Our experience with a challenge and attempting to spend as little as possible.
Written By: Collin
Let me just start by saying January was not fun.
It had nothing to do with the Uber Frugal Month Challenge. That part was pretty good actually. No, my beef is with myself for deciding that it would be a great idea to do a month of extreme frugality in addition to no sugar, no alcohol, and no fun.
Well alright, that last part isn't true. But it was pretty difficult to go the whole month without sugar or alcohol, especially when we have plenty of both in the house. But, Allison and I decided to challenge ourselves and now we can say that we were semi-successful. We actually ended up quitting on the 23rd and have no regrets about it. It was like running a marathon... plenty of people run one marathon (or 3/4 in our case) and are happy with the experience. That will be us, saying, "hey remember that one January?"
But we survived, and are better for it I suppose.
As far as the frugality, it was pretty good. We were able to save a bunch of money this month and push ourselves on spending less. I would've liked to spend just a little bit less money on food but we still did way better than normal.
We ended up spending just shy of $500 on groceries and restaurants this month. And I can't be bothered to split out household products on my receipts so that number includes things like tissues, diapers, wipes, vitamins, etc...
In total, we spent 50% less than last month (wake me up when December ends) and 37% less than our previous 12 month average. Great results as far as I'm concerned, even if we weren't perfect.
You know, maybe January was a good month after all. For as much as I'd rather it be sunny and 80 outside, January is a good month for challenging yourself and getting the year started on the right foot. Who am I to complain when I'm sitting here writing this on my comfy couch next to a blazing fire while there is pretty snow outside and I have my amazing family with me. Life sounds pretty good when I frame it like that.
We did the Uber Frugal Month Challenge from the Frugalwoods this month. With the challenge you get one email per day going over various aspects of a frugal lifestyle and how to crush it. If you read about personal finances and the FIRE community for any length of time then a lot of the topics will be similar and things you're familiar with. But, I know it never hurts to revisit the basics and make sure that you have a firm foundation.
Everyone can use some frugal tough love now and then.
Some of my favorite emails included:
"But it’s only $5" - When you justify $5 over and over again it adds up to a whole bunch of 5 dollar bills you no longer have and can save/invest.
"Become a more interesting person… through frugality!" - How frugality opens up a whole host of other areas in your life where you can thrive and create a more joyful lifestyle.
"Fighting Lifestyle Inflation From The Inside Out" - Recognizing how we already have so much stuff and if we just realize how fortunate and privileged we are, then we can really enjoy the things we have and not always be wanting for more.
If you're new to frugality or looking to practice the basics again then I'd strongly recommend signing up for the challenge. It can really benefit your life. And what's the worst that could happen... you save a bunch of money?
January Savings Rate: 46%
January Debt Total: $102,475 ( ↑ .17%)
January was a good month for our savings rate, 46% is our best ever. We were more frugal this month than ever and we had a little extra income from some side hustle catering. Now it's time to challenge ourselves and see if we can beat it in February!
Unfortunately, you might notice that the debt balance went up .17%. We were paid ahead on one student loan so we decided to take this month off of the payment in order to move that money over to our house down payment fund. I'm not concerned on whether it was a good or bad decision though. We will now have enough money to for our down payment and we can finally become first time homeowners. I'll write up more about that in a coming month I'm sure.