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General Discussion => Throw Down the Gauntlet => Topic started by: Rosy on October 01, 2018, 12:30:02 PM

Title: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 01, 2018, 12:30:02 PM
You are welcome to join me in yet another frugal monthly budget challenge:) for the month of October 2018. I am declaring October the month for optimizing.
Never mind the long post - I'm just strategizing:)

You know those damn painful cable TV expenses that you know you might be able to slash, but aren't quite sure how - you know it isn't going to be easy and the other half may not be entirely on board but is beginning to crumble?

Well, it is that time - I'm ready to tackle this one previously "unchallenged" item, but I am still looking to slash the grocery budget by 10% - find a little side income - or if your own budget is already rock bottom: find a min of $10 plus, somehow - somewhere.

1. I'm cheating just a little with the side income - because I already have $140 lined up for Oct. It's a $20 gig x 7, evaluating a Health Insurance presentation.
I'll look into going to a presentation on my own as well before I start, since in the past they have given out $10 in Publix (grocery store) gift cards to the attendees. I'm not allowed to accept those when I'm on the job, but it will be easier to do the evaluation when I had a trial run and ten bux for groceries is always welcome.

2. The cable bill will be the bear - I've started looking into digital antennas and found tvfool website, which lets you determine your signal strength and which cable channels you will be able to receive with a digital antenna. I also found a review site with lots of good tips.
Next will be looking into sling tv - I'm really not sure I grasp all the concepts yet, but I understand that we want certain channels so Mr. can watch his NFL football games.
I signed up for Netflix (free for 90 days) which is really all I need, besides a couple of local channels and CNN/BBC world news and I assume I should be able to access those via internet - will check.

Our local provider, Spectrum went all digital as of Oct 1, so our small TV in the kitchen no longer works. Apparently, we could get a cheap digital antenna just for it, which would be around $30.
Not sure yet how to deal with the other two big TVs in the house...?, the old boxes work, but I sure hate that cable bill.

So my job this month is to find a solution to the cable TV expenses.

3. If available and my car is ready for an oil change (it's close) - I'll get a free oil change and tire rotation and $20 for the report - probably will put that off until November, so I have time to pick up any last minute health ins eval's - someone always flakes and the company will pay extra for doing a report last minute.

4. Will need to make sure that Mr. R's credit card rewards points don't expire and order gc's. He keeps forgetting and the points disappear - lost money.

5. May open one new bank account for the $250 bonus, but also because I'm not thrilled with one of my current banks - still looking into one other bank.

6. Last thing on my list - I can't resist quirky challenges - so I am starting this month on a new $1K challenge that I've successfully done before.
 
It's quirky, it's fun and all you do is save a random amount on a chart once a week - more if you can that week. Cross off each box as you save that amount - from $3 up to $60 max.
Of course, I try to hit several boxes at one time whenever I can. Most of the amounts are so ridiculously low, it's fun to see them crossed off.
You can get it at
 https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/a-money-saving-chart-save-an-extra-1000/

The idea is to save $1K in a year - but hey, who wants to wait that long - so I find little online things to do that pay a couple of bucks via pay pal or do a amazon Turk gig to fill up all the $3 to $7 boxes.

So far I crossed off $20 as of Oct 1 - $980 to go:)!

7. Set one last challenge for our dining out budget this month:
 - we must either have a coupon-discount or take advantage of the weekly special or early bird special - BOGO.

8. Thinking about increasing my piddly passive income stream - will do some brainstorming.

Well - that is all the optimizing I can think of for this October - go ahead and share some of your own strategies and projects for this month!
I'd love to hear what you have done about your cable bill.

 
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 01, 2018, 01:40:58 PM
I'm in. Spendless September was a big success so I'd like to keep the momentum going :)

My biggest problem areas in my budget are Dining Out, Misc, and Groceries. So I will try to tackle those this month.

1. Dining Out has been averaging $200 a month this year. My goal is to cut it to $100 this month. The lowest I've been able to go this year is $130 so it'll be tough but I know I can do this.

2. Misc. is averaging $270 a month! Ridiculous. The lowest month was $110 (Spendless September) This month my goal will be to stay under $100. Any purchases outside of my normal budgeted amount will either have to fit in this $100 or wait until next month.

3. Groceries average $250 a month. My lowest month was $90 but that's because the prior month I spend $400 and just didn't need to buy as much the next month. October's plan will be to eat all leftovers, food in fridge, buy on sale, use coupons when I can. Hoping to come in under $200 this month.

4. Overall my monthly spending has been $2,600 which includes every expense I have during the month. Goal for October is $1,500.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 01, 2018, 03:05:39 PM
 @haypug16 - I'm curious, I don't understand the misc expense being 290? or are those just your personal expenses in disguise?

I basically have an operational budget out of which everything must be paid, I pay all bills and one time expenses that occur that month out of that budget, including $50 to a slush fund which goes to a separate savings account at the same bank, so I can transfer in and out to keep up with any unaccounted for extra expenses in my operational checking - if need be.
Whatever is left over, is all mine.

Sometimes I use it partially for extra savings or make an extra payment on something, but mainly it is my spending money for the month - so if there were misc expenses it would come out of that.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 01, 2018, 03:15:30 PM
$270 in Misc is for anything I don't have a budget category for. In 2017 my monthly average for $380 so I added a couple other categories to my budget so I could track what that was better. It helped some but I still have a good amount getting thrown into misc. Last month it was Vitamins, Parking, a wheel for a stroller. I may create a Vitamins category for next year  since I probably spend a few hundred a year on them, but for the most part it's just one off items that don't fit into my preexisting categories.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on October 01, 2018, 03:19:49 PM
I'm in! Love that Oct 1 starts on a Monday.. feel like it's the perfect month to start something.

