Hello! I'm a Norwegian freelance writer and staying-at-home-mum with a husband and two and a half year old son at home; and a 24 year old daughter, three and a half year old granddaughter, and 20 year old son who have all moved out.I want to spend as little as possible in August because:
1. we have a huge mortgage that is costing us more and more as the interest rate goes up and up, and we want to pay down a good chunk to give ourselves more economical freedom.
2. I want to work less and spend more time on my Ph.D.
3. we want to get into a habit of being frugal because we don't want to fall into the trap of having to work more than we want to, and therefore having to put our son in kindergarten, and therefore having to work even more to pay for that.
4. we want to contribute to a sustainable usage of the planet's resources.Here's my plan
for getting spending under control:
1. Get my husband on board in a positive way, so that he feels that this is his project too!
2. Set aside a lump of cash to be kept in a box in the kitchen for groceries.
3. Set aside specific times for work so that I actually get it done without too much pain (it has been difficult to find the time lately).
4. Make meal plans for each week.
5. Try to get things for free or second-hand when we need something.
6. Walk instead of taking the bus if it's not too far.
7. Make a buffer on our bills account to avoid overdraughts.
8. Update the plan as I get more ideas, and post here about how I'm doing.Here are my goals for August
(amounts mainly in Norwegian kroners (NOK):
1. Spend no more than 5000 NOK (= 971 USD) on groceries.
2. All money that I earn should be used as downpayments on our mortgage - we should be able to live off only my husband's wages (so that I can eventually finish my Ph D.
3. Pay off 20 000 NOK (= 3883,50 USD) on our mortgage (due to big, unexpected expenses this goal has had to be scrapped
4. Work three hours a day.
5. Try to sell or give away four things (also helps clearing out the enormous deposits of stuff in our storage rooms).
6. Avoid throwing away food, plan meals to avoid that left-over ingredients that will never be used accumulate in the fridge - and keep the fridge tidy, to avoid good food hiding in the shadows and rotting!
7. Cut down on sweets and salty snacks - once a week only!
8. Use tumble dryer only when necessary
9. Start making preparations to rent out part of our house, hope to be able to rent it out from September!
10. No unnecessary spending! Only one restaurant meal (promised my 20-year old one), and find an inexpensive way to buy gifts for the new babies that my husband's three cousins just had.August day by day (starting August 2nd):
: Gift for friend's new baby, 200 NOK (= 39 USD)
150 NOK (= 29 USD) groceries, 500 NOK (= 97 USD) sushi for my 20 year old's birthday party (was already paid by my ex, this was my half that I owed him). Put an ad on the web to give away two monitors and two keyboards. Threw away a small, dried-up piece of cheese that I found in the back of the fridge. Resisted spending 20 £ on books!
130,50 NOK (= 25 USD) groceries, 1200 NOK (= 233 USD) husband's dentist appointment, 298 NOK (= 58 USD) PCMSIA USB card for my laptop, since the USB ports are all broken. Threw away a completely green quarter of a bread that was hiding in the back of a cupboard, apparently those need to be kept tidier too. I gave away a monitor and a keyboard (the remaining monitor and keyboard it turned out my husband actually wanted to keep). I have discovered a problem: I'm due to pay 35000 NOK (= 6796 USD) income tax mid-September and another 35000 NOK mid-November, and I haven't set aside enough money, so it seems I will probably not be able to make the mortgage payment that I was hoping for. I'm still struggling with the book that I resisted buying yesterday, but I still haven't bought it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Miracle-Spee...7968606&sr=1-2
60 NOK (= 13,35 USD) groceries, 499 NOK (= 96,50 USD) ad for a new flat for my daughter/granddaughter, got second hand sofa for husband's studio for free, threw away another moldy quarter of a bread - this time one that we were eating, and had only been in the cupboard for a couple of days. We don't go through a bread fast enough anymore, after my big kids moved out, it seems! Made a plan for painting and doing up the rental unit!
117,50 groceries (= 23 $). A friend of mine bought a flat and my daughter is going to rent the flat that she is moving out from, so the 499 NOK for the ad yesterday was a waste of money.
A non-spend day! I see that I have problems fulfilling work time goals, three hours is just a bit more than it's easy to fit into a day when my husband isn't home. I will have to work during the weekend, which I was hoping to avoid! I started moving my clothes downstairs to clear the rental unit and rearrange the rooms we are now going to be using. A very small step! Exciting news: I found out today that I'm cited in a book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Used-Books-M...8215097&sr=1-1
, so I will have to buy it - but not today!
198 NOK (= $ 37), 15 NOK (= $ 2,80) velcro to repair two-year-old's shoes, 129 NOK (= $ 24) new rubber boots for same, threw away four moldy potatoes and a quarter of an old lettuce.
118 NOK (= $ 22) groceries, moved more clothes down and started on clearing cupboard space to move out of rental unit; my daughter can't move into the flat that my friend is moving out from after all, because they don't want to rent to anyone with children! So the ad might not have been a waste of money after all (at least not because of that flat opportunity, but maybe because she seems to have no good results with it). I fixed the shoes using the velcro I bought yesterday, saving the money I would have had to spend on a new pair!
161 NOK (= $ 30) groceries, NOK 15 (= $ 2,80) writing pad.
We have a new problem, which is that the estate agent that didn't succeed in selling our house last year, now wants us to pay the money that we owe them (which we were hoping to get out of, since, after all, they didn't sell our house). We managed to talk it down from NOK 41500 (= $ 7699) to NOK 35000 (= $ 6796, this seems to be the magic number this month) by suggesting that we pay soon in return for a reduction. But that's still a lot of money... as a result of this we won't be able to save any money for a mortgage downpayment this month or next.
NOK 159 (= $ 29,50) groceries, NOK 160 (= $ 30) buscard, NOK 75 (= $ 14) lunch for eldest son and myself, NOK 40 (= $ 7,42) ticket to petting zoo (these two last will have to be taken from the groceries budget).
NOK 228 (= $ 42) groceries, NOK 16 (= $ 3) coffees for me and a friend. Sold a sling and a wool nappy cover for NOK 225 (= $ 41,50). Had to use the tumble drier (nappies).
NOK 162 (= $ 30) groceries, sold nappy and inserts for NOK 120 (= $ 22), NOK 2998 (= $ 553) husband's dentist appointment (having snoring contraption fitted, hope it WORKS!)
NOK 367,50 (= $ 67), NOK 70 (= $ 13) sewing thread, NOK 89 (= $ 16) birthday present, had to use drier because of urgent need for clean sheet (bad planning)! Finished clearing downstairs closet and moving my clothes into it.
17. - 26. Fell off the wagon because of unexpected and unprovoked attack on my husband.
But we actually haven't exceeded our original groceries budget!
It seems a bit cute now that I was actually worrying about how often I used the tumble drier... I hope we can get our normal life back as soon as possible.Status / results (starting August 2nd, and with a period of emergency and chaos from 17th to 26th:
12/30 = 15/30
: 15/30, NOK 2242,50/5000 - don't know the numbers anymore, but have a few hundred left of the groceries money
NOK 6117 - don't know the numbers anymore
: 8/4, NOK 365 - have sold more, for about NOK 550 (= $ 100)
: 0/20000 - this one as well and truly blown
: 7/20 - haven't been able to work since the attack
: 9/30 - don't know the numbers anymore
: unexpected spending
: stuck to meal plan / food budget
: free or bought second hand, or selling/giving away
: money set aside for mortgage downpayment
: work time goal accomplished
: no food thrown away
no tumble dry
preparing rental unit