Friday, October 1, 2010

Financial Friday - Cutting Back in October

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of Financial Friday posts. I am back in full swing of teaching music lessons now, and Friday is my longest day. I promise to try a little harder from now on.

Anways, this Financial Friday, I would like to talk about "cutting back." Part of being wise & frugal with our finances takes SACRIFICE in cutting things/expenses out of our daily routine. October is a very critical, financial month as we are quickly approaching the holiday season.  I've already seen Christmas stuff out in the stores.  So being extra careful & wise with our spending over the next few months will help better prepare us for the holidays, and hopefully keep us out of debt come January.

My husband and I are going to try to do some serious cutting back for the entire month of October, and see where we end up financially at the end of the month (as compared to September). The Financial Fridays for each week in October will be documenting those numbers. Now my birthday is in October, so we'll have to see how we handle that. I did tell my husband I don't mind skipping this year, or celebrating later. I'll have plenty of other birthdays. So I'm willing to sacrifice for the sake of our finances.

We came up with a list of random ways we can save a little extra. Some of these bills/expenses won't be available until November, but we're still saving money, no matter what.

Here is our list:
1) Lights Off - We already do this, but we are going to bump it up a notch. Our rule will be "if you can see it, no need for a light." So when we shower and get ready in the morning, we will keep the lights off. If it's somewhat dark inside, we will open the blinds to create a little more light. I'm anxious to see what our electricity bill will be in November just by doing this little thing.

2) A/C Off - Texas heat is BRUTAL! Luckily it's starting to cool down in DFW. I have been keeping the A/C off during the day, and even when I'm home too. If it's too warm inside, but cool outside, I will open a window or the back porch door to let some cool air in. It's worked out pretty well so far.

3) No Food or Fun - I know this sucks! BUT...we are going to try it to see how much money we can save. We already don't eat out much, but we're going to try to go the full month of not eating out or going to a movie. Any extraneous spending is out. No Sonic Happy Hour, no Redbox (unless I have a free code), no Coffee, etc. We managed to do this successfully one month last summer.  IT WAS BRUTAL but we did it. If we just take it 1 week at a time, we should be fine. This might mean more game nights and checking out movies from the library.  I'm anxious to see the difference between September & October's dining/entertainment budget.

4) Cut Groceries - Again, I already do this, but I would like to see if I can do any more. We probably spend less than $100/month on groceries (don't hate me!) Half of that is from stupid cokes.  Goh!  We have a lot of food stockpiled in our fridge, freezer & pantry that I would like to go ahead and use up. Unless I can get a smoking good deal, stockpile at a rock bottom price that will save me money in the long run, or essentials, I'm going to pass on the deal (or try to). I want to eat up the food we already have FIRST. Hopefully my shopping for the month will only consist of fruits, milk, eggs & free stuff. We should have enough in our stockpile to last us for a while.  But this means I need to have a weekly meal plan planned out, otherwise we're more likely to go out to eat.

5) Cut Laundry Loads - I know this might be impossible for most families, but for our family of 2, it could work. I've never tried it before so we'll see how it works this month. I'm going to try to do 1 load of whites & 1 load of darks per week. If we have boo-koos of clothes piling up, I might just pick the ones that need to be washed first. So I might wash more underwear and work clothes but less towels.

6) $100 Extra Income - This isn't cutting back but rather a goal in the opposite direction. I haven't tried this either but I'm going to try it for the month of October to see what happens. I have already ordered my free priority boxes, so I should be getting those soon. I would like to NET $100 from selling stuff on Craigslist, Ebay, Cash4Books, HalfPricedBooks, Consignment, etc. I've already been doing this somewhat but would like to put a little more effort into it this month.

Saving money FEELS like you are making more money. "Cutting back" or SACRIFICING leaves extra money for other things, which in turn does feel like you are making extra money. You no longer have more month than money.

So for the next month, each Friday's FF post will be about my sacrifices for the week...kinda like a journal. Sometimes verbalizing or typing out my goals helps keep me accountable. I encourage you to join in with me this month. Write it down, comment me on what you plan to do this month in terms of "cutting back" and let's help keep each other accountable.

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