Author Topic: Low Spend September & October Challenge  (Read 9669 times)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #100 on: September 25, 2017, 09:03:19 AM »
Hey DL, welcome to the challenge AND to the forum!

Yesterday I broke our pretty good weekend streak a bit, but not terribly, and all of it was social spending. And when we ended up out much later than planned, instead of grabbing $$ restaurant food at the bar we were at having drinks with a friend, instead we went to trader joe's after we left before the drive home, and bought a wrap and some water. sub-$5 instead of minimum $12 for restaurant food. The beers we had with friend were happy hour, and I figured- it cost the same for us to drive to City, do the potluck, then do 2 beers apiece and the emergency food, than it did if JUST DH and I had gone to the nearest restaurant in our town that is order-at-the-counter.

Social spending: $20 for 4 beers+tip, $4.59 emergency food, ~1/4 tank of gas, so that'll count for about $5.

Today I'm going to pull out and prep all the gear for hunting season coming up. We'll see if we have to do any spending there- it's been a few years since we drew tags, so I'll have to do a full inventory. Definitely will involve spending for the tags though, no matter what.
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akzidenz

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #101 on: September 27, 2017, 11:11:45 AM »
I'd like to join in for October! I posted a bit around these forums earlier in 2017 (the Uber Frugal February/March threads were so helpful for me!)…and then I stopped hanging out here so much and my spending very coincidentally ticked upwards.

My average savings rate from January–May was ~60%, and then over the summer it plummeted to only 33%. So my October goal is to get it back up to 50%.

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2017, 11:48:11 AM »
Spent $2 on year-old library fees today - which at this point is necessary spending but I guess I'll count it.

Total unnecessary $63

I also spent $100 for work which I am anxiously waiting to get reimbursed, and I am aiming to spend $15 or less on my last grocery run of the month. I may, however, suck it up and fill up my gas tank ($40) since I will be in a low-cost area later today.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #103 on: September 27, 2017, 01:11:51 PM »
I spent a bit too much in September, although much of it was kind of necessary. I have decided to make October my super frugal month.
I had €2000 in my emergency fund (I'm on a lower income than most people here) on August 1 and I have €1300 in it right now. I want it to be as high as possible on October 31. Normally I save about €250/month, so my target is anything over €1550 on October 31.




westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #104 on: September 27, 2017, 02:09:08 PM »
Glad to see a few more folks joining the challenge! I gotta tell you... challenges are pretty much the #1 reason I'm on the forum :)

Welp. I ended up adding a wee bit of spending to my September total.

$6, Uber (FAIL. My excuse is that I had a before-work tutoring session, and when I checked my bus tracker app the normal bus wasn't coming, so in order to be on time I had to re-download Uber on my phone and call one. I feel this is semi-justified. But I should have checked the bus schedule the night before instead of assuming it would be the same as months ago and then woken up earlier. Also, if this had happened to me before the Uber era, what would I have done? I just would have been late. Deleting the app again now...)
$6 (Coworkers all went out for drinks. I think this is a fair price to pay for social inclusion as these events only happen every few months-- and I just got one glass of wine)
$12 (Cleaning supplies for my classroom. With cold/flu season starting, I really need hand soap and disinfectant sprays. It seems like almost every day a kid tells me they are sick, and then I watch them put their grubby hands onto the door handle or something.)

I was able to balance out these spends with a few wins. I transferred a bit ol' chunk of cash to my ROTH and I called my bank and convinced them to reverse a fee I got for having too small a balance in one of my accounts (it was my summer savings account, which is low because I use this up during summer and slowly replenish it over the school year). I also purchased new tights for winter because my old ones are full of holes but I used my cash back money from my credit card, so I'm not counting this as a spend!

stimepy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #105 on: September 27, 2017, 03:03:12 PM »
I need this for October...  Had a pretty spendy pants vacation, could have been more frugal during but (imo) it was worth it.  Now I just need to pay for said vacation with a little squeezing of the belt!  (And I don't mean pay off the actual bill, that's already been paid.)

I'll start keeping track on 9-30.  Good luck all.
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Freshwater

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #106 on: September 27, 2017, 06:18:44 PM »
I'm not doing at all well. I never shop for clothes but I'm in desperate need of t-shirts for the coming summer (mine are all misshapen and/or have holes). I went online, got 3 tees and one pair of smart pants that I am sorely lacking (only have jeans) but then browsed the rest of the store and bought 2 things I could use but could have delayed for months and also got cheaper elsewhere. Well, at least it won't happen again before I need a new jumper next winter. And I might still return them.

It's been an expensive month but all essentials otherwise - plumber, new tyres to pass annual inspection, car insurance. At least the groceries this week are "free" as I have $70 rewards points supermarket credit that I didn't know about (it's too complicated to explain, but it doesn't show up if I log into the account but it's 'on' my rewards card if I know how to use it). The system here for the major supermarkets is really weird, I reckon 90% of people scan their rewards card but never use the points because they don't know how or didn't know they had them.

lemonverbena

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #107 on: September 27, 2017, 07:48:37 PM »

9/21: $786 the biggest and last of the hospital bills (thank goodness for health insurance or this would be so much worse!)

