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Spending Freeze!: January Spend-Less Challenge

post #1 of 177
Thread Starter 

This is a support thread to help you not spend your money. 

 

Everyone is welcome to join and you can start tracking your spending at any time. It doesn't have to be January 1st. NOW is a good time to start.

 

The plan is simple (although tough to execute):

 

1. Vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases.

 

2. Come on here and record your spending. We all record our spending in different ways. There are no rules. You record and update however you would like -- pick a way that will help you spend the least amount of money.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Please write an introductory message when you decide to join our thread. We would like to know:

 

a. Who you are

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

Good luck MDCers!! Keep that money in your wallet.

post #2 of 177
Thread Starter 

An extra-early start for everyone who has abandoned the December thread.  And I think that was pretty much everybody except me.  (Cue crickets chirruping.)

 

Welcome to the New Year!  

 

December never happened.......never.....happened...... and the credit card bill was a dream...... but don't forget to pay it!

post #3 of 177

Awesome!

Husband and I are doing a no spend January. We usually budget to eat out as a family 3 times and do one monthly date night with a sitter. Also other "fun" spending (coffees out, movie rental, book purchases etc). We are taking that money this month to make an extra car payment or two.

a. Who you are

Homeschooling Mother of 2.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

January goal is to make a double or triple payment on our truck loan.

c. How you plan to get there

 

Taking the money we would normally spend on going out, date night, eating out, coffees lunch out with a friend and paying on our truck.

No additional spending.

 


Edited by Paxjourney - 12/27/13 at 6:10pm
post #4 of 177
Hi! May I join this thread? We do no-spend challenges at home from time to time, but I don't typically have company. smile.gif

We are a family of 4 on one income, and we're working on long-term financial goals. With the exception of fresh produce, I plan to cook from our existing freezer and cupboard stash this month. My husband eats out, one lunch per week, with friends. I also have an eye appointment next week and need new frames and lenses. (My current frames are at least 6 years old, missing a piece, and bent. Lol) We just canceled sat tv, cut our cell phone plan to a cheaper one, and negotiated a better price for our internet service. Looking forward to getting to know you and hearing your cost-savings measures!
post #5 of 177
Thread Starter 

a. Who you are

 

Homeschooling mom of 2 girls.  Work very-part time as a housekeeper.  DH is a gardener.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

We are in survival mode at this point

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

Hope we don't get another ER bill, and hope we can afford insurance.  I can't really think much farther than that right now.  We have one daughter's birthday in February to spend on.  Everything has to be tightened, but all the gas for visiting, everything is still happening.  My mind reels.

 

post #6 of 177
Hello friends. I've done these occasionally and enjoy the accountability. It's a little different this year for us. My divorce will be final in February leaving me a single mom (with sole custody) of 3 kids. I'm a student myself and I'm also homeschooling my own kids. After the divorce (we consider ourselves divorced already) I moved in with my parents until I get back on my feet.

My short term goal is to pay off my credit cards (about $1400) and my van (about $7000) between now and February (I'm still "in charge" of his money) finishing up with our tax return.

My long term goal is to save enough for a down payment on a house for the boys and I by the time I graduate in May 2017. (I need to save $680/mo, plus anything I get from taxes). Living mostly on just child support (between $1200 and $1500/mo) and a very part time job.

The main issues for me are that I need to curb online shopping, but also Starbucks. I have a major vice in Starbucks. Going to school in town, right next to a Starbucks will be hard. I'm thinking of keeping instant coffee, hot chocolate and tea stuff in my car with an electric kettle for between classes.
post #7 of 177

Brilliant, subbing to come back.

post #8 of 177

Micah_mae_*, also invest in an old thermos (the new ones are kinda crappy) to keep extra drink/water warm. If you get empty tea bags, you could use those to make non-instant coffee in a cup of hot water.

post #9 of 177

Done, thanks!

post #10 of 177
Thread Starter 

Starting keeping track of my food spending today again for the 5-week period ending Feb 2.  I did this last year, was doing great, and wound up with a 1300+ grocery bill for the same period, even with trying my hardest (it was, indeed, a perfect storm.).  Unlike last year, I'm not tracking that here.  My main trouble with spending is on groceries, not usually just "shopping".  I like buying organic and fair trade.  DD1 and I have allergies, which means more meat than I would like.  Haven't tracked a month after losing faith, but it is the single area where I can still make a huge dent (hopefully) rather than nickel-and-diming it.  I have already refinanced. I have my insurance at the highest reasonable deductible.  I have no magazine subscriptions, no cable bill.  Gas spending could be lower, but we are already conscientious about unnecessary driving, so not sure if that's going to have a huge impact either.

