Henry, 5, the son of Denver-based blogger Anna Newell Jones. Newell...

Henry, 5, the son of Denver-based blogger Anna Newell Jones. Newell Jones takes photos of her son with items he wants to buy. Eventually, he'll get to look over the photos and choose his heart's desire. Credit: Anna Newell Jones

So far on my no spend challenge, I've been coasting.

There's free coffee and hot chocolate at work — just two of the many perks of working at Newsday. One of my sweet colleagues who said she'd go crazy if she couldn't visit the vending machine for an afternoon snack thoughtfully gifted me with not one, but three, bags of different kinds of chocolates. And if you know me then you know just how much I love chocolate! I can give up spending, but I can't give up my M&M's.

And for lunch, well, I've been dutifully bringing it from home. Today I had a Lean Cuisine and some cottage cheese. Boring but No Spend Challenge approved.

Truthfully, so far it hasn't been awfully hard. But I haven't made it through a weekend yet. Or, I should say, I haven't made it through a weekend with my kids. Now that will be the real test.

This Saturday, I'm planning to take them to a free Paw Patrol-themed trick-or-treating event hosted by none other than Target. Yes, the event is free, but it's still in Target. It's a trap, and I know it's a trap. But I want the kids to have fun, so I'm just going to brace myself.

Denver-based blogger Anna Newell Jones, of And Then We Saved, who did the No Spend Challenge nine years ago, shared a helpful tip in dealing with little ones who've come down with an ugly case of the "Mommy, pretty please buy me this."

When her 6-year-old son Henry wants her to buy an item for him, she tells him she'll take a photo of him with the item instead. Come Christmastime she tells him he can review the photos to source items to put on his list to Santa. Genius? I think so. Sometimes the photos are of Henry with toys, "but it's mostly pictures of him with a really large bag of shredded yellow cheese," she says with a laugh. 

Hmmm ... maybe he feels about shredded cheese the way I feel about chocolate. I don't know, but I'm hoping this photo trick does the job for me this weekend. And don't worry — you'll know soon enough if it does or doesn't. I'll make sure to keep you posted on just how colorfully it all goes down on Instagram @newsday and @presspassdaysi. 

Latest Videos