Uber Frugal January, weeks 3 and 4 recap

Our über frugal toilet training stool thanks to the talented Mr. Journeys.

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.

During week 3 of this challenge my family suffered the loss of my uncle. I’m lumping weeks three and four together as last week I wasn’t in a good place to update the blog.

I talked about our goals in a post at the beginning of the challenge, and here’s how I did the past two weeks:

#1 Take control of our food budget. Over the two weeks since I last checked in we spent $192 on groceries. This is definitely more than I wanted to be spending, I am going to try and spend $30 or less on food this week to help even out the average. We only spent $22 eating out for the last couple of weeks, which is pretty good and included a date at a brewery while Mr. Journey’s family was in town to watch the little one.

#2 Figure out health care. There were a few follow items that we completed this week to finalize our ACA marketplace plan. Mr. Journeys had to submit a ledger for our business that showed how much profit we were expecting for 2017 and I had to submit a month’s worth of pay stubs. We are still working on Little Journey’s CHIP, when we followed up on it her case was in limbo for the past week, so she will probably not be covered until a week or two into February.

#3 Inventory fixed costs and try to lower them. We inventoried our fixed costs and they were more than I had hoped. We decided to drop our trash pick up and take our 1-2 small bags to our rental property’s dumpster. I’m hoping this well help us to focus on reducing the amount of trash we generate also. We will continue to recycle, but take it to the recycling center instead of having it picked up. We are trying to decide how best to organize the recycling in between visits.

#4 Seek out free activities and “treats”. Nothing exciting to report here, hmmm.

#5 Cultivate a postive attitude. I have been positive about this challenge but I also feel like I haven’t fully embraced it. Maybe next week will be an ultra-uber frugal month, I feel like a week would be much more manageable than a month feels.

Notes for this week: While Mr. Journey’s family was visiting over the weekend they made a little potty support stool for our daughter so that she could use our big potty and have something to support her legs. In the past we definitely would have just gone out and bought a plastic stool instead of using supplies on hand to make a much nicer version.

We also ran out of apples this week and I stopped by the orchard to pick some up. It occurred to me to check the membership card for our local public radio station, and the orchard had a buy one peck get one free coupon, so we saved $16 for apples. Note to self, always check to see if there is a discount or coupon available!

Finally, my uncle’s passing has caused us to incur some expenses. I sent a sympathy food basket from a local gourmet deli at a cost of $136 and made lodging arrangements through Air BnB for our family to rent a house in February for the celebration of life service. My siblings and mom will be paying us back for their part of the reservations, so I am only counting what we will owe in the total

What we have spent so far this month:

Food:  groceries $307, dining out $28, $335 total

Gas: $144 (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 + $805 for a fireplace install that should have been completed in December

House Cleaning: $60

Healthcare: $458 (2 prescriptions and medical / dental insurance)

Automotive: $150 (oil change supplies and registration for Mr. Journey’s car and our teardrop camper)

Entertainment: $13

Personal Care:  $26

Utilities: $214

Travel: $142 for our part of an Air BnB reservation for my uncle’s memorial service

Gifts: $136 for food basket

Monthly Total: $2866 out of $2,123 for the month. However, if you subtract the $805 insert install that we had already saved for and planned on purchasing in December, we’re at 2378. If you take out unexpected sympathy gifts and travel we are at $1892. I’m really pleased at what we were able to accomplish this month.

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