9/22: $247 groceries (Spouse did the shopping. We had a reminder talk afterwards.)
         $7 Netflix-type bill
9/23: $13 u-pick apples
         $34 gasoline
9/24: $0
9/25: $0
9/26: $0
9/27: $35 gasoline
         $81 water/sewer bill

Cheap weekend... went apple picking with the kids ($1/lb), brought a picnic lunch, then made a bunch of applesauce at home. It counts as food spending instead of entertainment spending, in my book.

horsepoor

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #108 on: September 28, 2017, 08:17:46 AM »
So close to the end of the month!  My major slip-up was my mid-month shopping spree, though I did return the cooler, and have been using everything else I bought. 

Last week I bought a bridle, which my horse's trainer requested I bring next time I'm there (didn't want to send out her brand new, fancy imported one to get tossed around and dirty all winter).  At least it was $109 used off of eBay instead of $200+ for a new one, and came with reins, and I can resell it for the same price when I no longer need it.  I also bought one other piece of horse tack for $68, justified because I didn't take any riding lessons this month (the bridle and other item came out to exactly my riding lesson budget for the month, coincidentally).  I'm a tack-a-holic, but I'm trying to be fussier and only buy quality items that will last and work for multiple horses.

Food - only went out for that $5 burrito, and otherwise haven't gone out for food or coffee all month!  Groceries went about $30 over budget, but that included buying some beer and ahi tuna steaks while my dad was visiting.  I'm actually really pleased at how little extra I spent; usually guests are a reason to go plunk down $100 at Whole Foods.  Whenever I thought of running to the store for this or that, I checked myself and rethought what I was cooking instead.  Need to keep that up!

Today I'm experimenting with making oatmeal in my little soup warmer at work.  It may mean having a late breakfast, or eating oatmeal at lunch time, but I'm excited about the possibilities for a cheap and easy option at the office.

I haven't spent any money since Monday, and shouldn't need to spend anything today or tomorrow.  I'm calling Friday the end of the month as I'll probably need to hit the grocery stores this weekend.

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #109 on: September 28, 2017, 10:10:46 AM »
I bought a $28 book yesterday. D: Oops. My only defense is that I got it signed, and I'm planning to read it and then give it away as a wedding gift to someone it will mean a lot to. (It's a hardcover, it'll still be nice when she gets it.)

I also went $2 over my $15 grocery limit, so I'll go ahead and add that to my total.

Unnecessary spending: $93

I suspect that will be my last spending for the month, so that's the number to beat for October.

horsepoor

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #110 on: September 28, 2017, 10:50:40 AM »


 
Today I'm experimenting with making oatmeal in my little soup warmer at work.  It may mean having a late breakfast, or eating oatmeal at lunch time, but I'm excited about the possibilities for a cheap and easy option at the office.

Success!  It actually was perfectly cooked in about an hour.  I brought an 8 oz Mason jar with oats, raisins, cinnamon, protein powder and a pat of butter, dumped it in with about a cup of coconut "milk".  I'll be doing this a lot this winter.

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #111 on: September 29, 2017, 01:03:06 PM »
3 full days left in the month, and I am giving myself a budget of just $20 for those days. Just for groceries - shouldn't need to buy anything else (fingers crossed).

AH...I should have known - totally jinxed myself! Yesterday we spent $28 on groceries, $17 on wine, and $14 on some much needed vacuum bags (ran out 4 months ago....it is time).  :/  That is $39 more than I expected, so our Sept total is now $1902+39 = $1941 CAD ($1556 USD).


Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #112 on: September 29, 2017, 01:25:10 PM »


 
Today I'm experimenting with making oatmeal in my little soup warmer at work.  It may mean having a late breakfast, or eating oatmeal at lunch time, but I'm excited about the possibilities for a cheap and easy option at the office.

Success!  It actually was perfectly cooked in about an hour.  I brought an 8 oz Mason jar with oats, raisins, cinnamon, protein powder and a pat of butter, dumped it in with about a cup of coconut "milk".  I'll be doing this a lot this winter.

Sounds delicious! If you want a super quick porridge, you can also easily make instant oats at home. You grind half of a bag of old fashioned oats in a blender and mix them in a mason jar with the other half of the bag (whole oats). I have a jar on my desk at work and I only add boiling water to them. Not as nice as your fancy oats, but a treat when you've cycled to work in the freezing cold early in the morning. At home I like to make them with milk or a plant-based milk and raisins or berries too.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #113 on: September 29, 2017, 01:27:16 PM »
I spent a bit too much in September, although much of it was kind of necessary. I have decided to make October my super frugal month.
I had €2000 in my emergency fund (I'm on a lower income than most people here) on August 1 and I have €1300 in it right now. I want it to be as high as possible on October 31. Normally I save about €250/month, so my target is anything over €1550 on October 31.

I spent €2,75 in groceries today. I'm going to spend a similar amount tomorrow because I've seen our regular coffee brand is on sale in the local grocery store.

Off the Wheel

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #114 on: September 29, 2017, 06:46:52 PM »
Yes! I need this!

I'm just ratcheting up my mustachism and really need to get my discretionary spending in check. September was a little bit crazy... I got my hair done, then justified 'replacing' some worn out shoes, but spend $400 to do so. (Three pairs, but still!) I've also been working a ton, which means a lot of coffee and food out. No more. I'll be joining for October. The goal will be less than $1000 discretionary spending.

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #115 on: September 30, 2017, 08:02:41 AM »
Yes! I need this!

I'm just ratcheting up my mustachism and really need to get my discretionary spending in check. September was a little bit crazy... I got my hair done, then justified 'replacing' some worn out shoes, but spend $400 to do so. (Three pairs, but still!) I've also been working a ton, which means a lot of coffee and food out. No more. I'll be joining for October. The goal will be less than $1000 discretionary spending.

