Author Topic: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!  (Read 5982 times)

PJ

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by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« on: March 14, 2017, 11:04:59 AM »
I was nominated to kick off the thread for Uber Frugal April, so here it is!

Why start it so soon?  Why, so you can start planning, of course!

That doesn't mean "buying ALL the things" this month, so that you don't buy them in April.  It means:

...being conscious of what commitments you take on for next month, and how they'll affect your budget. 

...strategizing about your plan of attack for any necessary expenses you have coming up next month. 

...deciding on a target - is there a certain spending limit you want to reach for a particular area of discretionary spending in April, a particular bill you want to pay off, or a certain dollar amount or percentage savings target you're trying to hit?

What are YOU going to do, in Uber Frugal April?
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nottoolatetostart

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 11:21:52 AM »
As one (of probably many) that nominated you, this made me laugh.....I'm in just need to think of my April goals and finish March too!

YoungGranny

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 12:05:44 PM »
I joined the March one super late so I figured it would be good to get a jump start on April anyway. My hubby and I re-did our budget recently and are tightening up our spending as a way to detox. We have a few big ticket items coming up like plane tickets for a friends wedding halfway around the world but I want to focus on reducing our day to day expenses as much as possible. So for April I would like to:

1. Keep groceries under $400 for the month
2. Keep all other food expenses (ie going out to eat, cafeteria lunches etc) under $80
3. Only fill up each car with gas 1 time (so less than $50 here)
4. $20 monthly wine allocation, because c'mon.
5. NO additional purchases besides the above + necessary bills, (mortgage*, internet, gas, electricity etc)

*unless my mortgage company believes participating in a frugal month is grounds for not paying ;)

This would bump our savings rate to 70% instead of the 60% we've been at so time to flex those frugal muscles and get down to brass tacks!

westtoeast

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 12:19:08 PM »
Thank you for starting this! I'm in! This will be my 6th month participating in a thread, since I starting with the No Spend Nov. Well on my way to an Uber Frugal Year, as it seems like many of us are. However, I will only be "uber frugal" for the first two weeks of April, because I am going on a solo trip to the UK on April 14th. I'm super excited-- this will be my first trip that isn't to see family since I studied abroad in college. I have a travel fund I can pull from for my expenses while there, but I would LOVE to scrimp enough in the first few months that I can use the extra I've saved while traveling and pull less from the travel fund... does that make sense?

Here is my budget plan for the first two weeks of April:
$800, Rent & Utilities
$100, Food (including a few freezer meals for when I return from trip)
$35, Packable Food (rice cakes, roasted chickpeas, oatmeal packets, etc)
$55, Bus Pass
$100, Necessary Misc
Total = $1080
Last week of April:
$60, Food

That should leave me with an extra $250 for food and whatnot while traveling BEFORE I have to pull from travel fund. Yay!

PJ

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 12:22:31 PM »
nottoolatetostart, no, you were the only one who nominated me.  But you're popular, so that made it "by popular demand!"  (See what a big influence you are on me ;-) )

YoungGranny, I think Uber Frugal month has open enrollment.  Some of us even deliberately start early or late - depending on pay periods, for example.  I get paid on the 25th of each month, so my April budget will be based on my March pay.  I know at least one other person does something similar, maybe based on CC billing cycle dates or something?  Anyway, sounds like you have a great plan.  And 70% savings rate would be awesome!  Other than making room for upcoming expenses like the plane tickets, what's your ultimate savings goal?  Are you aiming for RE, or some other big ticket spending?

westtoeast, awesome plan!  Your trip sounds great - how long will you be gone for?  Absolutely, preserve some of your travel fund for future trips, or for carefully selected splurges (a "can't miss" side trip, or other experience that you'd regret not having) along the way.
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TealBlue

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2017, 03:31:50 PM »
I would like to join please :)  My challenge to myself in April will run from the first to the 20th, because on the 20th I am leaving on vacation through the rest of the month.  Because of that we really need to buckle down early on!  I have a family of 4 with our two kids in grade school who pack a lunch and we both work full time.  I also do very little to no processed food and do organic when I can!  With that being said, here's what I'm shooting for:

Grocery budget (includes all other items bought at the grocery store): $450
Eating out budget: $75

This will be a pretty strict budget for us during that time as two of the weekends we have out of town sports games and we normally host Easter!  Additionally, I am challenging myself to try and eat what we have as much as possible for the remainder of this month so we won't be starting with a very large inventory!

