Welcome to day 2 of the Frugal Fresh Start challenge! I want to start out by saying great job on coming up with some awesome goals yesterday! You have some great reasons to be frugal and budget wisely. I can hear your commitment and excitement in your words. If you missed day 1, go back and learn about setting a six-month goal.
We’re going to get a jump-start on our goal by choosing something to cut out right now, for the rest of the month. Even before we get into tracking spending, budgeting, or cutting expenses, I’m pretty sure most all of you can think of a couple of areas right off the bat that you could trim down or eliminate completely. Some of you mentioned your plans to cut expenses in the goals you shared yesterday, so I know your minds are already churning through the possibilities.
Maybe gourmet coffee is your guilty pleasure. Maybe you eat out too often. Maybe browsing eBay inevitably results in unnecessary spending. In case you’re drawing a blank, here are some possibilities:
- Cut out fast food
- Cancel cable
- Spend $0 on entertainment
- Cut out meat
- Give up treats (for me this is the hardest one on the list)
- Spend $0 on clothes
- Cancel your gym membership and run instead
- Stay out of Target (or whatever your shopping weakness is)
Just choose one. You don’t have to commit to dropping the expense forever, just for the month of the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge. If cutting something out completely is overwhelming, make specific limitations on how you will cut back. For example, if you eat out most nights, cut back to only eating out twice a week.
Calculate Your Savings
Do a little multiplication to figure out how much your initial sacrifice will save you this month. How about if you cut the expense for the whole year? Seeing how much your sacrifice is saving you can really motivate you to keep it up.
For example, if you stop by Starbucks on your way to work five days a week and spend $3 a day, you will save $15 a week or $60 a month by ditching the Starbucks habit. A $3 per weekday habit will save you more than $700 over the course of a year! Think of what else you could do with that money!
If you have a weakness for a certain website or store, do you know how much you spend there in a typical month? Take a look at the last two or three months and see how much you have spent. Average those months together to get an idea of how much you will save by swearing off that shopping temptation for the month.
Attitude is Everything
As the month goes on and you start to feel the pain of the expense you amputated from your budget, remember that you chose to cut this expense. No one made you do it.
Instead of turning down your friend by saying “Sorry, I can’t eat out this month,” consider being pro-active and taking ownership of your choice. You could say, “I’ve decided not to spend money eating out this month” or “I have an awesome financial goal I’m working toward this month, so I’m not spending money on restaurants.”
No one wants to feel like the victim of their budget. Reminding yourself that you are making a choice to improve your financial situation and reach your goals will help you stay positive and feel empowered.
Challenge– Day 2
Choose an expense to cut right now. It doesn’t have to be a lifetime commitment, just for the month. Feel free to share what you are giving up in the comments.
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