Author Topic: Uber Frugal March  (Read 8600 times)

Mongoose

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #100 on: March 10, 2017, 07:39:57 AM »
Can you keep your list in your purse...like on a little spiral notebook or something. I do that because if I don't have my list, I only buy things that I remember on the list or wander for a bit and buy nothing because I can't remember what I need. No list to shop from = anxiety. I'm more inclined to get "extra" stuff when I have my list; I guess because I'm more relaxed.

Should have a no spend weekend. Spent $20 yesterday on my contacts and $11 on dinner for myself (working late and failed to pack food for myself). I only anticipate needing some milk and maybe a few veggies this month. DH has a short business trip so we'll probably cover the food out for that. Since we're so far under budget, I feel pretty comfortable giving him $50-60. Some of his meals might get covered so hopefully some of the money will return. I'm going to make pizza to take with us to DD's after choir concert pizza party next weekend (she can't eat gluten so we have to bring our own). If I plan well and pack coffee, we might have a no spend week* which would be awesome.

*I don't count gas for cars or medical co-pays because they are constant, regular, and necessary.

SisterX

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #101 on: March 10, 2017, 09:54:35 AM »
Can you keep your list in your purse...like on a little spiral notebook or something. I do that because if I don't have my list, I only buy things that I remember on the list or wander for a bit and buy nothing because I can't remember what I need. No list to shop from = anxiety. I'm more inclined to get "extra" stuff when I have my list; I guess because I'm more relaxed.

I have a notepad app on my phone. No need for data or anything. This way I can make the list and I know I've always got it with me when necessary. Also, super easy to take stock of the pantry/fridge/freezer. I keep a running tally of things roughly categorized into "stock up when on sale/at the cheapest store" and "things for meals this week".

I also meal plan based on what we've got in the house and what our schedule will be like, and I keep a different note about meals I can make based on what we have available. That way there's no real question of, "What's for dinner tonight?" and it's incredibly flexible.

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #102 on: March 10, 2017, 12:46:46 PM »
YMMV, but I just don't find the need for a list.  I'm only one person, and because I get fed through work quite a lot, my grocery shops are never that huge.  And I don't have a meal plan (and don't plan to start), so I'm looking for things that will generally go with other things that I already have at home, and look interesting to make in the near-ish future. 

Then too, I'm price matching, and don't necessarily know whether I'll find the item listed at Store A, when I go to Store W, where I shop.  So my store flyers for Stores A-F kind of function as my grocery list, but then I expand my meal ideas sometimes, by some wandering up and down the aisles browsing to see what they have.
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Road42

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #103 on: March 10, 2017, 02:01:27 PM »
I was all gung ho about going uber frugal this month, but then I fell off the posting wagon, and now have only come back to shame-facedly admit that because I totally failed to check my Amazon subscriptions on time, I'm about to be the proud recipient of a bunch of stuff I don't actually need. So, I'm really not feeling like I'm living up to my frugal aspirations. When the paper towels and whatever comes in the mail, I'll see if I can return them somehow, although then I think I'll be out shipping (and I'm not completely sure whether you can return the subscription things). Grr, I need to be better about checking my email rather than boycotting my computer.

On the plus side, I haven't spent any thoughtless money on anything, and I've quit my daily Coke habit entirely. Not as unhealthy as a daily coke habit would have been, but certainly something I am better off without.

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #104 on: March 10, 2017, 02:39:36 PM »
I was all gung ho about going uber frugal this month, but then I fell off the posting wagon, and now have only come back to shame-facedly admit that because I totally failed to check my Amazon subscriptions on time, I'm about to be the proud recipient of a bunch of stuff I don't actually need. So, I'm really not feeling like I'm living up to my frugal aspirations. When the paper towels and whatever comes in the mail, I'll see if I can return them somehow, although then I think I'll be out shipping (and I'm not completely sure whether you can return the subscription things). Grr, I need to be better about checking my email rather than boycotting my computer.

On the plus side, I haven't spent any thoughtless money on anything, and I've quit my daily Coke habit entirely. Not as unhealthy as a daily coke habit would have been, but certainly something I am better off without. 

If these are things that you will need eventually (I assume subscription items would be those you use regularly) I would definitely not pay shipping to send them back.  Just chalk it up to experience, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse again!  :-)

Now, I myself am having strong shopping urges today.  I have not been exposing myself to flyers or emailed coupons or anything, but my mind keeps straying to the idea of visiting Michael's.  I'm not going to do it, just logging the thought, trying to figure out where it's coming from ...

Possible explanations:

1.  I drew down my bank account pretty low this month, and leaving myself little money to spend.  There could be a rebellious reaction to that going on, or it could be triggering my "I don't have a lot of money, I need to find some bargains" line of thinking.

2.  I've been spending my personal time lately online (here!) rather than more creative/rejuvenating outlets.  That's partly because my creative area is a mess, to say the least.  And I don't have the emotional energy to tackle it until I get some time off.  In the past, I've sometimes (often!) substituted shopping for creativity supplies, for actually doing the creative stuff.  Is that what's happening here?

3.  .... (still thinking)
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geekinprogress

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #105 on: March 10, 2017, 02:42:49 PM »
Goals:
Food spending total of $200 or less (avg for last 6 mos or so has been ~$410; I think the cut will be achievable through better planning, reducing waste, cooking at home more, and the fact that I'm slowly transitioning to a vegetarian diet)
"Fun" spending total of $300 or less (avg for last 6 mos has been $807 a month)

Have fallen off the wagon **about posting, but cautiously optimistic about hitting my goals right now:
44 of 200 spent for food (mitigating factors: got a target gift card from trading in some FF miles that I used for some groceries, which I don't count in my spending)
85 of 300 spent for fun/misc purchases
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 10:17:41 PM by geekinprogress »

MissPiggy

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #106 on: March 10, 2017, 08:03:34 PM »
I'm in for Uber Frugal March!