 

Looking forward to the new year. I did reasonably well for Christmas, but haven't looked at the most recent Visa bill.  Looking actively for more clients (sigh.....not fun).  Hoping to afford the girls' gymnastics.  We haven't cancelled that, but we've postponed riding for at least a month.  More if I can't find at least one good client during that time.

post #11 of 177

a. Who you are

Jenn, homeschooling mom to 6.  I'm a SAHM, DH works long hours and goes to school part-time.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

Long term goals are to be consumer debt free (credit cards and car payment), have a 6 month emergency fund, and save enough to fund at least 2yrs of community college for each of our 6 children.

Short term goals are meeting small steps towards the long term goals.

 

c. How you plan to get there

~ We are in a Spending Freeze for January.

~ STAY OUT OF STORES, brick and online!! This is our biggest $$ suck.

~ Cooking at home as much as possible. I've gotten some good slow cooker recipes from free e-books, so I'm hoping they'll help. I'm still desperately trying to get back into meal planning, but I'm finding it difficult.

~ STICK TO THE BUDGET!!  We have 1 birthday this month and registration for my sons and DH into a scouting-like program.

~ I'm trying to maintain our food budget. It's been slowly creeping up.

~ BE AWARE!! We just need to be more aware of where our money is going.

post #12 of 177

I guess I forgot the introduction portion of our gameshow... ;)

 

a. Who you are

Sarah, SAHM of two. I got contracts for two books last year and they should be coming out this year. The sales are not expected to be spectacular, but hopefully it will be decent. fingersx.gif I was laid off last May and my unemployment ran out in December. I got some money for Christmas, which I put in a savings account with scheduled, regular transfers to the spending account which should approximate that income for another 2-3 months. I also work a few hours a week at a friend's coffee shop, so I get about $70 every two weeks. Childcare is a PIA around here, so I'm hoping to keep the kids in their current situations (school and at home).

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

We need to make a little more money to be golden (not rich, just good to go). I would like to do this on a schedule that allows us to do our one big trip of the year - a 5-day weekend at an outdoor campground with musicians and workshops, etc. I would also like to be able to set aside money for a marketing budget for the book releases. I can do a lot without money, but I can do so much more with. I would like to set aside some finances to cover the cost of our remodeling of the house (kitchen floors & cabinets, painting walls, full gut and revamp of the bathroom, etc.). All of the remodeling is relatively inexpensive but would really increase the value of the house.

 

c. How you plan to get there

I will be looking for freelance writing jobs online, as well as part-time jobs in my area. I would like something that is morning, so I can work while DH is at home (he works 2nd shift). I'm contemplating the baked goods and cheese products, but I hate to put too much into that since I don't have a certified kitchen, and that could lead to an interesting legal issue. I thought about offering childcare, but again with the certification thing. The freelance writing is my best option and fits best with my skill set.

I have a spreadsheet which tracks my income/spending to the penny, so I can work my budget to the bone. It doesn't leave much for "fun" though. I've got the food budget down to about $200-300 each month for a family of four, and I'm hoping to trim that down even more. I have some wriggle room right now, so we are trying to get a little extra fruits and veggies each trip for me to can.

I will be applying for Medicaid/SNAP/etc. within the next few weeks, so we'll see how that goes. I am also going to be contacting the appropriate people to have them look into my child support order and adjust it for my lack of income and maybe actually get some payments going again.

 

I'm open to other ideas, if anyone has any.

post #13 of 177

a. Who you are

 

Two-income family - I am a WAHM with my own business, and DH is a teacher. We have two school-aged DDs.

 

Sweet Silver, I agree - December never happened! Neither did November! Fall turned out to be financially tough. We bought a new (used) car in Nov. after the repairs on our old one (13 yrs. old) were estimated at over $3k - sort of a doozy of an unplanned purchase, although it is a much better, safer, more efficient car than our old one. Fortunately, most of the new car payment is covered by the amount that would have been going to a paid-off credit card plus the amount going toward my DD's now paid-off braces, so it won't be too much of a shock. There was also a planned trip that turned out more expensive than we anticipated (some regrets about that) and an unplanned trip to see a sick relative (no regrets at all).

