How We’re Preparing for Frugal February 2018
Finn and I are gearing up for a very exciting February. Nope, not the Superbowl. Not Valentine’s Day. Not even the arrival of Baby Mac (okay, yes, of course, we are both enthusiastic over that last one!).
But what we are really preparing for is… Frugal February!
Every February, Finn & I partake in what we lovingly refer to as “Frugal February.” After the craziness of the holidays and the overspending that usually takes place on gifts, we like a month in the new year to reset and save money for the year ahead. For the past few years, we’ve participated in our own Frugal February and the goal is to try to save as much money as possible during the shortest month of the year.
What is Frugal February?
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. I’m talking big bucks people (a few years ago our Frugal February savings paid for our honeymoon!).
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. But we do try to be smart about it, so no impulse buys.
Frugal February is only a few days away and most years it really does sneak up on us both! This year, we decided to do everything we can to prepare for the month so we’re prepared and ready to save.
Tips to Prepare for Frugal February
Set Your Guidelines
Whether you’re doing Frugal February with a spouse, significant other, or by yourself, you’ll first want to set your guidelines. Everyone’s “rules” for the month are different. For us, we try to only spend money on groceries and other necessities. But for you, that may look a bit different. Set the guidelines for your Frugal February so you know what is off limits, and what you can spend money on.
This is also soooo important if you’re doing it with a spouse. Finn and I need to review the parameters for the month so no one is “cheating.” Just take 15 minutes before Thursday to get on the same page and you’ll start February off on the right foot!
Check your Calendar
I’m not gonna lie, we have become hermits in Februarys of year’s past because we don’t want to go out to dinner or a bar and spend money. This year, we haven’t scheduled much for the month of February in hopes of avoiding too many “spendy situations.” However, you can still see your friends during Frugal February! You just need to be more creative.
Instead of doing a happy hour with your girlfriend, head to a workout class together at the gym you’re already paying for! Or instead of going out to dinner with your family, have them over for dinner and everyone do it up potluck style! Review your social obligations for the month and see what you can do to save money for each of them.
Get out Those Gift Cards
I don’t know about you, but we seem to get tons of gift cards for the holidays! I guess it really is the perfect gift for someone because they can use it on whatever and whenever they want. Frugal February is the time to use all of those coupons and gift cards! Have a gift card to a local restaurant, make a reservation for February! Need to buy a birthday gift for someone this month? Use a gift card you might have! Take those gift cards out of your wallet and drawers and put them to use.
Take Inventory of your Pantry and Freezer
I can’t tell you how many nights Finn and I look at our full freezer and overstuffed pantry and decide to order food instead. I know…it’s bad! But sometimes the thought of spending an hour cooking dinner seems awful, compared to waiting an hour for takeout to arrive. Ha!
Frugal February is the perfect time to eat your way through all of the food you already have in your house! Make a list of the items you have on hand and research some delicious recipes to use up those ingredients (like my family’s frittata or my new favorite veggie soup!). We do spend money at the grocery store during the month, but we try to be very selective on what we’re buying and only buy extra items that we can use with food we already have.
Take stock now, find some yummy recipes, and you’ll be ready to go with delicious meals come February 1st.
It’s possible to have fun and spend zero money. But I get it. Sometimes on a Friday night, it’s easier to just head to dinner and a movie instead of just hanging on the couch. However, there are tons of free things you can do to have fun during Frugal February.
Think of the things in your life that you’re already paying for (or have paid for). I’m talking about your cable package, the games you own, the books on your shelves, your old case of DVDs (does anyone even have those anymore?!). That is free entertainment right at your fingertips!
Be sure to set your DVR to record all of your favorite shows and movies that are on this month, since you won’t be going out to the movies. Get those board games out of your closets and keep them at reach when you’re looking for something fun to do. Research free events in your city and jot them down on your calendar. There’s no reason you need to be bored during Frugal February. In fact, we often find that some of our most fun nights happen this month because we’re forced to be creative and get outside of our routine!
Collect your Change
Another small & easy task you can do before the month is to take in all of the change you have around your house and bring it to the bank for cash. We have a few different spots throughout the house where we accumulate all of our coins, and it’s rare that we remember to bring them into the bank. Now is the time to do that!
In year’s past, we’ve even taken the money we get from our coin haul and use it for our first grocery run of February…trying our hardest to stick to that exact dollar amount. Who knew being so frugal could be so thrilling?!
Set an Intention
Finally, before you start the month it’s important to think about the reason you’re partaking in Frugal February. Do you want to buy a place of your own? Or perhaps you’re saving up for a great vacation? Or maybe you just want to push yourself to stick to a budget so you can have more financial freedom? Whatever it is, set your intention now. Then whenever you’re feeling like you want to spend money during Frugal February, think about the reason why you’re doing this. Hopefully, that will keep you on track!
Join Us For Frugal February!
Okay, what do you say? Are you guys joining the Finn household in our attempt to have a no-spend February? Let me know in the comments so I can know that we are not alone. And please offer up your tips too so we can all learn together. Here are a couple other posts we’ve shared before that might help as you gear up for the month!
Oh, and if you see me at Starbucks in the morning during February, I give you full permission to give me the side eye if I buy a $6 latte…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.