For the month of October I'm going to push my savings rate from 50% to 72%.

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600) - aiming for <50$ this month
Grocery budget (avg. $401) - aiming for <200$ this month
Gas (avg. $198) - aiming for <50$ this month
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665) - aiming for <150$ this month

Other odds and ends..

Gonna ring up my cable, internet and cell phone providers and try to get credits/discounts for loyalty. Worth a shot.

No haircut this month. Easy 20$.

Weather out here in NorCal is cooling down nicely, which will let me take advantage of the cool nights. Hope to shave down the utilities bill by a bit.

Next batch of beer that I'm brewing in a couple weeks will be a frankenstein of sorts.. leftover ounces of hops and some old grain. will have to pick up some yeast but should be a cheap batch.

Excited for this month!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 02, 2018, 07:05:36 AM
I'm in for Optimizing October! Last month was so hard for me, I had surgery and was out of work most of the month. So I'm looking forward to an *almost* normal income month, and getting my budget dialed, because I had a lot of random expenses that came with the surgery.

Spending Goals:

Groceries- under $200
Dining out/Alcohol- under $30
Misc- Under $100

Saving Goals:
Save $100 into my IRA
Save $100 into my emergency fund savings
Make $200 of side income dog sitting
Sell $100 of gear I have laying around



My fixed expenses are kind of high right now, because I have $500 a month going towards medical bills. But, I'm about to squeeze in under $2000 left to pay on those, so I'm getting excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel! In order to save any money on my income with these bills, I have to be uber frugal almost every month...but I admit that every month has not gone that way. I tend to start to feel sorry for myself with the health problems I've had, and I'll "treat" myself to something in moments of being down. My main goal for this month is not to do that! No extra "fun" spending. Not because I think it's bad, but because I did enough the past few months! Haha.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: catccc on October 02, 2018, 10:21:01 AM
In for an optimum October!  I think the September challenge really kept me in line.  I am going to aim to stay under $3,500 this month.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: frugalone on October 02, 2018, 11:11:38 AM
2. The cable bill will be the bear - I've started looking into digital antennas and found tvfool website, which lets you determine your signal strength and which cable channels you will be able to receive with a digital antenna. I also found a review site with lots of good tips.
Next will be looking into sling tv - I'm really not sure I grasp all the concepts yet, but I understand that we want certain channels so Mr. can watch his NFL football games.
I signed up for Netflix (free for 90 days) which is really all I need, besides a couple of local channels and CNN/BBC world news and I assume I should be able to access those via internet - will check.

Our local provider, Spectrum went all digital as of Oct 1, so our small TV in the kitchen no longer works. Apparently, we could get a cheap digital antenna just for it, which would be around $30.
Not sure yet how to deal with the other two big TVs in the house...?, the old boxes work, but I sure hate that cable bill.


Just for giggles I used the TV Fool website as I already use a "leaf antenna" purchased from Amazon.  I get 8 channels- TV fool said 7 so really spot on info!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 03, 2018, 07:01:15 PM
Re: cutting the cable
Appreciate the info @ frugalone - nice to see the data at tvfool confirmed.

Found a blog post with terrific - long - detailed information, that I'll be working my way through.
https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/getting-rid-of-cable/#more-32285

and if like me you have a partner who just has to watch his football team - how to watch sports without cable - blogpost.
https://living-the-stream.com/sports/

Living the stream - blog - has some great, helpful info https://living-the-stream.com/author/livingthestream/

May take me all month to get through all the information:)

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 04, 2018, 11:37:35 AM
Renewing my military ID tomorrow - so there will be shopping for meat and other goodies - usually amounts to about 30% savings for the grocery bill and no tax:) either.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 05, 2018, 07:54:57 AM
Oct 5th update
Dining Out = $6.09/$100
Misc = $7.55/<$100
Groceries = $47.42/<$200
Overall spending for every category = $91.68/$1,500

So far this month is going fine but it's only the 5th. I'm nearly 25% threw my Grocery budget so I need to keep an eye on that and I have 3 dinner get together planned this month (which I literally just realized) so the Dining Out goal may not happen but I am going to try my best to keep it down, since I'm currently not drinking it may actually be possible.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 05, 2018, 05:08:11 PM
October Update So Far

Groceries - $25/$200
Eating out- $0!!!
"Misc"- $18/$100
Gas- $0/$50

And that's it, aside from my normal Rent, Health Insurance, Medical bills, etc. I feel super good about this month, and super motivated. I have tons of food at home, a bunch of new books to read, and I'm not feeling tempted at all to go out with friends, or spend money on anything.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 05, 2018, 09:31:29 PM
I will join in for this starting today.
We have not been keeping track of food as my SO is (very) not interested in reducing grocery costs and we spend alot!

So, I will run a covert mission to keep costs down by trying to prep food from things we have in the pantry/bulk and giving myself enough of a generous food/wine budget that isn't unrealistic (normally I probably spend at least $500)

And I will track my own spending and try to keep costs under a random set amount.
Already blew my entertainment budget by buying tickets to a Writers Fest event so will start again today now that I am in this challenge

So far-

Groceries: $21 /$300
Eating out: $4 /$100
Gas: $0 /$50
Misc:$0 /$100
Cultural (film/events, yes I need a separate category for this!):0/$50

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 05, 2018, 09:32:45 PM
And @Rosy  I like #6, your quirky challenge to save $1000--good one!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Penn42 on October 07, 2018, 06:55:50 PM
Last month was fun.  I'll join Optimize October so ya'll can hold me accountable for getting these things done!