Welcome, thanks for joining!

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #116 on: September 30, 2017, 08:26:18 AM »
My October starts today (I purchased groceries and a bus pass-- both of which will be used after October 1st).

$60 (groceries-- a little higher than normal because I needed some staples like GF flour and stevia) NECCESSARY
$55 (bus pass) NECCESSARY

I also resisted re-downloading my Uber app to get to an inconvenient tutoring appointment. Sometimes in the past I've justified Ubering to tutoring gigs because "I'm earning money there anyway" but this is silly.

I've also had this suitcase sitting in my Amazon cart taunting me. I've got some upcoming trips this year (paid for with hacking & hustles of course) and the backpack I had been using broke. My dream suitcase is a Osprey suitcase that rolls AND converts into a really nicely supported backpacking backpack. It's pretty much the perfect item for traveling because you can roll it around in the city and look chic and then carry it on your back in rural areas or over cobblestone. It is also $300, which feels like a lot considering I bought my college Euro-backpacking backpack for $110 at REI. Then I saw Frugalwoods posted this...

http://www.frugalwoods.com/2017/09/25/why-i-mostly-disagree-with-buy-it-for-life/

So I'm now looking at some other suitcase/backpack options that are more in the $100-$125 range. They look a bit bulkier, they have about 1 less star in reviews, and the backpack feature looks less comfortable. BUT on each of my trips I'll be away for just a little over a week and probably won't use the backpack feature as often as the rolling feature.

ANYWAY, the point of this ramble is that I'm trying to consider whether I should "buy it for life" with the really nice suitcase/backpack or "buy something cheap that works now" with the other option.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #117 on: September 30, 2017, 10:11:01 AM »
Well, it depends really. I read that article too and I get what she means, many people use it as a justification to buy new instead of used and buy more expensive stuff than they need, but it's a hard decision in individual cases. I try to avoid buying new anything that I'll only have temporarily. When I really need (and not want) something for only a short amount of time I try to borrow, rent or buy secondhand.  In that case I'm not too critical about what I can get, as long as it serves its purpose. I only buy new when I intend to use that product until it wears out beyond repair.

When I'm actually buying something new, I do want to pay attention to what I buy. I don't buy the most expensive product or the most well-known brand, but I do try to buy the best thing ( = something that ticks all / most of the boxes) I can afford at that point and preferably the best choice environmentally (although that's not always easy to decide). As for a suitcase: I bought a Samsonite years ago. It was originally €300 but I got €100 off if I bought a colour that was going out of production. It's hand luggage size which is convenient for flying. I rarely fly, but I wanted to make sure it was hand luggage size and not a couple cm too big, just in case I would fly. It's also a really convenient size to take on the train, which is my preferred way to travel. As I have health issues that can cause fatigue, I knew I had to find one that has very good wheels and wasn't heavy. I had borrowed enough cases on wheels to know half of them are terrible quality and hard to handle. The Samsonite ticked all the boxes for me. I'm still really happy I bought it 6 years ago. It's been used heavily since. It took me 6 weeks of doubt to spend that much money on a suitcase, but it's one of the best purchases I've ever made. In this case, buy-it-once was really the best decision.

akzidenz

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #118 on: September 30, 2017, 10:42:10 AM »
I really liked the Frugalwoods article.

I notice a certain pseudo-BIFL attitude quite often in my demographic—that is, people in their early twenties who are flush with cash now that they've graduated college, STEM-minded, very used to evaluating and comparing things in terms of features and specs…

I think the BIFL mindset means one thing to, say, a person who's been cooking their own meals for years and years, and knows that they'll use a nice cast-iron pan but not a nice Dutch oven. I often catch myself reading advice that is targeted to that kind of educated consumer, and then thinking "well, I don't really cook that much, but if I did, shouldn't I get a nice pan? a nice knife?"

I've also realized there are some things where I really notice quality (or really get value out of the extra quality), and other areas where I frankly have no taste/discernment to notice. It's very hard for me to buy cheaper sweaters—I really notice the lower-quality yarns. But I don't notice/care about the difference between fancy sheets and IKEA sheets at all!

westtoeast, you probably know best how valuable (or not!) a BIFL suitcase is to you. Best of luck making your decision! I also wonder if your dream suitcase is a little cheaper on eBay? I had my heart set on a brand-name hairdryer at some point, and managed to find a great eBay deal for it.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2017, 10:45:10 AM by akzidenz »

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #119 on: October 01, 2017, 02:13:32 PM »
Caved a little (on October 1!) and bought $20 of frozen food at TJ's. The last two weeks have involved incredible grad school stress and minor illness, and between those factors my energy for cooking plummeted. Just ate my first vegetable-containing meal in more days than I'd like to admit.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #120 on: October 01, 2017, 02:30:55 PM »
I spent a bit too much in September, although much of it was kind of necessary. I have decided to make October my super frugal month.
I had €2000 in my emergency fund (I'm on a lower income than most people here) on August 1 and I have €1300 in it right now. I want it to be as high as possible on October 31. Normally I save about €250/month, so my target is anything over €1550 on October 31.

I spent €2,75 in groceries today. I'm going to spend a similar amount tomorrow because I've seen our regular coffee brand is on sale in the local grocery store.

€8,99 for a set of tea towels.