SquashingDebt

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 04:53:38 PM »
Hooray!  The first 9 days of April I'll be on my annual vacation with my mom, so less frugal, though since we've pre-paid the vast majority of the expenses it shouldn't be too bad.  And, we're prepared to make the more frugal choices while traveling.  (We're taking a cruise, so there's plenty to do and eat without spending money, even though they try to get you to spend extra every other minute it seems.)

The rest of the month will be a perfect time to detox from all the festivities and save some money.

SweetRedWine

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 07:17:15 PM »
In Uber Frugal April I will be closely watching my grocery spending since that is my Achilles heel.  I won't give up my cheap work cafeteria lunches, but I will keep myself to one grocery store trip per week and eating from my pantry.  Also, I'm planning to only buy what I need.  I have a tendency to stock up When I really don't need to.   I'm traveling in May, and I'll be shopping then, so I need to keep my spending in check for April. 

seemsright

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2017, 07:20:39 PM »
My goal will be save $100 off the grocery bill to boost Vanguard for the month of April.

This will be by goal all year long. I am determined to not only get our food bill down and Vanguard up but I really need to drop a few pounds.

Thank you PJ for this thread.
"Luck is how others define hard work, dedication, focus and vision" 3/15

lemonverbena

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2017, 08:07:23 PM »
Signing on for April (and all the months until our roof replacement and car loan debt are paid off). After our roof is installed, we have mold to deal with, and then a partially finished attic to turn into a bedroom (we have a girl and a boy, 4 years apart, that have always shared a room). Part of my challenge is to fight off the temptation to buy things for the new room. Part of me wants to slowing make purchases here and there between now and when it's finished, but really I just need to funnel any extra money to pay the repair loan off first (duh). Buying a couple pieces of furniture will be the reward after the debt is cleared. (I still haven't gone to IKEA, those of you from UFMarch!). My spouse may be winding down his side-gig (as he is way, way overworked), so that'll be a substantial drop in income starting in April or May, but May will be our last month of preschool payments, so yay to that. My grocery budget could come down, but I don't know if I have it in me, honestly. I like my nitrate free lunch meats and bacon and such.

FITortoise

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2017, 08:27:07 PM »
I'd like to join! First-timer in such a challenge. Specific items:
1. Groceries: $150/month
2. Eating out: $150/month (with a 4-day out of state trip)
3. No purchase of clothes/personal care items
4. No purchase of miscellaneous household items (gadgets, furniture etc., that have oh-cost-so-much in Q1 so far)
5. No gifting (bought baby gifts, wedding gifts, dinner gifts etc. in Q1, added up to hundreds of $)

YoungGranny

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2017, 07:38:56 AM »
PJ - We're paving a path towards being financially independent - not sure about the RE yet since I see myself continuing to work in some capacity. I think my husband and I would both like to open our own business some day so we're working hard at saving in our 20's to make our future dreams possible.

TealBlue - super impressive grocery/eating out numbers for a family of 4 - we're a family of 2 and have similar stats so maybe i can glean some inspiration from you and cut mine a bit further!

It's really interesting to see everyones goals, super excited to join this challenge :)

Mongoose

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2017, 08:24:03 AM »
I'm in! I nominated you silently PJ or at least silently seconded your nomination. Glad to see you caved to pressure. ;-)

Goals for April, which starts March 24,

1. Don't forget to pay any bills prior to our trip so no late fees accrue.
2. Frugal trip...we're a family of 4 and headed to Europe for 11 days so this could be interesting. Planning to try to picnic/self-cater most of the time.
3. Come in under grocery budget again ($700 for a family of 4; TealBlue $450 is awesome! I'm maybe around that point this month for Uber Frugal March and am thrilled.)
4. Keep car-versus-deer fix under $500.
5. Limit eating out. Including on our trip, our goal is 6 restaurant meals or less and at frugal places. I'll be shocked if we manage that but a stretch goal here seems like a good idea.

deeshen13

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2017, 10:17:59 AM »
First post in these frugal monthly threads; let's see how it goes.

