Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors. We are simply sharing our financial goals and strategies that personally work for us. Please, seek professional financial advice if you need direction in financial planning and goal setting.
Welcome to Frugal February!
Here’s some background before we dive into Frugal February: last year, I really started to look at budgeting because we were buying a house and I’d never made such a big purchase before. Chance has always been really great with money, he has it nailed to to a system that works for him - he saves, he invests, he basically does everything we should all be doing. Anyways, he inspired me to start looking at the big picture and be more financially responsible.
Fast forward, this year I want to improve even more so I’ve been diligently tracking all of my income and expenses - I literally have the entire year mapped out and I’m on track to save a good amount already to help me pay of my car. For me, budgeting is about reaching my goals faster so that I save more in the long run. It’s about planning for the unexpected - and actually if you take anything away from this post, it’s really that for me, budgeting is PLANNING.
Instead of spending willy nilly and having no clue what’s coming and out of my bank account, my 2019 goal is to have a plan. It’s not about restricting myself, it’s more about finding where I am throwing my money away and reducing waste. My goal is to plan for the things we need and put the rest into savings - or towards paying off debt. After buying a house, I reflected on 2018 and realized how often I would run over to HomeGoods and buy something I didn’t need or something that gave me 10 seconds of happiness. I realized I wasting SO MUCH MONEY. I still managed to add more to my savings and start 2019 better than I started 2018, but it wasn’t good enough.
So that’s why we are talking about Frugal February! I’ve been following this system since the start of the year and it’s helped me stay focused and avoid waste. I’m hoping this post inspires you all and hopefully gives some guidance if you’re feeling lost.
Follow us on Instagram below as we provide more tips, help you stay on track and answers questions throughout the month!
Frugal February Is Not
A miserable lifestyle
Being selfish, money-hungry, cheap or stingy
A fix-all for your financial difficulties
An attempt to talk up the fact that we are trying to save money
Like I said, Frugal February is really just my way of sharing the strategies that have worked for me to stick to a budget and reach my goals. It’s a plan.
What Is Frugal February
It’s essentially a month of zero-waste spend. The challenge is to only spend money on things you need and focus on reaching your larger financial goals through methods and strategies that we have found to be personally successful. We hope Frugal February gives you a heightened awareness to your financial spending and help you hold yourself accountable for planning your future.
I suppose you could even consider this a month-long exercise in self-control. We’ve outline some guidelines and even made some awesome templates to help you navigate your way through Frugal February.
How to Start Frugal February
1. Download the weekly budget and transaction templates
To use these templates, simply click File > Make A Copy or File > Download and convert this to a .csv or excel file. These are completely customizable too, so feel free to change the categories/themes and the items within each so it fits with your lifestyle!
2. Write down all of your planned income. Then write down your monthly expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, utilities, monthly subscriptions, etc.) Don’t leave anything out, no matter how small it is. If you don’t know the exact amount, I recommend rounding up - it’s better to account for more expenses than to be left with unexpected ones.
3. Finish filling out the templates with as much detail as possible. Like I said, keep things conservative if you aren’t sure exactly how much you plan to spend. For example: if it costs about $25 to fill up your car every week, round that up to $30 per week - this helps me save even more because I’m accounting for more expenses and therefore planning with less funds.
Pro-tip: when you see that you’ve saved more money at the end of the month than you “planned” you’ll be more motivated to keep going.
How to Implement Frugal February
Once I have mapped out all of my expenses that were necessary for living along with anything else I already had planned (i.e. hair appointment, dr. appointment, etc.), I have an idea of how much money I could save at the end of the month - aka how much more money I have to pay off my car or put into savings.
The challenge for Frugal February is to cut out all of your other non-planned expenses. So if you walk to HomeGoods and can’t leave without buying something, then try to stay far, far away from HomeGoods - or just do what I do, make a mental note of how much you plan to save and remind yourself of that and how much better off you’ll be in the long run if you don’t by that palm leaf notebook.
Money Saving Strategies
1. Map out expenses and income for the entire month in your weekly budget planner - it’s really more of a monthly budget planner because it has 4 weeks in one sheet
2. Buy groceries in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco and meal prep your lunches and dinners. We’ve saved so much money by not going out to eat or hitting bars every weekend - this stuff seriously adds up!
3. The Envelope System | Download Printable Envelopes Here
Cris from Awaken Your Abode created customized envelopes for you all to download and use! Print the template (hyperlinked above) to implement this system into your saving strategy! The idea is that each envelope contains cash for a certain category in your budget (ex. groceries, gas, daycare, petcare etc.)
These envelopes will not include bill money if you pay bills online or by check. The amount of money that will go into the envelope is determined by the budget you mapped out for your expenses for the month divided by four weeks (assuming you get paid weekly.) The envelopes will get refilled weekly with that amount. Each envelope has a space to write down the amount you spent and what you spent it on. The amount of money in each envelope is all the money you have to spend on that category for the week so make sure you plan wisely (hint: gas money you should definitely plan accordingly)
So that’s it - as far as the kick-off goes to Frugal February! If you’re following along on our journey, we’ll be posting on Instagram as we go with more tips, strategies and updates to keep you motivated throughout the month!
DON’T FORGET: Follow us on Instagram below as we provide more tips, help you stay on track and answers questions throughout the month!
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Other Helpful Resources:
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
EveryDollar budget app — I use this every single day!
Live Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze (this is Dave Ramsey’s daughter)