Well, time continues to march forever forward and the month of love (vomit) is upon us. February is a usually a pretty chill month for me, finance-wise, but I'm still feeling the pinch of Christmas (and will likely continue to feel it until Labour Day) so I've decided to make a firm effort to spend time with my first love: money. I've already bought The Boy his (unromantic but secretly awesome) Valentine's Day gifts, and I've asked that he take me out to dinner instead of buying me anything. Because, much like J-Lo, my love don't cost a thing (but an onion ring). No, really. That was the full title of the song. Check if you want, I'll wait.
See? It's all about the fried foods.
Anyway, I'm going to try and embrace the concept of Frugal February. Mostly because of my second love, alliteration. I'm not foolish or brave enough to make sweeping life changes but there are definitely some areas of improvement I can work on. My goals are:
Holy crap. I added up January's cab purchases and I spent $58 in credit/debit *alone* on cabs. Add in my cash fares and it's probably twice that, with me taking a taxi 2-3 times a week. Bus and walking combined, my morning commute is about 25 minutes. Which means cabs are mostly unnecessary but also cheap enough that I don't notice them adding up. In a month as inconstant, temperature-wise as February I doubt I can say "no cabs at all!" but I'm going to limit myself to 3 cabs this month, cutting my taxis by more than half. If I just got out of my bed 15 minutes earlier most days, I'd be able to avoid almost all my early-morning taxis. That's a mighty big "if", though. An "if" the size of a queen bed + comfy pillows.
I order 'em, I open 'em, I forget about 'em, and then I make The Boy race around the grocery store with me on December 31st, convincing him we need 2 dozen eggs and a family-pack of Cheesestrings because "OhMyGodThey'reOnSale!!" Enough, I say. I want to use the coupons I have instead of continually ordering more. I'm not an extreme couponer at all - in fact I feel kind of guilty whenever I hold up the line with a few coupons. That being said, a dolla might not make me holla, but I'd do plenty for a twenty, y'know? I vow to use at least 6 coupons out of my stash when shopping.
3. Pretty frock purchases
Oh, this one is going to sting. I don't even add up how much I spend on clothes in a given month because I know it would make me cringe. And cringing causes unsightly wrinkles, and then I can't trap me a man, natch. My sister and I are total enablers when it comes to this but I'm going to try to "shop my closet" and *gasp* not make any new purchases this month. I don't even know if I can do this. I'm getting heart palpitations just thinking about it.
4. Eating Out
No! Wait! I changed my mind! *This* is the one that's going to be the hardest. Remember those halcyon days of yore when we looked at my taxi purchases and scoffed at the measly sum of $58 on cabs? Multiply that by 5 and you have what I spent on take out/eating out/drinks this month. And I should point out, I handle the lion's share of the grocery bills so that The Boy handles most of the restaurant/take in bills. Which means we ate out or took in about 12 times this month. Not including The Boy's weekly sushi lunches or Subway excursions or my paid-in-cash coffee and sandwich with my sister, or the tri-weekly trip to the office cafeteria to enjoy an "Early Riser" (read: Egg McMuffin without all the press). It's kind of insane, yo.
Eating out is basically one of my only vices and I don't want to get rid of it entirely (scroll back up and see what I asked for for Valentine's Day) but even that seems excessive for me. I'm going to cut that number in half. 6 take outs/restaurant visits this month. Which still seems like a lot but y'know what? We're two young and happenin' kids, unburdened by the costs of children or pets, making okay money - we're going to treat ourselves. However, menu-planning, lame though it may be, is going to have to become our friend. I forsee a lot of Manwich in our futures. No worries there.
5. No "Lazy" Fines
This is probably my habit that most annoys me, and it manifests itself in many ways. For example, I'll have a book from the library. I'll mark down the due date in my calendar. I'll finish the book. Then I'll get too lazy to bother bringing it back, incurring a daily fee as the days stretch into weeks. Or, I'll bypass taking out money from the bank I belong to because it's "too far away", then I'll take out money from a competitor's machine and swallow the 1.50 fine. When I learned they don't shut your water off right away just because you are late on a payment, I started paying that bill when I remembered it. Which is usually half-past too late. I want to try and go a month without late fees, overdraft fees, financial penalties and all and sundry money grabbers that only happen because I'm too damn lazy to check that due date, confirm that bank balance or make that extra walk to save a few bucks. I assume I'll eventually lose the use of my legs due to rapid weight gain or a loss of bone mass due to inertia, so I might as well use this body while I got it.
So that's it, that's the plan. I'll be checking in periodically to tell you how I'm doin'. But if you hear tears coming from my neck of the woods do send a polka-dot dress, size large, and an order of saag paneer, would you? Thanks. You're a peach.