Total: €11,74

Next expected purchase is some drinks on Tuesday. I received theater tickets as a gift some time ago and we'll probably have a drink afterwards. I also expect to need some stamps later this week. Other than that, no upcoming purchases. I'm just going to track every single thing to make sure I spend as little as possible.

Off the Wheel

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #121 on: October 01, 2017, 04:36:23 PM »
October's not starting off too well!

Today spent:

$16.73 on breakfast/coffee for DH and me (weekend tradition, and I love it)
$64.67 on my contribution to Thanksgiving next weekend (but my parents will cover all other food & things, so next weekend will be cheaper than usual)
$49.49 at the grocery store
$66.97 at the produce store

= $197.86 CAD in a day, all on food. Eep!

Those last two will see us through a dinner party for 6 tonight, and hopefully all meals for the week... so it just started pretty high. :S

On the positive, I did list a number of items that I had around the house for sale, so if they all go I'll still net a profit. I also realized I could pay for some items on my credit card with points, so wiped out $25 that way.

hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #122 on: October 01, 2017, 07:58:21 PM »
Long-time lurker, first time poster. For my first post on the forum (yay!), I am going to sign up for the October half of this challenge. September didn't go well because I went over my budget for my SO's birthday, and I let stress at work overwhelm me (and my ability to keep a budget). Here's hoping that a public commitment for October will help!

The two positives from September that I hope to carry through are that I biked to work every single day and, consequently, did not spend ANY money on fuel.

Of course it's only Oct. 1, so I can't report much for Oct. I didn't spend a dime today, though, and I spent an hour or so reconciling my reckless September spending.

horsepoor

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #123 on: October 01, 2017, 09:01:33 PM »
My October started yesterday with re-stocking some pantry staples.  Adding in a bulk order of turmeric root and dried beans today, I'm at $229 for grocery spending already this month.  However, I'm pretty pleased with how well stocked we are now, and shouldn't need to do much of any grocery shopping before leaving for a work trip mid-month.

For the work trip, I arranged to stay at an extended-stay hotel, so I have a kitchenette, and will try to minimize eating out, so I can pocket most of my per diem.  I know there is a grocery store within walking distance.  The only challenge will be the after-hours socializing aspect.

Expected expenses are bodywork for wonky horse, about $200 for a ton of hay, $85 for a riding lesson, and $450-ish at the end of the month for two lambs for the freezer.

I'm also taking next week off with my main project being rearranging some things with the veggie garden.  I'll try to re-use  materials as much as possible, but might end up spending a bit on raised bed materials, and possibly landscaping rock.  With all this in mind, I need to keep all silly expenses, like the winter boots and sweater I have my eyes on, under control.

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #124 on: October 01, 2017, 10:10:11 PM »
Goal for Oct will be to spend $2000 CAD or less ($1600 USD). $440 Housing, $195 Utilities, $1365 for everything else. Household w/ 2 adults & 1 cat.

One day in and we've already spent $45 on groceries and $40 on gas. :/

I also know we will need to spend about $200 on a new pair of shoes and some clothing for DH. His everyday shoes have come apart on the sole, and we've moved beyond shoe goo repair for them. He also needs 2 new sweaters to replace 2 worn out ones that he wears a LOT & has had for about 5 years each.

My biggest challenge will be to keep grocery spending under control.

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #125 on: October 01, 2017, 11:24:55 PM »
The two positives from September that I hope to carry through are that I biked to work every single day and, consequently, did not spend ANY money on fuel.

That's awesome! I aspire to your level. Welcome!

swick

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #126 on: October 02, 2017, 09:11:03 AM »
Long-time lurker, first time poster. For my first post on the forum (yay!), I am going to sign up for the October half of this challenge. September didn't go well because I went over my budget for my SO's birthday, and I let stress at work overwhelm me (and my ability to keep a budget). Here's hoping that a public commitment for October will help!

The two positives from September that I hope to carry through are that I biked to work every single day and, consequently, did not spend ANY money on fuel.

Of course it's only Oct. 1, so I can't report much for Oct. I didn't spend a dime today, though, and I spent an hour or so reconciling my reckless September spending.

Welcome, Hal! This is a great thread/challenge for your first intro to the forums :)

I am going to join the party late and I'm in for October as well!

We are making most of our Christmas presents this year and need them done before Dec 1st, so will get some supplies for that as we need to.

Last month we did a major stock-up on foodstuffs across the border and through our bulk supplier, so the focus this challenge for us will really be keeping our food spending low, consciously planning to use what we have and taking advantage of the last of the garden and foraged fruit that is around.


stimepy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #127 on: October 02, 2017, 09:24:10 AM »
9/30 $53   - Grill regulator replacement.  I can get the current one to work, but it a pain so it's time to just fix the problem, so a necessary cost
9/30 $34   - Office Snacks + pills. Snacks Usually lasts a month plus and pills are a 2.5 month supply.  necessary
9/30  $4    - Tire inflator in a can  Don't need it, and might be years before I use it but it can be a life saver.   Calling it un-necessary for now.
10/1  $20  - a Game - completely un-necessary  I am weak I admit it.


Total required: $87
Total face punch worthy: $24 

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. - Walter Bagehot

finallyfrugal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #128 on: October 02, 2017, 10:51:26 AM »
Hi New online friends! I am a lurker, but want to jump in on this challenge for October. I am playing a little game with myself this month to see if I can spend only $200 for my family of 3 for groceries, since we have a stockpile of meat in the freezer, plenty of stuff in the pantry and are actually eating tons of lentil and bean-type meals that we like right now (curries and soups and whatnot)...2 years ago we were spending over $1000/month on groceries, convenience food and eating at restaurants as a family. Last month we spent $412, which was our best month all year! Each month I'm getting better at reining in my spending on fancy ingredients and getting creative with our recipes.