Last month was very spendy so having support from everyone in this forum to cut down on unnecessary expenses is very welcome and needed!

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PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #107 on: March 11, 2017, 12:19:25 AM »
Hi MissPiggy!  Glad to have you with us!

But screw those cup of soup things, they're too expensive!  And if you're eating baked beans on toast, you'd better have made the baked beans, and the bread too! 

Just kidding!  Though baked beans are actually super easy to make, even from dried beans.  A bunch of hours in a low-med temp oven, with onions and molasses and ketchup and mustard powder and water.  Yum!  I made some just last week, and bread is on my to-do list to help with keeping my groceries low until next payday on March 25.

__________________________

So, my utility bills got here nice and early this month, and having my downstairs tenants away for a couple of weeks, plus all my frugal utility use (turning down the heat a bit while they were away, hanging clothes to dry, at least partly, turning out the lights while lounging around in the evening and just lighting some of my large stock of candles, etc.) made an obvious difference in the gas and electricity bills.  I've also kept my grocery spending to a minimum, and am doing pretty well with gas for the car - still have a half tank left.

I get paid again in exactly 2 weeks.  So I started doing the math.  I thought I was leaving myself $100 buffer, accounting for all possible bills and what I thought was reasonable in spending money.  But if my bills and spending have been lower than expected, how much money was I really leaving idle?  Ran the numbers a couple of times to make sure, then went ahead and put an additional 135.00 toward my CC.  This leaves things much closer to the bone.  I have about $40 for groceries and possibly a little social spending, and about $40 for gas for the car.  Other than that, I left enough money to cover one more possible bill that might come in, and about $23 buffer in the account in case I've underestimated that bill a bit.  CC #1 is now at $1,750.  I may not be able to squeeze enough out of my March paycheque to cover that, since I will have some essentials to purchase, but I should be able to get it done with the April one!  Month and a half away! 
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Mongoose

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #108 on: March 11, 2017, 07:50:30 AM »
Go PJ. Getting out from under the credit card companies is fantastic!

Everyone's posts here are inspiring.

Road42

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #109 on: March 11, 2017, 09:25:07 AM »
Nice, PJ!

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #110 on: March 11, 2017, 04:40:18 PM »
Thanks everyone!  I just need to keep on keeping on!  Lather, rinse, repeat! 

On that note, I think I posted like a week ago about needing to submit my expenses again, but I haven't done it yet.  I get a little money toward my phone, plus reimbursements for things I have to purchase in the course of my job.  I did host a couple of meetings recently, so have some receipts to put through for the refreshments, as well as the March phone money and my mileage.

I'll go do that now...

Oh!  But before I do, a little story about getting the refreshments for my meeting last Thursday.  I didn't really have any money in my wallet, and was supposed to provide the drinks (coffee/tea/juice) for the inter-faith group that was coming to meet at my church.  The coordinator of the group provides the food, so it was only drinks that I had to worry about.  I almost decided to go to the bank to take money out.  But then I counted up the change in my wallet, and I had $3.75.  Hmm.  So, I asked the people organizing the Seniors Lunch earlier in the day if I could get them to keep their excess coffee and tea and milk and sugar for me, and then I stopped and got a couple of litres of juice, for $1.25 each.  It's a small group, and that was plenty, with some juice and snacks left over, which I gave to the after-school program that rents our parish hall.

I ended up going to the bank on Friday anyway, but if I'd had more money in my wallet when I stopped to pick up the juice, I would have been tempted to buy more variety and some extra snacks unnecessarily.
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MissPiggy

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #111 on: March 11, 2017, 04:57:00 PM »
Hi MissPiggy!  Glad to have you with us!

But screw those cup of soup things, they're too expensive!  And if you're eating baked beans on toast, you'd better have made the baked beans, and the bread too! 

Just kidding!  Though baked beans are actually super easy to make, even from dried beans.  A bunch of hours in a low-med temp oven, with onions and molasses and ketchup and mustard powder and water.  Yum!  I made some just last week, and bread is on my to-do list to help with keeping my groceries low until next payday on March 25.

Yum! You know your beans! I might just need to fly over to have a taste... although that wouldn't be very mustachian...
xx Miss Piggy

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PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #112 on: March 11, 2017, 05:47:27 PM »
Hi MissPiggy!  Glad to have you with us!

But screw those cup of soup things, they're too expensive!  And if you're eating baked beans on toast, you'd better have made the baked beans, and the bread too! 

Just kidding!  Though baked beans are actually super easy to make, even from dried beans.  A bunch of hours in a low-med temp oven, with onions and molasses and ketchup and mustard powder and water.  Yum!  I made some just last week, and bread is on my to-do list to help with keeping my groceries low until next payday on March 25.

Yum! You know your beans! I might just need to fly over to have a taste... although that wouldn't be very mustachian... 

