You’ve heard of completing a Money Saving Challenge to get out of debt or stockpile cash in the bank, but have you done a fun and frugal February ?
I've gathered 28 of the best frugal living tips and created a monthly challenge for you to save on your expenses this February and start saving, no matter your financial situation!
If you are looking for a way to save cash? Want to bring in MORE income without getting a second job? A spending freeze may be just what you need. Below you will read tips we use for our no spend month.
Money Saving Challenge – A Fun & Frugal February
A no spend month is just how it sounds, a month when you don't spend any money. You create your no spend goal based on what your finances look like.
I completed my first no spend month last November, and it's greatly impacted our current financial situation. We've cut back on our day to day spending and starting finding more creative ways to save and bring in extra income. Who doesn't love the sound of that?!
Having a no spend month in the fall or winter is a great way to get back on track with your finances, pay off debt or save for an upcoming holiday or a larger purchase.
WHY YOU NEED A FRUGAL FEBRUARY
The specific answer for everyone is going to look differently.
- To get out of the cycle of living pay cheque to pay cheque
- To get out of the cycle of using your credit and paying it off with your cheque at the end of the two weeks of spending without knowing where it's going.
- And the biggest reason most people have a spending freeze this time of year is to pay Christmas off.
But the real reason we all need to have a Frugal February is to challenge our relationship with money!
February is the month of Valentines. Challenge to change your love and passion for spending and create a healthy honest relationship with your cash. Let's get started!
PREPARE FOR YOUR FRUGAL FEBRUARY CHALLENGE
A no spend challenge for Frugal February is NOT EASY, but it's too worth it! Let's get prepared shall we !
1. FRUGAL FEBRUARY GOAL
What do you want to achieve? Do you have a dollar amount you want or need to save, or a debt that you'd like to throw some cash at? Here are some examples
- Only use cash for the month to get out of the cycle of pay cheque to pay cheque
- Don't use your credit card for the month to pay off the credit card statement
- Only use money for your fixed expenses like the bills forget the extra and save what's left for our family vacation.
2. CREATE A BUDGET
Some people enjoy this, I'm not a big fan. But setting your budget is the perfect wake up call you need for this challenge. Go ahead and look at your bank statement.
Write down what your numbers are in your accounts and your debts. Write down your expected income for the month. Determine what you have and how you can use it over the month. Think about your Needs vs. Wants.
I print off a calendar and write down the expected income and costs for the month.
3. FIGURE OUT YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES
Figure out what to cut out of your daily life to help you make your goal. Use your calendar to add the expenses, when bills are due, and when you have expected purchases like a birthday present coming up.
4. ANALYZE YOUR SPENDING HABITS
Taking a good look at your current spending habits for the past few months and your common spending habits for this time of year and ask yourself a few questions.
What are you spending your money on, besides the necessities are there expenses that you don't need that you could cut or replace?
How are you spending your money? Do you use credit? Are you shopping online frequently? Do you spend cash without keeping track where it's gone?
I was using my credit card for every purchase to increase our travel points- but I wasn't paying it off often enough or checking the budget first.
So I made it my goal to not spend money on my cc for the month. I literally froze my credit card. This forced me to look at my chequing balance regularly and spend cash more often.
Where are you spending extra money? I remember one week spending almost $800 at Walmart over a few shopping trips. Other than groceries and snacks I had nothing to show for it
Honestly, If we need to get out of the house I'll take the kids to go run errands and shop. It's not effective at all!
Now I schedule shopping trips where I go by myself and I stick to my list. It's easier to only buy what I need, to question each item thoughtfully and spend time checking my coupon apps and the online flyer before heading into the store.
As for WHEN we feel stuck in the house and bored, I've written a list of 10 things we can go do that doesn't cost anything ie. visiting family, going to the park, going for a walk, playing in the yard, or attending a preschool program.
Ask yourself why are you spending money? Why do you need the things that you have been purchasing? What's driving those items?
Heres my honesty, I would take the kids shopping when I was bored. We'd go to the dollar store for even more craft supplies, colouring and stickers or fun seasonal “garbage” that we didn't really need.
28 IDEAS FOR A FUN AND FRUGAL FEBRUARY CHALLENGE
Ready to watch your pennies grow? Embrace a happy homestead life, reduce your expenses and get creative when you live a handmade homegrown life.
- Go ahead Pin this Post now to refer to over the month
- Download the challenge checklist and stick it on your fridge.
1. TAKE INVENTORY
Take stock of what you have for the month that you will need, everything from necessities like toilet paper and create an inventory of the food that you have in your pantry and your freezer. Write down everything, and approximately how much servings you have.
What if you could cook dinner once and feed your family for days? The extra time and money that comes from stretching a meal is amazing. Plus it doesn’t have to my dull and boring food, it’s actually something to look forward to.
Learn my tricks for stretching a meal that lasts for days and tastes amazing!
What do you have in your pantry and freezer that could be used to make meals that will last all week?
3. MEAL PLAN
Remember that calendar you used for your goals, and income and expenses? Let's use that to make a meal plan. 28 meals can be completely overwhelming too. So here's my tips,
I organized my freezer, fridge and cupboards and wrote a meal plan using what we already had instead of buying more.
Remember those frugal meals, choose 3 vegetarian, 3 beef, and 3 chicken/fish or pork and fill in your month using that calendar. Oh wait, 9×3 is 27. Go ahead and check that off your to do list.
RELATED POST: MEAL PLANNING
SLASH YOUR FOOD BUDGET IN 3 STEPS WITH THE MONEY SAVING WORKSHEETS
You can save hundreds of dollars on your groceries this month using these worksheets, trust me I have!
4. FILL IN YOUR CALENDAR
So you know what you're going to eat, where your money is coming from and where it's going. Let's fill in our calendar with things we want to do that won't cost us anything. If you're at work most of the month that's great!
