Frugal February Update: How We’re Saving Money
We’re in the home stretch of February with only 1 more week left of the month. So, I figured it was time to check-in with a Frugal February update! I’ve been sharing a lot over on our Insta Stories, but figured we needed an entire blog post dedicated to our progress thus far…
Frugal February Update
If you’re confused as to what the heck Frugal February even is, check out this post for all of the scoop on the yearly tradition we follow in the Finn household. Essentially, it’s a way to reset for the new year and reach our financial goals.
Some Big Setbacks
The first week of the month was a doozy, and we ended up having 2 really big unforeseen expenses.
First, our hot water heater quit on us. When we bought our condo, we knew that we might need to someday replace the hot water heater. Well…that someday arrived! After a few days of it being incredibly noisy (I’m talking shaking the entire house noisy!), we called in some pros to take a look. $2,800 later and we had a new hot water heater. Such a bummer to spend so much money right at the beginning of the month.
Then the next day (seriously…you can’t even make this stuff up), our brake pads started getting super noisy. After a trip to the auto shop, we left with $300 out of our pocket and new brake pads.
$3,000 gone within the first few days of February. Not fun, but it also fueled us to stick to our intentions for the month ahead so we could continue to save as much money as possible.
Making New Habits
Outside of trips to the grocery store (and the unforeseen purchases at the start of the month), Finn & I have been really good about not spending money! Finn has brought his lunch to work every single day, and I’ve been using our new Nespresso machine (I got this one for Christmas and I’m officially obsessed) to get my morning coffee fix! I also haven’t gotten my nails done at all this month (they’re looking pretty horrendous), but it’s nice to give them a little breather since I always seem to have polish on them!
We’ve always been good about food prep (more about what Finn cooks for the week right here), but Frugal February has motivated us even more to stick to our healthy habits and only prepare food at home.
Also, our freezer was starting to accumulate way too much stuff. Lots of frozen veggies, frozen fish, and random items stuffed in there. We’ve spent the month slowly eating what we have and it feels good to make a dent in the food we’ve already paid for!
Finn & I both take the train most of the time, but on the weekends we often opt for Ubers to get from place to place. Before the big snow storm in the middle of the month, we rode bikes around the city. We both have yearly passes for the Divvy bike program and put them to use even in the frigid temps of February.
However, after getting hit with a foot of snow we were forced to take a few Uber rides to various commitments we had on the weekends. It wasn’t ideal, but sometimes you do have to spend a bit of money here and there…
Time to Get Creative
We’ve been the most successful planning creative date nights at home. As I mentioned in this post, by far the best part of Frugal February is getting out of our normal routine of drinks & dinner. Instead, we create our own fun right at home…for FREE!
One weekend, we decided to have a brunch challenge. When we’re not in Frugal February, we often go out for brunch on the weekends. That’s at least a $30 tab (especially when you’re getting mimosas and bloody mary’s along with your big breakfasts!). Instead of spending that money, we decided to have a brunch challenge at home.
Finn chose to make a meal on Saturday morning, and I chose Sunday morning. The goal was to create a brunch dish only with ingredients we had in the house. Finn made a delicious veggie hash…roasted vegetables with eggs sunny side up. It was phenomenal and made use of a lot of veggies that were about to expire in our fridge.
I went with a sweet dish…orange and vanilla french toast. It was delicious, and again it used up oranges we had that were about to go bad! (Psst…neither of us followed specific recipes, we just kind winged it. So sorry I don’t have recipes to share!)
I put both of our dishes on Insta Stories, and you guys voted for your favorite! It was a close call…with my dish beating Finn’s 59% to 41%. In the end, we were both winners because we ended up eating food at home and saving money!
If you guys follow us on Insta Stories, then you may have witnessed our Olympic Date night in. Honestly, it was one of the most hilarious nights Finn and I have had in awhile!
We decided to make the most of the opening ceremonies with our own Olympic Decathalon of events. We dressed in winter athletic gear and compiled a list of 10 events. After lighting a “torch” (really just a candle), the games began!
We didn’t spend a dime and instead came up with games using items we had around the house and games that we hadn’t played in a long time. Here’s a list of some of the games we played if you too want to create your own Olympic Game Night:
- The Mini Marshmallow Marathon: Take 25 mini marshmallows and use a straw to suck them up and try to drop them into a bowl. Best time wins.
- The Lunch Break: Cut lunch bags at different heights. Only using your teeth transfer them from one area of your home to another.
- The Cotton Ball Bowl: This one was by far the grossest (but also the funniest) event of the night. Put vaseline all over your nose and then try to transfer 25 cotton balls to a bowl using only your nose. Best time wins.
- Ice Cube Curling: Use your kitchen island or dining room table for this one. Take washi tape and make 2 circles. Then take ice cubes and slide them across the table, aiming for the middle circle. 2 points if you hit the middle circle, 1 point for the outer circle.
- Trouble: After all of our “creative” games, we relied on board games we had around the house, including the classic game of trouble.
- Jenga: Next up was Jenga…another fun party game.
- Guess Who: Finally, we went old school with 3 rounds of Guess Who.
We were prepared to have a decathalon (10 events) of games, but Finn smoked me…6-1. At that point, it was already getting late, so we crowned him the champion and gave him a “gold medal” (really just a gold necklace from my jewelry drawer).
All in all, it was a HILARIOUS night and we had so much fun together. You guys all seemed to love it on Insta Stories too, so perhaps we’ll have to showcase another creative date night in again soon.
You can view the entire night in our Insta Story archives. Just go to our profile page on Instagram and click the “Frugal Feb” highlights where you can watch the entire night all over again.
Or check out the video above that I exported from Instagram. Not the best quality since you shoot Insta videos vertically and view them horizontally on Youtube. But at least it can show you the crazy night we had.
1 Week to Go!
We still have a few more things we want to do before the end of Frugal February, including taking all of our change into the bank in exchange for cash. However, some banks don’t even take change anymore. What’s up with that?! We even have some foreign currency to exchange, because every little bit counts!
I’d love to hear your own Frugal February Update! Let us know in the comments below how the month is going in your household.
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.