My main goal is a discretionary spending category, titled "Going Out", which is either nights out or dinner dates, etc. Being recently single last October, my monthly spend has increased in this category from ~100 to ~500 (eeeek). I'd like to continue enjoying the single life, but slow it down a bit and not try to date everyone under the sun. Somewhere in the middle or less will due for now.

So April Goal: Disc. Going Out/Dating: X < 250

Good luck all!

recklesslysober

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2017, 10:29:06 AM »
I'm planning to get closer to my UFJ numbers. February was my birthday, March was tax return, but April has nothing really going on so I should be able to save more. I'm doing a grocery spend challenge with some friends so hopefully that will push me even harder.

TealBlue

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2017, 10:32:08 AM »
Whoa guys, my grocery budget isn't that awesome, remember, I only have to go to the 20th!  Normally if I can get $650/month, that's a pretty big win as I commonly creep into the 700's.  I find that my kids school lunches take a decent chunk of my budget.  That, and red wine :)

PJ

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2017, 11:06:58 AM »
Hey, we've got a lucky 13 people already signed up for April, and it's only March 15.  I won't try to address everyone separately, but I love seeing the goals develop.  Hopefully we can feed off each other and give each other ideas, about what a reasonable budget is for X category, about ways to reduce, substitute or eliminate costs, about how to get family and friends (and prospective dates!) on board with less costly alternatives, and even how to do some "harm reduction" interventions so that splurges (like vacations) aren't as expensive as they sometimes can be.

Looking forward to a great month.  I know one challenge I have on my plate is organizing birthday presents for my brothers, which will also set the plan in motion for the same gift for my niece, nephew, sister, and Mom down the road.  It's going to be a memento of my dad.  He collected stamps.  So what I want to do is frame a photo of him for each person, with an accompanying set of stamps based on their interests or memories of him.  The stamps are coming from his collection, before my Mom sells the rest of it off.  I just need to narrow down which ones I want to use for the project first.  So for example, for one of my brothers I might choose a stamp set like the one below, in a Star Wars theme. 



The challenge will be that the stamp sets are not a standard photo size, so I'm looking at custom cut mats for the project, which can add up.  I'm hoping I can get the mats cut, but be able to put them in standard frames, rather than having the whole thing professionally framed.  I *may* even have frames that will work, to reduce the costs.  I'm also going to see if I can find a "frame your own" place near me, but I care more about having these turn out really well, than about saving a couple of dollars.
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chaskavitch

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2017, 01:44:49 PM »
I'll try!  We are redoing our backyard (new garden beds, sprinkler system, sod, the whole 9 yards), so DH will probably spend a fair amount of our tax return on that.  BUT I can try to cut back in other ways!

1) Keep baby expenses to an absolute minimum - don't buy him any clothes, or cute toys, or bibs, or anything like that.  Only wipes and diapers, and only if we run out.  The child already has upward of 20 pairs of pants, he certainly doesn't need any more, no matter how adorable they are.
2) Don't use my $100 "spontaneous money" fund at all, if I can - this includes clothes, shoes, haircuts, new craft items, TCBY, etc.
3) Keep groceries under $400 - our budget right now is $450, and we're usually within that, but I'd like to cut it down if we could.  We end up with a reasonable amount of food waste, and I'd love to fix that.
4) Keep DH within/below his alcohol budget - easier said than done, but worth a try.
5) Cut down our ordering-out on super busy evenings and for DH's lunches.
6) Finally, be a voice of reason with our backyard renovations.  DH is doing it all himself, which is a huge cost saver, but man, there are just always. more. things. 

alleykat

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2017, 03:04:48 PM »
I am in for another month.  I don't really keep budgets, but I think I will start in April and see where I fall out.  I almost wish I kept one all along. It would of been interesting to see the change in line-items as I try and get my spending under control.

In any case, besides the "required" spending, like car insurance, rent,  I am in. 

I am also going to try and pull back groceries a bit more as I am attempting to really eat through my kitchen.  It is time to get down to the bare bones and start again. 

1967mama

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2017, 03:25:03 PM »
I will join in! My goal is to stick to my weekly grocery budget.

LindseyC

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2017, 03:42:28 PM »
I'm in again! My April starts March 23rd as I am one of the people that budgets by the CC cycle. I rocked Febraury but let myself down in March, so April I am gonna kick butt!