So far, I stocked up for the next 2 weeks:
Oct 1 Aldi- $57
Dollar Tree - $7
Fresh Thyme - $11

Thanks for welcoming this newbie to the challenge!

katscratch

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #129 on: October 02, 2017, 11:38:50 AM »
finallyfrugal that's an incredible difference in just a couple years! Welcome!

I completely spaced posting in the last week but I've been trucking along! My only discretionary spending aside from groceries-to-a-list have been for events with friends, which I'm keeping as frugal as possible (one appetizer, eat beforehand, etc).

Definitely keeping it up in October, with the added challenge of biking every day instead of driving....eek.

DL21901

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #130 on: October 03, 2017, 08:49:29 AM »
Oof, been mostly successful the past two weeks.

Successfully resisted the siren call of McD at the airport for my packed lunch instead. (it's a bad habit...I started getting nuggets on those long, miserable cross country flights going home in undergrad and kept it up after graduating, heh)

Then got home and realized there was no food for lunch, and bought a sandwich the next day. Whoops.

New kitty is doing well. Got a litter box (well, dish pan but it'll do) and scoop at the dollar store. Just for fun, price checked against the department store pricing and saved about $15. yowza. Total spent: ~$20 Watching DH bond with the cat: priceless

New month, new slate. Have a crazy two weeks coming up and the challenge will be to resist "treating myself" with coffee shop treats. Baked off two loaves of cc banana bread last night and stocked up the tea in my desk, so hopefully that will do the trick. 
Living like a student is easy when you're still a student.

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #131 on: October 03, 2017, 12:04:46 PM »
I spent $8 on parking yesterday because I am a fool. I can check out a parking pass from my school for free to park at the school nearby, but I forgot to do so before 5:00.

Also spent $20 on a different athletic swimsuit, fingers crossed, and I'm slowly admitting to myself that my viola needs new strings, which is a $42 expense. Which all told means I'm looking at $90 unnecessary spending (about my total for December) on day 3.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #132 on: October 03, 2017, 03:29:18 PM »
I spent a bit too much in September, although much of it was kind of necessary. I have decided to make October my super frugal month.
I had €2000 in my emergency fund (I'm on a lower income than most people here) on August 1 and I have €1300 in it right now. I want it to be as high as possible on October 31. Normally I save about €250/month, so my target is anything over €1550 on October 31.

I spent €2,75 in groceries today. I'm going to spend a similar amount tomorrow because I've seen our regular coffee brand is on sale in the local grocery store.

€8,99 for a set of tea towels.

Total: €11,74

Next expected purchase is some drinks on Tuesday. I received theater tickets as a gift some time ago and we'll probably have a drink afterwards. I also expect to need some stamps later this week. Other than that, no upcoming purchases. I'm just going to track every single thing to make sure I spend as little as possible.

€11,20 for drinks and snacks at the theater.

Total: €22,94

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #133 on: October 03, 2017, 03:49:14 PM »
Ugh. Grocery spending is already at $120 after only 3 days....

Some of that is stocking up on essentials, but some is buying convenience foods for busy work nights such as boxed soup. Also treating myself to fancy cheese.  Spending basically nothing on anything else... just SO MANY GROCERIES. This always happens when I am working too much. Going to try to spend $0 on groceries between now & Sat.


hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #134 on: October 03, 2017, 05:56:45 PM »
Ugh. Grocery spending is already at $120 after only 3 days....

Some of that is stocking up on essentials, but some is buying convenience foods for busy work nights such as boxed soup. Also treating myself to fancy cheese.  Spending basically nothing on anything else... just SO MANY GROCERIES. This always happens when I am working too much. Going to try to spend $0 on groceries between now & Sat.

I still need to pick up a bit of the compromise attitude (buying convenience foods) for when I can't cook because I am busy. For some reason, I have never bought much frozen or "easy to cook" food, in part because of a desire not to eat processed foods. Of course, when I'm busy and stressed, that means that I sometimes grab fast food -- unhealthy, processed, and expensive. Fast food sometimes becomes WAY too big of a budget item.

Speaking of which, for Oct. challenge, I battled internally about grabbing fast food today...and had to take a nap to stave off cravings. So day 3 was another success :)

YellowCat

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #135 on: October 03, 2017, 07:32:34 PM »
I'm joining in to keep myself accountable for October. I feel like we've been spending a lot lately and I need this to remind me to rein it in a little...technically I haven't spent any money yet in October on anything frivolous (just mortgage, groceries, utilities), though I do have a potential fail coming up. My mom requested a fitbit for her birthday in late Oct, so I'm proposing to use a $75 credit I have and paying the remaining ~$25 out of pocket. So there's that, though I'd have to come up with a birthday gift somehow and $25 isn't too bad.

On the "frugal wins" side of things (1) I just got a beautiful Shinola journal for free for attending an all-day regional coordination meeting earlier today, so I'll be giving that to my husband for Christmas. I think he'll really like it and it was completely free! (2) My sister lucked into an opportunity to pick an unlimited amount of apples for free, so when she stopped by this weekend she brought me a few pounds, probably 4-5 lb. I've made some tasty applesauce with about 2/3 of them and the rest will be for eating. (3) We hosted a baby shower at our house last weekend for some close friends and along with self-catering it (minimizing the expense, at least) I got to keep all of the tissue paper and ribbon from the gift wrapping. And it's a lot! My pregnant friend didn't want it so I rescued it from the trash pile and kept it aside for our future gift wrapping needs. It's in all sorts of lovely colors :) It's a pretty good list of wins so far.
Aiming for $1.25M by 2020...

