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Are you in need of a frugal February? I’ve gathered 28 of the best frugal living tips and created a monthly challenge for you to save on your expenses this February and start saving, no matter your financial situation!
If you are looking for a way to save cash? Want to bring in MORE income without getting a second job? A spending freeze may be just what you need. Below you will read tips we use for our no spend month.
WHAT IS FRUGAL FEBRUARY?
A no spend month is just how it sounds, a month when you don’t spend any money. You create your no spend goal based on what your finances look like.
I completed my first no spend month last November, and it’s greatly impacted our current financial situation. We’ve cut back on our day to day spending and starting finding more creative ways to save and bring in extra income. Who doesn’t love the sound of that?!
Having a no spend month in the fall or winter is a great way to get back on track with your finances, pay off debt or save for an upcoming holiday or a larger purchase.
WHY YOU NEED A FRUGAL FEBRUARY
The specific answer for everyone is going to look differently.
- To get out of the cycle of living pay cheque to pay cheque
- To get out of the cycle of using your credit and paying it off with your cheque at the end of the two weeks of spending without knowing where it’s going.
- And the biggest reason most people have a spending freeze this time of year is to pay Christmas off.
But the real reason we all need to have a Frugal February is to challenge our relationship with money!
February is the month of Valentines. Challenge to change your love and passion for spending and create a healthy honest relationship with your cash. Let’s get started!
PREPARE FOR YOUR FRUGAL FEBRUARY CHALLENGE
A no spend challenge for Frugal February is NOT EASY, but it’s too worth it! Let’s get prepared shall we !
1. FRUGAL FEBRUARY GOAL
What do you want to achieve? Do you have a dollar amount you want or need to save, or a debt that you’d like to throw some cash at? Here are some examples
- Only use cash for the month to get out of the cycle of pay cheque to pay cheque
- Don’t use your credit card for the month to pay off the credit card statement
- Only use money for your fixed expenses like the bills forget the extra and save what’s left for our family vacation.
2. CREATE A BUDGET
Some people enjoy this, I’m not a big fan. But setting your budget is the perfect wake up call you need for this challenge. Go ahead and look at your bank statement.
Write down what your numbers are in your accounts and your debts. Write down your expected income for the month. Determine what you have and how you can use it over the month. Think about your Needs vs. Wants.
I print off a calendar and write down the expected income and costs for the month.
3. FIGURE OUT YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES
Figure out what to cut out of your daily life to help you make your goal. Use your calendar to add the expenses, when bills are due, and when you have expected purchases like a birthday present coming up.
4. ANALYZE YOUR SPENDING HABITS
Taking a good look at your current spending habits for the past few months and your common spending habits for this time of year and ask yourself a few questions.
What are you spending your money on, besides the necessities are there expenses that you don’t need that you could cut or replace?
How are you spending your money? Do you use credit? Are you shopping online frequently? Do you spend cash without keeping track where it’s gone?
I was using my credit card for every purchase to increase our travel points- but I wasn’t paying it off often enough or checking the budget first. So I made it my goal to not spend money on my cc for the month. I literally froze my credit card. This forced me to look at my chequing balance regularly and spend cash more often.
Where are you spending extra money? I remember one week spending almost $800 at Walmart over a few shopping trips. Other than groceries and snacks I had nothing to show for it
Honestly, If we need to get out of the house I’ll take the kids to go run errands and shop. It’s not effective at all!
Now I schedule shopping trips where I go by myself and I stick to my list. It’s easier to only buy what I need, to question each item thoughtfully and spend time checking my coupon apps and the online flyer before heading into the store.
As for WHEN we feel stuck in the house and bored, I’ve written a list of 10 things we can go do that doesn’t cost anything ie. visiting family, going to the park, going for a walk, playing in the yard, or attending a preschool program.
Ask yourself why are you spending money? Why do you need the things that you have been purchasing? What’s driving those items?
Heres my honesty, I would take the kids shopping when I was bored. We’d go to the dollar store for even more craft supplies, colouring and stickers or fun seasonal “garbage” that we didn’t really need.
28 DAYS OF FRUGAL LIVING FEBRUARY CHALLENGE
Yahoo! Let’s do this!
- Go ahead Pin this Post now to refer to over the month
- Download the challenge checklist and stick it on your fridge.
- Participate in our Frugal February Facebook group for reminders, encouragement and great frugal ideas!
1. TAKE INVENTORY
Take stock of what you have for the month that you will need, everything from necessities like toilet paper and create an inventory of the food that you have in your pantry and your freezer. Write down everything, and approximately how much servings you have.
3. BRAINSTORM MEALS USING WHAT YOU HAVE
Go ahead and write down all the meals that quickly come to mind using what you have. Not sure where to start or find this overwhelming, I get it!
I have some ideas for you, type in some of your ingredients into google or Pinterest for ideas. Use keywords like frugal meal, 5 ingredients or crockpot.
Follow my pinterest boards for what I’ve found!
3. MEAL PLAN
Remember that calendar you used for your goals, and income and expenses? Let’s use that to make a meal plan. 28 meals can be completely overwhelming too. So here’s my tips,
I organized my freezer, fridge and cupboards and wrote a meal plan using what we already had instead of buying more.