1. Food: Groceries $200, no eating out, use up as much already stocked food as possible.
2. Overall budget: $2000, excluding debt and savings
3. Earn an extra $500 this month working extra hours, to go towards debt.

April is a crazy busy month for me at work so I am keeping my budget goals pretty basic.

PJ

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2017, 12:14:19 AM »
Yay!

So.many.people!  And it's not even April yet.

I feel popular, because I started the thread!  :-)

chaskavitch, I love your goals.  Clear, concise, achievable.  Sounds like you're aiming to control what you can control, and moderate where you have to share your goals with your DH.

Love that some others have long lists of goals, while others are keeping it simple - picking one or two areas to really focus on.  This is where you get to define what "Uber Frugal" means to YOU!
'To be human you must bear witness to justice. Justice is what love looks like in public." 
Dr. Cornel West

akzidenz

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by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2017, 09:30:14 PM »
I'll be honest, in February I was only Fairly Frugal and March looks to be the same. But these threads are keeping me accountable, so I'm staying around anyway.

I'm furnishing an apartment right now (I moved out of my parents' home in January) so I am using these threads to make sure I don't overspend on home goods. I'm often tempted to get the fancy West Elm furnishings, or buy something pricey because my home is "incomplete" without a rug, wall art, whatever. But it turns out that few things are strictly necessary for day-to-day life, and I'd rather patiently wait for the right thing at the right price than overspend on things today.

Other goals: keep eating out costs low, walk and take the bus as much as possible, and borrow library books instead of buying books.

PJ

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 11:05:24 PM »
Accountability is definitely what these threads are all about!

And this isn't a "no spend" challenge, though some people may decide to aim for a certain number or percentage of no spend days, or find that having no spend days are helpful in keeping their budgets from bloating.  It's more about being thoughtful in how you spend, and on what.
'To be human you must bear witness to justice. Justice is what love looks like in public." 
Dr. Cornel West

PMG

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2017, 08:35:46 PM »
PJ!

In regards to your framing project, yes, if you get them cut in a framing store you can make sure they fit standard frames, but why not cut your own. You can buy large sheets of mat at the craft store for just a couple dollars. If you have a yardstick, a utility knife with a fresh blade and a pretty steady hand you can do a decent job yourself. You won't get the beveled edge that you get with a shop cut, but few will notice. Also, when you start to look at the shop cut mats, they are never as perfect as you think. There are nicks and overcuts and slivers. Another option would be buying an cutter which holds the blade on an angle so you get the beveled cut.  If you have quite a few to do it might be worth it.  Apartment therapy has a tutorial. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-cut-a-mat-for-framing-artwork-176545


TL/DR cut your own. The novice eye won't notice.

ElleFiji

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2017, 09:07:37 PM »
I'm in. My plans this time:
Minimal and planned eating out.
Replacements only for stuff and groceries.
No grocery waste.
No selfish entertainment expenses
Plan out my gifts for the rest of the year, and start on any homemade gifts

wintertell

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2017, 01:02:28 PM »
I'm in. I keep getting these surprise bills of $500+, and I'm of having to scrape money together halfway through the month. So. tired. of. it. Want. more. margin.

Right now HB and I are living in 2 different states, so we have inefficiencies going on in the grocery/eating out/household categories that need to be eliminated.

Here are my goals:
Groceries under $500
Eating out under $100 --> Will allocate this to HB and to 1 meal out for his birthday.
Household under $100
Any misc. expenses have to come out of the $700 above.

HB's gift and birthday celebration under $50.

To be successful at this, I will have to get HB on board. He's super resistant to frugality, but yet wants financial security ... so I just have to figure out how to message in a way that doesn't set off his scarcity mindset.

LindseyC

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2017, 11:29:28 AM »
My April starts on March 23rd (tomorrow) and while reviewing my March budget, I realized I needed to adjust my budget categories.

My main categories are: Consumables, Car, Household, Monthly Bills, Entertainment, Clothing, Health, Annual Expenses and finally Unique/ One of expenses. Under each of those main categories I break them down into several sub-categories. I also keep a log of each item I buy in each sub-category, the date, price, size and approximately how long I think the item will last. Yeah lots of detailed data, but I am just trying to get a better understanding of my expenses over the period of a year or two.

