Here we are, the beginning of a new month (again!). I really don't know how January came and went so quickly. To be honest, I'm glad it did. One month closer to summer is the way I see it and cheers to that!
Anyway, it's Frugal February! If you haven't heard of this concept, you basically practice some form of self-restraint for frivolous spending over the course of the month. You pay for only the very necessary things like bills, gas and basic food needs.
The best part is that we can all tweak the approach to frugality any way we think will fit into our current lifestyle. For example, one person with a perfectly fine coffee maker at home might nix the morning lattes at Starbucks, while someone else who doesn't own a coffee maker may "downgrade" from large lattes to small plain black coffees to save some money each day.
When I was thinking of things to cut out I didn't really have to pare down too much since I consider myself a minimalist and rarely purchase "stuff". I don't shop for clothes (yay for uniforms of jeans, tees, and sweaters). I also don't shop for home wares- but just a quick comment on that: I desperately want the Homegoods people to put a cafe in their stores so I can sit and people watch. Looking to see what people put in their shopping carts is way more interesting than anything on the shelves. The psychology behind feeling the need to buy peculiar mass-produced figurines is something I find highly interesting.
Where was I..... oh, so really the only thing I need to cut out is food. Not entirely, for obvious reasons, but the mid-day smoothies, Starbucks a couple times a week, the drive-thru run after school because my daughter is staaaaarving, the fast food salads because I don't want to buy all the ingredients and assemble them myself, and naturally, fro-yo. I'm cutting it all out. I will dig into the back of the kitchen cupboard for any remaining crumbs if that's what it will take.
As you can see above, in my bullet journal I have a Frugal February chart. I plan to color in each day that I successfully don't spend anything. I have some reminders for myself and also a little log I can record ways I've saved to keep me motivated. I imagine a couple entries will notate the rapid speed I've had to walk past the smoothie shop and Starbucks so my feet don't start turning toward the entrances.
I've also given myself a little margin and have $60 in my wallet to last me the entire month "just in case". I fully intend on having those 3 $20 notes still remaining in my wallet by the end of the month but you just never know, especially as a mom. Something could come up and I may need to buy a random toiletry item or a product we've run out of and actually really need. We'll see how I do!
So what is the point of doing this?
It seems society today (in America anyway) is too focused on "more". We want happiness and chase it through "things". We need this and we need that. It's nice to take a step back and see that what we have is already enough. Think about the basic needs of a baby- shelter, clothes and food. How is it, that when we get older, that list lengthens tremendously? We don't actually need 95% of the things we think we need.
For example, the screen cracked on my iPhone almost a year ago and my immediate thought was "omg, I need to get this fixed". Not really, it's just a hairline across the lower half of the phone and I still haven't gotten fixed. At some angles you can't even tell it's cracked, mainly when it's off and you see the black screen. I saved around $100 not rushing out to fix it because it's not the way it was. Sure, it's nice to have a phone with no crack but it's just not necessary to shovel money into all of these random expenses.
We've also become a society of immediate satisfaction. We get off work, hungry, and mindlessly drive straight toward a drive-thru to consume anything somewhat edible to satiate our appetite. Why not just wait the extra 10-20 minute drive and find something to eat at home? Save $10 and have food that you know what's really in it. Our drive for "needing" things right now is really costing us and it's not pretty on the wallet.
So we sit, reflect on what's really important to us, learn that we really can live without a lot of things we want and need, use what we have, and focus our attention on other things. More important things, like relationships, activities we can do at home, slowing down the our fast pace of life, and learning how to just be.
Plus it's fun.. who doesn't like a good challenge?
I'll be posting updates over the course of the month to let you know how I'm doing, whether or not I've been tempted by anything. Let me know if you're doing Frugal February as well!
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Have a great one. :)