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

Short term:

* Save enough to pay cash to re-do DDs'  room in the summer - they are starting middle school and high school, so we are going to put in loft beds to give them each more space. This should be about $600-$700.

* Save for Xmas 2014 - about $750? Need to budget it out.

* Save for a trip to visit family either in the summer or Xmas 2014 - about $2,000. Will put tax return toward this if we get anything back this year.

* Build up depleted temporary savings acct. so we have enough for car repairs on DH's car - $1,000 OK.

* Come up with a concrete plan for college (won't be able to fund this, but would like to contribute a little) and retirement to ensure that we are on track.

 

Longer term:

* Pay off second credit card (we paid off first one this fall) and stop running it up - this will probably take most of the year to do.

* Hopefully put at least an extra $25/mo. on new car payment (we are putting $25/mo. extra on student loans each month, too).

* Start saving for a larger trip in a couple of summers - where/when TBD, so no set amount yet.

* Put away a little money each month for DDs' college funds - this will be minimal, but we want them to have a little for moving costs/apt. getting started at least. We have 4 years until DD1 goes and 7 years until DD2 goes.

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

* Track expenses both to monitor accounts due to recent security breaches (looking at you, Target!) and to determine where the above extra cash is going to come from - I suspect grocery, eating out, and household/random spending categories. I use Mint.

* Make sure I am running my business efficiently to maximize the amount I am earning - mainly this means practicing good time management and watching my business expenses. This year was a much better year than last year, so I am sure I can do this if I stay mindful.

* Take a look at all regular accounts like phones, etc. to see where money could be saved - basically this will just mean a bunch of phone calls - should be done in Jan.

* Take a look at retirement & meet with a planner. We have a friend we can use; I just need to get the paperwork together. Should be done in Jan.

 

I am grateful for this thread and a place to put these thoughts to "paper" - I am hoping that will keep me accountable and remind me of my goals.

 

Good luck on this challenge, everyone! :goodvibes

post #14 of 177

PS I am going to try this idea ($21 Dollar Challenge) for at least two weeks in January to cut food costs. Basically, you set yourself a very low number for groceries for one week each month & then get super resourceful about using up pantry items. I may set my amount at $30 or $40 rather than $21 (they are talking Australian dollars, and I am in the US, so I'm adapting it to my situation). It would still mean cutting my bill by a lot that week. I have some pantry stuff stored up, due to a 50% off sale at a grocery store going out of business - not a lot, but it should allow me just to buy perishables for those two weeks. I tried this once before. It's a great exercise and not that hard to do if you are able to stock up on pantry stuff during sales, which I do.

 

http://www.simplesavings.com.au/21dollarchallenge

post #15 of 177

a. Who you are

 

I am Ruth, mama to 4 kids, wife to my hard working hubby. 

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

We made a huge life adjustment last spring, landed a dream job, sold our house, moved cross country.  We are 6 people living in an itty bitty apartment while we save a down payment.  We plan to start house hunting next summer.

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

January is a catch-up month for us.  Our credit card got some serious use in December with Christmas and a quick trip for my grandmother's funeral.  Now we are doing the proverbial belt-tightening.  I paid off the card with today's paycheck.   We have enough set aside for food, gas, bills and the rest of the month needs to stay lean.  Lots of eating at home, biking when we can (rainy season here), and just staying away from any shopping. 

post #16 of 177

Today is pay day, so I am getting started.  I filled the tank and went to the grocery store.  I picked up things to make dinner tonight and a few odds and ends.  I need to go through my pantry and freezer and do a meal plan, but this should get us through tomorrow.  My in-laws are coming on Thursday and I need to get some things that I know they like to eat.  So, back to the store later this week. 

 

I also scrounged up $3 to vacuum out the van which had really bottomed out.  It was a serious mess, but is feeling less foul now.  I think my next step might be to pressure wash the inside.  If only that was possible. 

