Frugal February Challenge
Since February is a short month, it is a great time to take part in a frugal challenge. This is similar to a spending fast, but not quite as extreme. If you are trying to get your budget to work as one of your New Year’s Resolutions or you just want to find ways to save extra money try to take one or more of these five challenges. Just one can help you save more money in February, but doing all five can really help you save money in your budget.
Cook Your Own Food
For some people, this challenge may be super easy. You may be eating primarily at home anyway because you love to cook. This challenge should extend to your lunches for work, as well as evening meals. You can try cooking over the weekends or use your slow cooker to make mealtime prep easier. Taking your lunch to work can be easy by focusing on leftovers from the night before or packing a salad or sandwich. You save a lot of money by eating at home. Home-cooked food is often healthier than fast food options, and this challenge can help you feel better too. You will be surprised at how much you can save when you stop eating out.
- Planning ahead makes this much easier. Plan your monthly menu and grocery shopping list to make it easier.
- Consider shopping online or having someone shop for you which may be free or be a nominal fee. This may save you money since you will not spend money on impulse purchases.
Reduce Your Monthly Bills
It may be easier than you think to reduce your monthly bills, which means savings throughout the year. This challenge just takes a few phones calls to your different providers to see if you can reduce the amount that you pay in insurance or for your utilities each month. Take the time this month to see if you can cut cable completely or find a cheaper plan that will still give you the channels that you want. Do the same with your cell phone provider. Even if you cannot switch this month, look around if your contract expires soon to find out what options are available to you. This can help you keep on saving after this month.
- Shopping around will help you negotiate lower rates. Some companies will negotiate with you if you have a better quote.
- There is no harm in asking for a lower rate on any of your services since the savings are there and companies have customer retention plans in place.
Category Spending Freeze
This is similar to a spending fast, but instead of stopping all spending, you simply need to choose one or two categories where you will not spend any money for the entire month. This may be entertainment, clothing, or other categories where you feel like you are overspending on a consistent basis. Sometimes cutting dramatically can help you realize just how little you can get by with each month. This may be the easiest way to implement a fast.
- Choose a category that you think will be easy not to spend in.
- Choose a category where you spend the most each month and see if you can get by without spending on it for the month.
Do It Yourself
Find three services or things that you normally pay for that you can do yourself. If you have a housekeeper, try canceling the service for the month and save money by doing it yourself. Learn how to change the oil on your own. If you love freshly baked bread and regularly purchase it from a bakery, try baking the bread at home. You can do a similar thing by trying to recreate your favorite restaurant dinner. If you have your grocery shopping done for you, try doing it yourself to see if you can save money. At the end of the month, you will have a better idea of what is really worth spending your money on, and what is worth doing yourself to save.
- This is a great way to determine if the service is worth the money.
- You may find a new skill that you enjoy doing or help you find a new hobby to do.
Set a Goal to Put Extra in Savings
The last frugal activity is to set a goal to put an extra amount in savings this month and then to leave it there. Be sure that you are doing enough that you will feel the difference in your spending. The amount you choose really depends on your income. If you do not make much, an extra hundred dollars may be a stretch, but if you are doing well, you may want to try for five hundred or even more. Make a chart and mark your progress as you put the money in your savings account. This can help you start your emergency fund if you do not already have one. You may want to carry these goals throughout the year.
- This can be as simple as rounding up your transactions and keeping your change to put into savings.
- Be as aggressive as possible in savings since this will help you benefit from the fast the most.