Author Topic: Low Spend September & October Challenge  (Read 9812 times)

wordnerd

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #150 on: October 06, 2017, 08:45:45 AM »
Recently, I've been slipping up on eating out. Some have been social, but some have also has been "I'm sick and pregnant, and I want to eat X." I have lunch scheduled out today with a colleague, and then I going to stop eating out for the rest of month.
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TMInsall

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #151 on: October 06, 2017, 10:11:26 AM »
Spent $191.97 of discretionary spending in September. Way down from high of over $800 this spring. Here's to getting below $150 this month!

DL21901

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #152 on: October 06, 2017, 02:15:23 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.

Yes! We do this frequently. I use http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/07/basic-new-york-style-pizza-dough.html, but with all-purpose flour instead of bread dough. It doesn't really make a difference.

What I do is make a full recipe and split it into four, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer. Pull it out of the freezer anywhere from 12-48 hours before you want to use it, pat out into a cast iron pan (don't even have to bother rolling it out), add toppings and bake for ~12 minutes at 450 degF. Much easier than making a full par-baked frozen pizza, and just as fast. With salad fixings in the fridge, I can put dinner on the table in 20 minutes from walking in the door.

As far as our own spending:
Holding strong so far. Seriously was thinking about buying lunch today, but got it together and put some canned sardines on top of leftover rice and veg for a good cheap meal instead.

On the other hand it's been raining a lot, and my jacket is definitely losing its waterproofing. If it keeps raining, my first purchase in November might be some new waterproofing spray, heh.

Here's a funny story: our new cat pooped on the bed last night. (I think we've figured out why, but that's a story for another time) The comforter cover goes in the washer fine, but to our dismay there was definitely some...residue that had gotten into the comforter itself. Bleh. After some waffling about whether or not we should take it to a cleaner and have it washed, DH and I manned up and scrubbed it out by hand in the bathtub, then wrung it mostly dry by hand, then stuffed it in the dryer and manually fluffed it every ~15 minutes until it dried out enough to air dry overnight. Probably saved all of $20 in return for an evening cleaning poop, but hey! Definitely a bonding experience, and DH pointed out that it's probably good practice for kids XD
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 02:35:29 PM by DL21901 »
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DL21901

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #153 on: October 06, 2017, 02:42:05 PM »
Also - hey Bracken, since you mention deer hunting, have you ever run the economics on eating hunted meat? Neither DH nor I come from hunting communities, but I really want to learn how. I figure it's better meat at lower environmental cost than conventional meats. The problem is the initial time and cost investment. Right now we compromise by not really eating meat very much at all, maybe 4-5x/month. Is there an easy and economical way to get into hunting? Maybe by starting with small game? (squirrels etc)
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Freshwater

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #154 on: October 06, 2017, 03:04:47 PM »
Also - hey Bracken, since you mention deer hunting, have you ever run the economics on eating hunted meat? Neither DH nor I come from hunting communities, but I really want to learn how. I figure it's better meat at lower environmental cost than conventional meats. The problem is the initial time and cost investment. Right now we compromise by not really eating meat very much at all, maybe 4-5x/month. Is there an easy and economical way to get into hunting? Maybe by starting with small game? (squirrels etc)

What about fishing? Or maybe buying from a hunter? Trying to think of ways to reduce the upfront outlay. 

Here in Australia we can buy hunted meat at the supermarket. e.g. kangaroo which is not only lean but does the environment a favour (they sometimes need to be culled). We also have wild boar. And crocodile (!) but I'm pretty sure that's farmed.

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #155 on: October 06, 2017, 06:12:31 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!)

Oh, congrats on the observation! Also, applause for upending your practice-- that's what the best teachers do!

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #156 on: October 06, 2017, 11:02:20 PM »
So far this month ($CAD):

Fixed:
Housing (mortgage interest, strata): $440
Utilities (phones, internet, electricity): $192
TOTAL: $632


Discretionary:
Gas: $40
Bridge Tolls (from summer travel, billed every 3 months): $12
Groceries: $178
Donations: $50
My "Fun $" ($80/mo): $36
DH "Fun $" ($80/mo): $50
DH Clothing (replacing 2 sweaters - he wears them almost every day & they are worn out after 5-6 yrs): $85
TOTAL : $451


Goal for total spending: <$2000 (~$1600 USD)
Total for Oct so far: $1083
Remaining: $917 (~$36/day or less)


Also, I finally had some time to cook - I made a huge sweet potato & coconut curry w/ brown rice for the next few days and some roasted butternut squash soup to freeze for next week's work nights.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 11:13:54 PM by allsummerlong »

YellowCat

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #157 on: October 07, 2017, 05:47:55 AM »
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.

Had a bit of a win today - I've re-scheduled my knitting date with a very good friend to my house vs. the book store / tea room in town due to anticipated heavy traffic later today (yay college sports). So I get to avoid paying for parking and food, and I don't have to drive! I did make some goodies for the visit - a dozen pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting, mixed nuts, applesauce, and we also have some packaged crunchy salty snacks and fruit / baby carrots. And lots of nice tea. It should be lovely and comfortable and relaxed, and we're both very excited to catch up. She has a 15 month old who will not be attending (baby girl loves her some yarn) and I know my friend's looking forward to the break.

I donated $100 yesterday for Puerto Rico hurricane relief - trying to put my money where my mouth is. If any of you fine folks are interested, the Puerto Rico National Chamber of Commerce has sponsors who are matching donations dollar-for-dollar, so you can get more bang for your buck (https://www.nprchamber.org/disaster-relief) This is absolutely not "frivolous spending" and I'm glad to be in a position to contribute for food, medical supplies, satellite phones, and water filtration systems, necessities which most of us take for granted. Okay - off my soapbox now :) But please do go and check it out.
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westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #158 on: October 07, 2017, 12:20:55 PM »
Ughh today was not a win! I spent $100 at the grocery store-- this is $45 over my typical spend. I need to stop my intermittent fasting program (I was doing just lunch and dinner for the past two years) so I needed breakfast foods for the coming week, which probably adds $10 to my week. I also went to Whole Foods because I wanted a few fancy items (coconut yogurt, nice chicken) and I heard that prices had recently dropped... nope. I also bought pre-spiralized zucchini noodles because I'm considering buying a cheap spiralizer and wanted to see if I liked them. They were $6 bucks! Anyway, I won't be back there again anytime soon. This really blows my food budget for the month.

On the bright side... I haven't bought anything else for the past few days! Hoping to keep that up until the next grocery shop.

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #159 on: October 07, 2017, 03:53:10 PM »
I donated $100 yesterday for Puerto Rico hurricane relief - trying to put my money where my mouth is. If any of you fine folks are interested, the Puerto Rico National Chamber of Commerce has sponsors who are matching donations dollar-for-dollar, so you can get more bang for your buck (https://www.nprchamber.org/disaster-relief) This is absolutely not "frivolous spending" and I'm glad to be in a position to contribute for food, medical supplies, satellite phones, and water filtration systems, necessities which most of us take for granted. Okay - off my soapbox now :) But please do go and check it out.

Thanks for posting this-- used the link you provided to make a small contribution. Nice reminder that while we are trying to cut back as much as we can, likely we can all spare to help in situations like this.