In my consumables category I had: groceries, toiletries, kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and cat supplies. I don't log my groceries by line item, but I do for all the other consumables. Well after some thought, I realized I needed to add a Prescription/drugs category to my consumables (moving it out of the Health category) and also add an Outside Consumable sub-category to account for items like salt, sand, bird seed etc..

The end result of some shuffling, I have realized that my budget of $200 for groceries, $50 for all other consumables is not going to cut it. I am thinking I need to add at least another $50 a month, so my yearly average would be around $300 a month. This is a bit of a blow, but realistically after 3 months of tracking this is where my minimal expenses are actually at. So I am going to adjust my April numbers.

Some months will be over and some under but I do believe my budget just was too low to be realistically met.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2017, 11:53:38 AM »
I was planning to do Austerity April for myself, so good timing! I am going to try to not spend as much (any?) money on lunches and coffees and snacks out during the work week. I need to save up for vacation and to make up for some extra expenses (sick dog, mainly) this month.

Inaya

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2017, 12:38:20 PM »
Living on my own this month, so figured I'd join in. I don't have a baseline for solo spending, so I'm going to make some wild guesses for goals and revise for May.

Overall - $350
Groceries - $200
Office food - $25
Starbucks - $10
Eating out - $30
Supplies/pharmacy - $30

No buying cat toys. No matter how cute and fun they look, Tau won't play with them. Stop it.
No buying anything that isn't a replacement. I will probably need pants in April, whether I like it or not.

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Fish Sweet

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2017, 01:13:47 PM »
March was kind of a wash, so here's hoping for a better, or at least more productive April, haha!  I really love these monthly frugality threads (thank you, PJ, for starting this up!) because it's like a nice cold splash of water on my financial planning, and super inspirational when I see what everyone else is doing.  This is as good a place as any to sketch

- Unfortunately, half my friendgroup has birthdays in this month, so I'm expecting a fair number of dinners out + gift expenditures.  I might try sticking to home made edible gifts for most of them, though, to cut down on buying "stuff"

- Take my car in to be checked out, probably expecting quite a chunk of money for maintenance fees, but it's time.

- Planned spending for a couple of trips coming up-- stuff I really ought to plan out next month.

- I'm planning on cutting out drinking except once a week, at home.  This month I'd gotten a bit into the habit of coming home stressed out and breaking out the vodka-- need to quit that, as I don't want to get used to this kind of response after a bad day

- Similarly, no eating out except for all those birthday celebrations!

Knowing I'm going to be putting in some heavier spending than usual, I'm budgeting about $1200 for April.

facepalm

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2017, 03:08:29 PM »
I think I'll be in on this one. I did a pretty good job in March reining in a number of my spending categories.

My goals for April:

Keep spending in the following categories on or below budget:

Food $300
Gas  $45
Mobile phone $30
Fast food $0
Coffee $20
Dining out $45

These are the categories I tend to have issues with; spending in my other categories (shopping, rent, etc) is pretty well under control. Single, so the food budget should be doable, especially since I have stocked up this month on staples. I was spending $600+ a month on groceries before and spending $80 at Starbuxxxx. Gag.

I'm cutting AT&T and switching back to Google Fi; selling my pricey iPhone will net me some cash too.

Other goals:

Sell fancypants phone and cookware (Le Creuset) that I hardly ever use.
Walk to work at least 2x per week. Live a mile from work, so doable. No bike (yet).
Do two 3 day fasts. I have a week off mid-April so I should be able to do this.

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's goals and progress.




facepalm

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2017, 03:14:33 PM »

The end result of some shuffling, I have realized that my budget of $200 for groceries, $50 for all other consumables is not going to cut it. I am thinking I need to add at least another $50 a month, so my yearly average would be around $300 a month. This is a bit of a blow, but realistically after 3 months of tracking this is where my minimal expenses are actually at. So I am going to adjust my April numbers.

How many people is that budget for? If just for you, $300 should be doable, and seems reasonable to me.

allsummerlong

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #33 on: March 26, 2017, 03:43:35 PM »
Joining.

I did UF January, which went really well (80% SR). Then Feb/Mar got crazy spendy: we had 2 unexpected household repairs (~$400 each), family birthdays, optometrist visits, new glasses Rx, various annual/irregular payments due (passports, insurance, licenses), & vacation time. We stayed local and did a lot of free activities and used up some gift cards, but also allowed small splurges here and there (ie: coffee out, lunch with friends, museum & art gallery admissions, movies, driving to hikes, etc...).

