Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Low Spend Month to Save More Money
I need to save more money and do it rather quickly. The recent government shutdown, with a possible second one in the very near future got me to thinking about how we definitely need an emergency fund so that we are covered in case of job loss, prolonged illness on Jeff's part (his job brings in all our income) or any other emergency that we might need funds for that we could quickly get our hands on without having to go into further debt. We do try to put money away on a regular basis, but I want to be able to "up" that amount. I went over various ideas in my head but kept coming back to one in particular...
I have seen people doing "no spend" months where they only spend money on things like housing, food at home, utilities, etc.. I would love to be able to do something like that, but Jeff has committed to his bowling league for the rest of the season, so we cannot drop that. Also, I do not want him to. He needs to have a fun outlet and something to look forward to each week. He works so hard for all of us, takes great care of me and works at a job that can be especially difficult due to the weather this time of year. He also gave up the sport he loves for year while we raised our kids and I am happy to see him be able to be on a league again. 😊 I've decided instead to do a "low spend" challenge for the rest of this month.
My parameters for this low spend month are as follows:
1. Jeff will continue to bowl in his league.
2. I will not be shopping that the thrift stores for the rest of the month (ok, this is going to be a really tough one for me but I am determined).
3. No eating out or ordering in food from the tavern. All meals will be eaten at home, at family gatherings or packed and taken with us if we go somewhere. The exception will be if we use a gift card that covers all the cost of the meal and tip.
4. All meals will be created around what we have in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. I can buy fresh produce, dairy products and anything else that we might use up on a regular basis like the hot cocoa mix that Jeff uses in his coffee.
5. I also plan on trying some new recipes and also doing a once a week soup night like I used to. This has saved us so much money in the past. I just made a large pot of homemade chicken noodle soup using only half of a large chicken breast and bulked it up with lots of veggies and noodles. I currently have a ham bone that I thawed out from our Thanksgiving dinner that will go into a large crockpot of homemade split pea soup that I will be making tomorrow. Most of that will be frozen for future meals which is a wonderful thing to have on hand when I don't feel like cooking.
6. We will cut down on trips out of town with my car. Jeff has to go to work 5 times a week and we usually use my car twice a week to go to appointments, shopping or to see the kids. We will combine my twice a month appointments with any needed shopping. That should limit our trips in my car to once a week on average instead of twice a week.
7. We will continue to make use of the library, YouTube and Netflix to watch movies and different TV shows. I am also borrowing more books on frugal living, health related issues, and some "just for fun" reading as well.
8. Even though we are in a cold snap weather wise right now, I will keep the heat turned down at night and during the day when Jeff is sleeping. I'll turn it up when he is awake though since he likes it warmer than I do. I can always snuggle under blankets during the day and add another one to the bed at night. I prefer it cooler anyway. I also turn the heat down when he leaves for work so that I can have a cooler bedroom to sleep in at night.
9. I need to be more diligent on working my points programs. I have been neglecting them lately due to me not wanting to be online much due to all the political BS and some abhorrent laws that have been passed in a few states lately that absolutely disgust me and break my heart. It has been all over social media and I just have not been able to deal with it. It gives me nightmares and makes my anxiety and depression get so much worse.
10. Lastly, I hope to list some things online that we are not using any more and get them sold. That money will go into our emergency fund as well.
So that is my plan for the rest of this month and we will see how it goes. I may do a modified version of this every month limiting myself to one trip to the thrift stores a month. or every other month. I do need to get that money saved as well as putting more money towards our debt. I am getting this feeling lately like this is super important to do and I am going to go with what my gut tells me.