Tass

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #160 on: October 07, 2017, 06:05:45 PM »
Spent $5 stupidly at the grocery today, due to the good ol' trick where they set something on sale and hope you won't notice the new price still sucks. Also going to breakfast with a visiting cousin tomorrow morning; goal to keep that below my $15 restaurant budget for the month. (Which is easy unless drinks are involved.)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #161 on: October 07, 2017, 09:02:55 PM »
Also - hey Bracken, since you mention deer hunting, have you ever run the economics on eating hunted meat? Neither DH nor I come from hunting communities, but I really want to learn how. I figure it's better meat at lower environmental cost than conventional meats. The problem is the initial time and cost investment. Right now we compromise by not really eating meat very much at all, maybe 4-5x/month. Is there an easy and economical way to get into hunting? Maybe by starting with small game? (squirrels etc)

I actually haven't run the numbers per se. It's much more of a cultural/moral thing than it is a cost saving one. Plus, it's hard for me to calculate costs on a couple fronts: we already camp, so many items (tent, camp stove, chairs, etc etc) we already own. We also hike a lot, so outdoor appropriate thermal layers we already own, and boots. My hunting rifle was a birthday present. Since my husband didn't grow up hunting, and is just learning, he's borrowing
 one of my dad's rifles. We also own a truck because we do so much very rough back country type hunting. And then you have the hunting license and tags themselves (varies by state, but this year for us was like $200 for three hard-to-draw tags (draw= controlled hunts are a lottery system you put in for). So as far as the big mule deer we hunt? Almost certainly not more cost effective than ethically raised 100% grass fed organic beef. At least here.

We're on the rare side though I think. Most people deer hunt black tail. They tend to be far more plentiful and smaller. They also hang out in a lot of much easier to get to places. I don't think I'd get into deer hunting without someone experienced to show me how though. Especially if I don't have extensive experience with guns or camping.

Small game you might be able to do. Rabbits and ducks (or grouse if you have them in your area) are probably highest return for the effort in most areas. Again though, if you don't know guns, start with a reputable firearms safety class.

Sorry I don't have better advice. It's hard to tell someone where to start on something that's been a part of your life forever! And for my husband, he's learning from me, and from my parents. I think that's how most people learn- friends, family, or marrying into it.

Freshwater- At least in Oregon, it's illegal to sell game. You can gift it, but not sell. People also barter, although *technically* the IRS regulates that too and so it would count as illegal, but no one really seems to report/monitor that. (We don't, but we go get the good meat that's much harder to get. Black tail tend to be plentiful though- kinda like your kangaroos. We have a minimum number that have to be killed to prevent overpopulation, so if hunters don't get them, game officials will go out and do a cull, otherwise you get mass starvation/die offs).


My numbers are still looking good. Didn't get an animal (boooo) but hoping for elk season for husband still. Gas total for hunting was $86 for two trips out (total of 6 days hunting). Now that we're home, we'll see how things work out!
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Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #162 on: October 08, 2017, 03:35:23 AM »
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

I will buy a train ticket to visit my FIL later today: €12,85
and i will buy the stamps: €3,99

Total: €39,78

Upcoming purchases this week: 2 hospital visits, 2 bus tickets at €6,00 each.

Other than that, no expected purchases.

YellowCat

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #163 on: October 08, 2017, 03:01:42 PM »
I donated $100 yesterday for Puerto Rico hurricane relief - trying to put my money where my mouth is. If any of you fine folks are interested, the Puerto Rico National Chamber of Commerce has sponsors who are matching donations dollar-for-dollar, so you can get more bang for your buck (https://www.nprchamber.org/disaster-relief) This is absolutely not "frivolous spending" and I'm glad to be in a position to contribute for food, medical supplies, satellite phones, and water filtration systems, necessities which most of us take for granted. Okay - off my soapbox now :) But please do go and check it out.

Thanks for posting this-- used the link you provided to make a small contribution. Nice reminder that while we are trying to cut back as much as we can, likely we can all spare to help in situations like this.

@westtoeast - Awesome! Glad you found it useful. I figure if I can spare that amount supporting my hobbies or going to restaurants or whatever (though I'm trying not to) I can certainly also spare that amount to support the purchase of basic supplies for people who desperately need them. Plus 100% matching is pretty great.

In other news I had a splitting headache last night and didn't want to even think of cooking, so Brown Bear (DH) and I went out for Thai food. We did our usual of splitting one bowl of soup and one massive entree (with extra veggies) and the total with tip was $21.50 :/ It was very tasty and convenient, but we could have easily managed to find something to eat at home if we'd been able to conquer headaches and apathy... My spending goal for the month, and honestly for November and December as well, is to be sub-$3k, and we're currently at $1702.27 including our mortgage payment. With Brown Bear's car payment ($326.33, to be withdrawn later this month) that leaves us with $971.40 for additional groceries, gas, bills, whatever. I think we should be able to easily stay below that. Here's me putting the goal down in writing to hold myself accountable!
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Off the Wheel

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #164 on: October 08, 2017, 03:34:45 PM »
Also - hey Bracken, since you mention deer hunting, have you ever run the economics on eating hunted meat? Neither DH nor I come from hunting communities, but I really want to learn how. I figure it's better meat at lower environmental cost than conventional meats. The problem is the initial time and cost investment. Right now we compromise by not really eating meat very much at all, maybe 4-5x/month. Is there an easy and economical way to get into hunting? Maybe by starting with small game? (squirrels etc)

I actually haven't run the numbers per se. It's much more of a cultural/moral thing than it is a cost saving one. Plus, it's hard for me to calculate costs on a couple fronts: we already camp, so many items (tent, camp stove, chairs, etc etc) we already own. We also hike a lot, so outdoor appropriate thermal layers we already own, and boots. My hunting rifle was a birthday present. Since my husband didn't grow up hunting, and is just learning, he's borrowing
 one of my dad's rifles. We also own a truck because we do so much very rough back country type hunting. And then you have the hunting license and tags themselves (varies by state, but this year for us was like $200 for three hard-to-draw tags (draw= controlled hunts are a lottery system you put in for). So as far as the big mule deer we hunt? Almost certainly not more cost effective than ethically raised 100% grass fed organic beef. At least here.

We're on the rare side though I think. Most people deer hunt black tail. They tend to be far more plentiful and smaller. They also hang out in a lot of much easier to get to places. I don't think I'd get into deer hunting without someone experienced to show me how though. Especially if I don't have extensive experience with guns or camping.

Small game you might be able to do. Rabbits and ducks (or grouse if you have them in your area) are probably highest return for the effort in most areas. Again though, if you don't know guns, start with a reputable firearms safety class.

Sorry I don't have better advice. It's hard to tell someone where to start on something that's been a part of your life forever! And for my husband, he's learning from me, and from my parents. I think that's how most people learn- friends, family, or marrying into it.

Freshwater- At least in Oregon, it's illegal to sell game. You can gift it, but not sell. People also barter, although *technically* the IRS regulates that too and so it would count as illegal, but no one really seems to report/monitor that. (We don't, but we go get the good meat that's much harder to get. Black tail tend to be plentiful though- kinda like your kangaroos. We have a minimum number that have to be killed to prevent overpopulation, so if hunters don't get them, game officials will go out and do a cull, otherwise you get mass starvation/die offs).


