Frugal February: why and where to start?

Let me set the scene for you… It’s Sunday night at 9 PM. I am snuggled up on the couch in my bedroom. My mind and wallet are in the middle of a heated argument about whether or not to order that new dress that’s on sale for January. Now, I know what you’re thinking … I am totally a postcard of a woman suffering from her monthlies. But this my friends, is no case of PMS this is a case of ‘adulthood.’ I don’t know about you but school DID NOT prepare me for the plethora of stresses which come with being an adult.

Although I am specifically talking about January, you can do a no spend month at any point during the year. Some people like to have one in October, to help them save for Christmas. Others prefer summer time to recover from or prepare for the annual vacation.

That teamed with the fact that it’s that time of year again…. Even if you are careful with your spending and have budgeted for it, Christmas is an expensive time. And even if we are broke from Christmas, we still find some way to justify purchasing something in the January sales even though we DO NOT NEED IT! I have decided it is time to get back in control, and what better way than a no-spend or frugal February.

Don’t let anyone’s Instagram have you fooled. No one. Not you. Not me. Not Kim Kardashian. Not your boss. Not that girl that you stalk on Instagram because her page is #goals. No matter who it is or what type of lifestyle they live day in and day out – I assure you that they too are dealing with something they don’t like.

This is a meme for being an adult.

So I have made the decision to bring you along with me…to deal with all those things we’ve been putting off. I am talking short and long-term financial planning; mortgages; and pensions!! So buckle up guys, grab that bottle of wine and let’s learn how to be a goddamn adult!

Why Frugal February?

Let’s face it, we have all made stupid and unnecessary purchases in the January sales… BUT I hate to break it to you but that coffee machine you bought that was on sale €500 instead of €700…you didn’t in fact save €200 but rather you spent €500…

When your bank account is feeling empty, frugal February gives you the opportunity to regroup, to slow down the rate at which your money disappears from your account, and to take control of your finances.

Breaking free of bad habits

Beginning the year feeling anxious and out of control can set the pattern for the months ahead, whereas a no spend month can help you break free of some of the negative behaviours that made you over spend in the first place. A period of limited spending gets you out of bad financial habits.

Another plus side is that when you are consciously not spending, it tends to make you more creative and appreciative of what you already own. Why not check out our 28 days no spend calendar for some ideas!

This is an image which includes 28 ideas for what you can do for 28 days of no spending and when you are working on a budget. It includes items such as going on a bike ride, go for a run, read a book and find a new hobby.

The rules

A no-spend month doesn’t actually mean you buy nothing. It simply means not buying anything that is non-essential. So, you pay your rent or mortgage, your household bills, transportation costs, and groceries. However, you ignore the sales, you don’t buy any new clothes (not even that dress you REALLY want), books (which breaks my heart), makeup, or treats etc.

So let’s start with the basics but also the terrifying. Let’s take stock and see what our essential expenses are. These include items such as rent, mortgage payments, groceries, and bills. Basically our obligations and things we have to pay! Take stock of any unusual not run of the mill items which you are expecting in February. For example, I am due to have my car serviced! Once you know your income and expenses for the month be sure to fill out our monthly budget planner to help you keep track!

While you are taking stock, why not do an audit of all your subscriptions. This for me is slightly terrifying but I know there are definitely subscriptions lurking that I have completely forgotten about! Why not, use the Legal Diaries subscription audit to get you started?

Meal Planning

Now, let’s move on to one of the most variable expenses – food! It’s time to be organised and plan our meals for the month. Kel Galavan, the wonder behind Mrs. Smart Money recommends beginning by shopping your fridge, freezer and cupboards. Why not reduce food waste and make the most of the money you have spent?Once you know what you have then you can begin to add any outstanding items to your meal plan.

Making your money work for you!

Now that we have all the expenditure planning out of the way, let’s chat about making our money work for us! Why not save all that money you’re not spending on lunch or coffee-to-go? Set yourself some savings goals to inspire you and make you more determined not to spend any money. If your money isn’t going towards paying off debt, could you put some away in an emergency fund? One of my big tips for saving is to gamify it as much as possible. If this means creating a chart for your wall where you can colour it in any time you reach a new goal then DO IT!

In fact, I invite you to join our savings jar challenge. Essentially over the next 100 weeks, we are going to pull a number between 1 – 100 from a jar….and that amount HAS to go into our savings!

So, what now?

Are you planning a frugal February? What advice would you give to those attempting it for the first time, we’d love to hear from you! If you download and use any of our legal diary planners be sure to tag us on Instagram.

Be sure to tune in this Thursday to our podcast with Mrs. Smart Money for more financial tips and tricks.

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