Uber Frugal Challenge: Jan 2017

I thought I would try something new for January, so I’m participating in Mrs. Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Challenge! Below are some steps from the article I linked that articulate what I’d like to achieve by doing the challenge.

Step 1: Establish your goals

source: frugalwoods

I am participating in this challenge to save up as much money as possible for my down payment when I buy a multi-family property in Q1 2017. I hope to achieve spending less than $1,200 in January, mostly by eating in and entertaining myself with things I’ve already purchased. My long term life goals are to be retired by the time I’m 35 so I can do whatever I want. Buying a multi-family rental property will accelerate that journey.

My current lifestyle has a few inhibitors that might prevent me from achieving an uber frugal month. For one, I tend to be on the lazy side. That leads to issues like not having food to pack for lunch at work, or simply not getting out of bed in time to pack said lunch before I leave for work. I also like to be lazy when it comes to making dinner. Sometimes I choose not to eat but other times I go out for dinner instead which is the opposite of frugal. The last inhibitor I can think of is lack of planning. Sometimes this means I pay for rush shipping from Amazon, and other times it means I pay a higher price at the store the night before.

Step 2: Review last month’s spending

December was actually a pretty decent month for me. I only spent $1776, which is the monetary amount of most American’s favorite year! My food spending was a little high as I bought some special food for events I was going to, so that should be able to come down no problems. Auto was also higher than normal as I got an oil change and drove all over the Midwest for the holidays.

Step 3: Categorize your expenses

My fixed expenses this month are:

Housing:$400
Phone:~$40
Food:~$250
Auto:$150
Pet:$50
Insurance:$112
Support:$150
Total:$1,152

Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?

I can’t really eliminate anything from this budget since I’ve already cut quite a bit. I don’t have any cable, internet, or utilities anymore since moving into my friend’s basement. I can’t not feed the cat, and my sister appreciates getting the support. I’m not going to cut my phone off.

But, I think I can find ways to trim some of the stuff down in the bare bones budget. Food can always be cut back (beans and rice for lunch!), and I hopefully won’t spend all of the auto category either. My goal is to get it under $1k, but definitely no more than $1,200 for the month. What’s so awesome is I couldn’t have done that 2 months ago due to ridiculously high rent. #winning!

I’m not going to go through the rest of the steps Mrs. Frugalwoods has outlined since I don’t think they really apply to my specific situation.

I will, however, throw in some caveats. I will be spending some money this month, so I want to make sure I include those upfront. I’m going to Camp Mustache SE in Florida for 4 days (!!!!!) in the middle of the month, so I will probably end up with some transportation and food costs. I will be chipping in for gas/car rental to and from Orlando, as well as buying some snacks and drinks to enjoy while at CMSE. I wish I could bring the drinks I already bought, but the airlines frown upon smuggling 5 bottles of cider and a few bottles of mead in my carry-on luggage.
Total expected cost: <$50

Another expense to be included is a late Christmas gift for one of my sisters. I told her I’d buy her a pair of jeans when we went shopping in Chicago, but despite our best efforts and open pocketbooks we didn’t find much to buy. Clothing wise, any way, as we did snag several containers of delicious David’s Tea. Since I wasn’t able to buy her anything while shopping, I will be picking up a pair of slippers for her this week before we have one last family Christmas with our other sister. Families are fun!
Total expected cost: <$30

Over the Rhine concert on NYE in Chicago

If you can math at all, adding ~$80 to my total above pushes it over $1200. This just means I’ll have to get creative in cutting some stuff down with the rest of my budget!

If you would like to join the challenge, you’re not too late! You can still join by heading over to her site and signing up. She sends you an email each day full of wise words, greyhound pictures, and handy tips. There’s also a Facebook group you can join to help you stay on track if you prefer that medium.

I wish you luck if you choose to do it! Goodness knows I’ll need all the luck and will power I can muster!

16 thoughts on “Uber Frugal Challenge: Jan 2017

  1. Good luck! I’m going to have to be “frugal” to some extent because I’m maxing out my HSA again this month. I did request 40 hours of vacation pay since I hit the max, so that iwill help a bit.

    In a pinch, I find it pretty easy to save $$ by entertaining myself with stuff I already have. I probably have too much stuff though.

    I’ve tried to sell both my TV’s in preparation of downsizing to the mobile lifestyle with no such luck as of yet.
    TJ recently posted…2016 Financial Year in ReviewMy Profile

    • I got some stuff for Christmas that I can entertain myself with! Also, Camp Mustache will be fun and fairly cheap since I’ve already paid for just about everything. Wish I could max out my HSA/Roth IRA this month. Front loading would be great! (hmmm maybe a goal for 2018)

    • Hopefully there won’t be any optional expenses! I also dropped my rent from $1057/mo to $400/mo, so that should help lower my spend in January.

  2. Good luck with your uber frugal month! I was tempted to join, but this month was the wrong month for me because I knew it wouldn’t be very frugal.

    And whenever I say I’m going to buy jeans I always end up discouraged and just try on dresses instead. Pants are leg prisons!
    Ellie @ The Chedda recently posted…Graph Your Net Worth Using RMy Profile

    • Preach it sista! I actually found a pair of Kenneth Cole jeans that fit great! AND….. they were 60% with another 20% off that. #winning!

  3. I’m doing something similar – a “no spend month”. I’m continuing to pay all my regular bills, but cutting out all extra expenses, such as extra food (I can buy fruits, veggies and milk) and going out to eat. We don’t spend a ton on these things anyway, but it’s a good opportunity to jump start savings for the new year. So far, it’s forced me to reuse what we have instead of buy new (my daughter needed a presentation board for school) and not waste any food.

    Have a great time at Camp Mustache! I admit, I’m jealous! 🙂

    • Good luck on the no spend month! The last time I tried to do that I failed miserably lol. Although I did move so I don’t feel bad about it!

      Just think…. we’ll have fun together when we travel to visit the North Stars group 🙂 They’ll all be jealous of us then!

  4. I appreciate both the support and the slippers for sure. Sad about the jeans though. Generosity is something that you value and I am grateful for your priorities. Can you do some side hustling of either your current interests or figure out some other ways to hustle to help bring in some finances to help? Since you will be entertaining yourself with things you already have, perhaps you could generate some income from that.

    • Lookee everyone my sister commented on my blog!! I love it! I will be ramping up the side hustles in 2017 to pay for lots of things. It makes sense to include charitable donations in that category as well. Thanks for the great idea! Love you!

  5. I, too, am participating in the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal Month Challenge! I’m participating under my real name and not my blogging name so it’s a covert operation 😉 I’m also at a point where it’ll be hard to trim any fat, but I’m going to try. I love that you’re goal is purchase a multi-family property. If I could turn back the clock, that would be one of the first things I would do after college. After having a family, life gets so much more complicated. Congrats on taking the challenge and I look forward to cheering you on in the new year!

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    • Yeah FB kind of puts the kibosh on anonymous bloggers joining the group and staying anonymous. Thank you for the kind words and for commenting!

      Good luck on your frugal month as well!

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