Optimization goals:

- Get new car insurance.  I'm paying $600/y on an almost 20 year old Subaru that I hardly drive.  The car has cost me more in insurance this year than gas.  Unfortunately getting rid of it isn't an option because my work location changes and I cannot always bike.  I even started a thread a while ago asking about people's experiences with Geico and then I didn't even switch!  So that is happening this month!

- Complete the minimum spend on my Chase Southwest Plus card to get the signup bonus.  This one will pretty much complete itself, but it needs to happen by November 4th.  My plan is to either pay 6 months of my new car insurance to complete this or potentially complete it as explained in my next goal.

- I'd like to get another bank account bonus before the end of the year.  I'm thinking of going after the PNC $200 bonus.  Easy requirements and they allow credit card funding up to $2,000.   I haven't ever messed around with credit card funding before and it makes me a little nervous. Everything on Doctor of Credit says the Chase Southwest card codes as a purchase for account funding, but since chase doesn't allow you to set your cash advance limit at $0 I'm not sure I want to risk the 5% fee. That would be an extra slick way to meet the minimum spend, though.  Meeting the minimum spend on cards is tricky when some of my biggest monthly expenses I cannot pay with a credit card.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Mongoose on October 08, 2018, 08:56:33 AM
I'm in. We're transitioning to less commuting so it's time to cut other areas.

1. Eating out: kid's end of season softball pizza party is it for the month. Going cold turkey to reset habits. Plus we offered kids $5 each if they helped the family get through the month without dining out.

2. Track grocery spending. Haven't done this for a long time. We need to know what is being spent!

3. Shop around for better insurance. Current company just raised rates again.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 08, 2018, 01:16:16 PM
Week one is behind us - Yeah:) - good going everyone so far this month!
Love everyone's strategies and I am really enjoying the reasoning and honest assessment of your weakest areas and how you've decided to tackle them.
Especially the "running of covert missions" - thanks for making me laugh @Serendip - yup, I occasionally have to resort to those myself:)

UPDATE:
1. The quirky challenge to save $1K - now down to $960 and counting:)
2. Saved right at $100 on groceries and booze by shopping on base. ($15. for a huge bottle of Vodka, $6. off sale, plus 10% special promo and a $1 off coupon), Manager's special in the meat dept $10 savings, Organic Veal at an awesome price and killer deals on beef roasts, savings on my favorite imported seasonings etc for the holidays, BOGO beer ...

PENDING:
Debating whether I'll strive for a $600 bonus on a new credit card or just do a new bank account bonus at $250 or possibly both. I'm not too keen to initiate changes like that, this close to the holidays, and I'm not entirely certain how to meet the $3K spending requirement, yet. Will need Mr. R. on board for this one - possibly.
I must say doing both sounds especially enticing when I look at $850 in rewards compared to receiving only around $350 in interest on my two CDs all year long.

LOST OUT:
Hoped for a $10 grocery card for attending a seminar - no time - too much other stuff going on.

October is also my month to finish up with remaining decluttering goals - so I'm considering listing two pair of brand new shoes (don't even ask:), they do not fit, for sale via app to help knock out a couple of boxes on my quirky $1K goal.
I already had them in the donation pile, box and price tag and all, when I thought - well, it's worth a try to at least try to sell them for $5 and $7 each.

Thanks to @Penn42 - I'm in the same boat:) Thanks for kicking me in the - I mean reminding me:) to finally take action and replace Geico and finally take the online safe driving test to save 10% on my car insurance as well. The change may not happen until November or even January since I'll be paying $40 more elsewhere, but now that I have a new(ish) car and need full coverage, I'd rather be with a company that has a local Independent Agent presence.

However, I can immediately claim the 10% discount on my Geico premium once I took the test/class online. AARP often offers a discount on the cost of the class - so I'll check them first, before signing up directly on the Geico site.
I will add that to my October optimizing strategies. That brings in $15. plus a month - $45 plus for 2018 alone!
Using it to fill up more boxes on that quirky $1K goal.

Thank you, everyone, for joining in and keeping the rest of us motivated. I wonder how much $$$ savings total this group/thread effort will amount to at the end of the month?

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 09, 2018, 09:15:21 AM
PENDING:
Debating whether I'll strive for a $600 bonus on a new credit card or just do a new bank account bonus at $250 or possibly both. I'm not too keen to initiate changes like that, this close to the holidays, and I'm not entirely certain how to meet the $3K spending requirement, yet. Will need Mr. R. on board for this one - possibly.
I must say doing both sounds especially enticing when I look at $850 in rewards compared to receiving only around $350 in interest on my two CDs all year long.

Have you considered "Manufacturing spending" You can buy say a visa gift card to help meet the minimum spending needed to reach the sign on bonus. You can then use the gift card to purchase a money order at Walmart, you'd pay the money order fee of like $1 or you can just use the gift card to spend on future purchases as needed. I haven't done this yet so I would recommend a little research in case I forgot anything important.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on October 09, 2018, 09:52:42 AM
Update on how the month is going! Groceries already a little high cause I needed some staples from costco. Next weekend I have to attend a wedding out of town so the dining out budget might take a bit of a hit this coming week.

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 0/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 63/200
Gas (avg. $198): 0/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 34/150
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 09, 2018, 01:23:28 PM
I'm in!
My spendless September revealed a miserable $700(!!!!!) grocery bill, along with other atrocities.

Even spending $2000 on home improvement, i plan to push the savings rate from a miserable 42% last month to 50%+ this month!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: middo on October 09, 2018, 04:19:46 PM
I'm in again.  Last month I spent a fortune on booze and eating out.  This month WILL be better:

Cutting and pasting from last month, I will try to get to these again.  I got close to most, but blew out the middle category.

My aims:

Food:  $500
Non-food groceries:  $200
Alcohol and eating out:  $100
Medical:  $450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $400

Total:  $1850


Current spending month to date (9th Oct):

Food:  $225 / 500
Non-food groceries:  $210 / 200
Alcohol and eating out:  $62 / 100
Medical:  $402 / 450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $159 / 400

Total:  $1058 / 1850
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 09, 2018, 06:13:49 PM
My uber frugal October is going really well so far. So far my budget is looking like:

Rent- $500
Health Insurance- $345
Medical Bills- $450
Gas- $0/$50
Groceries- $60/$200
Personal Care- $0/$30
Pool Membership- $26
Extras- $17/$100

I think this is the best budget month I've had this year. I've really buckled down on any extra spending aside from my current fixed expenses. Once my medical bills are paid off, I'll have a little more wiggle room, but for now I'm really trying to be disciplined. I also sent an extra $100 to my IRA, and booked $300 of dog sitting this month for a little extra income. Woot!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Penn42 on October 09, 2018, 07:22:19 PM
Called Progressive for a quote tonight.  They're actually more expensive then my current insurer.  Going to call Geico tomorrow.  This thread is good because this chore is long overdue.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: westtoeast on October 10, 2018, 05:03:44 AM
I'm jumping in late! I need this-- I'm ahead of where I should be for spending this month. The next two weeks need to be uber-frugal. I'm going to ignore the first week of October because it already happened, and just think about the rest of the month.

Goals:
<$50/week on groceries (no Whole Foods)
<$20/month on ride sharing apps
<$0/month on toiletries/beauty (already stocked up, shouldn't need more)
<$0/month on clothing (fall is a tempting time to shop-- but I won't)
<$110/month on medical (can't get this lower)
<$20/month on eating out

Total: <$300
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 10, 2018, 08:56:55 AM
I'm in!
My spendless September revealed a miserable $700(!!!!!) grocery bill, along with other atrocities.

Even spending $2000 on home improvement, i plan to push the savings rate from a miserable 42% last month to 50%+ this month!

It's all relative. $700 groceries for one or six people:)?
Your savings rate amidst the atrocities:) and home improvements is remarkable. 42% is good, but of course, anything past 50% is top notch MMM territory.
Good Luck @magnet18 - sounds like you still have a lot of low hanging fruit to bring down expenses - go for it!:)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 10, 2018, 09:23:16 AM
Oct 10th update
Dining Out = $29.38/$100
Misc = $59.86/<$100
Groceries = $56.45/<$200
Overall spending for every category = $286.49/$1,500

Doing pretty well, the month is a third over so I feel pretty good about hitting my goals. I still have the 3 dinners all happening between the 19th and 22nd! I still believe that since I'm not drinking and the places I'm going to are not expensive I can stretch the remaining $70 over those 3 meals. We'll see. The other categories are looking fine, nothing planned for the remainder of the month for misc and groceries are even on the low side. :) Overall spend is mostly that low because I haven't factored in my mortgage/utilities yet. That'll be about $500ish.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 10, 2018, 10:30:12 AM
Good job everybody!

Oct 10th Update


Groceries: $104 /$300 (includes a bottle of prosecco bought for a friend)
Eating out: $4 /$100
Gas: $0 /$50
Misc:$240 /$100
Cultural (film/events, yes I like a separate category for this!): $8/$50

Forgot that I was going to purchase an early bird XC ski pass, so I've busted that budget but at least have been doing well with food costs.
Soaked and cooked some dried chickpeas last night so making a big batch of hummus and have a humongous pot of spice tea going on the stovetop.

Remembered that I am hosting a bookclub dinner which might be a bit costly for groceries AND catching a ride with someone to a different city so I'll need to contribute for gas.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: catccc on October 10, 2018, 02:02:38 PM
In for an optimum October!  I think the September challenge really kept me in line.  I am going to aim to stay under $3,500 this month.

Oops, forgot semi-annual car insurance was due this month... let's try for under $4,100.  Sheesh that seems like a lot!  Also bought a costco membership, so that initial cost will eat up some of the grocery budget.  I'm 39 and I've been shopping at costco for years, but previously tagged along on either a work paid membership or a family member's membership...

Oh, also, the exhaust pipe on my muffler broke, so I need to get that taken care of, and it is going to cost something.

On the plus side, my kids decided not to continue a $140/6 week session class that would have been paid this month.  For two kids, that's $280 I won't have to pay...

So, lots of ups and downs, I'm sure it'll all work out in the end...
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 10, 2018, 02:31:02 PM
October 10th update

Home improvement: 1382.90/2500.00
Charity: 267.55/700
Groceries: 104.6/300
Eating out: 92.93/40
Gas: 94.32/255
Events: 52.23/52.23
Misc: 190.01/ (textbooks, plastigauge, hair, music, etc)

A family member was in a car accident, and another was in town, so that spurred some unplanned eating out

Misc is higher than I'd like it to be

Home improvement... Well... I needed a working toilet...
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 10, 2018, 06:12:08 PM
ooh..love the $700 charity budget line @magnet18 --that's inspiring!

