Uber Frugal January, Week Two Recap

This week I saved some serious cash! Image Credit: www.401kcalculator.org via flickr

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 second week of the challenge. 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 $43 on food this week! I’m really pleased that we managed to spend so little on food. $5 of this was for an emergency trip to Tim Horton’s after we belatedly realized we couldn’t take my daughter to the swimming pool as promised since she had outgrown her swimming suit. She was satisfied with a couple of Tim Bits and we didn’t feel like quite so horrible parents, so I consider it $5 well spent.

Mr. Journeys and I also met for an impromptu coffee date at Panera one afternoon that we had some unexpected free time. I used a gift card to pay for it, but am realizing that I definitely haven’t kicked the eating out habit like I had hoped to!

#2 Figure out health care. We have enrolled in insurance! We filled out the online forms but ended up having to call a help hotline after we had submitted because the insurance offered by my employer should have been flagged as not meeting the criteria for affordability. Basically, it would have been more than 9.66% of our household’s estimated gross income for the year. After a very helpful conversation with the person on the hotline we were approved for $289 of help a month, and the plan for my husband and I will be about $420 a month. Our daughter should be covered by CHIP, although we need to follow up with them next week to make sure she is covered by February 1.

We decided to only purchase dental insurance for me, I have a lot of dental work to maintain and tend to get cavities very easily. My husband, on the other hand, never has any issues. So, we will pay for his yearly cleanings out of pocket and I was able to get coverage for $24 a month.

Incidentally, a family plan through my employer would have been $1,100 a month, so we are thrilled to be able to use the ACA marketplace to purchase affordable insurance. I hope I will be able to say the same thing next year, but I’m not optimistic. Sob.

#3 Inventory fixed costs and try to lower them. This week we focused on health care, our goal for the coming week is to look into cheaper internet and lower rates for car and home insurance.

#4 Seek out free activities and “treats”. Mr. Journeys and the wee one made it to our library’s story time this week. They had a nice time and plan on making it a regular thing.

#5 Cultivate a postive attitude. This week I’ve been wondering if I’m going “hard core” enough for this challenge. Even though I managed to greatly reduce our food budget we got some restaurant treats this week and I didn’t force myself to use food that we already had in the freezer. I’m going to try and do a better job of this next week.

Notes for this week: A few months ago when my husband was working full-time and trying to manage our 12 unit rental while I was teaching and we were both running after our two year old I decided something had to give. We hired a lovely person to come clean the main living areas of our house every two weeks and it was amazing. Her last cleaning was this week, since now we will have extra time instead of extra money, and I am sad to see her go but so grateful for her help as we were transitioning our lives.

What we spent this week / and so far this month:

Food:  $43 /$130

Gas: $20 / $77 (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: $0 / $11

House Cleaning: $60

Healthcare: $15 (prescriptions)

Automotive: $98 (registration for Mr. Journey’s car and our teardrop camper)

Entertainment: $0 / $10

Personal Care:  $15 / $26 (haircut for the Mr. this week)

Utilities: $0 / $97

Spent this week: $251

Monthly Total: $804 out of $2,123 for the month.

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