Now that the Frugal February Challenge has come to it’s natural end, how did we do? Better yet, did we learn anything? Well, our goal for this month was to stay under a $3000/month spend of total living expenses.
How Did We Do?
We did it!! Let’s compare how much we spent in January vs. February:
How did we cut $1800 out of our expenses in just one month? Well, I think I mentioned this before, but January was more of an anomaly month than the norm. Our usual spend is around $3,300 or so, which equates to ~$40,000 on a yearly basis.
However, I must confess… We were not THAT frugal throughout the month of February. I mean, we went out to eat THREE times. Sure, 2 of those times we had a gift card, but don’t forget tip isn’t included and one time the gift card didn’t cover our whole meal. Additionally, we bought several things that we needed for our computer and apartment. None of these were charges that we lost sleep over, but they don’t exactly scream “frugal.”
What Did We Learn?
We really didn’t have to be that frugal to keep our monthly expenses under $3,000/month. We just had to be a little more intentional. For example, we love having people over to our place for game nights. We usually pay for the ingredients to multiple dishes that Kayla wants to try and booze for at least 6 people. This adds up.
When we had our Galentine’s Day brunch, we decided to make it a pot luck style event. Just that one decision probably saved us ~$100 and guess what?? It was even better than if we had done everything ourselves. Kayla is usually running around like a chicken with her head cut off making 5-6 dishes. (I just wait for the tornado to die down so that I can clean up after.) This time, she made 1 main dish and 1 side dish and had far less stress about it. I also had MUCH less to clean up, which was great since I’m pretty sure that no matter what my lovely wife makes she finishes by getting out the flour and throwing a handful in the air in triumph.
General Thoughts on Frugality
What makes the difference in our budget is the intentionality with which we make decisions. The decision to not have flashy new cars, to live in a studio apartment and to spend most of our days doing free or almost free activities together all add up to keeping our expenses at a manageable level for us to hit financial independence at age 40.
I’ve spoken to friends and coworkers who think that the savings may not be worth the sacrifice of not driving the car that they want or eating out when they want. However, I like to think of it this way:
I don’t want to sacrifice years of my life that I can spend with my family or accomplishing goals outside of my 9-5 career so that I can drive a BMW.
I hope that this thought helps you in the way that it helps us to stay motivated on this journey towards FI.
How did Frugal February turn out for you?! Let me know in the comments.