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Uber Frugal Month 2018 – Day 1

I missed the sign up for the uber-frugal challenge month, but I still have the notes from when I participated a while ago… So I’d like to try it again, and this time, stop making excuses for what I already do, and look for ways to make the system better.

Step 1: Establish your goals.

  1. Why are you participating in this Challenge? We suffered a drop in income last year, and I didn’t pay down as much on the mortgage that I would have liked.
  2. What do you hope to achieve? I want to better keep track of where money goes and cut down on spending days. I got lazy tracking expenses when I started using PocketBook.
  3. What are your long term life goals? Last year’s goal was “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.” 12 months on, I have finished my PhD and am doing what I love. Does that mean I have met this goal? YES!
  4. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Last year’s goal was “We would like to be free of a mortgage with some money in an investment property.” Again, I’d like to be mortgage free, but I don’t really want an investment property. I have been buying some dividend shares instead.
  5. What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it? Random spending.

Step 2: Review last month’s spending.

Christmas happened…

Step 3: Categorize your expenses.
Fixed Mandatory Expenses

  • Internet + 2 cell phone plans $120/month (increase $15)
  • Gas $90/two months, stove/oven and hot water heater (increase $10)
  • Electricity $190/ 3 months, reverse cycle air conditioner, minimal TV use etc (increase $55)
  • Water $200/3 months, split between 3 units as we don’t have our own meter
  • Petrol $200/month for two cars (decrease $50)

Discretionary Expenses

Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?

We’ll work on this – I can’t think of anything right now that we can eliminate.

Step 5: Embrace the art of substitution.

Eli still makes her own beer and I made yoghurt. We have been eating less bread, but I have been successfully making buns.

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?” In answer to last year, not getting a fruit box delivered just ends up with us not buying food. So skip.

Step 7: Empower yourself to insource!

  • oil squeaky door(s)
  • change door stops / buy door stops – some
  • finish tiling laundry – not even close
  • repaint outside railing
  • do something about the kitchen!

Step 8: Examine your habits.

I can’t go to the bulk shop without buying something that I haven’t tried before. That’s fine and all, but not when I then neglect to use up all the things in the pantry. I am a current quest to do that.

Step 9: Plan ahead.

I am trying hard to do this.

Step 10: If you do buy stuff, get it used (or cheap!).

I am likely going to need a new blender/chopper/etc soon. I should start looking out for one second hand.

Step 11: Banish excuses.

I don’t know…

Major Lifestyle Changes

We started taking boarders last year, and it is a fantastic side amount of income. The guy we have at the moment is staying until May, so that’s a lovely bit of money every week that completely covers the mortgage.

The other thing is my car. Although I rent it out on CarNextDoor, I rarely use it. I would like to sell it. It should be worth around $10k. Being a single car family would be a bit scary though! I’d have to ride my motorcycle regularly through the winding roads to Eli’s parent’s place…


Who else is going to try a New Year’s Resolution around saving money? 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.

Published inFinanceFrugalGoals

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