LOL!  No, not really, eh?!?!
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Strick

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #113 on: March 12, 2017, 11:24:02 AM »
We often do a "low spend" January (which nicely follows our gluttonous December...the kids don't need anything and I surely need to cut back on the eating and drinking at that point, my main weak points) and I'm sure many on this thread have done extra-Frugal months before.  So what difference does everyone generally see in their overall spending for the month?  I've noticed for us its generally about a 20% reduction in overall spending compared to our average, which probably shows how much fluff is in our regular spending...

katscratch

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #114 on: March 12, 2017, 11:54:45 AM »
...I will definitely be back in for April. Took this month off for my firstandonlyborn kiddo's birthday :)  Nothing extravagant (in fact the only thing he asked for is around $20) but I also celebrate myself - take time off work, reflect on being a mama, and maybe even get some wine or *gasp* coffee out.  Both of those usually occur but I don't know if I can actually break my streak of not buying coffee!

Checking in here for motivation in the meantime - as always, lots of great work being done 'round here!
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akzidenz

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #115 on: March 12, 2017, 12:06:22 PM »
We often do a "low spend" January (which nicely follows our gluttonous December...the kids don't need anything and I surely need to cut back on the eating and drinking at that point, my main weak points) and I'm sure many on this thread have done extra-Frugal months before.  So what difference does everyone generally see in their overall spending for the month?  I've noticed for us its generally about a 20% reduction in overall spending compared to our average, which probably shows how much fluff is in our regular spending...

I participated in Uber Frugal February and reduced by 20%! And it was more of a Fairly Frugal February, all things considered. I was very strict in some categories, like food costs and transportation (both reduced by 30%) and less so elsewhere (new running shoes, new home goods where I bought a pricier version than strictly necessary). I think an Uber Frugal Month could shave off an additional 12%…so being frugal makes a 32% difference in my budget?

Important to note here that I'm single, young, no kids—so it's easy for me to shave away at my budget because there are few necessary expenses, and many discretionary ones. And I currently have many discretionary expenses to pare down.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #116 on: March 12, 2017, 08:19:32 PM »
Sold a porch set on CL today. $180 in my pocket and a ton of room in basement cleared out!!!!! Someone may be coming for a coffee table tomorrow for $90.

Bought some extra groceries in light of blizzard coming this way, but I walked there for a liitle exercise . Also I started Whole30 today, so I expect our food bill will be different.

Our water bill came in the lowest since we lived here, so that officially makes every single utility has decreased since Uber Frugal January to the tune of about $1,000+ a year collectively in utility savings with my various money saving activities.  :0)))))

I am going to list 2 more things on CL/ebay this upcoming week for frugal activities (and side benefit of decluttering).

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #117 on: March 12, 2017, 11:25:26 PM »
Today, someone gave me a cash gift that I wasn't expecting.  I went immediately to the bank and applied it to CC#1.  I also submitted my reimbursement sheet to the Treasurer, so should receive a cheque sometime this week.  Also earmarked for CC payment.

That got me wondering whether I was actually possibly maybe within shouting distance of being able to pay off CC#1 with my next paycheque after all...

So, I've just spent the last hour adding and re-adding columns of numbers, as well as doing things like counting pills (pet meds) to be sure what I will and won't have to pick up with this month's paycheque.  Have I mentioned how hard I find it to get paid only once a month?  It requires such a fine level of detail when you're trying to allocate down to the last penny.  Bottom line, I think it might be doable, though it might end up being heart-poundingly tight!  For example, I will give my cat the last of one of his pills right on payday! 

I'll re-calculate when the paycheque comes in, but in the meantime, it's good that I'm committed to Uber Frugal March, because I want to be uber careful with my money, to give myself the best possible chance.  And I guess you can count on me for Uber Frugal April too!

Actually, I know I CAN do it, but it would require doing something that I don't want to do.  CC#2, which is a lower interest rate card, has my cable/phone/internet bill charge to it automatically.  Each month, I make sure that my payment for CC#2 equals the Bell bill + interest + a little extra, so that balance doesn't grow, and actually shrinks a teeny bit.  If, at the end of this month, I make only a minimum payment (i.e. only the interest plus a little bit extra) then I would certainly have the wiggle room to pay CC#1 fully.  Given the interest rate differential, that would actually make sense.  But I hate the idea of seeing CC#2's balance actually grow, just for the sake of paying CC#1.  Hopefully it won't come to that!
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nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #118 on: March 13, 2017, 04:47:19 AM »
PJ - I don't know how much interest we are talking about, but your carefulness makes me nervous for something going wrong and you need the money. How many days away are you from next check? I remember these date pay off days so well!

Awesome you got a gift too....great job in getting over to cc#1 ASAP.

MissPiggy

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #119 on: March 13, 2017, 06:43:47 AM »
Have I mentioned how hard I find it to get paid only once a month?  It requires such a fine level of detail when you're trying to allocate down to the last penny.  Bottom line, I think it might be doable, though it might end up being heart-poundingly tight!  For example, I will give my cat the last of one of his pills right on payday! 

It is tricky getting paid monthly especially in the first month when switching from fortnightly or weekly to monthly, and budgeting for the time difference. I have multiple bank accounts for everyday spending, bills and savings which automatically schedule transfers for all my bills and savings and the remainder is grocery money + spending money for the month. It helps a lot removing all the bills automatically and only seeing what you have left to spend.



xx Miss Piggy

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Mongoose

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #120 on: March 13, 2017, 09:04:16 AM »
PJ... I would personally just pay the minimum on the lower interest card and get the big one gone. for. good. Would it help to think of it as transferring the last remaining bit on high interest card to low interest card? Because that's what you would be doing...but in a frugal way because you're avoiding the 3% balance transfer fee. ;-)

It looks like we're going to come in at around 40% down on grocery spending this month. It's not sustainable because we've been eating out of our freezer stocks but helps right now. We had a potentially ridiculous amount of food reserves.

