Author Topic: Austerity August 2014  (Read 8060 times)

fallstoclimb

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Austerity August 2014
« on: July 22, 2014, 07:44:19 AM »
I've never done a specific gauntlet challenge, because I'm generally someone who believes more in lifestyle changes than "diets".  But we're in a situation right now where we are SO VERY CLOSE to finally paying off our loans -- $8,300 remaining in debt, and roughly $10,500 of income in August due to it being a 3-paycheck month with some supplemental work, plus $1,000 in 'spendable' savings. 

Unfortunately we also have several large expenses in the pipeline, totaling roughly $1500-2000, plus our usual spending of about 4K/month.  My hard goal is to come out of August with the loan under 3K.  The math works out, but just barely, and I would prefer for the loan to get closer to 2K.

So rather than set any hard spending goals I'm just going to watch every dollar that leaves my wallet and delay all purchases that can be delayed, and see how low we can go.

(Due to my credit card billing cycles, I will begin my Austerity August today and end it on August 23rd).

Is anyone in on a cutback month?  Does anyone have tips for someone who is new to this? 


LonerMatt

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 02:46:39 AM »
Austerity August sounds great to me.

July was gluttonous - a lot of spending.

What works for me is just to basically lay out all my expenses and just stick to them. I find allowing myself from frivolity in areas that are cheaper (ie, food) helps keep me on track to avoid larger expenses (travel, clothes, etc).

brooklynmoney

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 04:25:47 AM »
Yes please! July was also gluttonous for me. So many friends' bday dinners out. I never want to eat out again. Going to really tighten things up for August. I also have a lot of biz trips so that will help.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 06:46:08 AM »
Eating out is one of those areas we are really bad about cutting back on.  We already have pizza with friends planned, which I reluctantly said yes to because it's at a grocery so I'm pretty sure it'll be just a few bucks.  I secretly have a goal I am trying to keep us under ($50 for all restaurants and stupid food, normally we are closer to -- yikes -- $250), but rather than announce to the husband that we can't go out for a month I'm trying to take it one day at a time and gently push us towards cheaper plans  :)

Have also decided that I'm not allowed to buy any more beer (as much as I love summer beer) until we finish those two random, mostly-empty bottles of vodka we've now moved with us like 5 times. 

I go through phases where I have a power smoothie every morning for breakfast -- protein powder, chia seeds, greek yogurt, frozen fruit, spinach, etc.  Healthful but very pricey.  I'm going to give that up until August 23rd, and instead just have egg and oatmeal based breakfasts.

Trying to think of other changes, but like I said before this is mostly a one-day-at-a-time thing for me.

4alpacas

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 10:06:44 AM »
I'm so in!  I spent way too much this month, and I could use some help to cut back next month.

Fonzico

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 10:11:09 AM »
I like it!

July was a little spendy for us too, as we had our annual camping vacation. Managed to spend $500 less on it than last year, but still. And we just finished paying off our student loans, so I would really love to see a large chunk of cash head for the savings account!

August contains both my birthday and our wedding anniversary, but what I want is a day of hanging out outside, maybe a picnic lunch, and a fire with some friends in the evening. We'll see about the anniversary - I'm tempted to go out for dinner, for sure! But maybe I'll just cook something super fancy and we can have a nice date night in.

hermoninny

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 10:25:25 AM »
I definitely need this!  We were doing very well in July, but then last week, there were some huge sales at the grocery store so we stocked up on some of the staples for the kids, as well as some really good fruit sales so I did some canning.  Needless to say, our grocery budget is a bit out of control this month.  We also fell down on the eating out front last week due to stress.  And I stopped biking to work.

We need an August reset!

Jack

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 10:27:16 AM »
July was a little spendy for us too, as we had our annual camping vacation. Managed to spend $500 less on it than last year, but still. And we just finished paying off our student loans, so I would really love to see a large chunk of cash head for the savings account!

How were you able so decrease your spending on a camping trip by $500 without it costing less than zero? (In other words, how the heck did you manage to have such an expensive camping trip that it cost more than $500 to begin with?!)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2014, 11:10:22 AM »
Is anyone in on a cutback month?  Does anyone have tips for someone who is new to this?

I personally like the way Erica does her No Spend <month> challenges:

http://www.nwedible.com/2012/09/stop-leaking-money-and-start-valuing-it-with-no-spend-month-october.html

skandrae

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2014, 11:15:19 AM »
July was better than June, but still pretty spendy. I'm in! :)

Fonzico

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2014, 11:19:38 AM »
July was a little spendy for us too, as we had our annual camping vacation. Managed to spend $500 less on it than last year, but still. And we just finished paying off our student loans, so I would really love to see a large chunk of cash head for the savings account!

How were you able so decrease your spending on a camping trip by $500 without it costing less than zero? (In other words, how the heck did you manage to have such an expensive camping trip that it cost more than $500 to begin with?!)

Awful, isn't it?

Gas: $200
Campsite fees: $104
New air mattress: $20
Eating out: $200
Golfing: $200
Fishing Licences: $70
New tackle: $80
Hotel one night because we are wimps: $60

The year before involved a couple nights at a hostel, way more eating out and shopping. Lots of unnecessary expenses on both trips, admittedly!

4alpacas

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2014, 12:08:58 PM »
Is anyone in on a cutback month?  Does anyone have tips for someone who is new to this?

I personally like the way Erica does her No Spend <month> challenges:

http://www.nwedible.com/2012/09/stop-leaking-money-and-start-valuing-it-with-no-spend-month-october.html

Great post!  Thanks for sharing.  I really need a kick in the pants after a spendy few weekends and an upcoming trip in September.

OddOne

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2014, 12:19:07 PM »
I'm in. Employment change is in the air so very purchase needs to count.

