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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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)
- Groceries – Delivered fruit box each fortnight ($44.45) (decrease $5)
- Groceries – monthly large Aldi shop $150
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.