We’re now solidly into January and another month of tracking our spending to the penny. Thanks to the awesome long weekend we had to celebrate my husband‘s birthday and our monthly Costco trip yesterday, we are just over halfway as far as expected spending for the month, so we are going to have to be extra careful to stick to our big 2018 goal. Nowhere near impossible though, and like I’ve said before, we don’t believe our happiness now should take a backseat to our future happiness, and vice versa.
The goal of tracking so carefully this year ultimately comes down to really drilling down to what is important to us and really makes us happy, and cutting out all the noise.
1. I finally signed up for my local Buy Nothing group. If you haven’t heard about this before, it is basically a hyper local community group through Facebook that basically gives away items instead of trying to sell them through a garage sale or online portal or sending the item to Goodwill. Gives range from bicycles to unexpired food products to event tickets. Basically anything you might consider gifting to a friend is free game in the group.
It’s a great way to create a sharing economy in your neighborhood and part of how to foster a real community. Previously I have been passed on items from by nothing groups from friends and neighbors, but I have never actively participated. I’m someone who generally tries to give away to friends or, when that doesn’t work, send everything on to the thrift store. I know this isn’t ideal as some of what is donated still ends up in the landfill, so I would like to start making the effort to offer things on By Nothing first, because then I know they are going to a wanted place.
2. I mentioned this previously, but we didn’t buy coffee out at a coffee shop while exploring this past weekend. Coffee and a pastry is my major weakness, so skipping that part of normal vacation mode was a really big deal, even if it wasn’t a ton of money in the grand scheme of things.
Now that I have been tracking so carefully for a couple months and have really gotten away from writing off $5 and $10 purchases, I am so much more mindful of where my money goes. So this was a little thing, but something I am very proud of because that was a difficult habit for me to break.
3. My dad went fishing again last weekend, and we ended up with one of the salmon he caught. I actually hate salmon, but my husband and son love it, so they had a very tasty dinner this week and have another half of the fish marinating and in the freezer for another dinner. Wild caught salmon sure isn’t cheap, and it is a very appreciated gift. We will return the favor this summer with produce from our garden.
4. I haven’t bought lunch during the week at all so far this year. With documenting this every Friday, I want to see just how long I can go without takeout lunch this year.
It’s crazy to think about how much money I’ve spent in the past on just this one item. It is now so normal to just make sure that I have food to eat, and I make sure I have something to eat on any particular day. Very different than in the past when I would talk myself out of eating that food because something else I could buy just sounded better.
5. We had our monthly shopping trip to Costco yesterday and again kept it to under $250. This includes dog food, laundry detergent, and other incidentals as well as groceries. This is a huge savings for us because our typical bill used to be in the $400-$500 range every single time.
Costco used to be one of those places where we regularly blew a couple hundred extra dollars for no good reason. Now we are actually saving money by shopping there.
What are some of your frugal wins for this week? Are you doing the Frugalwoods challenge? How is it going? We are finally tackling it head on this time around and it has been a great experience.