One time when DH was teaching (our only income at the time), he got paid for 3 months all at once. It was horrible. I decided to prepay all our bills (mortgage, insurance, electricity, etc.) for all 3 months so the money wouldn't just float away. Had a devil of a time getting the companies to accept overpayments. The mortgage was especially problematic since they wanted to apply a one-time overpayment and I wanted to pay 3 regular payments...just well before their due dates. It ended up being fairly amusing by the time I got to the last stop and had to explain, yet again, that I was paying ahead on purpose. I also withdrew our grocery budget in cash and separated into into envelopes so we would have a steady stream of grocery money. The amount of planning it took to pay those bills was exhausting.

Oh...and definitely count me in for uber frugal April. Our tax return is half what I was expecting. Totally fine but we have some savings to do to make up for that.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #121 on: March 13, 2017, 09:50:28 AM »
DH getting paid monthly is a big part of what brought me to MMM, I'm pretty sure (although I don't remember for sure how I ended up here, hah). It definitely can be hard for budgeting, especially when you fly with low numbers! And our income can be hugely variable. (Less so now, but when DH was low man on the totem pole? Feast or famine wages!) Definitely a balancing act, but in some ways I consider it a gift, because it *necessitated* us paying super close attention to our spending. Silver lining =)

Spending has been higher on alcohol than I like, but we've been doing fairly well on groceries and restaurants. Several no spend days. The restaurants are low in spite of going out *three times* this month. One was on a gift card I had, and needed to use up because it was for a city where we no longer live. The other two times were BIL and then MIL/FIL taking us out for my birthday =) Although we just got an appetizer and a drink on BIL's dime, he doesn't make enough to treat us but it's thoroughly his love language. Which reminds me, I need to do better with gifts for him- gifts are definitely not my love language, and I suck at/forget to give them. Total side tangent there.

So much is plugging along at 'fairly frugal'. We aren't going full bore on groceries, but are trying to keep things low overall.
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YoungGranny

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #122 on: March 13, 2017, 10:59:32 AM »
I recently came to the conclusion that I need to tighten my frugal belt for a little bit as sort of a detox. My budget has been inching up and it's time to tighten the reins a bit so I don't lose those frugal muscles. I know it's the middle of the month already but I'm going to commit to a no-spend week to get back on track. This month has actually been really good for us anyway so far so my remaining goals for the month are:

1. No going out to eat.
2. No spend week starting today.
3. No miscellaneous purchases for the rest of the month only needs- ie bills, mortgage, and groceries. I'd also like to spend less than $100 on remaining groceries for the month.

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #123 on: March 13, 2017, 11:54:10 PM »
nottoolatetostart, very sweet of you to worry for me.  My carefulness probably has more to do with anxiety about whether I have forgotten anything, and a lack of confidence in my financial skillz, than any real likelihood that I could run into trouble.  Really, worst comes to worst (shhh ... don't tell the face punching type of mustachians!) I could put anything I need onto my credit card, if I had to.  And I get paid on or nearest business day to the 25th of each month, so a little ways to go, but I should be just fine.

MissPiggy, LOL at the google search.  Yes!  The highs and lows of monthly pay, when you can't or don't want to keep a good size buffer in the account, can feel much like that!

Mongoose, yikes about the significantly lower tax return than expected!  Also, funny you tell the story about DH and trying to pay things 3 months in advance.  I was reflecting on the fact that before I started working for the church, back when I was getting paid every two weeks, I actually used to pay things that way.  The utility type bills naturally split themselves into those that came earlier in the month, and those that came later, plus I even paid my rent bi-weekly instead of monthly.  My father was my landlord, so he didn't really care how it came in to him, as long as it all worked out right over the course of the year.  But yes, your suggestion to think of it like a balance transfer is Uber Uber Helpful!  That's what I will do, if I don't think that I can manage paying both CC#1 in its entirety, plus CC#2 monthly charges plus minimum payment.

But, I am feeling more and more confident that I'll be able to make it.  Because today, I was very productive on little financial tasks...

1.  I stopped by the gym that I have never gone to and cancelled my membership (it hadn't opened yet at the time I signed up for the membership, but then life got in the way by the time it did open, and I still have never gone and it is just ridiculous but I don't see myself starting anytime soon, so boom!  Cancel!)  That means paying a little bit less this month (before my next pay) and a little bit less (leaving more room for bill payments) on next pay.
2.  I submitted an expense form for a couple of prescriptions.  Not very expensive ones, but almost $50.
3.  I submitted an expense form for Continuing Ed account for books I bought a few months ago.  Another $60 or so?

I was remembering that I should also be getting a cheque for a $10 rebate on dog/cat food that I sent off at the end of 2016.  Every little bit helps, right?

I also mailed off requests for a free copy of my credit report, from both Equifax and TransUnion.  I intend to apply soon for a new CC with a balance transfer / 0% interest rate offer, but I have been wanting to check my report before I do.  Besides, it's been a while since I've reviewed my credit report, and that's something that's good to do periodically!
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nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #124 on: March 14, 2017, 04:59:15 AM »
We often do a "low spend" January (which nicely follows our gluttonous December...the kids don't need anything and I surely need to cut back on the eating and drinking at that point, my main weak points) and I'm sure many on this thread have done extra-Frugal months before.  So what difference does everyone generally see in their overall spending for the month?  I've noticed for us its generally about a 20% reduction in overall spending compared to our average, which probably shows how much fluff is in our regular spending...

