Guys, I can hardly believe it but Frugal February 2019 is only days away. Where did the month of January go? Every year, Frugal Feb sneaks up on me and I’m not feeling very prepared for this year’s challenge. So I figured sharing a blog post about Frugal February 2019 would kick my butt into gear and hold me accountable when our no-spend days begin (only 4 days away!).
But let’s backtrack. If you’re new around here let me explain what I’m chatting about…
What is Frugal February?
Frugal February looks different for every household. For us it means no dinners out, no bar tabs, no morning coffee runs, no clothing shopping, no cab or Uber rides, etc. It’s all about being aware, mindful, and intentional with our spending and every year we end up saving a lot of money.
And not only do we save, but we also figure out where we’re spending too much and we make good habits for the rest of the year. While not spending money on any of the aforementioned items may sound like a big bore to you, it’s actually kinda fun. We get REALLY creative and try our best to spend as little as possible. We do buy groceries during February and any necessities (and pay our bills #obvi). But we do try to be smart about it, so no impulse buys.
If you want to save money this month too, we want you to join us in this challenge! Here are some ways to prep for the month ahead.
Figure out YOUR Rules
The first step is to figure out your “rules” for Frugal February 2019. And as I mentioned, that will look different for everybody! In our house, Finn and I only spend money on groceries, basic necessities, and any emergency payments (last year we had to fork over $2,800 for a new hot water heater during Frugal Feb. wah wah).
Maybe you just want to cut Amazon purchases for the month? Or clothing purchases? Or your morning latte? You set the rules! But it’s important to get on the same page with anyone else in your household. Finn and I usually just have a 15-minute conversation to discuss how we want to tackle the month ahead and that way we can hold one another accountable. And shame the other person when they cheat (kidding…kinda).
Review your Calendar
Social obligations are where we spend a good chunk of our money. Usually, it’s an Uber ride to and from the restaurant/bar and then a big bill to pay. While we love seeing our friends and family, we try not to do any big nights out during February.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit for the entire month. Instead, get creative and do free activities with your friends. I’ve been going on long Sunday walks with my mom lately and it’s a free activity we both love! Or have friends over for a game night and make fun cocktails using the random bottles of alcohol on your bar cart. You can still be social, but just be smart about it!
We highly recommend looking at your calendar now and make alternative plans for any spendy situations.
I’m lucky that Finn geeks out over finances (sorry honey, but we both know it’s true). Finn works in finance for his day job and is a spreadsheet whiz! He tracks what we spend each month and can compare February to the other months of the year. We also use Mint.com to keep track of all of our various accounts.
Because we like to track everything so closely, we rarely use cash and make all purchases using our credit cards. We book all our travel using our credit cards points and also get cash back rewards.
Our method won’t work for every family, so it’s important to know ahead of time how you’ll track your spending. Maybe you only use cash and have an envelope for every week? Or if you’re a visual person you can make a big chart to mark your progress (a sweet reader, Austin, did this last year!). It doesn’t matter how you track but make a plan now before February is here.
Collect your Loose Change + Gift Cards
Now is a good time to put all of those gift cards you received for Christmas to good use (and if you have as many as Bridget does, you can use this method to keep them organized)! We get a lot of restaurant gift cards and always use them during Frugal Feb when we get sick of making all of our own meals.
And don’t forget to collect the loose change in your house. We learned last year that not all banks will accept change (boo!), but you can bring your change to a Coinstar machine at the grocery store. These machines do take a fee, but if you opt for an e-gift card (to places like Starbucks, Amazon, etc.) instead of cash, then you get the full amount.
Prepare to Get Creative
Finn and I secretly love Frugal February because we get so creative with our date nights. Last year, we had an Olympic Themed night of games (you can read more about it and watch the video in this post). It was a night to remember and was completely FREE.
We also do cooking competitions, only using ingredients we have in the pantry. We research free events happening in Chicago. We watch old movies and bring out our board games. Honestly, we don’t ever get bored. Instead, we get creative!
Are You In? Join Us for Frugal February 2019!
This is the 4th year that we’re doing Frugal February and this year I want to do it with all of you! During February, I’ll be posting tips/ideas/updates on Instagram and Insta Stories using the hashtag, #diyplaybookfrugalfeb. If you are doing a money-saving activity, use the hashtag on stories or your feed (and be sure to tag @diyplaybook so we don’t miss it). We’ll re-share some of our favorite ideas on our stories too.
I want this to be a little community of money-savers who are all cheering one another on! So are you with me for Frugal February 2019? I cannot wait to follow the #diyplaybookfrugalfeb tags!
And if you need some more encouragement, check out these past posts…
More Money Saving Posts
- How We Save Money Daily
- Saving Money Living in a Big City
- Frugal February Prep 2018
- Frugal February – 2018 Recap