Hoping to use April as a reset back to our more frugal ways. I have been far too busy with work and have been relying more on convenience foods from grocery stores. Still better than restaurants, but not as frugal/healthy as buying staples and cooking from scratch. Grocery spending has been wayyyy up, and it's already fairly high by this forum's standards. Avg is $550/mo CAD for 2 adults. March is approaching....... gasp....$700 CAD (~525 USD).

Also do not have any irregular payments coming due this month.... I think March took care of most of those for the year. I don't keep a strict budget, but we do track everything and aim for an overall monthly spend level. Aiming for +70% SR.

Good luck everyone!

LindseyC

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #34 on: March 26, 2017, 06:21:07 PM »

The end result of some shuffling, I have realized that my budget of $200 for groceries, $50 for all other consumables is not going to cut it. I am thinking I need to add at least another $50 a month, so my yearly average would be around $300 a month. This is a bit of a blow, but realistically after 3 months of tracking this is where my minimal expenses are actually at. So I am going to adjust my April numbers.

How many people is that budget for? If just for you, $300 should be doable, and seems reasonable to me.

$300 is just for one person and a cat. I agree it is reasonable, I just thought before I started budgeting and tracking all expenses that I could keep it lower. I guess really tracking expenses has been a learning experience. I think I read so many American grocery budgets that I think mine should be inline but truly food and consumables are more expensive here in Canada.

horsepoor

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #35 on: March 26, 2017, 08:56:42 PM »
I'm coming home from vacation on April 3, so I'll start on April 4th.

I skipped this month knowing that I was going to be a bit spendy, mostly with some clothing/shoe purchases.

For April, we might be getting a beef quarter, which will take most of the grocery budget, so otherwise I want to keep focusing on the eat all the food in the house gauntlet, which has kept March's grocery bill at an historically low level without much effort at the grocery store.  There shouldn't be much going on, it's the nice shoulder season where we aren't heating, cooling, or watering, so utilities should be low, and there's plenty to keep me entertained for free outdoors.

Other than the beef, the one place there may be some expenses is with putting in the garden.  I've been a little negligent with my seedling starting this year, so I'll probably need to buy quite a few veggie seedlings.  When it comes to the ornamental gardens though, I'm going to focus on splitting or replanting my existing perennials rather than adding any new plants.  Hopefully all hoses and other equipment came through winter OK and won't require replacements.

katscratch

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2017, 12:17:53 PM »
In! March was not uber frugal due to garden seed starting and bicycle maintenance/upgrades that aren't strictly *necessary* but make my life much happier. Time for a reset!

I have to follow a fairly strict diet for 8 weeks (all of April and part of May) so I won't be able to repeat my sub-$60 grocery bill of January -- this is an area I find it all too easy to go over budget, and I'm terrible at following sales. My biggest challenge so far in 2017 has been not overspending on food when my son is home from college.


horsepoor I'm probably going to end up having to buy some seedlings, too. My vacation this year is at the end of May through the second week in June and I usually don't put heat loving veggies in until the beginning of June. We'll see how many babies make it through the housesitter tenure :)
Clawing my way to financial independence at http://freedomfromscratch.com

MsSindy

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2017, 12:42:51 PM »
I have never done one of these, but I really need to concentrate on food.  I defrosted my basement freezer and had stuff in there from 2014!  Since I vacuum pack everything, it was still good, so we ate it!  I still need to inventory my regular freezer to get a complete list of everything I have available to us. I bet I have about 2 months' worth of dinners AND lunches between my freezers and pantry.

My grocery shopping should look like this each week (2 people):
  • Bananas
    Carrots
    Fresh berries / grapes
    Kind Bars (unless I get motivated to make mine own...I have all the ingredients and recipes)
    Celery
    Salad Stuff
    Every 2 weeks: Bread, Apples, Tangelos, Almond Milk

So, I'm hoping for no more than $50 per week, which is very generous.  I am doing 2 backpack trips, hubby's birthday, and we have some helpers for 2 days who I also feed.  I'm hoping that $200 will cover everything and clean out my pantry/freezers.