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 10, 2018, 08:37:18 PM
Called Progressive for a quote tonight.  They're actually more expensive then my current insurer.  Going to call Geico tomorrow.  This thread is good because this chore is long overdue.

Paying attention to how that turns out, I have the same chore to do, pretty sure state farm is way overcharging me for my RV
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 10, 2018, 08:51:23 PM
I'm in!
My spendless September revealed a miserable $700(!!!!!) grocery bill, along with other atrocities.

Even spending $2000 on home improvement, i plan to push the savings rate from a miserable 42% last month to 50%+ this month!

It's all relative. $700 groceries for one or six people:)?
Your savings rate amidst the atrocities:) and home improvements is remarkable. 42% is good, but of course, anything past 50% is top notch MMM territory.
Good Luck @magnet18 - sounds like you still have a lot of low hanging fruit to bring down expenses - go for it!:)

Thanks!
$700 for two vegans who try to eat mostly beans and rice
I felt I was cutting back pretty hard, I ate no breakfasts and ramen or leftovers for lunch every day, DW did the same, so I'm really confused about where it all went.  I did check, and the credit card number was not stolen, so I'm keeping much closer track this month.

Groceries/Chipotle/alcohol was the main low hanging fruit at over $1000 last month, I know I've had that as low as in the past $250
There also won't be a $500 vacation this month (it costs me exactly $0.50/mile in gas to move the house around, LOL)

I'd like to get the automotive parts down as well.  I'm finishing the rebuild of my 22re truck engine this month, then I'll sell the jeep and hopefully make about $8500 materialize :)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 10, 2018, 09:10:28 PM
ooh..love the $700 charity budget line @magnet18 --that's inspiring!

Thanks! Just 10% of after tax income, been doing it since paycheck#1.  That $250 was to a friend doing a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter, usually it goes to my church, which goes mostly to efficient giving causes (health and education in third world countries).  I think the church leader is a secret mustachian, because a few weeks ago he gave an awesome sermon on debt, compound interest, and investing, all the way to the $3 daily Starbucks being tens of thousands over years in lost opportunity cost.

I 100% credit tithing 10% with being why I was in a debt free cash positive situation even in my pre-mustache days.  It caused me to sit down and actually pay attention to my paychecks/budget, and control my money rather than vica versa.  It pains me when church friends with lake houses and truck loans and boat loans view setting aside 10% as an insane impossibility

Plus pointing 10% of my money firehose towards the less fortunate is kinda fun

</Ramble>
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 14, 2018, 10:59:05 AM
Love it all @magnet18 , I have a few environmental organizations that I automatically give to monthly but would like to donate to the local womans shelter as well. Next paycheque--you've inspired me! :)

Groceries: $144 /$300 (includes a bottle of prosecco bought for a friend)
Eating out: $19 /$100
Gas: $0 /$50
Misc: $240 /$100 (X-C ski pass..)
Cultural (film/events, yes I like a separate category for this!): $18/$50

Have to admit, my non-mustachian SO has been the one to encourage eating in when I've suggested eating out (twice!)...a sure sign I'm working too much :)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on October 15, 2018, 10:39:01 AM
Love it all @magnet18 , I have a few environmental organizations that I automatically give to monthly but would like to donate to the local womans shelter as well. Next paycheque--you've inspired me! :)

Groceries: $144 /$300 (includes a bottle of prosecco bought for a friend)
Eating out: $19 /$100
Gas: $0 /$50
Misc: $240 /$100 (X-C ski pass..)
Cultural (film/events, yes I like a separate category for this!): $18/$50

Have to admit, my non-mustachian SO has been the one to encourage eating in when I've suggested eating out (twice!)...a sure sign I'm working too much :)

I'm glad!!
Being in the global top 0.1%, I find it hard to justify NOT giving :)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 15, 2018, 11:47:51 AM
Oct 15th update
Dining Out = $43.86/$100
Misc = $59.86/<$100
Groceries = $101.79/<$200
Overall spending for every category = $1,139.45/$1,500

Half way check in. Getting very close to my monthly goal but that's because I entered in all my utilities, mortgage, and other monthly bills. Groceries are right on track, Dining Out is really going to be tough. I have $57 left and still have those 3 meals planned (I may actually skip one) so it may not be so bad but I have a feeling I'm gonna end the month closer to $150. Misc is also looking fine for the month. My prediction is I'm going to end the month around $1650 but we shall see.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on October 15, 2018, 01:10:11 PM
Update on how the month is going! Groceries already a little high cause I needed some staples from costco. Next weekend I have to attend a wedding out of town so the dining out budget might take a bit of a hit this coming week.

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 0/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 63/200
Gas (avg. $198): 0/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 34/150

Oct 15th update

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 26/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 104/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 125/150

Survived wedding, spending way less than I expected! Had to fill up the tank but that'll easily last me the rest of the month. Restaurants is getting tight but freezer is stocked with food, no trips left planned for the month so I'm confident.

Next month my prime membership renews automatically (119$.. ouch). I reached out to Amazon, and since I've been a customer since 2009, they knocked 10$ (was hoping for more, but better than nothing) off my upcoming membership so I've already started optimizing November.