I don't know exactly since I prepaid many expenses early and also normally take a big hit since property taxes, home insurance (I don't escrow taxes and insurance), and auto insurance all due. But what I can say is that today is March 14, I have very few bills yet to pay this year since we prepaid quite a few and we are only 5 paychecks in the year (21 to go!).
 We cancelled gym, downsized life insurance (saving 500  a year), made some efficient changes in utilities (see my previous posts) to save about $1,000 annually, sold stuff on ebay, Amazon and Craigslist to pay for indulgences (like new living room curtain rod, bedroom curtains, kids school outings, LED lights for kitchen chandelier). Our restaurant expenses totals less today at $86 in 2.5 months than maybe what we previously would have spent in 1 week. We have filled 1 car two times in the last 2.5 months with gas (with almost a full tank still to go) and are considering going down to 1 car. We walk everywhere, so we are healthier. Travel hacked our way to what would have been an expensive wedding this year (retail value >$2500, we paid $22 for flight taxes and staying at super fabulous hotel where rest of  weddding party is staying for free with points). I even learned to fix my own car battery. This  Uber Frugal exercise has really made me more confident in our retirement budget and how we would make it all work. I can't say enough about it.

It has given me clear headness to confidently do Whole30 too because we truly eat in virtually every meal and it is no longer in our option set whether to eat out. So I hope to see some benefits there too.

Yes, totally sign us up for Uber Frugal April. I nominate PJ to kick off our thread. :0)

 I feel like I was a slightly fit person before (affordable home, paid for cars, 401k maxed out for years, >60% savings rate) to a fitness ninja thanks to this uber frugal challenge. I expect us to get to 70% savings rate by year end (and I am a SAHM). Love this thread!!!! I can't wait to see other changes

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #125 on: March 14, 2017, 06:47:02 AM »
We are going to deliberately eat out on Thursday. Should be around $30 for the 4 of us. Our schedules are currently super crazy and we decided (after much deliberation) to get dinner out. I'll still pack a picnic lunch but this way we won't need a picnic dinner too. Convenience is going to win this time to keep my schedule from getting unmanageable. I will also pick up a few things at the store that day. Should be our only spending other than gas for the week.

LindseyC

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #126 on: March 14, 2017, 07:58:43 AM »
PJ - you can also get your credit report from creditkarma.ca it's free and uses the info from Transunion but it's instantaneous, no waiting for the mail.

I have sorta blown this month. I am $300 over budget. $150 is for legitimate items I stocked up on to take advantage of sales, the other half was poor planning on my part. The only good news is I got $235 back from my taxes and I have another extra $100 from the government coming in April. While one part of me is annoyed with myself, the other part recognizes I am still making positive progress and I am a paying down debt continuously, just not as fast as I would like to.

The three months of spring are always crazy busy at my job so I should be able to work lots of extra hours. I am just gonna keep on chugging away and recording my spending to keep myself in budget.

swick

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #127 on: March 14, 2017, 10:25:12 AM »
Nottoolatetostart - Those are some pretty awesome and major changes, Way to go!

Updates: In general we have been doing pretty good. Although Hubs just spent 60.00 on a snake camera, too see under the drywall he had to cut away from our finished basement, to see what the hell is happening that would cause water to show up in our closet. I think we are pretty certain that it is not a pipe, and that the drainage around our house sucks. Pretty sure there are a few issues previous owners didn't disclose. So in anticipation of foundation repairs (or moving, if it is cheaper) Uber frugal April, here we come!

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #128 on: March 14, 2017, 12:06:07 PM »
LindseyC, thank you so much for the creditkarma suggestion!  I really appreciate it, because I'd heard the company name but didn't know what they did.  Assumed it was some kind of "we can help you fix your credit" kind of thing.

I signed up, and got my credit report, which is great because they also show you your credit score.  The other places you can get your report, but no score.  So, things are about what I'd expected - I'm in the good category, but not excellent.  I had a late payment on one of my cards a while back - just lost track of things.  Plus, I'm sure that my utilization is a major factor too.  Still, should be good enough for me to be able to apply for another card in the next little while, to get a 0% balance transfer for CC#2.  That will help me pay it off faster - it's on a "low interest" card, but you know, what I consider low interest, and what the bank considers low interest, are two totally different things!  Down the road, I also want to start doing some travel hacking, but that will have to wait until the urgent debt (i.e. CC's) are dealt with first.

In other news, I checked my online banking today, and CC#1 has posted the newest statement.  Balance was better than I'd estimated it would be, in terms of how much interest was charged this month, due to my aggressive paying down over the last little while.  Also, didn't I just say it?  My dog food rebate cheque came in the mail today.  Only $10, but I think I will stop by the bank (halfway between home and work) and drop that on CC#1, and maybe add a little bit of the cash that's in my wallet too, to make the stop seem more worthwhile.  The closer I get to payday, the more confident I am about estimating how much cash I'll need for gas or food! 

nottoolatetostart, you've done some amazing things.  Well done!  I don't track my spending or savings rates well enough to be able to answer Strick's question about how much change to expect, numerically speaking.  But I can track changes in thought patterns, and point to a huge difference in confidence about being able to get.this.done!
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westtoeast

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #129 on: March 14, 2017, 12:07:11 PM »
Update!

