The month of January is all about budgeting in QuickQuid’s “The Frugal Living Challenge,” and sometimes the first step is always the hardest. Budgeting is difficult — and it’s especially tricky to get back on track following the holidays — so to help provide support as you embark on this yearlong journey to financial freedom, I’ve decided to follow the challenge as well. Along with QuickQuid’s “The Frugal Year Challenge” outline and my active approach in pursuing them, you could save $3,000, or in your case £3,000, by this time next year. But you’ll need willpower and perhaps a little push along the way. And that’s why I’m here. Let’s get started.
The goal is to save $250 this month by cutting out unnecessary expenses. If you break it down by day, you’ll need to cut out at least $8.22. So where to begin?
First, think about all those small purchases you make on a daily basis. My daily trip to the coffee shop costs roughly $2.29. To eliminate this expense, I replaced my in-store coffee-buying habit with a homemade approach and brewed my own java to take to work. Another benefit of this change is that not only did I saved money, but I also saved time because I didn’t have to stop into the shop or wait in line to get my fix; it was already brewing while I was getting ready for work.
Next is lunch. I had lunch at a restaurant near my office about two times a week, and each meal cost between $10 and $20 plus tip depending on the type of restaurant and what I ordered. For this challenge, I gave up one of those expensive lunches and instead packed a lunch from home like I do most of the week. Just this one lunch replacement saved me approximately $15 each week.
I used to have a $10.50 per month magazine subscription via my iPad that gave me access to a dozen or more consumer magazines. I gave it up for a month and decided to get all my news and gossip online. You simply can’t argue with free. Most websites have all the same stories as costly print publications, which made abandoning this expensive subscription a no-brainer.
Even though I go grocery shopping every two weeks and there’s always fresh food in my fridge, there are some nights I just don’t feel like cooking. It wasn’t easy mustering up the motivation to hit the kitchen after a long day of work, but I managed to cut out all weeknight takeouts and trips to a restaurant. This elimination saved me about $23 per week.
And finally, instead of buying a $108 monthly public transportation pass, I chose to walk to work some days — more than a mile, mind you — or work from home when I could. I still had to buy two $20 transport passes to get around during the month, but I was able to save $88 just by being more active in how I get from one place to another. An additional benefit of this cutback was that I lost five pounds (how much is that in stone?) from all the walking I did. Can’t complain about that.