A new challenge – Month of Scrooge

Well I can most certainly say the last couple of months have been spendy, plenty of outflow and I am now taking steps to remedy this situation.  That is why this next challenge is close my frugal loving heart.  I have chosen a new challenge to get myself on track and back into my financial groove.  It’s time to go back to basics and focus on spending only on what is necessary and cutting out everything else – aka a month of Scrooge is in order!

I also want to challenge myself again.  It’s been a fair while since I have done something like this, but it also allows me to put myself in check on my emergency fund and essentially prove that I can indeed live on the set monthly expense amount I have set to live off, if for example I lose my job or cannot work due to ill health.  Only I am going to dig deeper and cut down my food expenses,  wipe out my personal allowance altogether and get rid of the junk quite literally (okay mostly)! So here it is:

For the month of February I have chosen to live off a total monthly budget of $1245!

Now some may think “Woa” that is a ship ton of money to spend for a single gal or maybe not.  But I believe this is the absolute lowest I can go at this moment in time which makes my estimates of just over $1300 look absolutely generous in comparison.

The breakdown is as follows and is what I deem as necessary, but admittedly there is a vanity budget set in there which I’ll explain shortly.

  • Rent  $880
  • Mobile Phone $50.19
  • Vehicle Insurance $23.60
  • Internet $30
  • Household $20
  • Food $160
  • Gas/Transport $50
  • Haircut $31

For the pendantics out there, yes I realise the total amount of the above totals to $1244.79 but I have opted to round it off for the remaining few cents!

Admittedly there are a couple WTF budgeted items in there.  The haircut for example.  I’m vain I’ll admit it but I do feel it’s important to make a good appearance especially if I had lost my job, and keeping my hair cut (I have short hair) for good presentation at interviews is a must!

Rent and food are quite obvious.  I must have shelter and must eat but that food budget is going to be the real challenge, I can barely keep to $200 a month.  Reducing it by $40 will be difficult but I have plans to implement changes to my grocery budget that I hope to keep ongoing.

Gas/Transport will cover my travel costs to work and household covers my non food costs, such as toilet paper and hygiene purchases.

My mobile phone bill is my set monthly contract that I don’t wish to change.  Like the haircut example it’s a requirement if I lost my job for perspective interview calls, though admittedly if push came to shove I’d at least lower the plan but I like it the way it is so that doesn’t change.

So what’s not in there?

Personal allowance!  Yes my shopping soul is hurting, but I can do without for a month.  I don’t spend a lot over a month usually, but even this will be a stretch.  There are also no power bills/water bills to care for because it’s all inclusive of my rent.  And last but best of all no debt to suck out the rest of my hard earned cash.

How I hope to accomplish this?

I plan to track my expenses via a very handy app on my phone.  I have also been trialling a cash only budget in January for groceries, gas and my allowance which has had excellent results so far.  I found using this method has worked in helping me stick to my budget and it has also left me with money left over at the end of my fortnightly cycle.  Admittedly I will likely find it a little bit harder considering I have lowered the amount but no time like the present to test it more!

All other expenses because they fixed, are automated to be paid via internet banking into their relevant accounts.

My month of scrooge won’t be easy but it wouldn’t be a challenge otherwise!  Come join me if you want!

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