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #136 on: October 04, 2017, 03:06:40 AM »
Ugh. Grocery spending is already at $120 after only 3 days....

Some of that is stocking up on essentials, but some is buying convenience foods for busy work nights such as boxed soup. Also treating myself to fancy cheese.  Spending basically nothing on anything else... just SO MANY GROCERIES. This always happens when I am working too much. Going to try to spend $0 on groceries between now & Sat.

I still need to pick up a bit of the compromise attitude (buying convenience foods) for when I can't cook because I am busy. For some reason, I have never bought much frozen or "easy to cook" food, in part because of a desire not to eat processed foods. Of course, when I'm busy and stressed, that means that I sometimes grab fast food -- unhealthy, processed, and expensive. Fast food sometimes becomes WAY too big of a budget item.

Speaking of which, for Oct. challenge, I battled internally about grabbing fast food today...and had to take a nap to stave off cravings. So day 3 was another success :)

We always keep a lot of easy to cook and relatively healthy foods on hand for busy seasons at work. Especially in my job, overtime is usually unexpected.

I actually made a meal like that yesterday. I had a bake-at-home Turkish bread in my pantry (which is soft fluffy white bread and about a foot wide) and sliced it through the middle so I had two round pizzas. I had tomato sauce in the pantry too, mixed some onion powder, garlic powder and basil from the spice rack in the sauce, then topped the pizza with whatever I had in the fridge. 8-10 minutes in a hot oven and you have a really nice homemade pizza. The bread is processed and not all the toppings are healthy, but it's a million times healthier than having pizza delivered, not to mention much faster and cheaper. From opening my pantry door to sitting down for dinner was less than 20 minutes.

partgypsy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #137 on: October 04, 2017, 08:44:51 AM »
Well I have been separated as of april 2016, and there have been many adjustments, including being primary carer for my 2 kids, but still juggling full time job. One of my intentions is to reduce spending. I admit I have not been ruthless and systematic as I could, but just trying to be more mindful.

Looking at this year spending, versus the average of years 2014-2016 find:
344 a month less in grocery yay!  212 a month less on miscellaneous yay! 113 a month less on house (putting off purchases and some repairs), 42 a month less on restaurant, 29 a month less on clothing.
Where went up:
143 a month MORE on recurring: property taxes went up, internet went up (may be able to cut here if examine all bills)
86 more a month on car (now have a 272 a month car payment versus paid-off car. Car however is less repair-prone).
16 a month more on travel (this is for sanity reasons, I may spend even a little more on travel next year...)
Overall my ingo has gone down by 1113 a month, and my outgo has gone down 908 a month.
So I still have some work to do.

I would like to do even better, but am heartened that I was able to cut grocery despite fact that I have the kids the majority of time and need to do more meal preparation. I expected that restaurant would go up, but except for a couple months (travel, family visiting) restaurant has been pretty low. I do go out about once a week with boyfriend, and he picks up check. But we try to find not so expensive places to go (Indian buffet!). I try to return the favor by making some meals. Going to try to build on these changes.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 08:56:11 AM by partgypsy »

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #138 on: October 04, 2017, 11:16:28 AM »
Ugh. Grocery spending is already at $120 after only 3 days....

Some of that is stocking up on essentials, but some is buying convenience foods for busy work nights such as boxed soup. Also treating myself to fancy cheese.  Spending basically nothing on anything else... just SO MANY GROCERIES. This always happens when I am working too much. Going to try to spend $0 on groceries between now & Sat.

I still need to pick up a bit of the compromise attitude (buying convenience foods) for when I can't cook because I am busy. For some reason, I have never bought much frozen or "easy to cook" food, in part because of a desire not to eat processed foods. Of course, when I'm busy and stressed, that means that I sometimes grab fast food -- unhealthy, processed, and expensive. Fast food sometimes becomes WAY too big of a budget item.

Speaking of which, for Oct. challenge, I battled internally about grabbing fast food today...and had to take a nap to stave off cravings. So day 3 was another success :)

We always keep a lot of easy to cook and relatively healthy foods on hand for busy seasons at work. Especially in my job, overtime is usually unexpected.

I actually made a meal like that yesterday. I had a bake-at-home Turkish bread in my pantry (which is soft fluffy white bread and about a foot wide) and sliced it through the middle so I had two round pizzas. I had tomato sauce in the pantry too, mixed some onion powder, garlic powder and basil from the spice rack in the sauce, then topped the pizza with whatever I had in the fridge. 8-10 minutes in a hot oven and you have a really nice homemade pizza. The bread is processed and not all the toppings are healthy, but it's a million times healthier than having pizza delivered, not to mention much faster and cheaper. From opening my pantry door to sitting down for dinner was less than 20 minutes.

Thank you so much, Imma & hal !

You're right - I suppose buying more convenient groceries for those busy work nights is the lesser of two evils. I am just so used to cooking most things from scratch - it's difficult for me to pay $5 for a small box of butternut squash soup when I normally make my own huge vat of it for FAR less/serving. But it could be much worse, and it is a compromise, as you say.