All other spending is on auto and in-check.  It just seems to be that damn grocery/eating out bill!

Bart1ma3u5

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2017, 09:44:14 AM »
I have not done any of the uber frugal threads before, but it is about time I get in on one, as my last couple months i have had a few categories trending further from uber frugal. I will be on vacation with the family the last week of the month, and so will end my month on the 21st. Though I will work to also keep trip spending to a mimimum, I assume there will be alot of spending. My goals for this month are to cut back in the categories that have been hurting me the most recently. They are:

Eating out / Alcohol / Bars - None for the month as I am sure there will be plenty of each on vacation.
Sporting goods spending (Fishing, climbing, hiking, hunting etc etc) - Less than $50 for the month, excluding vactaion.
Groceries - Try to eat excess food stored in the house and cut grocery budget by $100 to $300 (aim for $200 as ill only be home for 2/3 of the month)

Additionally, I plan to do some housecleaning throughout the month and sell / donate declutter as much as possible. I have never resold alot of things, and so I am going to make it a goal to atleast attempt to sell 3 things this month that I no longer need or use. This will be a good practice for me to get used to over the next year as my fiancee and I are tentatively planning on transitioning a camper van, and travelling across the country next year. It would be ideal to have to store a minimum amount of stuff during that time.

The final portion of my uber frugal april will be to finally cancel the XM subscription I tell myself I will cancel everytime I have to call them and renegotiate down the price.

swick

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2017, 10:58:14 AM »

The end result of some shuffling, I have realized that my budget of $200 for groceries, $50 for all other consumables is not going to cut it. I am thinking I need to add at least another $50 a month, so my yearly average would be around $300 a month. This is a bit of a blow, but realistically after 3 months of tracking this is where my minimal expenses are actually at. So I am going to adjust my April numbers.

How many people is that budget for? If just for you, $300 should be doable, and seems reasonable to me.

$300 is just for one person and a cat. I agree it is reasonable, I just thought before I started budgeting and tracking all expenses that I could keep it lower. I guess really tracking expenses has been a learning experience. I think I read so many American grocery budgets that I think mine should be inline but truly food and consumables are more expensive here in Canada.

Try not to be discouraged! Tracking and knowing and having a realistic benchmark is a whole lot better than guessing and being surprised, or assuming you need X and accidently adjusting up to it because you don't know what your baseline is. Knowledge is power and you have been doing great tracking!

At the beginning of the year we set what we figured was a low but doable budget, we are finding in some areas we have been right and some we need to adjust as we go and get more data. Before trying, though, I would have never have said we would be able to spend such a small amount, but here we are for the most part, and it is really getting us to question our priorities and set goals and work towards them.

Goals for April:

Reevaluate everything! Sometime between May-Aug we'll be losing our rental income and gaining a huge quality of life boost. It was going right to savings, so I would like to figure out ways where we can still keep our savings rate high. We will save a boatload in energy costs. I'm reworking our budget now to get used to that income not existing.

Groceries - $250.00 (2 ppl)  - Still in eating down the pantry mode, but it is starting to look a little sparse.

Eating out - $0.00 - Haven't paid to eat out once this year so far. Would like to keep this streak going until our quick vacation in May.

Electricity/Gas - Renters aren't here for the month, so it will be good to try and get a baseline of our own usage so we can cut down and have a better idea of what we will be spending going forward.

Other Goal for April:
Create a home maintenance/future spend plan We really need to do a detailed walkthrough and figure out what maintenance the previous homeowner was neglecting and take care of it. We also need to figure out what we would like to do to the house eventually and actually price out what it would cost. I tend to think anything home related is going to cost us millions so I don't even want to consider it. There is a ton we can do that won't cost us anything, and then there are lots of things that we might want to do in the future that may/may not be as expensive as we think. Even if we decide not to do them, having a cost figured out would allow us to logically make the decisions.

starjay

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2017, 08:39:59 AM »
Two main goals for April:
  • Reduce my spending on restaurant food by 30%
  • Increase my payment toward my CC payoff with that saved $$

Restaurant eating is a huge weakness for me, and low-hanging fruit for being smarter with my money. I'm dating/living with a chef. I have zero reason have frequent lunches out with all the delicious leftovers in the fridge. (Yet I've been doing just that recently. D'oh!)

recklesslysober

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2017, 10:26:38 AM »
I've decided that my goal for April will be to keep my discretionary spending (everything except for bills and debt payment) at $240. So $60/week, mostly groceries. For Uber Frugal January I was around $260 so this should be manageable.

blueberrygirl

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2017, 10:50:46 AM »
I'm in! First timer. At this point my main issue is needing to increase my income, so I'm focusing on that.

