Stealthy Wealth has challenged us all to a Frugal February month. I like the idea of challenging ourselves on a daily basis to be less wasteful, more frugal and more resourceful with what we have. This allows us to save as much money as we can along the way – to invest or to pay down debt or to save towards a big ticket item – so I’m definitely going to be taking part!
And here is how I plan on being more frugal, less wasteful and more resourceful with what we have this Frugal February month, and beyond.
Make a broth from veggie scraps
I’ve always wanted to try this! I often make chicken broth for us with ‘whole’ ingredients (onions, celery, carrots, etc.) and roast chicken bones but because we have a compost heap I’ve got so used to adding all our veggie scraps to the compost bin that I hardly think twice of using the veggie scraps for any other purpose! However, as the broth is going to be strained once cooked anyway I can then add the veggie scraps (which have pretty much just been boiled with no oil) and in this way, we can benefit doubly from the veggie scraps. I’ve found some nice ideas on how to use veggie scraps to make a broth here and here.
While this may not be a ‘money saver’ as such it will still make the money we’ve spent buying those veggies in the first place, go even further for us! I regularly make chicken broth for us as it’s so healthy and so delicious. We often have it as is (perfect for those cold winter evenings!) and I also often use it in cooking. It’s a much better and much tastier alternative to any stock cube you can buy in the shops, I promise!
Buy a R100.00/R200.00 food coupon from Checkers or Shoprite each month
This is a new concept that has come up in conversations quite often lately, both online and in real life. By investing R100.00 or R200.00 to buy a food coupon for the same value at either Checkers or Shoprite each month, paying for this coupon out of your monthly grocery budget, then you can save up the coupons to use at the end of the year towards your monthly grocery shop in December. This would mean a ‘savings’ of at least R1,200.00, or R2,400.00, because that’s money that won’t be coming out of your December salary!
I like this idea. A lot! It means that I would ‘free up’ extra money in my December budget which I can use to save or to invest in any way I want. I think it’s also going to take discipline reducing our food budget by R100.00 or R200.00 each month (I don’t want to go over budget because that would defeat the purpose of this exercise!) but I think it’s worth a try! I’m going to buy my first coupons when I do my month-end shopping next which will be end of February.
No more plastic shopping bags for me! Ever!
When I do my month-end shopping, I sometimes forget my shopping bags in the car. Guilty as charged, despite my best efforts! I only remember that I’ve forgotten them when I’m actually at the till and by that time, I must admit, I’m a tad bit lazy to go fetch them. Plastic shopping bags are not only a scourge on our environment, and even lethal to wildlife, but they also cost money. If you pay for, say 20 plastic shopping bags per month, at roughly 55c per bag (some shops charge you even more!) that works out to R11.00 per month or R132.00 per year. While this may not seem like a huge saving that’s still money totally wasted! Well, not any more.
This is going to be my personal challenge not only for the month of February, but beyond: to buy a R15.00 food coupon from Checkers or Shoprite instead of paying for plastic shopping bags each month! This will give me an extra R180.00 that I’ve ‘saved’ and can then use at the end of the year towards our monthly grocery shop in December. I must actually remember to take our shopping bags before walking into the shop though, all the time and not just sometimes, and if I do forget, actually go back and fetch them, it will only take a couple of minutes of my time!
We won’t be renewing our satellite TV subscription
On our debt-free journey, dropping our satellite TV subscription was one of the first things we did to cut costs and find extra money to throw at our debt. As you can imagine, it’s been a while since we’ve had to pay for satellite TV subscription. We have, as of lately, been discussing renewing our subscription but we’ve decided against it, after all. We realised that we don’t really miss having it that much and so we won’t be renewing our satellite TV subscription.
This currently saves us at least R8,000.00 per year (or probably a bit more – prices must have gone up over the last couple of years!) and I think we will continue to save that much! We often borrow DVDs from friends and sometimes, if we feel like watching a TV series, we can actually rent an entire season for the weekend for about R30.00. This is enough for us. I honestly don’t think that we’re depriving ourselves of anything really by not renewing our satellite TV subscription. We have more time to devote to our hobbies, our families, our pets and ultimately each other because we’re not glued to the goggle box every spare minute of our time!
We will start saving for Christmas expenses in February
Saving a small amount of money each month – from February onwards – for our Christmas expenses (mostly presents) has worked really well for us in the past! Last year, for example, we finished all our Christmas shopping before December and our presents were all wrapped and ready to go very early on! Not only did this save us our sanity (who wants to be anywhere near a shopping mall in December?!) but it was also good for our budget.
Because we started saving in February, we could afford to take advantage of really good sales and specials throughout the year. We certainly bought a lot more for a lot less. We will definitely be starting to save for Christmas expenses this February too. You can read more about how we do that here.
We won’t be buying into Valentine’s Day sales
Nope, not us. I don’t believe in buying Valentine’s Day any cutesy little thing, full stop. Besides, January wasn’t even over yet and already, the race was on for Valentine’s Day specials, gifts, discounts, promotions, ads, best gifts for him, for her, etc. at a time when many had only just finished buying Christmas presents for their loved ones! That much pressure has got to be tough on people’s budgets and wallets.
But, celebrating Valentine’s Day really is a matter of personal preference. We will be ‘celebrating’ it too but we just won’t be spending money to do it. There are hundreds upon hundreds of cheap Valentine’s Day dates, gifts, snacks, dinner and craft ideas on the internet so all hope is not lost for the frugal Valentine on a budget!
Save Cents for Charity
Who remembers their very own little piggy bank? I do! I loved my little piggy bank! As adults our savings tend to increase, and so they should, but sometimes I think we all forget just how much that little bit of money saved here and there in that pink piggy bank can make a difference! As children perhaps that meant we could buy more sweets or more ice cream cones or just one more Matchbox car to add to your collection. I’m pretty sure we all tried really hard to save up for those little things that made us happy.
As an adult now, sure, you could save up all those coins throughout the year and deposit the coins into your bank account in December but as much as I love saving I also love giving. When one of my favourite animal welfare charities sent out a post on their Facebook page just the other day inviting their supporters to start saving those 5c and 10c coins in a jar throughout the year and then donating the contents of the jar to them round about Christmas time, I thought what a great idea! So that’s what I’m going to be doing with my coins starting this February. I really think those itsy bitsy coins will add up! Imagine if so many of us did this very same thing, how much more we could give?
Got any cost saving ideas? Share them with the hashtag #FrugalFeb and spread the word! Click To Tweet
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others!
You can also find Frugal in SA