Part of the issue is that I have been so busy with work that I have not had time to replenish my own freezer meals, etc... I often freeze my own soups, stews, falafels, etc... for busy work nights but the freezer is getting bare.

Thank you for your suggestions - I had forgotten about DIY pizza. In a pinch, I have used store-bought naan bread as the dough & it works great. Definitely far better than ordering in!

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #139 on: October 04, 2017, 03:36:56 PM »
I have been told you can freeze balls of homemade dough, but I haven't tried it yet. You're supposed to take it out of the freezer in the morning so it can thaw and you can roll it out and use it straight away when you get home in the evening. I haven't tried that though. I have made homemade frozen pizzas in the past. I rolled out the dough and cut pizza shapes from it, I put the dough in the oven for a few minutes until it was solid enough to handle, then put the toppings on and froze them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they're frozen solid you can bag them up.

hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #140 on: October 04, 2017, 07:30:28 PM »
I have been told you can freeze balls of homemade dough, but I haven't tried it yet. You're supposed to take it out of the freezer in the morning so it can thaw and you can roll it out and use it straight away when you get home in the evening. I haven't tried that though. I have made homemade frozen pizzas in the past. I rolled out the dough and cut pizza shapes from it, I put the dough in the oven for a few minutes until it was solid enough to handle, then put the toppings on and froze them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once they're frozen solid you can bag them up.

Awesome idea. Reminds me of another very cheap thing we used to do growing up — personal “pizzas” made on frozen, store-brand English muffins. My mother would set up the kitchen like a taco bar, with various pizza ingredients lined up so that we could design our own personal mini-pizzas. For kids, definitely cheaper than the various frozen pizza-bites (or whatever they were called).

Freshwater

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #141 on: October 04, 2017, 09:28:48 PM »
Just make sure you wrap the pizza dough ball in glad wrap before freezing or it will go crusty. I've also got grated mozzarella in the freezer to make it extra easy.

Well October has so far been pretty expensive (thanks dog, he's fine now) but no unnecessary spending so far except for $20 on fish and chips at the weekend. On Monday I was scrolling uber eats because we could not be bothered cooking but at the last minute managed to rustle up a salad. I made a very tasty veggie pasta bake on Tues by shopping the pantry that stretched to a large lunch on Weds so we only needed sandwiches for dinner.

I've got a few people coming over in a couple of weekends for nibbles but I've been shopping half price deals to get nice snacky things that we wouldn't normally buy. I'll also make something from scratch and they'll bring a plate. Cheap entertainment.

ixtap

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #142 on: October 04, 2017, 09:42:23 PM »
Well, binging on fast food is not helpful for any of my life goals.

I got the old journal out, I really got to get my act together.

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #143 on: October 05, 2017, 04:52:37 AM »
I've also realized there are some things where I really notice quality (or really get value out of the extra quality), and other areas where I frankly have no taste/discernment to notice. It's very hard for me to buy cheaper sweaters—I really notice the lower-quality yarns. But I don't notice/care about the difference between fancy sheets and IKEA sheets at all!

westtoeast, you probably know best how valuable (or not!) a BIFL suitcase is to you. Best of luck making your decision! I also wonder if your dream suitcase is a little cheaper on eBay? I had my heart set on a brand-name hairdryer at some point, and managed to find a great eBay deal for it.

I agree-- there are some things where quality will make a huge difference and other areas when it doesn't matter. Thanks for the eBay advice! I searched though... and the darn suitcase/backpack is actually MORE expensive on eBay. SUPER weird, I've never seen that before. I ended up ordering the cheaper version (literally a $230 difference) and I'll try it on, do a "test pack," and decide if it will meet my needs before I invest in the fancypants suitcase/backpack.

Spending Update:
October 3: $20, medical -- NECC.
October 3: $35, X-Mas gift for my mom (Ok... so this is waaay early but I saw the perfect item I know she will really use.) --NECC. (I think)
October 3: $110, medical appointment -- NECC.
October 5: $70, convertible suitcase/backpack thingy (I probably should classify this as unnecessary b/c its for personal travel which is a luxury in the first place) -- UNNECC.

Next few weeks shouldn't require much spend. We are going on a 1 night "fall getaway" the weekend after next to hike a nearby mountain, and booked a very cute inn nearby--- BUT we found a fairly valuable item on the street on garbage day and sold it on Craigslist to fund the hotel night! So we are breaking even. We will also try to pack lots of snacks-- but realistically, we may eat out for 1 or 2 meals (a country brunch is hard to resist).

katscratch

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #144 on: October 05, 2017, 07:05:10 AM »
So far no fluff spending this month. I did pay to see a couple bands perform last weekend with friends, but I am committed to building my friendships this year. I ate the same thing every day last week and it worked great to not have to spend extra energy thinking about food, ha. Would not be sustainable long term though.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #145 on: October 05, 2017, 07:52:29 AM »
So far this month has been going great. We were in the woods the first couple days, and then I've been working 12s since we got back (and husband has been working similar), and we return to the woods tomorrow. No time to spend money, haha. Gas cost will be a little higher though, since the woods are a bit of a drive, and we're having to take the truck since it's for hunting. Can't get over tank traps or fit a buck in a jetta ;)

Also, because of shifting work days, I'm missing 1 acupuncture session this month, so that's $50 "saved" off my medical category.