3/10: $2.75 (hedonistic adaptation, Uber); $42 (groceries from Trader Joe's)
3/11: $11 (drink w/ co-workers); $9 (Uber again.. help me...)
3/12: $0
3/13: $2.75 (Uber, but I had to to take it because I finished work at 2:45 and had a meeting in another building across town at 3:00, and I get paid for participating in this particular set of meetings)
3/14: $0

$1027/$1300

So basically all my unnecessary spending is Uber. I think I may need to just build in a $20 a month budget for this because reasons to use it keep coming up. Once spring hits I may be able to use my bike instead in some of these situations if I can overcome my biking fear. I also did some spending for my upcoming April travel. I needed to purchase a bus ticket, a ferry ticket and a charger adapter. I am not including this in my spend because I took the cash out of my separate travel fund, and basically I can spend this travel fund however I want but once it is empty-- no more travel for me! I'm also considering buying a $900 ticket to Japan for this summer, and using my $550 credit from my Barclaycard, because the tickets are never this cheap! Again, this will come out of my separate travel fund.

katscratch

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #130 on: March 14, 2017, 02:51:36 PM »
westtoeast, does your area have any slow roll social biking rides? I know some cities also have biking skills days/classes that cover ways to be a more confident commuter.

Minneapolis has a few clubs that offer slow rides with super welcoming people - my monthly ride has a huge mix of skill levels (I am slow slow slow and quite clumsy) and there's always a mechanic tagging along so there are really no barriers to showing up and just riding. It's helped me a TON in general bike handling and knowing how traffic acts in different parts of the cities.
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SweetRedWine

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #131 on: March 14, 2017, 04:00:31 PM »
I failed out of Uber Frugal February, mostly due to losing control of my grocery spending.  My next attempt will an Uber Frugal April, when I'll be working too much to spend much money.  However, I wanted to cheer all of you on and let you know I'm appreciating your updates!  Keep up your great Uber Frugal March!!!

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #132 on: March 14, 2017, 05:03:46 PM »
Fun comparison of 2016 vs 2017:

I'm getting ready to go on my annual vacation.  Last year, I spent $320 buying stuff for the trip.  This year, I've spent $8.50.

Now to be fair, a lot of the stuff I bought last year I really needed, and am continuing to use (a decent bathing suit, etc.), but it's still fun to think about the contrast!

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #133 on: March 14, 2017, 10:38:01 PM »
That is a great comparison, SquashingDebt.  Why do we fall into the "need to shop to travel" trap, do you suppose?  I've done it too.  Suddenly the clothes that I happily wear around in my normal life, aren't good enough for whatever I am going to do while I'm away.  Weird.

SweetRedWine, you're welcome to participate whenever and however you can.  We'll look forward to seeing you in Uber Frugal April, but in the meantime, don't hesitate to capture any uber frugal wins you might have this month too, if you want.  :-)
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nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #134 on: March 15, 2017, 07:13:45 AM »
PJ  - so excited for your cc paydown, I feel like it's my own. Also, the utilization in credit never goes away (at least here in US). I pay off our cards every week, so maybe when statement closes (due to timing, also have zero interest charges) we owe $200 or whatever compared to our available balances of >$100k (that sounds like a lot of available cc credit)....anyway, I digress.....because of our mortgage (we have no other debt) it always perpetually says we have high utilization. When I worked in process design, we always thought of possible failures and ways to avoid those failures. Your late payment dent will go away, but do you have good systems in place to make sure you NEVER miss a minimum payment again? For example, my credit card companies will send me texts or emails if closing date is approaching and no payment made. I am so excited for you!

Sweetredwine -please join us despite your grocery budget. I think most of us can attest to going over budget in an area, especially groceries, no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water, per se

Squashingdebt - I hate buying stuff before a trip. Great job on reducing that before trip expense. Thats pretty huge

Swick - we could be twins. We too are dealing with some basement water issues.(well the appearance of it coming through cinder blocks). I absolutely now despise dealing with contractors, so hubby's purchase of snake cam sounds well needed. I really wish there was a local mobile truck that could bring tools around to borrow once and then return same day or within a few days. Many times I buy stuff for 1 use and despise that too. Maybe a business idea! Good luck with that...sounds stressful

Lindsey - every time I spend more than expected it always come back to poor planning. Hang in there and is there anything you can do to prevent in future? Anything you can return?


nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #135 on: March 15, 2017, 07:25:17 AM »
My own update: super snowy here thanks to storm Stella. Stayed home, made a fire, shoveled sidewalks/driveway yesterday (now sore upper body to show for my 'exercise'), played outside with kids. So Stella made for naturally simple frugal day and will today too. Few cars on road so it was awesome to see how safe it was for people to walk in the streets with all the snow. So lovely!

 I have a pork roast in the slow cooker now for whole 30 Chipotle-like fajita  bowls for myself and DH wants potato soup, so no need for grocery store. DH got his annual bonus yesterday (it was over 30 percent more than I had budgeted/estimated for) and his employer made a crazy large unexpected contribution to his 401k (like over 5k) yesterday.

March is almost half done!

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #136 on: March 15, 2017, 08:32:33 AM »
Wow! I feel like this thread moves fast. Lots of good updates.

Miss Piggy - I am living for your memes.

PJ - you are doing so great with CC paydown! Well done.

We aren't coming in frugal this month on the big things - Ugh Emergency Room and Taxes :( BUT - we are doing great on the small things. We've only eaten out once for an unplanned emergency and grocery spending is at about is just under $299 so far for the month - and my freezer is stocked! I think I'm going to keep it under $500 for March.

We are also like nottoolatetostart and all of our annual bills hit in the first quarter. After we pay Fed taxes in April everything opens up for us for the rest of the year - I need to sort of remind myself to hang in there for another two months :)

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #137 on: March 15, 2017, 10:45:43 AM »
nottoolatetostart, I'm so excited for you with the good news from DH's employer!  That's fantastic stuff and I bet DH feels really valued :-)

StarBright, sorry to hear about emergency rooms and tax hits.  Hope all is ok, and that April will be better.  Holding the line on the small stuff can help you get through the big stuff, sometimes.  :-/

I didn't stop by the bank last night - my work meeting ended really late (after 11).  And it's possible (though unlikely) that at tonight's meeting the Treasurer might bring my mileage/reimbursement cheque.  So makes some sense to hold off and see - I should be able to make the stop tonight because tonight's meeting isn't as full an agenda.
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westtoeast

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #138 on: March 15, 2017, 11:37:43 AM »
westtoeast, does your area have any slow roll social biking rides? I know some cities also have biking skills days/classes that cover ways to be a more confident commuter.