Goals
1.  Batch cooking day once a week.
2.  Start square foot garden (2 beds bought on clearance last year for $9/each).
3.  Pare down subscriptions to the essentials.
4.  Earn at least $1000 from side hustles/reselling.
5.  Start riding my bicycle more.

geekinprogress

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #43 on: April 01, 2017, 08:23:36 PM »
I'm in again - last month the tracking was super helpful for me.  Increasing the food budget because I did a pretty good job of cleaning out my freezer/pantry and will need to restock.  Am also transitioning to a mostly vegetarian diet which will probably eventually be cheaper, but as I build up a repertoire of vegetarian recipes that I like I could use a little more room to play.

Food: 250
Fun/Other Misc Spending: 300

MissPiggy

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2017, 05:12:40 AM »
I'm in! I attempted Uber Frugal March however it didn't go so well. There was a lot of this:



SO! Uber Frugal April is my second attempt at it! I also find that when I write in a forum or blog about my challenges then I actually follow them through! Uber Frugal April for me will be to the 23rd as I'm on holiday over the Easter break, so a big incentive to save.

Already getting so much inspiration from everyone!
xx Miss Piggy

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https://theearnestaddiction.wordpress.com/

ElleFiji

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2017, 06:54:54 AM »
Yesterday I wasn't feeling up to groceries, but NEEDED treats. I managed to fashion them out of food I already owned. This was a huge success

YoungGranny

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2017, 07:00:55 AM »
Went grocery shopping for the week yesterday, spent $65 and have meals for the week plus I made cookies for the week to keep my sweet tooth satisfied. Biked to work today which will help keep gas consumption down (haven't driven my car yet this month lol). This is my first official Uber Frugal Month (although my hubby and I have always done our own no-spend September) so I'm excited to be held accountable and see how it all goes!

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2017, 07:30:48 AM »
My frugal April is off to a poor start with my refrigerator dying yesterday (the day after I bought a ton of groceries, of course). I evacuated some food to the break room fridge at work today so it's not a total loss, but this afternoon I'm taking off early to go fridge shopping (the old one is 13 and was repaired last fall, so I don't think trying to get it fixed again makes sense). Luckily, the model I want is on sale this week! Still, it's $800 I would have preferred to keep in the emergency fund. All the more reason to be frugal in other ways this month!

MsSindy

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2017, 09:51:22 AM »
Did my first grocery shopping for April and managed to stay at $47 (budget for $50).  This was even at my local grocery, and not Walmart.  Hubby wanted to buy something sweet, so I offered to make cookies instead of buying - we were both pleased with the outcome!

Used up some old soup bones from the freezer and made broth for French Onion Soup - yum!
Snagged some leftover deli sandwiches from a work function and used that for the guys we had working over the weekend - used the remainder on a salad for today's lunch. (those work sandwiches are huge!)
I usually buy a lot of fruit (cut-up pineapple, berries, grapes) and that gets expensive.  No berries this week, and bought a whole pineapple to cut myself, instead.
All in all, I feel good about the start of the month.

MsSindy

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Re: by popular demand, I give you ... Uber Frugal April!
« Reply #49 on: April 03, 2017, 09:52:52 AM »
My frugal April is off to a poor start with my refrigerator dying yesterday (the day after I bought a ton of groceries, of course). I evacuated some food to the break room fridge at work today so it's not a total loss, but this afternoon I'm taking off early to go fridge shopping (the old one is 13 and was repaired last fall, so I don't think trying to get it fixed again makes sense). Luckily, the model I want is on sale this week! Still, it's $800 I would have preferred to keep in the emergency fund. All the more reason to be frugal in other ways this month!

Look at 'scratch 'n dent' models, too.  Especially if you have a fridge that tucks in between cabinets.  Our fridge was discounted handsomely because there was a scratch on the side....it's up against the cabinet, so you can't even see it.