nicole. I knew I needed some help cutting down on our spending, and after seeing so many people benefiting from the Thrive Challenge, I decided to give it a try. 

My first step was sitting down with my husband and looking at our expenses. 

One evening, we sat down together and looked at all of our finances: what our expenses are, and what we could cut back on. After that exercise, we decided we would sell our car and instead purchase a less expensive one. It would be cheaper on gas and cheaper for our insurance. We did this right away and that lowered our car instance by $50 a month. It was a small step but it helped us see that small changes really help.

Our next step was calling up our cable provider.

We canceled certain channels that we were not even watching, which helped lower our cost, and we changed our Netflix plan from Premium to the Basic plan. We also decided that with the rising price of gas, we would carpool as much as we can. Making these small adjustments made me more aware of where my money was going and I started becoming more conscious about my spending. When the weather gets nicer, I’d love to start biking to work!

I started meal prepping for the week ahead on my days off. 

This way, I could eat a healthy lunch at work and my kids could eat a healthy lunch at school, and we didn’t have to be so tempted to eat out at fast food restaurants. This helped us save a lot, and it also made us more conscious of our eating. One of my favorite recipes to prep for the week is a chicken stir fry that I make with fresh veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli, onions, carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchinis, and whatever else I have on hand. I serve it with homemade rice. We also love to barbecue as a family all year-round. We just shovel the snow on the deck and it seems to taste better when it’s cold outside!

I’ve been making time in the evenings to go on a walk after supper.

Even if it’s short, I’ve found it to be really helpful, and my dog is home all day, so she loves it too. I’m trying to stay active and healthy. I have a Fitbit that tracks my steps, and my husband and I actually compete against each other! It’s a fun little competition. I also love biking but I’ve had to put it away for the winter. I’d love to try snowshoeing! 

We’re now saving $400 a month and putting it in our savings account.

The small changes have really added up, and I’m so proud that we’ve been able to overcome this challenge that at one point seemed so unattainable. Anybody can make a change if they put their minds to it, and The Thrive Challenge has been a great reminder of them. My goal now is to keep putting money into our savings and eventually to use some for a summer vacation. I feel so much better and our whole family is happier.

— Monette Bourque, Walmart Supercentre #3056, Dieppe, NB; $2K Winner