Jack

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2014, 03:54:00 PM »
July was a little spendy for us too, as we had our annual camping vacation. Managed to spend $500 less on it than last year, but still. And we just finished paying off our student loans, so I would really love to see a large chunk of cash head for the savings account!

How were you able so decrease your spending on a camping trip by $500 without it costing less than zero? (In other words, how the heck did you manage to have such an expensive camping trip that it cost more than $500 to begin with?!)

Awful, isn't it?

Gas: $200
Campsite fees: $104
New air mattress: $20
Eating out: $200
Golfing: $200
Fishing Licences: $70
New tackle: $80
Hotel one night because we are wimps: $60

The year before involved a couple nights at a hostel, way more eating out and shopping. Lots of unnecessary expenses on both trips, admittedly!

Oh, I see: the confusion occurred because I wouldn't have counted eating out, golfing, and hotels to be part of camping.

(I'm not sure one-time fishing license/tackle costs count either, unless you use them only for the one trip.)

horsepoor

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2014, 09:08:37 PM »
I need this.  April through early July has been pretty hideous on spending between horse stuff, house stuff and travel.  I've got some serious hate going for my car loan right now, and want to take a big chunk out of it in the next month or two.

1967mama

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2014, 01:40:21 AM »
Would love to join you but we are on holidays for the first 2 weeks of August and I fear it will be anything but austere <sigh>. I may be better off with a Simple September, or something of the sort.

Edited for typo
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 05:44:53 PM by 1967mama »

Splendid

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2014, 03:36:57 PM »
I'm in! I spent a lot in June, but really tightened it up for July due to upcoming move in early August. I want to continue the trend until it's habit. Without the move looming over me making sure that I hold tightly to every penny, I think a gauntlet will keep me on track.

Primm

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2014, 06:19:13 PM »
I'm in too. Going away for the first weekend on a 2 night trip. I won the accommodation so it's free (yay!), hubby has a work car we have full private use of so no transport costs, and the place has a full kitchen. So let's see what we can do with that. :)

fallstoclimb

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2014, 08:09:27 AM »
So far so good for me.  Our credit card cycle runs from July 23rd-August 23rd, and a week in we've only spent $128, very low for us......although my husband DID put $40 on the debit card because he left the credit card at home.  Still, I'll take it.  I managed to find a birthday present for my niece that only cost $5 after cashing in my Bing Rewards Amazon gift cards, which was good timing. 

This weekend we are going to a baseball game with family (family is paying) and to a daytime party (which means we will be wiped out and come straight home after), so we look to be set for a frugal weekend.  I'm bringing baked beans rather than beer to save more on the party.  Our grocery spending is low right now thanks to the bounty of our pre-paid CSA, which is another win.

Here's to keeping it up!

Ambition89

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2014, 09:06:14 AM »
With you all! Need to do well this month!

4alpacas

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2014, 12:04:47 PM »
I've created my August budget.  I think I should have an extra $400 this month to add to my brokerage account.  :)

Pennywisemom

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2014, 02:51:59 PM »
I'm new but I'm in. I'd like to see where the money is going.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2014, 07:04:17 AM »
We haven't spent any money frivolously, and I've managed to stay completely away from buying snacks at work, but we have had some unanticipated necessary expenses -- DH had to buy his textbooks for school and it totaled $80, and he had a dentist appointment that I thought insurance would cover but we had to pay $67.  So that was somewhat of a bummer, but I think we are still doing okay with the goal. 

I want to get my dog certified as a therapy dog so I can volunteer at nursing homes with him, but there is a $30 processing fee, so I am weighing whether I should put that off a few weeks or just go ahead and do it.  There's no reason to rush, really.

horsepoor

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2014, 09:16:53 AM »
Doing well so far on the non-consumables.  Also not buying any alcohol or toiletries this month. 

Still proceeding as usual with other spending for groceries, entry fees, etc.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 09:21:20 AM by horsepoor »

Splendid

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2014, 07:43:52 PM »
I'm doing well so far. I spent on groceries (but way less than usual!), and two birthday presents, but nothing else! This is HARD. It was fine when I had no money, because there was nothing to spend. But I've gotten my second paycheck from my new job and have a little bit to spare now, and there is temptation around every corner. So to combat that, I've been leaving my wallet at home. It's working so far! By the time I get home, the very last thing I want to do is go back out to buy whatever it was that I desperately needed 10 minutes ago.

So, 5 days in and on track!

skandrae

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2014, 11:24:38 AM »
I would love to say that I am doing amazingly on this challenge, but for some reason me saying "I'm not going to spend any money on non-essentials" is the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of the excessive spending bull. Oh well, I've got three and a half weeks to regain some ground, right?

horsepoor

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2014, 01:44:05 PM »
How is everyone doing, half way through the month?

Pretty good here.  I did go to the big semi-annual sale at the tack (horse gear) store today and bought a fancy leather halter and one other piece of equipment.  Spent $58, which is about half of what I probably would have spent on those items eventually anyway.  I've also sold $200 worth of old horse equipment, and have another $600 worth on Ebay right now, so no net spending.

LonerMatt

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2014, 04:23:34 AM »
Massive fail: booked flights to Indonesia.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Austerity August 2014
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2014, 06:25:55 AM »
Indonesia is definitely worth it.

I suppose I've failed too:  cc bill is at $2,012 (with 4 days left in the billing cycle), goal was to keep it under 2K.  Really though I'm pretty happy with this, usually it hits 2K in a "normal" month and this month I paid for a quarterly $600 bill, $300 airfare, and a celebratory dinner out after paying off the loans.  So good enough I guess!  We should still have enough cash on hand to pay it off.