My numbers are still looking good. Didn't get an animal (boooo) but hoping for elk season for husband still. Gas total for hunting was $86 for two trips out (total of 6 days hunting). Now that we're home, we'll see how things work out!


Adding to this! I'm just getting into hunting, mostly for the food security/closing the food loop and also adding another season to my outdoor pursuits, so can speak a bit to the up front costs. I am in Canada though (BC).

Agreed that it's cheaper if you already have a 4x4 vehicle, and all the outdoor gear (we do). For hunting specifically, I had to take a hunting course which was $185, a firearm course which was $150, and get the permits for both ($80). My husband gave me his old .22, but purchased another which was ~$200. We're heading out to try for grouse next weekend.

I will say though, it does seem infinitely easier to get started if you have family/friends who do!

stimepy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #165 on: October 09, 2017, 12:16:44 PM »
Running Total from last report:
Total required: $87
Total face punch worthy: $24

10/1  $38  Have no idea what was bought here.  Must have been "Important"  un-necessary?
10/2  $44  Gym, you can face punch me if you want.  But it's motivation  Necessary
10/3 $8  Working Lunch Surprise work = most fun ever!  un-necessary (cause I should have just skipped lunch!  same for below)
10/4 $10 Working Lunch Last minute meeting with nothing accomplish. "Great" use of my time.  un-necessary
10/4  $25  Gas Should last the month or more.   Necessary
10/6 Grociereis 23  Some stuff I normally get a walmart.   Necessary 
10/8  $10  Game  Face punch required  un-necessary
10/8  $60  Lawn mowing. Not my house, and I lack a lawn mower, but as I am the only one near, maintenance falls on me.  (Should almost be done with that mowing for the year and hopefully probate ends fast so it can be sold) Necessary
10/8  35  Groceries, the rest of em.  Should be good for a couple of weeks.  If all goes well in my little experiment, maybe longer.  Necessary   

Totals for the week:
Required: $187
Face punch worthy: $66

Whelp I am failing badly.  This week, my goal = only the bills, and absolutely required.
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Rosy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #166 on: October 09, 2017, 03:20:05 PM »
I'm joining for October in the hopes that I can find a way to save $500 this month.

The plan is to stick to barebones and keep the upcoming garden expenses as low as possible. I usually have some money set aside for gardening, but I wiped out my entire misc. and dedicated savings in August and am still struggling to replenish and get back on track.
But a 10% military discount and some Lowes and Home Depot gift cards that I saved up should help me reach that goal.
I'll check my gardening groups/club for potential ideas and goodies too.
Using my Target gift cards for new solar garden lights.

Wish it was a bit cooler already so I can start the lettuce seeds, meanwhile I'll start some zinnias...

Action plan:
I found a coupon for a $25 Visa gift card for test driving a Subaru.
Following up on a bank refund of about $25 cash.
Following up on a return from an online purchase close to $100.
Looking into opening a new bank account with a $100 bonus attached - been wanting to change my main operational bank for a while, but there is also a bank with a $300 bonus in my area, that I could do just for getting the bonus - contemplating the logistics and pros and cons.

Eating out:
Checking out two new restaurants that may cut our going out to eat budget in half.
Make a point of going to the $6 Burger place on Mondays at least once-worth it since the food is good and plentiful - enough for lunch the next day and their Margaritas are good and cheap too.
Use either my $10 rewards points at our favorite restaurant for lunch or choose their BOGO deal to keep costs down. Trouble with that is their offers are only good for a week and don't always fit into our plans.

Groceries-Food-Sundries
Will attend two Medicare seminars that give out $10 Publix (grocery store) gift cards for your time-may even do a couple of mystery shop evaluations for the insurance company at $20 each as well.
I recently restocked the emergency pantry and we're fully stocked, except for meat - contemplating a trip to the commissary soon (that should save about 30% over the meat prices elsewhere). We don't always go, since it is a long trip and I need enough room in the freezer to stock up all at once.

Shopping score - Queen sheet set at Aldi for under $25 and a really nice, much needed new doormat for $6.99-got to have a decent door mat to keep from tracking in the garden dirt:)

Personal expenditures - Vitamins and two doctor visits are coming up, about $70 total. No getting around that.
I'd like to replenish my favorite lotion - may have enough on a gc to cover that.
Will check into a free hair cut - mystery shop...

So all in all, there is a chance that October might well be a decent month!:)

Good luck everyone - share what you are doing to keep your budget low - lower - lowest:) we want to know, so we can do it too:)
We can do this!

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #167 on: October 09, 2017, 03:33:02 PM »
OK GUYS, we have a little over three more weeks for this challenge! Let's see how low we can go.

Oct 8th: $20 (treated SO and myself to Blade Runner on the big screen... not necessary, but no regrets because this was the type of movie that is worth seeing on the big screen instead of the computer screen)
Oct 9th: $0 (finally a $0 day)

In repentance for my overspending at Whole Foods I've done the following: taken money from my side hustle savings to pay the difference, and planned out a very frugal meal plan for the following week.

My October #'s so far:
Necessary: $285 ($130 medical-- kinda throws off my numbers, but there's always something right?)
Unnecessary: $135

The trick I'm going to try for the rest of the month is a Frugalwoods one-- write down in a notebook every item I find myself wanting instead of buying it right away (or putting it in the Amazon cart and letting it sit there). I'll see if I still think about any of those items in November. As of now I have a cute winter hat and some dresses in my Amazon cart and I'm not going to buy them!

Freshwater

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #168 on: October 09, 2017, 04:12:45 PM »
Have cooked 6 dinners in a row at home without using freezer/convenience type food. I did use one shop bought enchilada sauce but everything else was from scratch. We didn't eat out either this weekend, so that saved about $50.

I started this challenge because I thought I had a speeding camera fine but it didn't show up yet. I'll check online, maybe I wasn't speeding after all.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #169 on: October 09, 2017, 04:36:12 PM »
Well, medical spending is already shaping up to be way higher than expected =( I was expecting $500-600, but it's looking like it'll be $750+. Damn. Just all the more important to hold to the no alcohol/no restaurants plan, and keep groceries tighter.
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hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #170 on: October 09, 2017, 07:18:18 PM »
Some highs and lows from the weekend... highs = cooked every meal, including an extra (minestrone) on Sunday to have extra meals throughout the week. Avoided hitting the bar on Friday for beers, which sometimes turns from one beer to five or six...

Lows = Drank alcohol, which cost more money than I wanted to spend. Yes, it was from a six-pack, but I didn’t need it given that I am trying to keep the month’s overhead as low as possible. I also spent some money on Amazon for bike upgrades (a rain cover for my Topeak trunk bag). The money was in my “bike upgrades category,” but it still felt wrong to spend. The upside is that all my bike storage will now (hopefully) be waterproof, since my Ortliebs are bombproof.

