As part of a semi-serious New Year’s Resolution (and both of us looking for new jobs), we thought we’d attempt the Uber Frugal Month by Mrs. Frugalwoods. It’s more me wanting to do this, I manage all of the finances, but Eli is also on board.
Step 1: Establish your goals.
- Why are you participating in this Challenge? I think I’ve gotten into a rut with saving money where I can. I always shop at the discount grocery store for example, but I think that I could save more by shopping around. I probably (read: definitely) could also cut down on the little things I buy, such as icecream!! even though I only buy it on sale.
- What do you hope to achieve? I want to be able to save 100% of every incoming money this month, with no spending on discretionaries. We will have to pay our rate bill and car registration this month which are big expenses to cover.
- What are your long term life goals? I want to be free to teach as I want to, and read as much as I want to! Basically, not need to be stressed about work, which is a big thing for me. Eli’s simpler goal is to live that long!
- Where do you want to be in 10 years? We would like to be free of a mortgage with some money in an investment property.
- What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it? See above. Spending on things (usually groceries) that are on sale as special. eg. 5 different kinds of icecream…
Step 2: Review last month’s spending.
Step 3: Categorize your expenses.
Fixed Mandatory Expenses
- Internet + 2 cell phone plans $105/month
- Gas $80/two months, stove/oven and hot water heater
- Electricity $45/month, reverse cycle air conditioner, minimal TV use etc
- Water $200/3 months, split between 3 units as we don’t have our own meter
- Petrol $250/month for two cars, this should decrease now Eli is not working
- Groceries – Delivered fruit box each fortnight ($54.95)
Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?
We’ll work on this – I can’t think of anything right now that we can willingly eliminate.
Step 5: Embrace the art of substitution.
Eli very happily makes her own beer, but I want to see what else I can do. I do yoghurt, but as yet haven’t been successful with making cheese or bread regularly.
Step 6: Reduce spending on discretionary expenses.
Do I really need to pay for that delivery fee? Is it cheaper to stop at the fruit shop on the way home from work, or does that mean that I just won’t buy food?
Step 7: Empower yourself to insource!
- oil squeaky door(s)
- change door stops / buy door stops
- finish tiling laundry
- repaint outside railing
Step 8: Examine your habits.
I’ll take more of a note of these as the month goes on.
Step 9: Plan ahead.
I generally try to do this. We very rarely buy food out, and I will almost always eat something small before going out to dinner or the like (even if I’m not paying).
Step 10: If you do buy stuff, get it used (or cheap!).
I need to improve on this. I am very happy using old appliances that may not work as well as they used to. For example, I had an inherited toaster, and recently it started burning the toast. I guess it didn’t bother me that much, because I don’t eat much toast. It bothered Eli though (she’s a toast with eggs sort of person), and I received a new toaster for Christmas. It was cheap and on sale though! It was from Aldi, like my blender, my yoghurt maker, my dehydrator and my mixer.
Step 11: Banish excuses.
For me, excuses are having each weekend with KK. She’s expensive! We go to visit KK, and then end up spending money on things so that we can get out of the house. I need to fix this problem.
Major Lifestyle Changes
We’ve decided that we might like to have boarders this year for our ‘spare’ bedroom. This means that we need to get serious about clearing out our second bedroom and our stores of Lego. We are selling the Lego, but I am perhaps not pursuing this as actively as I should be. We have four boxes full of sets to sell, and others that we are still sorting. This is an activity we find very fun, but it is not practical to spread Lego on the floor when we have guests…
Who else is going to try a New Year’s Resolution around saving money? I’m trying for this month to be a complete no spend month. As you can see here, I haven’t filled out all the sections of the plan to be frugal, I’ll continue to revisit it them through the month when I get more time.
January’s running expenses: