What the heck is Frugal February?
We’re now well and truly into 2017, the post Christmas and New Year hangovers are clearing and day to day life is returning to whatever passes for normal around here. It’s right about now that I usually look at the December bank balance, suck air in through my teeth in my best dodgy mechanic impression, and decide that it’s time to tighten the financial belt a little.
It is with this slightly gloomy state of mind that I’ve decided that this year I will be participating in Frugal February. The goal? To find as many ways as I can to reduce outgoings and increase income during the month of February (and hopefully beyond). All through February I will be sharing my efforts to tighten the budget and put extra bread on the table, before announcing at the end of the month exactly how well I did and whether, in my view, it was worth the effort.
Tightening the purse strings…
You may be wondering how exactly I intend to save money. Well, I have a few ideas. The first thing I’m going to do is wave goodbye to my old reliable Hyundai. He has served me well and never let me down, but I haven’t driven him more than a handful of times since becoming pregnant and he makes an awfully expensive lawn ornament.
By going down to a one car family we should save around £500 a year in tax and insurance, plus whatever I would have spent on maintenance and petrol. Most of this I won’t see in February but this isn’t just about short term wins.
Comparing bills is also a very effective way to save money. I only recently changed all the utilities when we moved late last year, but there are still one or two which I think could be reduced. It would also help if lights and TVs weren’t being left on at all times of the day and night so we’re making a concerted effort to turn things off when we leave the room.
Another area where I can make a big difference is the food budget. I’m amazed at how much three and a bit people can spend on eating! This is one area where I’m really having to put my foot down. Gone are the drinks at Costa and the weekly visit to McDonald’s. The Tesco home delivery shopping is being reluctantly given up for shopping ourselves at a cheaper store and the brand names are out the window. Instead there will be lots of batch cooking, making leftover pies and pasties, and baking cookies and muffins instead of buying crisps and chocolates. I’m quite looking forward to this last one as I haven’t had the chance to bake since becoming pregnant. With any luck the home made nibbles will be so good that Child and Teen will forgive the lack of junk food.
Fleshing out the wallet…
Tightening the purse strings isn’t the be all and end all of Frugal February. I also want to make a little extra cash to bolster the bank account and the quickest and easiest way to do this is an eBay session. Luckily I seem to have an abundance of stuff to eBay. The largest item by far, that I want rid, of is the second car. Sadly, despite being a reliable little thing, it’s now a teenager and looks a little worse for wear thanks to someone with a tow bar changing their mind at a roundabout! But in addition to the car we have a car seat and ISOFIX base that we don’t use, a selection of brick-a-brack, and heart-breakingly, a few things that Baby has now grown out of, the biggest being her beautiful Moses basket. I remember buying the Moses basket, it was quite early and I was so excited that it was my first big baby purchase. I kept it carefully wrapped all through my pregnancy but brought it out every week or so to look at. When we moved, one of the first things I did was put the basket out ready for Baby and two weeks later she arrived. It’s immensely sad to sell these things but I can’t imagine they will be any good in 20 to 30 years when Baby starts having babies of her own.
The second way I’ve decided to make a little extra cash is to sell a limited amount of web hosting to bloggers and small businesses. Several years ago I decided to learn web development and as part of that I set up my own web hosting platform in order to host my clients websites, in fact this very blog is being hosted by it now! As I didn’t continue on that path I never sold web hosting but as I host quite a few pages for family and friends (including this blog), I decided to keep the web hosting platform.
During Frugal February I’m going to offer a hosting package of 100GB space and unlimited email accounts for £5 per month or £50 for the year. To keep this manageable I will only be hosting 200 accounts at any one time. Shameless plug time: If you would like to know more or sign up feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately I can’t put all of my plans into action during February. One of the big things I intend to do is take inspiration from The Good Life and start our own garden allotment. We have quite a large patch of ground, tucked out of the way where I can grow all the vegetables that we need, not to mention raspberries, blackberries and strawberries! I’m hoping to be able to produce half of our vegetable intake myself and have already got a head start on producing some compost which should be ready to use at the end of this summer.
If you want to join Frugal February but have no idea where to begin head over to Money Saving Expert where you’ll find all manner of information and support.
Will you be taking part in Frugal February? Do you have a top money saving tip?