Today I’m pumped to have last month’s Frugality Challenge winner, Liz, share her experience and tips regarding the competition, along with what it feels like to be a winner. The bolded items are some of the ways you can earn points in the challenge, and ones that she utilized. Take it away, Liz!
In case you missed it, Femme Frugality has been running the Frugality Challenge over on Facebook. If you haven’t joined in on the frugal fun, you really need to. It’s been a blast to participate, and last month my frugal ways won me the prize! The challenge was a great exercise in examining my habits and adjusting them to get even more bang for my buck.
Monthly and Semi-Monthly Points
I already had some great habits in place that earned me a lot of points. I set up part of my paycheck to automatically go to savings and my 401k, and I set a budget for each paycheck. With a goal to have my car paid off early, I also always put more than the minimum towards my loan. So with the monthly and semi-monthly stuff, I was pretty set, but it was the everyday spending that the challenge helped me rethink. It encouraged me to reign in my spending.
While I don’t eat out often, with the challenge I made it more of a point cook my meals at home, even when I didn’t feel like it. Sacrificing just that one meal out would earn me +300 points. Not to mention the money it cost to eat out vs. cooking at home; it saved me a bundle. While I do still occasionally spend some money on entertainment, free entertainment is my favorite kind so I was excited that I got to earn points for something I was already doing.
Weekly points are probably the one area of points where I have the most room to improve. While I’ve looked into several different options to lower my cell bill, I have yet to make the leap. I also need to get my side hustle on a little more and not just for the points. Side hustles are a great way to reach financial goals even faster; I just want to make sure I’m getting a good ROI on my time for the side hustle.
Before the challenge, every week I would do a biggish grocery shopping trip. However, between these shopping trips, I would all of a sudden remember something I needed. Since I live across the street from an Aldi, it’s easy for me just to walk (frugal right?) over and pick up what I need. Except Aldi doesn’t do coupons or sales which meant no Frugality Challenge points. Which is just no fun, so I started to think really about if I needed it right then, or could it wait for a spending day where I would earn points? Usually, it could so I was able to make the most of spend and no-spend days.
By consolidating all my spending on certain days, I had a better list of what to buy and was more prepared with all possible coupons, saving me even more money. The challenge also added an extra layer of motivation to sell some items I’ve had laying around for pretty much forever. In the last month, I was finally able to sell a ton of pottery stuff, some coasters I’d made and am currently working very hard to sell a piano.
What it Means to Be Frugal
The great thing about the frugality challenge is that the rules and the points awarded truly encompass what it means to be frugal. Frugality isn’t about being cheap; frugality is about getting the most out of your money. Sacrificing quality isn’t being frugal, but getting that quality at the best price and making extra money where you can is.
Frugality isn’t just about saving money; being truly frugal means your spending, saving, and money-making habits all intertwine to ensure your money is going as far as it possibly can.
What the Frugality Challenge really did for me was make me focus even more on my goals. As part of a more frugal Christmas, I set a goal to win the challenge last month so I could basically get my sister’s gift for free.
What I didn’t expect was how much more focus I would have on my other financial goals, like paying off my car early. Thanks to the frugality challenge I’ll be putting $1600 towards my car loan this month. It made me think of new ways to save, and I added them to my FREE save money checklist, which you can pick up here.
Overall I’m excited to see how the new habits I implemented last month will help me in the challenge this month. Also I’m very competitive, so join in on the challenge and bring it on. 🙂
Liz blogs over at Friday Night Shenanigans where she writes about paying off her debt while creating a beautiful life for herself through DIY. You can head over there to get the FREE Save Money Checklist – a list of over 45 ways to save money, which helped Liz save over $175 a month.