A very warm welcome to Week 8 of the Frugal Challenge Series.
If you’ve been following my Frugal Challenge Series tips, know that you’ve made the right decision to improve your finances.
If you’ve been applying them and making frugal living a joy for you and your family, that’s even better.
I want to congratulate you because I know you’re well on your road towards financial freedom.
Are you new to Frugal Challenge Series?
I strongly encourage you to take up these little frugal challenges where you’ll have some fun while learning to save well.
Before long, you’ll develop positive frugal habits that will impact your life and your finances in positive ways.
If you’ve missed my earlier challenges, click on them below.
How to know if the Frugal Challenge Series is for you?
If you say ‘Yes’ to any of these questions,
-Want to be more frugal, but haven’t a clue how to start
-Overwhelmed by too many frugal tips
-Need someone to hold your hand and get step-by-step help
Then this Frugal Challenge Series is for you.
Lots of people think frugal living involves tons of effort and suffering, or it’s something they’ll never get used to.
I’m not going to lie.
Any kind of change always involves some discomfort at first as it’s something you’re not used to. This is perfectly normal.
I can safely say adopting a frugal life is not hard. Rather it’s a matter of getting used to the frugal routine.
When you start making little changes over time, you will gradually adopt a frugal life without even realizing it. And that’s your prize.
My family has been living a frugal lifestyle for many years. At no time did we feel that life is hard.
In fact, we’ve been making great savings despite a modest income.
Find out how our family saved $2501 doing just these 8 things.
These frugal challenges will only take up a few minutes of your time, but the frugal habits you develop will stay with you forever.
Ready to make great savings?
Frugal Challenge Week 8
The focus of this week’s challenge is to learn how you can reduce your habit of overspending on a particular activity.
Using my personal example, I’ll show you how I did it. It’ll inspire you to come up with your own strategies too.
I’d like you to think of something you really love, BUT you find the toughest to give up.
It can be:
-shopping every day
-eating out every other day
-spending time and money on computer games
-social media for leisure
-costly hobbies like yachting, golfing
-going on costly vacations every 4 months
I’m going to use my personal example of what strategies I use to overcome my costly habit.
My number one ‘money-drainer’ was dining out very frequently. I love dining out as I hate cooking and dining out brings me happiness.
No, it didn’t happen overnight. It took me a year.
Why did it take so long?
Make it sustainable
I knew if I were to do it too soon, it won’t be sustainable. It’s pretty similar to weight loss.
First, I made a simple calculation of my savings per week. By reducing the number of times I was dining out, I knew how much I was saving each week.
Then I worked out my savings per year. When I saw the amount, it gave me the motivation I needed.
I reduced my ‘dining out’ bills from $1661 to only $511. This is a total of $1150 savings for a year.
For most folks, writing down your ‘whys’ in addition to the amount you’re saving gives you more ’ammunition’ to start, continue and succeed.
Gradually, I reduced the number of times I dined out to twice a month for another 4 months.
I finally reached my goal of once a month.
I don’t have an exact science for this. But I can safely say that when you feel comfortable with what you’ve been doing, you’ll know that you’re ready to take it a step further.
Occasionally, I’ll dine out a bit more often, but that’s about 3-4 more times a year.
As long as I take care not to dine out too often, I know my savings are good.
Sometimes when I’m finding it hard to last another 4 weeks without eating out, I know I can opt for cheaper options like having lunch out as it’s way cheaper than dinner. Or I can opt for just one takeaway.
Extra Strategies For Success
Other strategies I use:
#1 Menu Mania
One of my favorite pastimes is to keep takeaway menus for reference.
During dinner time at home, I’ll scrutinize different menus and decide which ones offer the best value.
Then when it’s ‘dining out’ time, I know exactly what I’ve have.
#2 YouTube to the rescue
I love watching YouTube videos of food travelers sampling their sumptuous meals.
Yes, it’s vicarious, but I figured something is better than nothing.
These food enthusiasts travel round the world enjoying varied cuisines.
That’s my kind of life. Maybe I should give this serious thought. (Hopeful grin)
#3 Frozen Crumbed Food
To save time and effort, buying frozen crumb food is among the best short cuts I can take.
During supermarket sales, I’d stock up on quality frozen food like crumbed fish and free-range chicken nuggets.
They may not be the most nutritious food, but I need to get practical.
#4 Imagination is King
If I should be eating ‘boring’ food at home, I’ll glance at images of foods I’d really like on my phone and imagine eating those delectable morsels.
It does work, at least for me.
‘Boring’ foods at home are usually fresh produce cooked simply with low sodium seasonings.
#5 Little Treats
Another coping strategy is to give myself a little reward after dinner. My son and I love chips.
Buying quality ones, we’d reward ourselves with some chips after a ‘boring’ dinner.
Sometimes, we’d reward ourselves with some ice cream or dark chocolate.
Thank goodness the cost of these treats don’t come anywhere close to the costs of dining out.
#1 Write down what you’re saving for.
#2 Jot down all the things you’re spending lots of money on each month. Have a look at your credit card statement to get a better picture.
#3 Choose one which is a major ‘money drainer’ and which is not crucial. Ask yourself, ” Can I live without it or can I reduce it?”
#4 Calculate how much savings you’ll have at the end of the year.
#5 Think of at least 3 different ways you can come up with to reduce your spending on it.
#6 Choose the best idea.
#7 Make a gradual start.
#8 Monitor your progress. Keep adding your total savings for each month. This gives you the motivation to continue.
As you can see, when we’re motivated to save, we CAN and WILL find ways to achieve our goals.
By showing you how I’m able to ‘survive’ just eating out once a month for most of the year, I hope you’ll be inspired to think of other clever ways to save well too.
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