Today kicks off Frugal February, so I thought I would share with you all of my rules for our household spending this month and why I choose to participate each year.
Almost 4 years ago, we paid off our mortgage and became 100% debt free…yay! However, after we paid the mortgage off, I found myself relaxing with my spending and was astonished to see how much I was really spending each month when my bank and credit card statements came in. I knew something had to change, because even though we paid off our mortgage we only had 3 months of living expenses saved and I really wanted to have a whole year of living expenses in our savings account. (I know I did it backwards Mr. Ramsey but it worked for us!) So I decided to reboot myself and started having Frugal February challenges to keep myself honest and rekindle my love of budgeting and frugal living. It really did pay off because over that year we saved up a whole year’s worth of living expenses and even cash flowed two much needed home improvement projects over the next two years. So this can be a great tool, to rekindle or even to kick off some really great frugal habits.
Each year, my budget changes a little during Frugal February. My very first year, I tried to spend less than $25 a week on groceries and random household spending and I amazingly did stick to it. Year 2, I went up to $40. Year 3, I went up to $50. This year I think I am going to raise it to $75 a week for a grand total of $300 for the month. As our kids have grown bigger, they are eating more and we have also been on a low carb diet for two years and enjoy having a nice variety to choose from:) My usual grocery spending is anywhere from $100-$150 a week, so I think if I halve that, it will be slightly uncomfortable, but hopefully I will not hear too many complaints.
So I am allotting myself $300 for the entire month to buy groceries, random thrift store finds, any eating out that the kids talk me into, and whatever else my household might need for the next 28 days. Some exceptions that I will not count in this budget: random doctor visits (it is flu season), gas for our cars, monthly bills, tithing, or if anything mysteriously breaks, like a fridge or my washing machine…knock on wood…
I will be posting each week with how much I have spent and many of the
silly extreme ways that I have found to stick to my budget. In the past years, we have bartered pumpkin bread for toilet paper and random canned goods for sugar, my mom is a good sport and finds this terribly funny:) **I did make sure that I am well stocked up on toilet paper this year, so the Great Toilet Paper Rationing Week of 2015 will not be happening again!
If you would like to join in, leave in the comments what your budget will be for Frugal February and feel free to comment each week with all the many ways you found to stretch your budget by bartering, improvising, and finding amazing sales. We can do this!