We'll see how the month shapes up when we're actually at home more, haha.
My journal: Hiding in the Ferns
Like babies? Have kids? Want to chat about Babies and Pregnancy/Infertility? Group Journal Here.

horsepoor

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #146 on: October 05, 2017, 09:17:02 AM »
Incoming facepunches:

$107 - hair appointment - cut and color.  I've been going to the same person for years, and she's good, so I pay. :)
$121 - new saddle pad - wool-lined pad that enables me to use my existing saddle on new horse.  Could have bought a sheepskin pelt and modified two existing pads for less.  OTOH, way cheaper than a new saddle!
$46 - horse show entry fee - last show opportunity for the year
$3 - arena use fee yesterday
$2.00 - small coffee at Starbuck's when I was dragging ass Monday night

Wins
Read rule book for horse show attire and determined that my shirt was OK without the stupid stock ties that are usually worn in dressage
Eating up lots of garden veggies and homegrown eggs
No driving to work yesterday or today
Added leftover braised cabbage to leftover chicken soup for dinner last night... new kind of soup, and food waste averted!  Made cornbread from scratch with leftover bacon grease instead of butter, and a beer no one wanted to drink instead of buttermilk.
Joined a free 6-week horse training popup group on Facebook
Canned ketchup over the weekend.  Will do a batch of salsa verde next, using lots of green tomatoes.
Got over 2 yards of horse manure loaded into my truck and put it in the garden to turn into next year's veggies


YellowCat

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #147 on: October 05, 2017, 06:51:09 PM »
I'm joining in to keep myself accountable for October. I feel like we've been spending a lot lately and I need this to remind me to rein it in a little...technically I haven't spent any money yet in October on anything frivolous (just mortgage, groceries, utilities), though I do have a potential fail coming up. My mom requested a fitbit for her birthday in late Oct, so I'm proposing to use a $75 credit I have and paying the remaining ~$25 out of pocket. So there's that, though I'd have to come up with a birthday gift somehow and $25 isn't too bad.

On the "frugal wins" side of things (1) I just got a beautiful Shinola journal for free for attending an all-day regional coordination meeting earlier today, so I'll be giving that to my husband for Christmas. I think he'll really like it and it was completely free! (2) My sister lucked into an opportunity to pick an unlimited amount of apples for free, so when she stopped by this weekend she brought me a few pounds, probably 4-5 lb. I've made some tasty applesauce with about 2/3 of them and the rest will be for eating. (3) We hosted a baby shower at our house last weekend for some close friends and along with self-catering it (minimizing the expense, at least) I got to keep all of the tissue paper and ribbon from the gift wrapping. And it's a lot! My pregnant friend didn't want it so I rescued it from the trash pile and kept it aside for our future gift wrapping needs. It's in all sorts of lovely colors :) It's a pretty good list of wins so far.

Hah! Turns out my husband had more credit than I did (wellness incentives through work) so I was able to get my Mom's birthday fitbit for the low low price of free. We picked out a Cuisinart ice cream maker with my credit, which seems a rather perverse wellness reward. I'm dairy free, though, so I'm pretty excited to figure out some good homemade ice cream flavors that I can actually eat.  This fancy new toy was also free. I've asked my husband to wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree as a gift from both of us to both of us :) We'd been thinking of getting one for a while and it's a good opportunity for some extra celebration at Christmas.

I still haven't spent any money on "wants" this month, though I've been tempted by some wonderful yarn sales. I'm a crazy knitter. My husband is making up for my frugality somewhat but (1) he hasn't exactly been going crazy and (2) better only one of us than both of us.
Aiming for $1.25M by 2020...

hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #148 on: October 05, 2017, 09:37:02 PM »
Had a bit of a slip up today — we usually eat out about once every two weeks or so, and usually at a cheap place. I had hoped to go through October without doing it once, but SO and I decided to go to a burger joint (less than $20 all told). In part, we needed a reprieve from work and a moment of celebration. I am a teacher, and it has been a hectic few weeks at school. I’m trying out a bunch of new things this year and upending a lot of my teaching practice. But (for the celebration): I was observed today, while sleep deprived, and I left the lesson thinking that it went really, really well. About an hour later, I received the score — a damn good evaluation from a notoriously tough administrator.

Definitely worth celebrating, given how stressful this year has already been. No regrets. (But I can’t repeat this!)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 09:39:11 PM by hal »

lemonverbena

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #149 on: October 05, 2017, 09:53:59 PM »

9/21: $786 the biggest and last of the hospital bills

9/22: $247 groceries (Spouse did the shopping. We had a reminder talk afterwards.)
         $7 Netflix-type bill
9/23: $13 u-pick apples
         $34 gasoline
9/24: $0
9/25: $0
9/26: $0
9/27: $35 gasoline
         $81 water/sewer bill

9/28: $5 groceries
9/29: $8, Netflix free trial spouse didn't cancel, ugh
         +$80 craigslist sale
9/30: $0
         +$60 side gig income
10/1: $23 canning jars and groceries
         $76 continuing education class
         $37 paint for newly hung drywall
10/2: $4 staple gun staples
         $537 carpet and padding, installed ourselves
10/3: $120 groceries
         $222 health insurance
         $23 fast food
         $2 groceries
         $1253 mortgage
10/4: $34 gasoline
         $49 case and hook for kid's musical instrument

Expensive weekend, but if you consider that we spent it turning a two bedroom house into a three bedroom, I'd say we came out ahead. I'm not feeling too bad about the fast food... we were tired after all the spackling/painting/carpet installation and the kitchen was a disaster from simultaneously canning several batches of marmalade fresh off our quince tree, which will serve as holiday gifts.