Remember those frugal meals, choose 3 vegetarian, 3 beef, and 3 chicken/fish or pork and fill in your month using that calendar. Oh wait, 9×3 is 27. Go ahead and check that off your to do list.
You can download the meal planning calendar I use every 5 weeks for free from A Modern Homestead too.
4. FILL IN YOUR CALENDAR
So you know what you’re going to eat, where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Let’s fill in our calendar with things we want to do that won’t cost us anything. If you’re at work most of the month that’s great!
If you’re at home with the kids, stay off Amazon and find another hobby! More ideas on that later!
5. DETERMINE WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE THAT YOU’LL NEED
What are some of the things that you’ll need this month? Do you have gifts you’ll need to purchase or a date night planned? Maybe you discovered that you’re going to need some shampoo…
6. GET CREATIVE WITH FINDING WHAT YOU’LL NEED
This is my favourite part about frugal living, getting creative with what you already have to find what you’ll need. Maybe you have gift cards tucked away still from Christmas, credit card points, an Ebates cheque coming soon? Can you find samples somewhere like online or at the pharmacy?
7. HOST A SWAP WITH YOUR FRUGAL FRIENDS
A fun way to get creative in finding what you need is to do a swap with friends. In November, as part of our No Spend Month we did a toy swap to give kids new toys instead of buying more. This month I’m participating in a clothing swap.
8. GO THROUGH WHAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR SWAP
Once you’ve decided what kind of swap you’d like to have, start planning for it and find things you don’t need that you’re friends might like to swap you for.
9. FIND A SPARK
Last year their was a lot of energy about Marie Kondo and cleaning up. The main idea of it all was only keeping things that spark joy in your life.
10. CREATE A SELL PILE
Go through your clothes, your kids clothes, your attic and your closets. It’s time to start determining what you have that you don’t want or need anymore that still has enough value to sell.
Go ahead and sell online in Facebook Marketplace, on used consignment sites or have a garage sale.
11. CREATE A DONATE PILE
Donate things that you no longer need. This will help you find some joy in having a clutter free home with living simply in your mind.
Diabetes Canada is great for offering a donation of household goods and clothing pick up service.
12. WRITE YOUR TO DO LIST
Just because it’s Frugal February doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Write down a big list of all the things that you’ve been meaning to do. Scratch off anything that requires purchasing and get down to doing the things that you can do with what you have.
For example, I have a lot of sewing projects that I’ve purchased the fabric for that are sitting nicely organized in bins calling my name!
13. HOST A POTLUCK WITH FRIENDS
We host a Fall Friendsgiving, and a spring BBQ outdoors with our friends, a potluck is a great way to gather together save money on a meal.
14. DO A MEAL SWAP
15. PLAN FRUGAL WINTER FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Read and Pin our Winter Activities Guide if you haven’t seen it yet for some great ideas for free family entertainment.
16. PLAN YOUR GARDEN
17. MAKE SEED PAPER
18. MAKE THINGS AT HOME TO SAVE MONEY
When you run out of laundry soap, research how to make my own. WOW! Is it ever easy. What have you run out on before?
19. DO CRAFTS
20. PREPARE YOUR TAXES
21. HOMESTEAD CHORES
Its’ easy to spend a lot of money on homesteading projects and to get yourself farther into debt than actually feeling like your working towards being self sustaining.
Join local homesteading groups and attend swap and shops, find what you need used first before making big purchases. Research DIY versions of larger purchases like that fancy chicken coop you feel the need to have.
22. WRITE DOWN 50 THINGS THAT FILL YOUR CUP AND DO 1
My good friend challenged me to write down 50 things that fill my cup that don’t cost any money and to try and do a few a day. I’m challenging you to do the same!
Sit and drink your coffee while it’s warm, go to bed early, watch your favourite tv show, fit in a half hour of yoga, send some time with your animals, organize your photos, organized your sentimentals- I can’t be the only one that keeps a shoebox full of notes and cards from friends and family.
23. MAKE YOUR OWN BREAD
I’ve cut back on my grocery bill immensely since starting to bake my own bread a few months ago. Like me, you’ll be shocked at just how quick and easy it is.
This is my favourite frugal white bread recipe. Slice it for sandwiches, add cheese for cheese buns or pizza buns, add butter and cinnamon sugar and you have cheap cinnamon buns.
24. MAKE BEEF STOCK
25. MAKE HANDMADE VALENTINE CARDS
26. USE UP YOUR SCRAP FABRIC OR REPURPOSE OLD CLOTHES
27. HIT UP THE THIFT STORE OR ATTIC AND MAKE THIFT STORE CRAFTS
28. ORGANIZE YOUR SEEDS
FRUGAL FEBRUARY CHALLENGE REVIEW
My favourite part about having a spending freeze is the break from consumption, consumerism and feeling broke. Instead of filling my cup by spending money, I now have to find other ways to fill it- for free.
STAY TUNED FOR A POST UPDATE AT THE END OF FEBRUARY 2020 TO SEE HOW MY CHALLENGE WENT THIS YEAR.