The BIG frugal win? Today marks 30 days of biking to work!

lemonverbena

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #171 on: October 10, 2017, 05:36:41 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

10/5: $0
10/6: $10 postage to mail a friend handmade clothing my kids outgrew
10/7: $0
10/8: $0
10/9: $174 groceries
         $15 something spouse got at Home Depot?
         $27 pumpkins and caramel apples at the pumpkin patch

Grocery spending is out of control and out of my hands. My spouse took this task over since his diagnosis (and won't give it back) and doesn't think we overspend here. Sigh. I'm just going to ride it out for now and hope he gets tired of doing the shopping.
Oh! And I bought something online I didn't need for $154, then read through the "is the forum getting soft" thread, and feeling thoroughly shamed, I canceled the order. Win.

horsepoor

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #172 on: October 10, 2017, 06:07:18 PM »
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

More facepunches:
$65.95 - another horse thing I could have made myself for less.
$10.59 - Kindle book (riding instruction)
$45 - fancy bourbon-barrel gin (major facepunch, taking out of grocery budget)

Non-facepunch worthy:
$30 - Dog food
$24 - Gas
$19 - Groceries
$36 - Spice refills
$50 - horse body work (planned/expected)

Frugal Wins -
Made 15 pints of salsa verde with green tomatoes this weekend
Grinding a year's supply of horseradish tonight, and making/freezing lots of chimichurri
Sunday dinner was salad from the garden and polenta with leftover lamb
Monday dinner was an Indian food feast complete with homemade naan
Lots of leftovers now and I won't spend more than $10 at the grocery store before I head out on a work trip next Monday
Listed the fancy pants horse blanket I bought last winter, and was disappointed in, on eBay.  Should sell for $300, and won't need a replacement this winter, can get a better value one on sale next summer for $150ish if needed.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #173 on: October 11, 2017, 04:56:25 AM »
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

I will buy a train ticket to visit my FIL later today: €12,85
and i will buy the stamps: €3,99

Total: €39,78

Upcoming purchases this week: 2 hospital visits, 2 bus tickets at €6,00 each.

Other than that, no expected purchases.

I had 1 hospital trip yesterday, it ended up costing €7 instead of €6 because the driver had run out of bus tickets so I had to pay by pre-paid public traffic card which is more expensive for this particular trip. I'm not sure if I should count this, because I loaded the money onto the card some time ago so I didn't actually spend any money on it yesterday (is that a MPP? If you loaded money onto a pre-paid card, are you spending when you load the money onto the card or when you're using the card?)

I also spent €0,70 going to the public bathroom on the bus station. I hate paying so much for a simple bathroom visit but it's not like you have a choice. You get a €0,50 off voucher if you buy something at the station, but only for purchases over €3,50 and only in expensive shops. If I wanted to get a coffee at all, I'd rather get a €1,80 coffee from a place where the coupon can't be redeemed than a €5 coffee from Starbucks with €0,50 off.

I also spent €1,95 on hot food on the station. This was a totally unnecessary purchase as I had brought food from home, but it was a long day, I was rushing from one place to another and away from home from 8.30 in the morning until 11 at night. It was a really cold and wet day and I just wanted to get some hot food in my stomach instead of the cold food in my bag. Still, I could have done much worse than €1,95 and I did not waste the food I brought from home.

Total: €49,43.
 
Upcoming purchases:
- I'll have to go back to hospital today and I hope I can buy the €6 ticket this time.
- Train ticket to another town on Friday to see my partner's band perform. This is an important gig for the band. If I can travel with him, it will cost me only €8,64 because he has a season ticket and anyone he travels with gets a discount too. If I'm late from work and I have to travel seperately it will cost me €14.40.
- After the gig, we're staying over at a relative's place who lives relatively close to the other town. We'll go home from there the next day. From the gig to his place will cost €8,34 instead of the €8,64 it would cost to go straight home. Taking the train home from his place the next day will be €8,10. I'll probably buy some drinks too, which will cost about €10. 

I hate paying for travel, but the other option is staying home. Every single trip is fairly cheap, it's when you add up the trips that the figure gets a bit shocking. Still, it is much cheaper than driving and the travel costs to hospital are all tax deductible at the end of the tax year too.

DL21901

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #174 on: October 11, 2017, 04:09:40 PM »
Thanks for the reply re: hunting, Bracken. Someone in my department was casually talking to me about how she's painting one her guns pink (lol) and she gave me some local people to hit up as hunting mentors. Here's hoping that it leads somewhere.

Wins this week:
-grocery budget firmly in line
-was going to buy one of those treat dispenser toys for the kitty, but turn out that she's just as content with some holes cut out of a water bottle. She's been driving us crazy with boredom/wanting food meowing, so hopefully this helps :|
-had my two big exams this morning, and not once did I order takeout for dinner or buy myself coffee shop treats. yaass
-toilet was running continuously. Ten minutes on youtube, some light swearing and a $7 part later, it's back in business. Probably saved at least $100 over calling a plumber.


Not-wins:
-Spend ~20 eating out twice with friends. Hubs and I split an entree like we usually do, so I guess it could have been worse.

Currently struggling with:
-augh my rear bike taillight is being crappy. There's a soft rubber gasket piece that holds it to my seat post, and that slipped out. Easily repairable but I'm so tempted to just buy a NICE one, this one was a 7.99 walmart special.
-in my continuing mission to look like not-an-undergrad, I want to buy some nice blouses and a pair of oxfords for the office. Maybe it'll be my Christmas present to myself, if I keep wanting until then.
Living like a student is easy when you're still a student.

tyrannostache

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #175 on: October 11, 2017, 04:38:32 PM »
Well, shit. Between daycare and returning to work full time, baby hitting some milestones and sleep going to hell, this has been 2 months of ridiculously high spending. I knew it wasn't good but was truly bummed when I sat down with my pivot tables. Groceries alone were 700-800 each month in August and September (2 adults, 1 kid, 1 baby), and restaurants were over $150 for both--more than $200 in August! Some of that was due to visiting friends, so I don't mind it, but the bulk just came from being sleep-deprived and taking the easy path of buying lunches, buying coffee/treats out because I "deserved it" for being so tired, etc. We had some natural disaster-related spending, but our outlay was high even if you cut that part out. Since we just added another full-time daycare bill to our expenses, we really need to crack down elsewhere (yes, it still makes sense for both of us to work full-time.)

My frugality goals for the rest of October:
-Bring grocery budget back in line. I really think we can make $500.
-No coffee shop treats, even if I'm tired and have been up half the night with the baby!
-Start planning inexpensive holiday gifts
-Fix front door weatherstripping

YellowCat

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #176 on: October 11, 2017, 05:40:51 PM »
I donated $100 yesterday for Puerto Rico hurricane relief - trying to put my money where my mouth is. If any of you fine folks are interested, the Puerto Rico National Chamber of Commerce has sponsors who are matching donations dollar-for-dollar, so you can get more bang for your buck (https://www.nprchamber.org/disaster-relief) This is absolutely not "frivolous spending" and I'm glad to be in a position to contribute for food, medical supplies, satellite phones, and water filtration systems, necessities which most of us take for granted. Okay - off my soapbox now :) But please do go and check it out.

Thanks for posting this-- used the link you provided to make a small contribution. Nice reminder that while we are trying to cut back as much as we can, likely we can all spare to help in situations like this.

@westtoeast - Awesome! Glad you found it useful. I figure if I can spare that amount supporting my hobbies or going to restaurants or whatever (though I'm trying not to) I can certainly also spare that amount to support the purchase of basic supplies for people who desperately need them. Plus 100% matching is pretty great.

