Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone!! We’re now officially halfway through our Frugal February Challenge and so far our spending has been FAR less than what we spent in January. Just take a look at this chart from our Personal Capital account.
This chart may be from the end of last week, but the trend still shows how much less we spent this month compared to January. It’s also slightly deceiving since January was a bit more lavish than we normally live and a couple of charges from our honeymoon only hit in the beginning of January. Regardless, we’ve been far better this month.
Now, just because our spending is down doesn’t mean we’ve been sitting in a dark room freezing our asses off. On the contrary, we’ve been fairly active. Here are just some of the things we’ve done this month thus far:
- Went out with my family for my mom’s birthday lunch.
- Hung out with my brother and his girlfriend since they are rarely able to come visit.
- Went house hunting for our first rental property (more to come on this endeavor).
- Kayla has brought home at least 6 library books over the past couple of weeks and has been reading almost constantly.
- Watching the Winter Olympics!! We love curling.
- Had an epic board game tournament. (I lost…by a lot.)
- I even went to an after work happy hour (This one I felt a bit guilty over at first until I realized that I haven’t been out like this in ~4 months and the total cost was $16. Worth it for the laughs and networking opportunity.)
- I had to go on overnight travel for work.
- Kayla has tried 4 new recipes this month so far, beating her resolution of one new recipe per week.
- Not to mention working, going to the gym (free through a combination of work, our apartment building and the krav maga gym where I also teach) and generally enjoying each other’s company.
What will we do for the rest of the month?
Sure, we did well the first half of the month, but there are only so many games of sequence I can lose to Kayla before I start to get stir crazy. So, what else will we do with our time?
- Have a potluck Galentine’s Day brunch with some of our very good friends.
- More house hunting. This is not a quick process, especially if you want to do it right.
- Helping my mom get rid of her storage unit. A frugal win in and of itself!
- Go out to dinner to celebrate 6 months of marriage using a gift card received at Christmas. (A frugal cheat of sorts.)
- Picking up extra classes to teach for Krav maga and training for myself.
- Probably have friends over for dinner and board/card game night. Good beer, good food and good friends for little more than the cost of our regular meal costs.
But wait! What about Valentine’s Day?
Right… Valentine’s day. When thousands of ads and commercials try to guilt you to spend hundreds on your significant other. Candy, heart shaped necklaces and flowers are what you’re supposed to do, right? Wrong!
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a cynic and love an excuse to treat my wife. The “problem” is that we’re not very materialistic people. So, I always try to give her some kind of experience. Last year I took her to MoMA and dinner. We had a great time and the pictures/ memories will last us far longer than a piece of jewelry.
This year, I went along the same lines, but I was a bit smarter. I got us a weekend away to be used in a couple of months (when it’s not freezing) at a little B&B farm. What makes this part of my frugal February is that I was able to pay for the whole thing with my Barclay credit card points! We’ll be near some great parks, take advantage of some awesome hikes and hang out with these guys.
It’s good to take the time to see if there are little things that can be done to make something you like doing a little bit cheaper or even free. For example, we had both completely forgotten about that restaurant gift card until we were talking about making a fancy dinner at home. The only thing cheaper than eating a home cooked meal is eating for free! There are lots of ways to enjoy life and stay busy while not breaking the bank. Just keep your mind open and see what happens!
What are your frugal wins so far this month or any ideas for cheap activities you may have? I’m always looking for new things to try! Share your experiences in the comments below!