If you're at home with the kids, stay off Amazon and find another hobby! More ideas on that later!
Here are some fun seasonal activity ideas:
5. DETERMINE WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE THAT YOU'LL NEED
What are some of the things that you'll need this month? Do you have gifts you'll need to purchase or a date night planned? Maybe you discovered that you're going to need some shampoo…
6. GET CREATIVE WITH FINDING WHAT YOU'LL NEED
This is my favourite part about frugal living, getting creative with what you already have to find what you'll need.
Your Rakuten cheque should be coming soon ( In February, May, August, November) have you checked your account balance lately?
Don’t have a Rakuten account? Here’s $5!
It’s an awesome site that pays you Cash Back when you shop online. With over 750 stores, including Hudson’s Bay, Indigo.ca, Old Navy, and Sephora, get paid to shop for things you’re already buying.
Then use it this month to buy a gallon of milk.
A fun way to get creative in finding what you need is to do a swap with friends. In November, as part of our No Spend Month we did a toy swap to give kids new toys instead of buying more. This month I'm participating in a clothing swap.
8. GO THROUGH WHAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR SWAP
Once you've decided what kind of swap you'd like to have, start planning for it and find things you don't need that you're friends might like to swap you for.
9. FIND A SPARK
Last year their was a lot of energy about Marie Kondo and cleaning up. The main idea of it all was only keeping things that spark joy in your life.
10. CREATE A SELL PILE
Go through your clothes, your kids clothes, your attic and your closets. It's time to start determining what you have that you don't want or need anymore that still has enough value to sell.
Go ahead and sell online in Facebook Marketplace, on used consignment sites or have a garage sale.
11. CREATE A DONATE PILE
Donate things that you no longer need. This will help you find some joy in having a clutter free home with living simply in your mind.
Diabetes Canada is great for offering a donation of household goods and clothing pick up service.
12. WRITE YOUR TO DO LIST
Just because it's Frugal February doesn't mean it can't be fun! Write down a big list of all the things that you've been meaning to do. Scratch off anything that requires purchasing and get down to doing the things that you can do with what you have.
For example, I have a lot of sewing projects that I've purchased the fabric for that are sitting nicely organized in bins calling my name!
13. HOST A POTLUCK WITH FRIENDS
We host a Fall Friendsgiving, and a spring BBQ outdoors with our friends, a potluck is a great way to gather together save money on a meal.
14. DO A MEAL SWAP
15. PLAN FRUGAL WINTER FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Read and Pin our Winter Activities Guide if you haven't seen it yet for some great ideas for free family entertainment.
16. PLAN YOUR GARDEN
Grow your own food this year with a backyard vegetable garden. You’d be surprised just how easy and exciting growing your own food is. Plus the money you can save on your grocery bill while feeding your family organic local food can’t be beat.
See our Garden Tips
17. MAKE SEED PAPER
Attract the birds and the bees, and the beautiful butterflies to your backyard space this year with a collection of wild flower seeds that attract pollinators.
When you run out of laundry soap, research how to make my own. WOW! Is it ever easy. What have you run out on before?
Before you could buy it from a store, a farmer, chef, baker, candlestick maker…( you get it ) made the item at home. Learn these old fashioned skills that are being lost in todays modern world.
You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to live a handmade, homegrown lifestyle.
Taking those steps “backyards” will teach your children more than you know.
20. PREPARE YOUR TAXES
21. HOMESTEAD CHORES
Its' easy to spend a lot of money on homesteading projects and to get yourself farther into debt than actually feeling like your working towards being self sustaining.
Join local homesteading groups and attend swap and shops, find what you need used first before making big purchases. Research DIY versions of larger purchases like that fancy chicken coop you feel the need to have.
22. WRITE DOWN 50 THINGS THAT FILL YOUR CUP AND DO 1
My good friend challenged me to write down 50 things that fill my cup that don't cost any money and to try and do a few a day. I'm challenging you to do the same!
Sit and drink your coffee while it's warm, go to bed early, watch your favourite tv show, fit in a half hour of yoga, send some time with your animals, organize your photos, organized your sentimentals- I can't be the only one that keeps a shoebox full of notes and cards from friends and family.
I've cut back on my grocery bill immensely since starting to bake my own bread a few months ago. Like me, you'll be shocked at just how quick and easy it is.
This is my favourite frugal white bread recipe. Slice it for sandwiches, add cheese for cheese buns or pizza buns, add butter and cinnamon sugar and you have cheap cinnamon buns.
24. MAKE BEEF STOCK
Learn just how to make beef bone broth using beef bones, vinegar, water and the optional vegetables and herbs. You’ll never have to buy beef broth again at the store and reap the many nutritional benefits of bone broth currently taking the health industry by storm.
Get creative, have fun and get crafting by making simple handmade cards. I’ve gathered everything you need from supplies and wishes and messages to warm your readers hearts. Use scrap paper and wrapping you have lying around.
26. UPCYCLE CLOTHES
Going through the fabric you have in your home, from old sheets to flannel shirts that no longer fit allows for creating new items. This is a great way to sew new farm clothes for growing children. See how to turn a large button up shirt into 6 new items in this post at Homestead How To.
Knitting dishcloths isn’t just for your grandmother any more. Knitting dishcloths is a great way to get creative and make a practical item that is useful around the home.
I love knitting dishcloths while watching TV, on a road trip in the passenger side of the truck on a dirt road to a fishing spot.
28. ORGANIZE YOUR SEEDS
FRUGAL FEBRUARY CHALLENGE REVIEW
My favourite part about having a spending freeze is the break from consumption, consumerism and feeling broke. Instead of filling my cup by spending money, I now have to find other ways to fill it- for free.
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