In other news I had a splitting headache last night and didn't want to even think of cooking, so Brown Bear (DH) and I went out for Thai food. We did our usual of splitting one bowl of soup and one massive entree (with extra veggies) and the total with tip was $21.50 :/ It was very tasty and convenient, but we could have easily managed to find something to eat at home if we'd been able to conquer headaches and apathy... My spending goal for the month, and honestly for November and December as well, is to be sub-$3k, and we're currently at $1702.27 including our mortgage payment. With Brown Bear's car payment ($326.33, to be withdrawn later this month) that leaves us with $971.40 for additional groceries, gas, bills, whatever. I think we should be able to easily stay below that. Here's me putting the goal down in writing to hold myself accountable!

Our spending so far this month: $1776.09
Mortgage: $1221.52
Food & Dining: $251.38 (and only $144 is groceries! Too many restaurants here for sure...)
Donations: $126.39 (Puerto Rico and a recurring local food bank donation)
Bills and Utilities: $92.16 (Electric, Gas, and Internet -- pretty low actually, but we haven't turned our heat on yet this year)
Auto & Transport: $34.17
Shopping: $23.30 (yarn to finish a Christmas present plus dollar store balloons & decorations for a baby shower we hosted)
Fees: $18.50 (Quarterly HSA fees through work, unavoidable)
Doctors Appointment: $8.67

So overall about $130 of that is frivolous non-grocery dining + shopping. Not as bad as I feared, actually :) Also I had a frugal win today - sold my old dishwasher for $50 on Craigslist. It was my first Craigslist sale and very exhilarating! It was so easy...
Aiming for $1.25M by 2020...

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #177 on: October 12, 2017, 04:53:34 AM »
I finally got a "buy nothing" streak going! Just three days, and I'll break it at the grocery store tomorrow... but still.

Rosy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #178 on: October 12, 2017, 01:44:45 PM »
I'm joining for October in the hopes that I can find a way to save $500 this month.
...........
..... there is a chance that October might well be a decent month!:)

Well, so far so good - resisting buying jewelry or gemstones - successfully:), but I was tempted during a recent special event. I really cannot afford a thing right now - zip, nada, zilch! Looking at my credit card statement sobered me up considerably. I cannot afford anything - period!
Since MMM I'm used to just paying it all off each month - no problem.

You know that is one of the lasting effects of hanging out on MMM, you begin absorbing the thoughts and actions from people with actual financial smarts and you start seeing the impact - actually, even feeling the impact, it bothered me to have a balance that I couldn't afford to pay off all at once without upsetting my goals. It was a legitimate car related expense - so I don't feel bad, it just was more than I was comfortable with.

So I steamed and huffed and puffed and came up with a way to avoid finance charges altogether and found a way to pay it all off, yesterday - before the statement closed. Whew - R E L I E F:)
Monkey off my back...

Anyway - progress report:
1. Got the $24 credit from my bank this morning - yay:) - Isn't it great when all you have to do is ask? (and you shall receive:) ...
2. Finished researching possible bank bonus - success. Better than I even dreamed, not one, but two in my immediate area - $300 each - $600 total. Sweetness! Let's hope all goes smooth with both.
One will be a full replacement for my current, designated operational-budget, bank. Good riddance for many reasons.
3. Transferred out $72 from pay pal - latest sale from my photography website. Don't you just love passive income?:)

Otherwise we're sticking to the budget and keeping an eye on the expenses - saved money by not going out, mostly because I haven't been feeling well this week. Mr. R. never spends money unless he has to - eye roll, sometimes I hate him for that - it comes so easy to him. He's a natural tightwad.
It's getting close to the halfway mark of the month - so there is hope that good things might happen and spending will be contained.

We'll see - how are you all doing so far?

(I think I'll play some more head games with myself, now that I have 24 and 72 = 96, maybe I could make at least four bucks online in cash to bring it to $100?...) I don't like tight budgets and I'll be happy to be back on track soon...

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #179 on: October 12, 2017, 04:16:44 PM »
Things are going pretty well over here. I've had some 12-hr work days this week, but have been eating the frozen soups I made on the weekend - win! Tonight we are having a meal that is using up several odds & ends from the freezer.

The numbers:
Goal <$2000 Total spending ($CAD, approx ~$1600 USD)

Housing: $440 (Mortgage Interest & Strata)
Utilities/Bills: $192 (Phones, Electricity, Internet, Netflix)

Groceries: $215
Gas: $118
Bridge Tolls: $12 (From Summer travel, billed in Oct)
Restaurants: $47 (Purely unnecessary, I admit. We went out of town last weekend & treated ourselves after a huge hike)
Gifts: $22 (Small bday gift for friend & small gift for Thanksgiving dinner hosts)
Donations: $50
My 'fun $': $40 (Trying to keep this down. Includes things like alcohol, entertainment, social spending)
DH 'fun$': $52
Clothing: $157 (2 hoodies & a pair of sneakers for DH. All for replace worn out items. This was a planned purchase I knew would happen in Oct)


TOTAL: $1345 CAD (~$1078 USD).
$655 (or less) remaining, or ~$34/day

I am hoping that I can come in at about $1800 or $1850 total. Going to keep working on groceries. They are usually BY FAR our biggest expense / month... I am ashamed to admit that for the 1st half of the year it was creeping past $650/mo... after being at about $450-$500/mo for a very long time...Sept & Oct have been a huge reduction for us, which is what I wanted to accomplish with this challenge.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 04:35:23 PM by allsummerlong »

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #180 on: October 13, 2017, 05:57:24 AM »
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

I will buy a train ticket to visit my FIL later today: €12,85
and i will buy the stamps: €3,99

Total: €39,78

Upcoming purchases this week: 2 hospital visits, 2 bus tickets at €6,00 each.

Other than that, no expected purchases.

I had 1 hospital trip yesterday, it ended up costing €7 instead of €6 because the driver had run out of bus tickets so I had to pay by pre-paid public traffic card which is more expensive for this particular trip. I'm not sure if I should count this, because I loaded the money onto the card some time ago so I didn't actually spend any money on it yesterday (is that a MPP? If you loaded money onto a pre-paid card, are you spending when you load the money onto the card or when you're using the card?)

I also spent €0,70 going to the public bathroom on the bus station. I hate paying so much for a simple bathroom visit but it's not like you have a choice. You get a €0,50 off voucher if you buy something at the station, but only for purchases over €3,50 and only in expensive shops. If I wanted to get a coffee at all, I'd rather get a €1,80 coffee from a place where the coupon can't be redeemed than a €5 coffee from Starbucks with €0,50 off.

I also spent €1,95 on hot food on the station. This was a totally unnecessary purchase as I had brought food from home, but it was a long day, I was rushing from one place to another and away from home from 8.30 in the morning until 11 at night. It was a really cold and wet day and I just wanted to get some hot food in my stomach instead of the cold food in my bag. Still, I could have done much worse than €1,95 and I did not waste the food I brought from home.

Total: €49,43.
 
Upcoming purchases:
- I'll have to go back to hospital today and I hope I can buy the €6 ticket this time.
- Train ticket to another town on Friday to see my partner's band perform. This is an important gig for the band. If I can travel with him, it will cost me only €8,64 because he has a season ticket and anyone he travels with gets a discount too. If I'm late from work and I have to travel seperately it will cost me €14.40.
- After the gig, we're staying over at a relative's place who lives relatively close to the other town. We'll go home from there the next day. From the gig to his place will cost €8,34 instead of the €8,64 it would cost to go straight home. Taking the train home from his place the next day will be €8,10. I'll probably buy some drinks too, which will cost about €10. 


