I’m all about challenges. Therefore, as it is my goal to slowly crawl out of debt, this month I’ve decided to put a rein around my excess spending and allocate those extra funds towards some of my outstanding debt instead *glaring at you Navient aka Sallie Mae*.
For the month of March, I plan to give myself a $25 weekly allowance (in cash) which is all I’ll be allowed to spend on “social” expenses, primarily on the weekends. My Monday through Friday is like clockwork. I make my coffee in a Keurig at home before work, I always pack a lunch, and then I make dinner for myself in the evenings when I get back home. As you can see, weekdays are not really the issue; it’s Saturday’s and Sunday’s where I tend to go a little crazy – especially when it comes to dining out.
With this allowance and having it in cash, it will help me be more cognizant of my spending and really evaluate whether something is worth it. We tend to mindlessly swipe our credit or debit cards without thinking twice whether something was a necessary purchase or something bought on impulse. Sometimes when the weekend is over, I go through buyer’s remorse and attempt to backtrack where so much of my hard-earned money went that had nothing to do with bills, gas, or groceries. $25 is definitely a difficult challenge but I’ve already started warming up to the idea. Here are a few tips to try to convince you that it is indeed doable:
- Go grocery shopping first thing Saturday morning (or Friday after work) to buy foods you can cook at home to limit what you spend dining out. Note: This will not be deducted from your $25 allotment, however, I do recommend putting yourself on some type of budget even with groceries
- Look for free activities taking place over the weekend. No one wants to spend the whole weekend in the house, but don’t let your bank account be the victim of your boredom
- Explore your town or city by taking a nice walk. You discover so much when taking in the sights on foot rather than in a car. It’s beneficial in three ways – it kills time, you learn about new places, and you get some cardio!
- Catch a matinee instead of going to the movies during full price
- If you’re going to a happy hour, dinner, or brunch, eat something at home first and then spend money on something inexpensive such as an appetizer or a drink while out with friends
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking this is CRAZY, but it really isn’t. If you’re the kind of person who may feel obligated to get something while out with friends, I strongly suggest that you preview the menu and see if you can get by on just an appetizer or a beverage. I once pre-ate before a friend’s birthday brunch because there was no way I could bring myself to pay $45 + tax for an unlimited brunch and bottomless mimosas. However, I still showed up and didn’t even feel out of place for not eating. I was there to celebrate my friend either way. I personally just don’t think it’s worth breaking the bank just to be social. There are ways you can still show up without having to dig too deep in your pockets, if at all.
The reason I’m so frugal these days is #1, I live in a rather EXPENSIVE city where cost of living is simply ridiculous! #2, I have long-term goals that make me evaluate what I’m spending money on in the present. #3, I made silly financial decisions in the past that I have learned from and don’t want to backtrack on my success. #4, SALLIE MAE. #5, Navient aka SALLIE MAE!
So, don’t think I’m just being a “Frugal Franny.” I have financial goals that I want to lay the foundation down for now, and want to have the credit score to match those goals. Hence, why I’m limiting my excess spending and trying to create a habit of monitoring and controlling what I do spend my extra funds on. $25 may not seem like a lot, but I definitely know how to stretch a dollar! 😉
Want to get in on the challenge? Give yourself a weekly dollar amount that you feel is realistic for you, then subtract it by $5 to make you work a little harder. Good luck!