Minneapolis has a few clubs that offer slow rides with super welcoming people - my monthly ride has a huge mix of skill levels (I am slow slow slow and quite clumsy) and there's always a mechanic tagging along so there are really no barriers to showing up and just riding. It's helped me a TON in general bike handling and knowing how traffic acts in different parts of the cities.

Ooh, this is exactly what I need! Googling now. Sounds like a great way to build courage, thanks!

westtoeast

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #139 on: March 15, 2017, 11:41:56 AM »
That is a great comparison, SquashingDebt.  Why do we fall into the "need to shop to travel" trap, do you suppose?  I've done it too.  Suddenly the clothes that I happily wear around in my normal life, aren't good enough for whatever I am going to do while I'm away.  Weird.ftp://

This was a really well timed comment for me. I've been stuck at home due to Stella, which means I finally booked my summer travel to Japan using points and I've been doing lots of pre-trip research... which somehow led to filling up a Uniqlo cart with cute summer travel basics. I was sitting on the cart trying to resist when I read this comment. I'm going to dig into my closet right now and remind myself what I already own that could meet my needs. Thanks!

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #140 on: March 15, 2017, 12:10:23 PM »
That is a great comparison, SquashingDebt.  Why do we fall into the "need to shop to travel" trap, do you suppose?  I've done it too.  Suddenly the clothes that I happily wear around in my normal life, aren't good enough for whatever I am going to do while I'm away.  Weird.ftp://

This was a really well timed comment for me. I've been stuck at home due to Stella, which means I finally booked my summer travel to Japan using points and I've been doing lots of pre-trip research... which somehow led to filling up a Uniqlo cart with cute summer travel basics. I was sitting on the cart trying to resist when I read this comment. I'm going to dig into my closet right now and remind myself what I already own that could meet my needs. Thanks! 

Happy to help!  I haven't been doing much travelling lately, but I have a friend who *always* shops before she travels, and her closet is always full to overflowing already (to the point that she complains about sleeping on the couch because her laundry is all over her bed).  So I'm familiar with the phenomenon, from my own past experiences, and from listening to her. 

I think part of it is just forgetting what we have!  When we're booking a trip to somewhere warm, in the dead of winter, we forget what we loved wearing in the summer.  We make the comparison between our winter wardrobe, which obviously isn't suitable, and not with our summer stuff.

Or we think that we'll be doing such different stuff than in our daily lives, and therefore need different types of clothes.  But how different is sightseeing, from running errands?  Both require in and out of transportation, and lots of walking.  How different is going out for dinner in (Paris, London, Havana, etc) from going out for dinner with friends here?

It all depends on the type of travelling you're doing, of course.  Some trips really do call for easy to wash and hang to dry clothes, for example.  But we're not always stuffing everything in a backpack, and washing all our clothes in bathroom sinks for months on end.  :-)
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Mongoose

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #141 on: March 15, 2017, 12:19:46 PM »
I came to confess my frugal fails but my post got eaten...so I don't have to tell everyone how I got too busy to even stop at the grocery store, ran out of food that wasn't in the deep freeze and time to prepare it, and caved to eating fast food yesterday....twice. My only saving grace is that I did have and prepare food for the kids...but only because they don't eat gluten. Sigh... I really must get to the store soon.

I have time today to make food for all of us and I'm going to do that right now. :-)

alleykat

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #142 on: March 15, 2017, 03:00:03 PM »
Still doing pretty good in March. Everything I get tempted to buy, I pause, give myself room to rationalize the purchase and then realize I don't need it or will go in a drawer never to be used again.  I come to my senses and I have been loving the feeling.

The best of all I have curbed my grocery spending and am looking forward to really eating through my kitchen and only buying things that round out or just essentials for the week. I might of bought a few extra things but not nearly what I use to buy.  I really want to get down to the point where the cupboards and storage areas are empty.  I buy too many specialty ingredients that always end up getting tossed and now I am trying to use them.  I started looking up different recipes. At worst, I will learn a few recipes.

I have really enjoyed these challenges.  The timing was perfect with my goals for 2017. 

LindseyC

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #143 on: March 15, 2017, 03:24:31 PM »
PJ - you are most welcome! A user on Reddit pointed me to creditkarma.ca the other day and I was impressed with the service. I am glad I was able to pass it on to someone else, I always learn so much from others!

Nottoolatetostart - nothing I can return. I didn't actually buy anything silly, I just stocked up too much on some stuff and miscalculated when a bill was due. So next month I should come out with better numbers. I was just frustrated because I killed February!

Alleykat - your goal is exactly the same as mine, I just want to get to the point of bare cupboards and freezer and then meal plan a week at a time from there. I seem to save the most when I have a very specific plan and shopping list.

PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #144 on: March 16, 2017, 12:47:32 AM »
I came to confess my frugal fails but my post got eaten...so I don't have to tell everyone how I got too busy to even stop at the grocery store, ran out of food that wasn't in the deep freeze and time to prepare it, and caved to eating fast food yesterday....twice. My only saving grace is that I did have and prepare food for the kids...but only because they don't eat gluten. Sigh... I really must get to the store soon.