€6 bus ticket
€2 2 croissants from the local bakery for us for lunch today,  to celebrate the weekend (unnecessary, but they were really good!)

Total: €57,53

Upcoming purchases:
€30,84 Train tickets over the weekend
€10,00 drinks at the gig

I'm having minor surgery on Monday, but a relative kindly offered to take me there and back, so I don't have to pay for the bus. I'll probably not leave the house on the next day, so I won't be able to spend any money. We have more than enough food in the freezer / pantry / fridge.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #181 on: October 13, 2017, 08:11:25 AM »
Well, we made it 12 days on the no alcohol plan... Ended up getting a box of wine after a truly terrible week. (Husband working 39 out of of 48 hours- totally unplanned/unforeseen chaos, we also had some bad news, etc). The work chaos also means we have a reimbursable hotel cost and restaurant cost on the books, and since they aren't reimbursed until the next month's paycheck, I generally just count them in with spending (so I have a "clean" earnings number). So that'll artificially make spending look ~$120 higher than it 'really' is.

Medical costs for either October or November will be higher due to some testing, but I'm actually quite excited about that.

On track for low groceries. Let's see if I can keep it up! No restaurant spending other than husband's work trip.
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 #182 on: October 13, 2017, 08:32:41 AM »
My horse spending is egregious, but everything else is staying in line.

Yesterday I drove 2 hours out to see my mare at the trainer's - brought along yogurt and coffee, but stayed longer than expected and spent $3 on gas station food on the way home.  We decided I need to send my  personal saddle out there as hers doesn't quite fit, and this necessitates getting another horse thing.  Luckily found it used on eBay coming from UK for $207, vs. >$350 purchased new. 

Other mare is getting a new-used saddle ordered for her tomorrow, so more $$$.

All the more reason to stay frugal in other areas.

haypug16

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #183 on: October 13, 2017, 12:25:57 PM »
Haven't updated in a while. I hit my September goal. Came in at $1,960.90, so over $100 under my budget of $2,100.

October is looking pretty good too. I'm at $890.59 so far. I had 3 zero spend days this month. I'm traveling for business from the 14th to the 23rd so most of my expenses during that time will be reimbursed. I should finish the month a few hundred below budget so I'm going to lower my goal to $1,800 and to have a total of 8 no spend days for the month.

I hope to carry this over to November and beyond and keep lowering my goal each month.

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #184 on: October 15, 2017, 09:12:15 AM »
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

I will buy a train ticket to visit my FIL later today: €12,85
and i will buy the stamps: €3,99

Total: €39,78

Upcoming purchases this week: 2 hospital visits, 2 bus tickets at €6,00 each.

Other than that, no expected purchases.

I had 1 hospital trip yesterday, it ended up costing €7 instead of €6 because the driver had run out of bus tickets so I had to pay by pre-paid public traffic card which is more expensive for this particular trip. I'm not sure if I should count this, because I loaded the money onto the card some time ago so I didn't actually spend any money on it yesterday (is that a MPP? If you loaded money onto a pre-paid card, are you spending when you load the money onto the card or when you're using the card?)

I also spent €0,70 going to the public bathroom on the bus station. I hate paying so much for a simple bathroom visit but it's not like you have a choice. You get a €0,50 off voucher if you buy something at the station, but only for purchases over €3,50 and only in expensive shops. If I wanted to get a coffee at all, I'd rather get a €1,80 coffee from a place where the coupon can't be redeemed than a €5 coffee from Starbucks with €0,50 off.

I also spent €1,95 on hot food on the station. This was a totally unnecessary purchase as I had brought food from home, but it was a long day, I was rushing from one place to another and away from home from 8.30 in the morning until 11 at night. It was a really cold and wet day and I just wanted to get some hot food in my stomach instead of the cold food in my bag. Still, I could have done much worse than €1,95 and I did not waste the food I brought from home.

Total: €49,43.
 
Upcoming purchases:
- I'll have to go back to hospital today and I hope I can buy the €6 ticket this time.
- Train ticket to another town on Friday to see my partner's band perform. This is an important gig for the band. If I can travel with him, it will cost me only €8,64 because he has a season ticket and anyone he travels with gets a discount too. If I'm late from work and I have to travel seperately it will cost me €14.40.
- After the gig, we're staying over at a relative's place who lives relatively close to the other town. We'll go home from there the next day. From the gig to his place will cost €8,34 instead of the €8,64 it would cost to go straight home. Taking the train home from his place the next day will be €8,10. I'll probably buy some drinks too, which will cost about €10. 


€6 bus ticket
€2 2 croissants from the local bakery for us for lunch today,  to celebrate the weekend (unnecessary, but they were really good!)

Total: €57,53

Upcoming purchases:
€30,84 Train tickets over the weekend
€10,00 drinks at the gig

I'm having minor surgery on Monday, but a relative kindly offered to take me there and back, so I don't have to pay for the bus. I'll probably not leave the house on the next day, so I won't be able to spend any money. We have more than enough food in the freezer / pantry / fridge.

Spent:
€30,84 for train tickets
€12,10 for drinks/food at the gig
€31,90 groceries
€ 4,00 socks

Total: €128,27

As we happened to be close to the border on Saturday, we decided to hop over the border and do some cheap shopping. Groceries are a lot cheaper over there. I keep track of what things cost over here, so I'm sure we got good deals. We also didn't go overboard on the shopping just because it's cheap, which is a real risk for some people. One of the things I bought are canned kidney beans for €0,49/can. I can't find them for under €0,85/can around here. The socks were a good deal and not an acute necessity as I have some pairs left, but I did recently throw out a few pairs so I could use some new ones.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #185 on: October 15, 2017, 09:17:11 AM »
Broke a couple of my goals, but I don't feel too bad about either.

-Husband works out a lot. His latest pair of shoes (Crossfit Nano 6.0, for those wondering) have lasted him longer than ANY pair he's ever had before- I got them for him last Christmas, and he's only just starting to wear through the sole and where the toe cap connects to the upper. For months I've been keeping an eye on 6pm, especially since he's an odd size. They're normally ~$100-120 on there, but just today 1 pair in his size came up for $59.99. So I bought those. He'll try them on, and if we don't have to return them, they'll get stashed away until his current pair die. If it's close enough, they'll go under the tree as his "present" =) Basically, these are a need, and ultimately the best price possible. Deferring to avoid the spending in October would have just risked not having the shoes when we need them, or getting them for a higher price.
-Spent money for coffee/drinks out. But, we also spent over 5 hours catching up with friends we haven't seen in a few weeks. I'm way more comfortable with this type of spending when it's for social outtings.
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hal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #186 on: October 15, 2017, 09:23:34 AM »
Haven’t updated in a bit. Slipped up a little bit when it came to my goal to not eat out — spent money on drinks and an appetizer with friends, but it was because of a rare occasion: one of my close friends from high school flew back to the east coast from CA. The good news is that I am still within my budget for the month.

