During my marriage, I made a lot of bad decisions… I would even go so far as to say MY MARRIAGE WAS A BAD DECISION.
I don’t have many regrets in my life, but marrying young and dumb was the worst offense. And I’ve done many a dumb thing!
Either way, during our marriage, we spent money frivolously and like it was going out of style. At 24 we were making an income large enough to have bought our own home… Instead the only things I have to show for my marriage – was debt. Not a lot, thank goodness because we basically destroyed our credit year in and out.
But still, debt. All in my name because at the time, I had the better credit. These items went into collections during the time when my husband lost job after job, and feeding us was more important than paying it off.
Even then, we still didn’t use money correctly. Looking back now, I could have easily tightened our belts and made everything work with the knowledge I know now. It was both our faults, but together we were lazy and preferred convenience and items over experience.
Cut to now; I’ve paid off all of the collection debt – largely by myself! He was required to pay a portion of one of the debts his name was on, but I wanted to remove those immediately from my credit! So even though he didn’t make the required minimum payments to me, I did it!
I paid $4,000 off in about 6 months. It hurt – but I did it!
Then in January, I started a savings account with my mother to hold me accountable. I didn’t think I could trust myself. I want to save up for my own house! I originally was going to try and save 3.5% of a down payment for a condo in my general area.
But now, I want to push my savings to the limit – I realized last month I spent $1,200 on ENTERTAINMENT/FOOD. WHAT?! I make enough money to comfortably buy what I like, when I like. Even with my current savings program. I could put that extra $1,200 into my savings account for an even larger down payment!
Here’s a cool thing about living with my parents – my mom does all of the grocery shopping. I’m not required to pitch in for food, utilities, etc. I offer, constantly. But they want me to save as much as I can so I can live my best life. And I wasn’t!
So, I started looking up ways to stop my bad spending habits and save more money.
Cue to Frugal Month! The month where I say NO to all extra spending. No more Starbucks (I’m seriously addicted) or junk food after work. No more sodas or Amazon clothes purchases. I told my boyfriend that I was doing this, and we are going on nice long walks and a picnic instead of eating out or hitting the bar for date nights.
It’s only been 5 days, and not having to swipe my debit card every time I go somewhere has actually been…liberating.
I made an exception for my boyfriend’s birthday and Mother’s Day and my new tattoo. (I’ve been saving for it for MONTHS in a separate account). But otherwise, I expect to come out – $300 on top! That’s even with new tires my car desperately needs and all of my other expenses.
I’m not living uber frugally – but I challenged myself to do this because I wanted to make a change – and so far, it’s working! I caught myself this morning saying I could pick up one Starbucks on the way to work and instead I was already grabbing my new black breakfast tea!
Here’s how I prepped myself for this month:
- It seems counter intuitive, but I actually BOUGHT myself a fancy new mug for my to-go coffee. I looked online for days because another thing I wanted to try – was cutting back on my plastic use! I’m trying to make less trash! You can find the cup here! https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077BQCHKN/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I’m in love with it! The color is great, it keeps my ice cold drinks freezing until the last sip! And I’m talking hours in warm weather outside! It’s made it easy for me to make my drink in the morning, cart it to work and enjoy it all day! 🙂 (I am not being paid for this advertisement, I legit love this cup!) Also, after only 5 days of using it – it’s paid for itself as I’m making my tea from home instead of buying it!
- I took a hard look at my finances from the previous month and wrote out all of my necessary bills – even the ones that are automatically paid from my credit card! I cancelled a couple of subscriptions I am not using. It’s minimal savings, but it’ll add up!
- I discussed it with my boyfriend – explained what I was trying to do. Even though we’ve only been dating for a couple of months, we’ve discussed our life plans with each other and he was on board. We changed our expensive date night to morning walks together before work!
- These morning walks have actually worked out two-fold! One: I’m getting free exercise and spending time with my daughter in the morning before I take her to daycare. She loves sitting in her stroller and nomming on some cheerios while we walk. Two: We have to get up early to walk. I start work at 9am, and our walks are long! So we’re up by 6am and hitting the road. I’ve been waking up early even on the days we are NOT walking and this has helped my morning routine. I’ve been early to work when usually I’m scrambling up the stairs.
- I have been making my lunches the night before – or I remind myself what leftovers I can take to work. Usually I’m picky about leftovers, but now I keep in mind – free is free!
- I bought a menstrual cup – part of the whole “Make Less Trash” binge I’m currently on! This will pay itself off in 2 months as I won’t need to buy tampons or pads ever again!
- I looked up things I can do with my daughter that are free and local! There are movie nights at the park in my area and play dates with friends. 🙂
My frugal month looks a LOT DIFFERENT than others. I’ve never been one for extremism, and even though I’m trying to save, I still want to experience what life has to offer!
Comment below and let me know how you’re making a difference in your life!