I have time today to make food for all of us and I'm going to do that right now. :-) 

Don't worry, Mongoose, since your post got eaten, we'll never find out!

So, some frugal wins and some frugal fails today. 

Frugal fails: 

Had to go visit someone in hospital.  This particular hospital has zero neighbourhood parking nearby; it's 20 minutes walk to a side street where parking is allowed.  Way too cold out for that, so I had to pay for parking.  $12.  Will get reimbursed by work, but it's a shame to have to front that, or even to have to pay it in general.  This kind of expense is exactly the kind of thing I will be able to put through on the CC, once I'm not carrying a balance, and then have it paid back by work.

Also, stayed longer than I'd expected, visiting with spouse of person in hospital, and offering them support.  That's part of why the parking was as high as it was.  Last time I saw him, he was tired, and I was in and out in less than half an hour - only $4.  Oh well, it really was a good visit.  But then I was running late, and though I'd brought food with me, I wasn't going to have time to stop, heat it up, and eat it.  Resorted to grabbing a bagel and coffee at Tim Horton's, but no out of pocket expense because I had a gift card.

Frugal wins: 

Refrained from going grocery shopping.  I really didn't need anything urgently, and there were no absolutely screaming deals in this week's flyers, so I'll wait until tomorrow to see what's on sale this coming week. 

Did pick up my reimbursement/mileage cheque tonight, so went straight after work and deposited it, along with the dog food rebate cheque.  CC#1 is now under $1400, and it is a sure thing, barring an emergency in the next couple weeks, that it will be paid with my next paycheque.
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Mongoose

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #145 on: March 16, 2017, 06:33:43 AM »
To repent for our double eat out, we are going to picnic today. Ok, it's not mainly the money. Darn restaurant food makes all of us so thirsty we are miserable. The kids practically beg at times to not have to eat out. I don't get it. Everyone else seems to enjoy it so much and we just spend money to make ourselves feel bad.

Mezzie

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #146 on: March 17, 2017, 07:16:53 AM »
Let's see...

I've spent $300 on a wedding gift, about the same on gardening/landscaping supplies, intend to buy yet more gardening supplies, may drop a couple hundred on tickets to a really good show, donated a ton of money to student activities...

I'd still consider this frugal as all of these expenses are for things I truly care about, so I haven't wasted a cent, but I think "uber" is out.
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PJ

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #147 on: March 17, 2017, 11:02:21 PM »
Let's see...

I've spent $300 on a wedding gift, about the same on gardening/landscaping supplies, intend to buy yet more gardening supplies, may drop a couple hundred on tickets to a really good show, donated a ton of money to student activities...

I'd still consider this frugal as all of these expenses are for things I truly care about, so I haven't wasted a cent, but I think "uber" is out.

LOL!

To repent for our double eat out, we are going to picnic today. Ok, it's not mainly the money. Darn restaurant food makes all of us so thirsty we are miserable. The kids practically beg at times to not have to eat out. I don't get it. Everyone else seems to enjoy it so much and we just spend money to make ourselves feel bad.   

Ontario has recently passed legislation requiring calorie labelling on restaurant menus.  That's a helpful start.  Personally, I'd love the fat content, and I'm sure the low-carbers would want the carb count.  But what we should all be interested in is the sodium count, because it's astonishingly high in virtually all restaurant food!
_________________________

For myself, not too much to report.  Trying to eat at home, minimize utilities and driving.  Took a look at the flyers for this week, and there are some good prices on produce and other things that I need.  Salt, for one (ironic, considering my comment above).  My crazy dog gets a spoon of salt on her food every evening - prescribed, because she has Addison's disease and her bloodwork early on after diagnosis showed the need for her to be supplemented.  One store nearby has 2 boxes (1 kg each) for $1!  So I'm going to buy a few of them, because I know I'll use it eventually.
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nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #148 on: March 18, 2017, 04:03:02 AM »
To repent for our double eat out, we are going to picnic today. Ok, it's not mainly the money. Darn restaurant food makes all of us so thirsty we are miserable. The kids practically beg at times to not have to eat out. I don't get it. Everyone else seems to enjoy it so much and we just spend money to make ourselves feel bad.

The dining out thing happens. I would think it would be motivating to have kids also saying they don't like it too now that you had this experience. Plus you love your vegetables too! Is there anyway you could pack a cooler of carrot sticks, those individual Justin packs of peanut butter/almond butter, hardboiled eggs, etc, or anything else just to tie you over to make it home so you aren't ravaging when you get  in the door?

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Uber Frugal March
« Reply #149 on: March 18, 2017, 04:20:18 AM »
Mongoose, as soon as I post about your dining out, realized that I had my own battle with the dining out dragon last night. DH got home later than normal due to offsite work event. The kids were about to go to bed and they had been kind of grazing, so no proper meal required. Doing dishes at 8:30 at night was not appealling so I asked him to pick up Chipotle on way home. Because I am doing whole 30, I looked up to see what I could eat and realized the only things I could eat there, I likely already had in my fridge or could quickly make. Doh! So I got to cooking (made him some rice) and made up the fajita bowls in like min (cleaning up was another story but I got it done). I had never made them before but it is amazing what a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro will do. Next time, I will actually try to do a copycat bowl. Anyway, three cheers to eating more of our existing inventory, $16 saved, and trying something new. I am totally going to do the bowls again. Highly recommend for quick meal.

Still sorely lacking in listing something on Craigslist. Too much going on with whole 30, snow storms, shoveling and doing refinance mortgage stuff.