In a fit of exasperation, SO ordered an upgraded trash can for our kitchen (long story...), which upped our household expenses for the month. But at least now we have a trash can that doesn’t catch crumbs and dog hair everywhere. Our last trashcan came with the apartment... and one of our philosophies about household goods that get used *all* the time is that it is worth it to spend a bit more for quality. These are “quality of living” upgrades that “spark joy” (to borrow Marie Kondo’s term) and make living in our tiny, run-down apartment better. They also help us ignore our desires for a bigger, fancypants place.

wordnerd

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #187 on: October 15, 2017, 10:26:08 AM »
Wins:
1) Declined two spendy social engagements this week. This would not be a win if I were worried about the social ties, but these are friendships I'd like to let drift. After 7 years of knowing people, we're still having small talk over expensive appetizers, which just really isn't my jam. We obviously aren't going to develop a deep friendship, so (for me) it's time to move on.
2) No mindless coffee or food spending this week.
4) Finally getting a new electric toothbrush (mine died after 7 years of service--first Christmas present from my now DH actually), and the replacement was a lot cheaper than I expected.
4) Making food for a co-worker who had a baby with all ingredients I had on-hand, so it will be super-cheap, but still delicious.
5) Went on a "free" date with DH on Monday. We were both off work, but daycare was open, so we sent DS in and got lunch with a gift card we got 5 years ago for our wedding. Then, I took a nap. This is the biggest win.
6) Got paid for my side gig last month ($800). I've cut back my hours some this month, but it should still be $600+.

Non-wins:
1) Bought coffee for an office retreat on Wednesday, and it was more expensive than I thought it would be. $17 for a box of Dunkin' coffee? Egads.
2) Bought unnecessary Halloween stuff--$5 for mini-pumpkins to decorate and about $9 on candy to hand out. We never have trick-or-treaters, yet I always buy candy on the chance they will show up. It's not even that I want the candy (I don't like chocolate and only buy chocolate). It's just some sort of social compulsion.

Overall, feeling pretty good about things.
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allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #188 on: October 15, 2017, 11:31:03 AM »
Ended up with some home repair / household / medical / holiday expenses this weekend... 

- $15 fee to bring some oversize items to local dump (non-recyclable)
- $10 for birdseed for bird feeders
- $12 package of lithium batteries for remote controls
- $16 for prescription meds
- $30 began assembling (very small) Xmas box to send to family overseas. Needs to be sent asap to reduce shipping costs.

Also spent about $50 more on groceries. :/ Story of my life. But at least I cooked a TON of stuff to freeze for the week.

A friend has a huge amount of grapes in her yard & we are going to DIY some wine next week. I told her I will buy the supplies (yeast, carboys, airlock, siphon). This will be an unexpected expense for Oct, but we will try to do as cheaply as possible & buy used if I can. I can also repurpose a few items I already have for some supplies. I have been fermenting quite a few foods on my own for some time now, & have been wanting to branch into making my own alcohol. So, I do see this as a small expense now that will be used regularly for many projects for many years on my own & with others. Especially since I should be able to get free fruit. Maybe I am trying to justify it, but I don't give a shit. Building DIY / sustainable skills & community is important to me and actually incredibly cost effective in the long run.



akzidenz

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #189 on: October 16, 2017, 05:53:02 PM »
It's been an expensive week for me. I was traveling for a conference, and was determined to use as little of my (modest) honorarium as possible. Ended up spending ~$60/day for food and transportation…I wish it were lower, but I ate out a decent bit with friends in the area.

But that still leaves about $200 of my honorarium to put into savings!

I'm also proud of this small bit of economy: I packed a breakfast/lunch for the first day of travel, so I wouldn't spend money on mediocre airport food (but instead had a lovely and inexpensive meal of quinoa/kale/sweet potato/beans to eat).

But now I'm back home and prepared to make a frugal time of it. If I don't spend too much eating out (and forgo buying any clothes this month—my eternal weakness) it'll hopefully be the most frugal month of 2017 for me!

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #190 on: October 17, 2017, 06:39:50 AM »
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

I will buy a train ticket to visit my FIL later today: €12,85
and i will buy the stamps: €3,99

Total: €39,78

Upcoming purchases this week: 2 hospital visits, 2 bus tickets at €6,00 each.

Other than that, no expected purchases.

I had 1 hospital trip yesterday, it ended up costing €7 instead of €6 because the driver had run out of bus tickets so I had to pay by pre-paid public traffic card which is more expensive for this particular trip. I'm not sure if I should count this, because I loaded the money onto the card some time ago so I didn't actually spend any money on it yesterday (is that a MPP? If you loaded money onto a pre-paid card, are you spending when you load the money onto the card or when you're using the card?)

I also spent €0,70 going to the public bathroom on the bus station. I hate paying so much for a simple bathroom visit but it's not like you have a choice. You get a €0,50 off voucher if you buy something at the station, but only for purchases over €3,50 and only in expensive shops. If I wanted to get a coffee at all, I'd rather get a €1,80 coffee from a place where the coupon can't be redeemed than a €5 coffee from Starbucks with €0,50 off.

I also spent €1,95 on hot food on the station. This was a totally unnecessary purchase as I had brought food from home, but it was a long day, I was rushing from one place to another and away from home from 8.30 in the morning until 11 at night. It was a really cold and wet day and I just wanted to get some hot food in my stomach instead of the cold food in my bag. Still, I could have done much worse than €1,95 and I did not waste the food I brought from home.

Total: €49,43.
 
Upcoming purchases:
- I'll have to go back to hospital today and I hope I can buy the €6 ticket this time.
- Train ticket to another town on Friday to see my partner's band perform. This is an important gig for the band. If I can travel with him, it will cost me only €8,64 because he has a season ticket and anyone he travels with gets a discount too. If I'm late from work and I have to travel seperately it will cost me €14.40.
- After the gig, we're staying over at a relative's place who lives relatively close to the other town. We'll go home from there the next day. From the gig to his place will cost €8,34 instead of the €8,64 it would cost to go straight home. Taking the train home from his place the next day will be €8,10. I'll probably buy some drinks too, which will cost about €10. 


€6 bus ticket
€2 2 croissants from the local bakery for us for lunch today,  to celebrate the weekend (unnecessary, but they were really good!)

Total: €57,53

Upcoming purchases:
€30,84 Train tickets over the weekend
€10,00 drinks at the gig

I'm having minor surgery on Monday, but a relative kindly offered to take me there and back, so I don't have to pay for the bus. I'll probably not leave the house on the next day, so I won't be able to spend any money. We have more than enough food in the freezer / pantry / fridge.

Spent:
€30,84 for train tickets
€12,10 for drinks/food at the gig
€31,90 groceries
€ 4,00 socks

Total: €128,27

As we happened to be close to the border on Saturday, we decided to hop over the border and do some cheap shopping. Groceries are a lot cheaper over there. I keep track of what things cost over here, so I'm sure we got good deals. We also didn't go overboard on the shopping just because it's cheap, which is a real risk for some people. One of the things I bought are canned kidney beans for €0,49/can. I can't find them for under €0,85/can around here. The socks were a good deal and not an acute necessity as I have some pairs left, but I did recently throw out a few pairs so I could use some new ones.