 

 

:thumb budgeted

nono.gif not in the budget, stupid spending

 

December 31 -- :thumb gas and groceries, nono.gif 3.00 to vacuum out the van, nono.gif 18.50 New Year's Eve trip for ice cream

January 1

January 2

January 3

January 4

January 5

January 6

January 7
January 8


Edited by Ruthiegirl - 1/1/14 at 10:47am
post #17 of 177

 

a. Who you are - I'm a homeschooling mom of four (9, 11, 14, 15), coming up on three years of single parenting this month.  I live in New England where it's cooooold this time of year.  I work half-time from home and very gratefully receive child support, which makes it possible for me to continue homeschooling the kids.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) - My short-term goals is to not overspend the budget at all.  It's not going to be easy.  I'm hoping for a windfall of any size.  I've already maxed out my Jan budget with things that I have responsibly set aside the bare appropriate amount for.  Grocery budget is very very tight (almost nonexistent).  I stocked up on bread, eggs, and a few other items to get through the month, and now it's pantry challenge time (thankfully, I have a deep pantry).

 

My medium-term goal is to get through the next 1-4 months as bare-bones and disciplined s I can, until an expected windfall gives me a little buffer in my account (so I'm not always on the edge and afraid of bouncing checks).  I want to get that buffer in place so I have a little more flexibility with cash flow and something for emergencies.  Also continue making improvements to my situation that will save me money, like increasing my garden and managing food better.

 

My long-term goal is to repair my credit and put enough toward a down payment that I can get a mortgage and buy my house in my own name.  (Some portion of my rent goes toward credit for a down payment.)  Also support my oldest in getting through college without loans and hopefully without much cash needed.  Also finish the spare room (drywall, flooring) so my girls can each have their own room. 

 

c. How you plan to get there -  I will be honest and accountable to myself with my budget and spending.  (I won't come post here daily; that doesn't work for me, but posting my goals once monthly helps, so I'll do that.)  I will strive to pause before spending money to be sure it's in line with my goals.  I will improve my time budgeting so I have time to spend on things that will save me money.  I will work diligently at my paid job so that my income will be reliable.  I will do my best to reduce my monthly expenses as much as possible (i.e., pay off my car and keep it in good working order, always strive to conserve, continually improve, not add expenses, etc.)  I will be as creative and resourceful as possible to meet our needs and wants.  I will cultivate gratitude for all of the quality of life we experience that is free or paid for!

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wolfcat View Post

 

I can do a lot without money, but I can do so much more with.

 

Indeed.  This is why I'm always hoping for a windfall (but not counting on one).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post
 

PS I am going to try this idea ($21 Dollar Challenge) for at least two weeks in January to cut food costs. Basically, you set yourself a very low number for groceries for one week each month & then get super resourceful about using up pantry items. I may set my amount at $30 or $40 rather than $21 (they are talking Australian dollars, and I am in the US, so I'm adapting it to my situation). It would still mean cutting my bill by a lot that week. I have some pantry stuff stored up, due to a 50% off sale at a grocery store going out of business - not a lot, but it should allow me just to buy perishables for those two weeks. I tried this once before. It's a great exercise and not that hard to do if you are able to stock up on pantry stuff during sales, which I do.

 

http://www.simplesavings.com.au/21dollarchallenge

 

This is great, and something like what "pantry challenge" means to me -- just buy perishables (for us this is bread, eggs, corn chips) and use up what we have already.  I would bake bread but I'm gluten-intolerant and can't handle the contamination in my kitchen, though three of my kids eat gluten.  Hoping to get a chicken coop set up in the next year or two so we have an ongoing supply of eggs in tight months.  And my teen with braces can't eat (cheap) popcorn, so we have corn chips as a staple snack, but when the braces come off, it's back to popcorn!

 

Good luck to everyone. 

post #18 of 177
Thread Starter 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

 

:throb No spend.

 

Okay, I can stop right here and enjoy this perfect year.

post #19 of 177

Short term goal: Pay off credit cards and van.

Gas: $35/$150

 

Key:

No spend: :thumb

Budgeted spend: :eyesroll

Unbudgeted spend: :irked

Avoided buying coffee/food: :eat

Did something frugal at home: :treehugger

 

 

Jan 1: :eyesroll

Had to buy replacement parts for carseats $12.33 and I need one more part but I'm awaiting an email.

Textbook rental $61.70

post #20 of 177

No spend today.  We are headed out for a hike and our meals are planned. 

 

:thumb no spend/budgeted

nono.gif not in the budget, stupid spending

 

December 31 -- :thumb gas and groceries, nono.gif 3.00 to vacuum out the van, nono.gif 18.50 New Year's Eve trip for ice cream

January 1 -- :thumb

January 2

January 3

January 4

January 5

January 6

January 7
January 8

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