Halfway mark of the month. Looks like it'll be tight but don't expect any more spending outside of groceries for the rest of the month.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: middo on October 15, 2018, 02:47:48 PM
15th Oct update:

Food:  $421 / 500
Non-food groceries:  $255 / 200
Alcohol and eating out:  $62 / 100
Medical:  $430 / 450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $319 / 400

Total:  $1487 / 1850

Extra food spending this week as we bought the next months meats in one shop.  The transport area also contains a pre-payment of $100 for our public transport cards.  Less petrol in the future, but more payment up front.  Non-food groceries are high because we moved into our own place and needed a few extra things for around the house, mainly cleaning products.

Might make it, might not.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 17, 2018, 12:07:32 PM
UPDATE:
Side Income - $250 - pulled the trigger on a bank bonus

Cutting the cable bill - will discuss this weekend and decide on a trial run - progress:)
Dining out - way under so far, because we had take out.
 
Statement credit - $5, because I stopped paper statements - using that to cross off one more box on the quirky $1K challenge.
Surfed the net for coffee, egg and cheese coupons - $12 cut for the grocery budget.

I'm a math slug - but I worked through some interest rate scenarios to compare offers. CDs-MMs-Bank savings bonus offers. Changed my plan-strategy so I am poised to take advantage next year and found an easy $10 in interest for swapping accounts next month.

The planned $140 side income did not happen.
 
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Serendip on October 18, 2018, 01:17:55 PM

Update
Oct 18/18

Groceries: $196 /$300 (includes a bottle of prosecco bought for a friend)
Eating out: $40 /$100
Gas: $40 /$50
Misc: $240 /$100 (X-C ski pass..)
Cultural (film/events, yes I like a separate category for this!): $18/$50
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 18, 2018, 01:31:18 PM
mid month update:

Groceries- $94/$200
Gas- $47/$100
Personal Care- $15/$30
Misc- $20/$100

Woohoo! This is probably my most successfully frugal month. These are all of my "variable" expenses, and the lowest they've been this year. I also have $400 of side income money coming in at the end of this month, and beginning of November, so I'll have a little extra to save!

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 18, 2018, 01:43:41 PM
Sweet success! ^^^
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: catccc on October 22, 2018, 07:08:28 AM
I need to keep spending under $171.12 for the rest of the month to meet my goal of staying under $4,100.  We have 9 days to go, $45 is planned spend (internet bill) plus we will surely need some gas and groceries in the coming days...  If we make it, it will be a close one.  (And if we don't, it will be a close one.)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: haypug16 on October 22, 2018, 08:09:09 AM
Oct 22nd update
Dining Out = $146.97/$100
Misc = $59.86/<$100
Groceries = $154.30/<$200
Overall spending for every category = $1,841.69/$1,500

Well I've gone way over for the month, unexpected medical bill. Dining Out I was expecting to be over (and I still have one more dinner planned tonight!) Groceries and Misc however seem to be just fine. So 50/50 for the months goals.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on October 22, 2018, 11:38:35 AM
Update on how the month is going! Groceries already a little high cause I needed some staples from costco. Next weekend I have to attend a wedding out of town so the dining out budget might take a bit of a hit this coming week.

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 0/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 63/200
Gas (avg. $198): 0/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 34/150

Oct 15th update

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 26/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 104/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 125/150

Survived wedding, spending way less than I expected! Had to fill up the tank but that'll easily last me the rest of the month. Restaurants is getting tight but freezer is stocked with food, no trips left planned for the month so I'm confident.

Next month my prime membership renews automatically (119$.. ouch). I reached out to Amazon, and since I've been a customer since 2009, they knocked 10$ (was hoping for more, but better than nothing) off my upcoming membership so I've already started optimizing November.

Halfway mark of the month. Looks like it'll be tight but don't expect any more spending outside of groceries for the rest of the month.
Oct 22 Update

Rough weekend... Car battery went kaput on me. However, I mitigated the damage by trying to be as MMM as possible! Was quoted 159.99$ by Autozone for the battery + labor. Refused, did a little shopping around and found an equivalent battery from Costco for 74.95$ without labor. Bought it, watched a couple youtube videos and installed myself (turns out it's REALLY easy.. but I'm not very competent with car-related things so it still felt good to do)

Regardless, over on shopping category. Also over on eating out. Really thought I would be able to last, but I did some socializing for Dodgers/Brewers and ended up over. Oh well!

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 109/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 153/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 169/150
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: middo on October 22, 2018, 03:05:16 PM
23rd Oct update:

Food:  $477 / 500
Non-food groceries:  $392 / 200
Alcohol and eating out:  $116 / 100
Medical:  $430 / 450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $379 / 400

Total:  $1794 / 1850

Not over budget yet, but a couple of areas are already blown.  The refrigerator is full, the fuel tank is full, the public transit card is full and I don't need to eat out.  I might sneak in, but probably unlikely.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 24, 2018, 06:32:44 AM
Oct 24th update....man, October is the longest month ever!

Groceries- $118/$200
Gas- $47/$100  ( may go over on this, I have a long trip to the doctors at the end of the month)
Personal Care- $15/$30
Restaurants- $17/$20
Pool Membership- $26
Misc- $70/$100
Medical Bills- $447/$400- found a random $40 bill I needed to pay.
Rent- $500
Health Insurance- $345

Total

$1642.12!   I didn't really have a "total spending" goal for the month, but now I want to keep it under $1800...which will be the first time in...maybe this year. Just a few more days!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 24, 2018, 08:25:41 AM
Oct 24th update....man, October is the longest month ever!
Big snip ...............................

Medical Bills- $447/$400- found a random $40 bill I needed to pay.
tal

Just a few more days!

Ugh - same here - $40 medical bill. Doesn't really upset the apple cart, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking of putting some "extra" aside for the holidays. Bummer, so now that is $40 less, grrr.

