This month I’m participating in the Uber Frugal January event hosted by Frugalwoods. If you’d like to check it out you can visit the Frugalwoods website.
This was the first week of the challenge and I have learned a lot already. I talked about our goals in a post at the beginning of the challenge, and here’s how I did this week:
#1 Take control of our food budget. According to Personal Capital I spent about $87 on food this week. While this is much less than in previous weeks, I was surprised that we still managed to spend this much. About $10 dollars was eating out during a week-long retreat. While I had hoped to avoid eating out all together, I did pack a lunch for three out of the four days of the retreat. In the past I wouldn’t have packed at all, so instead of buying coffee most days and eating food from home I would have bought lunch and coffees each day.
During my second grocery shop this week I bought several items that weren’t on my list, and this accounted for a about a third of the money spent on that trip! I was shocked when I added this up. My goal for next week is to buy produce only.
#2 Figure out health care. I got an updated quote from my school for 2017 insurance rates, and it doesn’t look pretty. My individual cost for insurance would be $395 a month (this actually seems somewhat reasonable to me) and a family plan would be about $1095(!). Ouch. On the agenda this week is to look more closely into the ACA marketplace options.
#3 Inventory fixed costs and try to lower them. Mr. Journeys noticed that our internet went up about $12 dollars this month thanks to the promotional price expiring. He will be calling our provider to try and negotiate a lower rate. Still on the agenda is to look into lowering car and house insurance rates and other fixed costs.
#4 Seek out free activities and “treats”. Little Journeys loves the snow, so we had some fun playing in it as a family this week. I did spend $10 at a local wellness center that has an amazing hot tub which is an expensive way to spend an hour but I felt relaxed all day and I think the visit was worth it. Last week was Mr. Journey’s final week at his corporate job, so I hope that we can begin to take advantage of some of the free activities offered in our area.
#5 Cultivate a postive attitude. My attitude about this challenge has been fairly positive this week. I felt good about taking my lunch to work and spent some quality time in the kitchen making meals. I had some nice social time in the hot tub with a friend and some good family time playing in the snow and enjoying a warm fire.
What we spent so far this month:
Gas: $57 (includes a New Year’s Eve trip for my husband to visit family and 4 days of commuting)
Childcare: $280 (for the month of January, 2 days a week in an in-home daycare)
Home Improvement: $11
Personal Care: $11
Total: $542 out of $2,123 for the month.
What are some of the free or low-cost activities that you participate in? If you are doing an Uber Frugal month, how is it going?