Its that time of year again where we cut back on our frivolous spending and try to nip bad money habits in the bud….otherwise known as Frugal February in our house. We have been participating in Frugal February since 2013 when we decided to set the crazy goal of paying off our mortgage in three years. This crazy idea was spurned into being after listening to countless Dave Ramsey shows and the insane amount of overtime my husband was working at the time. We paid our house off in 2015 and have been super blessed to live mortgage free for the past five years at relatively young ages (currently we are both 39) Did Frugal February allow us to save that much money to pay off our mortgage early? No. But it did help us practice good habits that kept us on track to save huge amounts of money over that three year period (actually it was closer to 30 months). I also love that Frugal February comes after the holiday season and helps us to reassess our spending habits that maybe were a little too relaxed in December/January.
Here are the areas that we are going to be working on for Frugal February 2021:
- 2020 was an interesting year that led to unusual spending trends for our family. I constantly found myself buying food at the grocery store multiple times a week because I just knew the stores were going to shutdown for good (they didn’t…but I was prepared!) It got so bad that my pantry and fridge were bulging with food and I didn’t know where I was going to put my grocery haul. I kept half jokingly telling my kids that I thought I was turning into a food hoarder and well…I think I was. So Goal #1 of Frugal February is to stick to a healthy grocery budget. For my family in non-Covid times, we usually aimed for $150 a week to spend on food. However, we spent almost $200 a week on groceries during the later part of 2020. **This did include buying a 1/4th of a cow from my dad, but still that’s a lot.
- Another area that I am targeting during this year’s Frugal February is eating out. I know that it wasn’t just us because so many fast food restaurants reported massive increases in sales during the quarantine. I just think that easy food (that you didn’t have to cook and clean up after) provided a little light at the end of the tunnel for so many people. But this needs to stop! While we were happily buying our delicious comfort foods, my inner frugal critic would remind me that I could buy the same amount of food for the fraction of the cost if we ate at home. Which leads to Goal #2 of Frugal February being stick to a strict eating out budget. I was going to cut all eating out for the month of February, but that would just be miserable (and we are still in a pandemic!) so I gave us a realistic number that should help us get back into better habits without too much added stress.
- The last area that I am targeting is non-food spending. During 2020, I found myself being way more lenient on frivolous spending. Things like scooters, puzzles, drawing supplies, clothes, nonessential toiletries, etc. For some reason I felt that buying those things might hide the awfulness of 2020 and add a little brightness to our lives. Some things were nice and did help keep us busy, but the majority of stuff just added clutter to our life. So Goal #3 is to only buy used items for the month of February and stick to a strict budget.
Here is the budget that we will be working with this month:
Grocery spending: $400 (roughly $200 less than our usual non-Covid monthly spending)
Eating out: $50 (we won’t think about how much we were spending!)
Nonfood spending (used items and essentials only!): $50
I also will be posting weekly about fun, frugal things that we found to do during the week like usual. Please feel free to join in with us and do your own Frugal February Challenge. It is a great way to start fresh again. **Oh, and as a bonus, remember February is the shortest month of the year….so the torture doesn’t last as long:)