Frugal February Challenge

The first couple of months at the start of a new year can be challenging budget-wise; most of us are still recovering from Christmas expenses so we spend most of January playing catch up and falling behind on other bills.

We want to help you break the debt cycle. Welcome to Frugal February.

As the name suggests, we’ve got some suggestions and tips to help you save money this February so you can pay down your debt and hopefully put some money aside too.

The rules are simple and even sticking to just half of them will have a positive impact on your finances:

Use the 24 Hour Rule before making Impulsive Purchases

Whether you’re an online shopper or love to hit the mall, there are some great post-holiday sales stretching on into February. It can be tempting to spend money you don’t really have on items that are seriously discounted in price but you have to ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”

Before making any impulsive purchases (particular larger or more expensive buys) force yourself to sleep on it. Leave the store, close the browser on your computer, and really ask yourself if you need that item or if you just want to buy it because the deal is so appealing. If the answer is yes, then you can feel good about your purchase. If the answer is no, then you can walk away without regret.

Limit Your Fast Food Consumption and Pack Your Own Lunch

We know how easy and satisfying it is to just grab a burger during your lunch break, but grabbing take out too often can do a number on your wallet. We’re not saying you should cut out fast food completely, but try to limit yourself to one purchased meal every week (this includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner) at maximum. Buying your own ingredients and making your lunch the night before takes a little bit of effort but it’s better for your bank account and your overall health.

Don’t Charge things to your Credit Card that you Can’t Pay Back

This is where having a monthly budget and a clear idea of where you stand financially becomes really important. Credit cards are appealing because you can buy something right now and not have to pay for it until a month later. You can even keep pushing off your payment so long as you pay the minimum balance (which is often around $10 a month). Don’t do it. It is not worth the interest charges that will accrue. Only buy things on credit if you know you’ll be able to pay it back completely within a reasonable period of time.

Identify Your Financial ‘Weak Spots’

Sit down, ask yourself what you need to work on when it comes to your finances, and then educate yourself on it. There are a number of resources available to you for free online. Take the time to really focus on how you can improve your relationship with money. Prevention is the best medicine and the sooner you can correct bad habits and improve how you manage your money the better!