Take the Frugal Month Challenge in February
After the holiday extravaganza, take our February challenge and make this month a no-buy month. Purchase only the bare necessities and soon you'll see the savings grow.
- Nothing extra. For my family, the bare necessities are the mortgage and utilities, groceries, and gas, but that's pretty much all the spending allowed during our no-buy month. There will be several tough spots for us. We'll have to do without new smartphone/iPad apps and Kindle books and ignore the temptation to eat out. (There are days when I just don't want to cook.) Grocery shopping also will be a challenge. We set a budget but always exceed it, and usually not for the sake of necessities. Instead, we fall into the trap of buying our son something he wants or go overboard on snack items. Not this month!
- Don't overcompensate. Abiding by the spirit of the challenge means resisting the urge to overcompensate in the days before or the month after. I've already had to remind myself to temper the impulse to buy more clothes this month because I won't be able to pick up anything new next month. And it sure wouldn't do me any good to plan a no-buy month for February and then shop till I drop the first week of March.
- Get creative. You can still live a normal life without spending extra money. The goal is to save, obviously, but also to take stock of and appreciate what you already have. Last year our family practiced borrowing books from the library instead of buying them, packing lunches instead of visiting the local diner, and brewing coffee at home instead of stopping by a coffee shop (my weakness). Budget-friendly activities abound in every community, and Cheapism recently recommended six cheap indoor activities for kids to get you through long winter weekends.
it's even a good way to clean out the kitchen cupboards, eat what is there first, even the "emergency" soup :-)
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