Über Frugal Challenge: Jan 2017

I thought I would try some­thing new for Jan­u­ary, so I’m par­tic­i­pat­ing in Mrs. Fru­gal­woods’ Über 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 über 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:


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!

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16 thoughts on “Über Frugal Challenge: Jan 2017

  1. I joined the chal­lenge as well! Our sav­ings rate has been hov­er­ing around 50% late­ly and my goal for the month is to get it clos­er to 60%. We def­i­nite­ly live well, so I know there are lit­tle things here and there we can cut out with a lit­tle hard work and inge­nu­ity. We’ll see how it goes!
    Mrs. Picky Pinch­er recent­ly post­ed…My Favorite Mon­ey Blog­gers, Part 1My Profile

  2. 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.

  3. Good luck with your über 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

    • Such a great idea! Thanks from every­one else who will ben­e­fit from that inves­tiga­tive report­ing!

  6. I, too, am par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Fru­gal­woods’ Über 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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