Otherwise, I'm more or less on track, except for cutting the cable bill which I am still stuck on.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: middo on October 24, 2018, 04:14:08 PM
25th Oct update:

Food:  $488 / 500
Non-food groceries:  $410 / 200
Alcohol and eating out:  $130 / 100
Medical:  $430 / 450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $1147 / 400

Total:  $2605 / 1850

A couple of days later, and a vehicle registration bill I thought was due for early November was automatically deducted in October.  Blows the budget when it is $762 in one go.

If I remove it, I am still $7 under budget, but the non-food groceries section is going to be a killer.  Most of it, as far as I can tell, is stuff my wife is buying for job interviews.  Make-up, hair products, stockings, etc.  Necessary, but she normally buys none of this stuff. 
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Mongoose on October 26, 2018, 08:31:55 AM
I'm in. We're transitioning to less commuting so it's time to cut other areas.
1. Eating out: kid's end of season softball pizza party is it for the month. Going cold turkey to reset habits. Plus we offered kids $5 each if they helped the family get through the month without dining out.
2. Track grocery spending. Haven't done this for a long time. We need to know what is being spent!
3. Shop around for better insurance. Current company just raised rates again.
We've quit eating out totally, except for one planned trip and one day when apartment was getting steam cleaned and was unavailable. Win! Grocery spending is not getting tracked. We have quotes for insurance; just need to compare and choose. Maybe this weekend.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Rosy on October 29, 2018, 02:21:09 PM
You are welcome to join me in yet another frugal monthly budget challenge:) for the month of October 2018. I am declaring October the month for optimizing.
BIG SNIP............

OK - time to look at the results for October.

1. Side income - total is $335 ($250 plus $85 in misc) - more than doubled expectations:)
2. Cut the cable - is still in limbo, but antennas should arrive soon. To be continued in November.
Definitely replacing the company router with our own, we will try both Roku and Hulu along with Netflix and return whatever doesn't work.
3. Free oil change and tire rotation - did not happen, because it isn't time yet, may do in Nov or Jan.
4. Done - checked Mr. R's cc rewards points - he needed extra points to get to $25. Made sure he used the right:) card for extra (planned) expenses.
5. Done
6. Done - allocated $85 from the side income to the quirky $1K savings challenge - $915 to go - to be continued in November.
7. Car insurance - dropped the ball on that one - to be continued in November.

Cut down the dining out expenses by $150. - nice win there:) not a hard and fast goal, but we try to keep it in check.  Groceries - up overall since we made a trip to base, but the huge savings will be felt for months to come - so I count that as a win.

Overall on track with all savings goals - whew:). Counting our blessings.

Hope everyone did fantastic - see ya in November:)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Penn42 on October 29, 2018, 07:01:49 PM
I successfully switched to Geico a few days ago.  I switched up some of my coverage choices, but still saved $60 off my 6 month premium after seeing how the same changes would have effected my last policy.  It's pretty bare bones insurance, but I don't drive a ton and it's not a car that's worth collision or comprehensive. 

I also paid the 6 month premium using my Chase Southwest card to meet the minimum spend as I had planned to do.  And on top of that I went to a weekend training for work and they paid me 300 big ones for attending.

All in all a pretty good month. 

Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: catccc on October 30, 2018, 10:21:08 AM
I need to keep spending under $171.12 for the rest of the month to meet my goal of staying under $4,100.  We have 9 days to go, $45 is planned spend (internet bill) plus we will surely need some gas and groceries in the coming days...  If we make it, it will be a close one.  (And if we don't, it will be a close one.)

Well, we blew it, necessary car repair @ $200.  One day to go.  Honestly, we could have tried harder this month, but all in all it was okay.  Not great, but okay.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on October 30, 2018, 05:24:42 PM
Update on how the month is going! Groceries already a little high cause I needed some staples from costco. Next weekend I have to attend a wedding out of town so the dining out budget might take a bit of a hit this coming week.

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 0/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 63/200
Gas (avg. $198): 0/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 34/150

Oct 15th update

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 26/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 104/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 125/150

Survived wedding, spending way less than I expected! Had to fill up the tank but that'll easily last me the rest of the month. Restaurants is getting tight but freezer is stocked with food, no trips left planned for the month so I'm confident.

Next month my prime membership renews automatically (119$.. ouch). I reached out to Amazon, and since I've been a customer since 2009, they knocked 10$ (was hoping for more, but better than nothing) off my upcoming membership so I've already started optimizing November.

Halfway mark of the month. Looks like it'll be tight but don't expect any more spending outside of groceries for the rest of the month.
Oct 22 Update

Rough weekend... Car battery went kaput on me. However, I mitigated the damage by trying to be as MMM as possible! Was quoted 159.99$ by Autozone for the battery + labor. Refused, did a little shopping around and found an equivalent battery from Costco for 74.95$ without labor. Bought it, watched a couple youtube videos and installed myself (turns out it's REALLY easy.. but I'm not very competent with car-related things so it still felt good to do)

Regardless, over on shopping category. Also over on eating out. Really thought I would be able to last, but I did some socializing for Dodgers/Brewers and ended up over. Oh well!

Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 109/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 153/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 169/150

End of October Update
Shopping/Misc budget (avg. $600): 187/50
Grocery budget (avg. $401): 194/200
Gas (avg. $198): 46/50
Bars/Restaurants/Dining out (avg. $665): 190/150

Fairly certain I won't have any other expenses for the rest of the month so will post my final update. Had a pretty lazy last bit of the month.. Gas and groceries ended up being comfortably within my budget. Shopping I really screwed up due to the battery issue with my car and some unexpected end of the month expenses. However.. overall I'd call the experiment a great success. Well below my monthly averages for each of the categories, and didn't feel like I had any worse of a month enjoyment wise. Although, I do enjoy beer tasting and restaurant discovery a little too much to limit myself on dining out as much as I did this month. Moving forwards though, I like 50$ as a budget for gas (one fill-up), 200$ for groceries and will try to limit shopping to $100 moving forwards. Little bits at a time.

Thanks for setting up this challenge!

EDIT: when I break down "shopping" into voluntary purchases vs. "emergency/necessary" purchases.. only spent 27.60! Makes me feel a little better.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: Enough on October 30, 2018, 07:33:41 PM
Didn't post, but I silently decided to join in at the beginning of the month.

Here's the summary of my attempt at frugal October:

Non-mortgage budget: $1975.  October Goal: <$1,000.  Actual: $847

Breakdown:
Category      Sum
Entertainment   29.5
Fast Food     7.28
Furnishings   15
Gas & Fuel    88.37
Groceries      123.48
Hair Cut       16
Co-Pay         15
Restaurants   80.51
Service Fee   6.12
Shopping      47.97
Internet       32.99
Utilities        92.95
Vacation       291.69
Grand Total   846.86


The vacation expenses could definitely have been cut back.  It was a three day trip to DC with free lodging and airfare covered with points. So the $292 is just food, drink and transport for 3 days which is definitely excessive.  It helped that there were no large one off or scheduled expenses in October (ex. 6-mo insurance premium or repairs)

About a year ago I adjusted my monthly budget from $1500 to 1975 and I've felt like recently I've needed to reset my baseline expenses from lifestyle inflation.  Looking forward to seeing how November goes
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: mountain mustache on October 30, 2018, 08:06:25 PM
I ended up mostly meeting my goals, and having the lowest spend month in a long time. I did go and do a big stock up today at Costco, because I live in a tiny town far away from any good (affordable) food, and I had a Drs appointment 2 hours away (also the nearest location of Costco) and wanted to take advantage of being there. I'm putting it on November's budget, because all of the food will get eaten then and beyond!

Groceries- $156/$200
Gas- $107/$100- this was due to said 2 hours away Dr appointment, and really cheap gas at Costco!
Personal Care- $15/$30
Eating Out- $17/$20
Misc- $106/$100
Unecessary jacket purchase- $150

I had one big unnecessary purchase in the whole month, and that happened today. On my way home from my Drs appointment, I stopped at this little store that hand makes really great hoodies/jackets in this tiny mountain town, and I'd been waiting for them to make a color in a particular jacket that I loved. I just popped in with no plans to buy anything, but saw the color I'd been waiting for, in "tall" sleeves (for my crazy long arms) and just decided to buy it. It fits amazingly well, it's hand made an hour from my home, and I don't feel guilty at all...except that it ruined the spirit of my uber frugal month!

My total with my above spending, plus my fixed spending (rent, health insurance, medical bills, etc) came to :
$1864



Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: middo on October 30, 2018, 09:28:49 PM
My end of month figures:

Food:  $558 / 500
Non-food groceries:  $528 / 200
Alcohol and eating out:  $130 / 100
Medical:  $440 / 450   (includes of health insurance)
Transport:  $1219 / 400

Total:  $2875 / 1850

If we remove the yearly car registration, it drops to $2113, which is still over. 

Some analysis: 

Overall not the best month, but not too bad.  It will be better next month!
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: philli14 on November 01, 2018, 12:38:16 PM
Also realized today that I only drove 138.5miles this month which is a great feeling! Unfortunately that did involve having to fill up a tank, but I have an estimated 325miles left on my current tank.. so if I can maintain that same level of driving I shouldn't have to fill up for the rest of 2018!

(It's an interesting thought/realization.. although in reality I have a trip planned that involves 20h of driving)
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: catccc on November 02, 2018, 10:20:55 AM
Also realized today that I only drove 138.5miles this month which is a great feeling! Unfortunately that did involve having to fill up a tank, but I have an estimated 325miles left on my current tank.. so if I can maintain that same level of driving I shouldn't have to fill up for the rest of 2018!

(It's an interesting thought/realization.. although in reality I have a trip planned that involves 20h of driving)

I like this idea of minimizing mileage.  I get in my car without much thought since I do need it to get to most places... but I probably could try grouping more outings or trying to stay closer to home when I can.
Title: Re: OCTOBER - budget - optimizing
Post by: magnet18 on November 03, 2018, 08:04:35 AM
End of month update

Home improvement: 2919/2500.00
Charity: 700/700
Groceries: 313/300
Eating out: 336/40
Gas: 247/255
Events: 52.23/52.23
Misc: 405/


So I've learned we like to eat out.  \_(ツ)_/  Should cut back on the random lunches at work, but most of that is quality time with family once per week, I'll talk it over with DW.  Given how mind bogglingly busy I am and how sparse energy is at the moment I'm inclined to say I don't particularly care given the overall picture.

Groceries stayed nicely in check this month!!

Total savings rate was only about 33%, mostly because of home improvement.  Home improvement should taper off sharply this month, to be replaced by the "Destroy debt by December" challenge, and I expect the savings rate to skyrocket in January!

As is, if not for the home improvement spending, even with 10% to charity, it would be in the 60%s, which means we're only actually living off 30% of the income!