A few months ago, I wrote about the struggles of becoming newly frugal. Continuing along those lines, I’ve created a list of 4 more important aspects of being frugal as well as a 31-day challenge for July!
Transitioning to an intentional frugal lifestyle can be difficult. Some days it’s fine and other days it’s exhausting. Everyone has bad days and it’s okay to need continued motivation. Here’s a list of obstacles you may struggle with in your continued frugal journey.
Telling Yourself “No”
I don’t know about you, but telling myself no has become an art. After all, we are our own enablers. When you’re used to having “extra” money available to spend impulsively, changing that habit can feel impossible. I’ve seen a variety of ways to curb this habit. Psychology says that the most effective way to get over a negative habit is to replace it with a positive habit.
So what do you replace it with? Here are a few ideas:
- Reading/Listening to Audiobooks
- Walking your dog(s)
- Listening to music/Singing
- Creating a Donation Pile
- Watching Commercial-Free TV
- Connecting with an old Friend
- Reviewing & Updating Your Budget
- Setting Up/Attending a Swap Party
- Learning About a New Topic
- Learning a New Language
- Taking a Drive
- Taking Photos
- One of those Chores you’re been putting off
My personal favorites are cleaning, blogging, listening to music, listening to audiobooks, and spending time with my beautiful pups.
I also highly recommend any activity where you can give back to the community.
Setting Up New Accounts
I had to create a Capital One 360 savings account (affiliate link) to reduce my temptation of spending my savings. Whether you need to do this or you’re following FunFreeOrCheap’s 7 Accounts System, setting up new accounts can be a hassle. Not to mention opening a new checking account can impact your credit score.
If you have multiple savings and checking accounts already, I highly recommend repurposing your current accounts. Or you can just keep your spousal finances separate to reduce the number of accounts needed.
If you’ve never previously put much effort into budgeting, beyond checking your account balance a couple times a week, this will be a bit of a shock to you. Budgeting requires conscious effort to set time out every week to review your budget, update it, and track your spending.
At first, this will feel like it takes forever but the longer you do it, the better you will get and the less time it will take you. Within a few weeks, you’ll be down to around 15 minutes or less a week.
My tip: To make this feel less overwhelming, go over your spending every day. If you look at your finances every day, there’s less to do in one sitting and it can take as little as a minute to update everything.
I check my accounts first thing every day and update my budget as needed. It takes me less than 5 minutes to update everything.
Learning New Skills
One of the most common ways to reduce spending is to learn a new skill. Bonus: you can use learning a skill as a replacement to impulsive spending.
For instance, my husband is incredible at maintaining our cars. Just last week he completed a repair on my car for $400 that would have cost $600+ at an auto shop. (My husband required I include a disclaimer stating “I paid a premium to get them sooner and it would have cost about $200 less if I’d ordered your parts offline. I got name brand aftermarket parts instead of getting the cheapest shit on eBay.”)
The skills I’ve learned make that much of a dramatic impact but I’ve been able to learn several skills to help reduce our budget. For instance, I learned how to make my own lip balm because I’m completed addicted to it. I’ve learned how to make personal care products, such as moisturizers (pictured below), laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bug spray, and stain removers.
Another skill I’ve had to strengthen is my ability to plan meals and cook. This leads to my 31-day challenge.
I’ve been slacking on our food budget lately and need to get it back into shape. Starting today, I will not buy food, excluding groceries, for the next 31 days. I will bring my lunch to work every day and cook myself dinner every night.
I’ve also given myself a reward option for completing this challenge.
If you’d like to join me, tweet me!
[Tweet “I’m joining @furryfinches in the #cookathomechallenge “]