I regularly come across various "No Spend Challenges" on the internet - through the whole of last year Sue at Our New Life in the Country did her "£2012 in 2012" challenge - a bid to save or make that sum through the year, and others are making a conscious effort to cut down a month at a time, redecorate houses on almost a zero budget, or take part in "storecupboard challenges". Because the very nature of what we're trying to do is to fund our eventual dream by paying down the mortgage, but without compromising on living life now too, through a lot of the year we have "stuff" going on which does require a degree of spending - albeit planned and budgeted for - and we're not willing to compromise on fun plans! February though tends to be a quiet month in our world - a good time to recharge the batteries ahead of a busy spring and summer, so we have decreed that this February will be "Frugal February"!
From the 1st to the 28th of February we will:
- Set a weekly maximum grocery budget of £20 for fresh fruit, veg & dairy, but aim to save as much as possible of this
- Eat from existing stocks, from the freezers, larder and storecupboard
- Aim to put as little as possible on our cashback credit card (paid off in full every month, remember) so just MrEH's railcard, diesel, and any grocery shopping not done using our ClubCard+
- My car will get "fed" with £50 worth of diesel which will have to do for the month
- Not be tempted to wander into charity shops, 99p stores or B&M Bargains "just for a browse"
- Utilise our existing National Trust & RSPB memberships if we are looking for entertainment at weekends
- (me only) - I will withdraw my weekly spending budget but aim to have as much as possible of it in my purse at the end of each week.
We will not be doing a "big shop" or stocking up ahead of the challenge starting to facilitate less spending whilst it is in progress. This will be a genuine attempt to cook and eat from the supplies we already have!
- MrEH's personal spending - if he wants to join in he can, but no pressure, and the nature of his job is that a degree of socialising is required.
- Rugby related spending on a Saturday - this will include some beer for MrEH and almost certainly cups of hot tea for me after standing on the touchline clutching my camera! It's impractical for me to take a flask along as the club would (quite rightly!) not be very happy at me sitting in their clubhouse drinking my own tea!
- Clarinet lessons - I will continue with these as usual.
- Regular bills - anything that goes out of the bank on a regular basis where we have no say over the amount will not be declared in the spending.
- A possible re-arrangement of a cheery weekend with a friend which has had to be postponed due to the forecast snow this weekend. This is already budgeted for though so is essentially just a case of shifting the money from one month to the next.
- Diesel in MrEH's car. His is our "commuting vehicle" and as we car-share it is our cheapest way of getting in and out of London on a daily basis.
My Blog posts through the month will report on progress, and declare spending. Frugal Friday posts will focus on one aspect at a time of the challenge, and anything we are struggling with.
So - Frugal February - bring it on!
Also joining in with Frugal Friday this week is Jenni @ A Cheerful Living Adventure