Groceries: €11,60

Total: €139,87

Of which about €60 has been spent on travel. It's a lot of money, but I can't really cut back on it if I want to keep seeing my friends and family.

finallyfrugal

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #191 on: October 17, 2017, 08:12:08 AM »
I had set a food spending goal of $200 for the month for our family of three, but we are already over it -- at $250 for the month so far. My new goal is to keep the rest of the month under $50 for a total food budget of $300 for our family of 3. This would be the lowest we've ever hit! (really anything under $415 is a new low spend, but I am feeling like we can really make a big change! Time to get disciplined!)

Thanks for continuing to share your spending wins and losses -- I really think that just being mindful of spending on a daily basis is half the battle. It makes me think twice about what I am thinking of buying and also about why I want to buy it -- usually, I spend money as a distraction or to make me "feel better." But I can feel better by going for a walk, or reading a book, or just feeling my feelings since they pass so quickly when I actually feel them.

Keep up the mindful spending!

Rosy

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #192 on: October 17, 2017, 12:59:48 PM »
@wordnerd - HA!
Quote
2) Bought unnecessary Halloween stuff--$5 for mini-pumpkins to decorate and about $9 on candy to hand out. We never have trick-or-treaters, yet I always buy candy on the chance they will show up. It's not even that I want the candy (I don't like chocolate and only buy chocolate). It's just some sort of social compulsion.

We do the same thing - we don't get trick or treaters any more, but we still buy the candy. One bag of snickers for me and two bags for Mr. R. which he mostly brings in to work, whereas about half of my Snickers always find their way to my son's house.
I spent two bucks on "bloody" Halloween stickers at the dollar store and another $4.98 at Aldi for a bottle of Halloween themed red wine to enjoy with our Halloween wine glasses from years ago - hey, it is a tradition:)

Update - made it to $403 savings out of my $500 savings goal for October.
$300 bonus-cash
$ 72 photo sales
$ 24 rebate-pro-rata
$  8  side gig

Still working on $25 Visa GC, $20 Publix GC, $85 in purchase returns - I hate tangling with CS.
Expenditures are all on track or below budget.
If at all possible I'd like to make another $50 in cash this month - we'll see, not all that likely. 

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #193 on: October 17, 2017, 01:32:03 PM »
Thanks for continuing to share your spending wins and losses -- I really think that just being mindful of spending on a daily basis is half the battle. It makes me think twice about what I am thinking of buying and also about why I want to buy it -- usually, I spend money as a distraction or to make me "feel better." But I can feel better by going for a walk, or reading a book, or just feeling my feelings since they pass so quickly when I actually feel them.

Keep up the mindful spending!

It's been good for me too. I'm naturally frugal and only tracked my spending when I was extremely poor. I stopped doing it as soon as possible because I hate the tracking part and I know I'm not doing anything silly with my money. Still, it's good to see how high my discretionary spending actually is (that's all I'm tracking). It's an eye-opener for me that my travel costs are so high. This is not an a-typical month for me.

I have spend another €4,25 in the grocery store, which brings my total to €144,12. As my s/o gets paid the 23th, this is the last week of the month for us. We have a set grocery budget of €125/month that I didn't track. It happens frequently that we run out of grocery money the last week of the month and we pay shopping from our personal accounts. Maybe our grocery budget needs to be increased a little.

westtoeast

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #194 on: October 17, 2017, 03:06:53 PM »
Took an overnight trip over the past weekend-- that got a little spendy despite best efforts. We paid for the hotel with money from selling something on Craigslist, which was a win. The rest...

$30, restaurant food (two meals)
$18, grocery store snacks (two meals, plus leftovers)
$13, huge pumpkin (yes, this was definitely overpriced but... fall!)
$12, farmstand veggies (will go into grocery budget, so "necessary")
$10, hiking pass
Total: $62 unnecessary... ouch!

Also:
$80, groceries (will last over the typical week, got some staples)
$7, DVD of Young Frankenstein (trying to bring back this childhood tradition and couldn't find it online legally)

This brings me to:
$197 unnecessary
$365 necessary

So my unnecessary is definitely more than I'd like, but I've also avoided lots of purchases. I haven't bought any physical items like clothing or anything else, and I haven't eaten out with the exception of while traveling. When added in with my fixed expenses, now I'm at $1417. Last month was $1487. That leaves me about $70 left to spend to beat my record. That should be doable if I keep groceries down.

I've also been setting new records with my investment contributions and my side hustle income (tutoring and writing) so I'm feeling good! Expenses down and income up!   

allsummerlong

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #195 on: October 18, 2017, 12:03:06 PM »
13 days left in the month, and grocery spend is creeping ever upward. Currently sitting at $403 CAD for 2 adults. Yikes! I am hoping to keep it below $500, hopefully $475-ish. That would be a huge win for us, since as I mentioned before, we had been going over $650/month earlier this year... Double yikes. :\

This morning I rolled up my sleeves and started cooking the hell out of the food we already have. We went to a local farm this weekend and bought a lot of local fall produce - various squashes, eggplant, garlic, potatoes, apples, & beets. Today I am prepping quite a lot of it to eat over the next little while. I am also taking stock of our pantry - we are running low on stapes like brown rice, but there are still many items in there like noodles, dried beans, quinoa, rye bread, etc.... that I can try to use up over the next 13 days with other basics we have on hand. We also have a lot of frozen fruit in the freezer & preserved items like salsa that I made in the summer.

Need to regain my focus on the grocery front.

Reading all your challenges & wins really helps, thank you!

Imma

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #196 on: October 18, 2017, 02:32:32 PM »
I spent €9,15 on groceries today. We're at €153,27 now.

I spent €4 on 4kgs of apples and made 6 cans of applesauce and a little leftover for tomorrow. As a can of applesauce costs €1, I've saved a bit of money, had fun canning and made sure there's not too much sugar in it.

haypug16

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #197 on: October 18, 2017, 03:43:12 PM »
I'm at $1,195.78 total for October (spending and bills) Goal is $1,800 which should be very easy to hit due to being on a work trip this week and not having to pay for meals. I'll be in Denmark through the weekend so that part of the trip I will have to cover but I have a lot of just walking around museums, etc planned. I should easily keep it under $200 for the whole weekend. Then when I get home there are only 8 days left in the month and I'm sure spending will be be only around $400 which is all groceries and bills. That should bring me right around my goal amount (fingers crossed I'll even stay under the $1,800)


lemonverbena

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Re: Low Spend September & October Challenge
« Reply #198 on: October 18, 2017, 09:29:10 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

10/5: $0
10/6: $10 postage to mail a friend handmade clothing my kids outgrew
10/7: $0
10/8: $0
10/9: $174 groceries
         $15 something spouse got at Home Depot?
         $27 pumpkins and caramel apples at the pumpkin patch

10/10: $155 kid's music lessons
           $40 hospital bill
           $64 electric bill
10/11: $246 car payment
           $3 coffee (spouse)
           $33 gasoline
10/12: $0
10/13: $0
10/14: $0
10/15: $0
10/16: $2 used kid's books
           $2 coffee (spouse)
           $155 groceries
           $25 fast food... shame on me for going along with this
10/17: $30 groceries
           $10 sharps disposal and new sharps box
           $47 tickets to school event
           $49 garbage/recycling bill
           $43 cell phone bill
           $94 roof loan
           $24 internet bill
10/18: $38 gasoline
           $32 gasoline