Jan 2, 2018
This is a month-long challenge held over at Frugalwoods. Feel free to join whenever you can!
Today’s Mantra: Anything in life that’s worth doing takes effort.
Today’s Action: Write down why you’re participating in the Uber and answers to
Step 1: Establish your goals
Why are you participating in this challenge?
I want to build good spending habits for when I move out. I currently still live with my parents and admittedly am still quite spoiled. I’ve had most things paid for me and have a “safety net” if my spending ever gets out of hand.
What do you hope to achieve?
I hope I can nip frivolous spending in the bud. I really want to cut out expenses that I really don’t need.
What are your longterm life goals?
Oof this is a big question. I’d love to be FIRE (financially independent and retire early). There are many hobbies and pursuits I’d love to devote myself to. I want to learn languages, read a lot of books, learn hpw to play guitar, keep on crocheting and knitting, blog about life, travel… The list goes on.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Graduated. Moved out. In a city that isn’t Calgary. Workimg a job I don’t despise. Be close to RE and already FI.
What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?
I am spending too much and saving too little. I need to build those habits and learn to live without.
Step 2: Review last month’s spending
I use You Need a Budget to track my spending. It’s a great app and I’ve been using it for a whie now. I’m a little hesitant to look at my December spending but let’s jump in anyway…
$733.12 CAD doesn’t sound like a lot but it is when you take into the fact that I have no income and all that money is coming from my savings.
It’s no surprise that most of my spending is “Just for Fun.” This is the category I use for eating out and my hobbies.
I spent about what I expected for gifts. I budget $200 for 4 people. Then I had to add 2 more people for Secret Santas. So all in all, $179.28 for 6 people isn’t bad!
My bills include my phone, tuition, therapy, and any account fees. I don’t see myself reducing this any further.
Optional bills are gym and Netflix. I share a Netflix account with my SO and we split the bill but it does come from my card. We both use it a lot so it justifies the spend. I didn’t go to the gym more than once last month but I share the membership with my brother. I need to downgrade my membership as I still intend on going to the gym.
Expenses are clothes. I did have one unnecessary clothes purchase. I don’t regret it at all and my SO was pleased but it was still unncessary.
Since Sears was closing down they put everything on clearance. I managed to buy four cute orange plates for my future apartment just for $6.22.
Step 3: CategorIze your expenses
Done and done. Anything not bills are discretionary.
Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?
This is tough. I would love to no longer eat out but that is a good chunk of my expenses.
- Clothes: I got tons of clothes for Chrisrmas. I don’t need anymore.
- Coffee: I don’t even like coffee and I always feel gross and groggy.
- Eating out on campus: I can’t avoid eating out entirely because date nights but I really do not need to eat out on campus. I’ll bring my own food.
- Yarn: While I didn’t get any yarn last month I do not need any more yarn and I always impulse buy yarn.
- Future moving out items: That can wait for when I have cash flow.
- Books: Who needs to buy books when you have free library memberships??
- Video games: I have a ton that need playing still. No steam sales for me!
- Gym membership: This is a hard maybe. I prefer the gym equipment. I might just downgrade it.
Step 5: Embrace the art of substitution
- Coffee = homemade tea. We have a bunch of peppermint tea bags. I should use them.
- Expensive gym = less expensive gym. I currently pay $22 per month for my gym. I can downgrade to $12.
Step 6: Reduce spending on discretionary expenses
The main thing here is food. My SO and I eat out a lot. Time to load up on coupons amd cashback deals and get the cheapest options or smaller portions.
Step 7: Empower yourself to insource
I could have insourced a lot of my gifts from last month since I know how to crochet and knit. Time to load up on mitts, hats, gloves, scarves, and headbands.
Step 8: Examine your habits
Main places where I buy things: on campus, in the mall, at Walmart, Steam, Amazon, at my SO’s house. I could avoid the campus food court entirely and refuse to come with my friends. I could not go to Walmart when I don’t need to. I could start bringing food to my SO’s house.
Step 9: Plan ahead
I think the main theme here is to pack my own food!! That’s my main flaw. I’m too lazy and my own cooked food doesn’t taste as good. Time to hone my cooking skills.
Step 10: If you do buy stuff, get it used/cheap
Steps 8 and 9 pretty much covered this. I’m pretty sure I can get away with avoiding some of my spending completely.
Step 11: Banish excuses
I’m trying! We’ll see how this goes. I have no excuses for most of the things that I can eliminate.