For the next year we are planning on carrying out a financial frugal fast. The idea behind this is to declutter and stop the spending cycle, all whilst enjoying life and not feeling as though we are missing out. Our budget at the moment is fairly tight anyway, Gary is in full time education and although I am working the salary doesn’t leave much at the end of each month – so this is as much about necessity as anything!
Wants v Needs
A lot of our needs are in fact wants, and by doing this hopefully we can save some money along the way. Of course there are necessities, and these will have a strict budget. Although me and my husband Gary can easily cope without buying clothes for a year, Gabriel is growing fast so I will try to make and upcycle where possible and scour charity shops where not. We will be setting a rule to buy second hand whenever we can if we do “need” something.
What are we saving for?
Gary is learning how to drive, and one of the places any savings we make will go is to pay for lessons for him. These are expensive now, at £25 per hour, and although he is also insured on our car I am not the best of teachers and he really needs the professional tutoring. Gary needs to have passed his test before the end of June 2016 so hopefully with lessons and me letting him drive at weekends he can get there fast and the cost won’t be too huge. We also have a small amount on our credit cards and want to have this paid off within the next six months and stop any form of reliance on credit. Then anything extra we plan to save. It is likely next Summer we will need to move again for Gary’s work, so want to have some funds set aside for deposits, removals, and all the other expenses that creep up when you have to move house.
We of course have our basic needs covered – rent, utilities, phone (I need this for work and a mobile with basic top up as we live rurally), childminder fees (which we are lucky to have subsidised by Gary’s college), insurances etc. We do have one “want” as well in the list, a £5.99 a month Netflix subscription. We won’t have live TV or need a TV licence, but we all like to snuggle down and watch a film now and then, and as much as I hate TV Nanny, Gabe does like an episode of Umizoomi while I get dinner prepared – it is an indulgence and the only one we won’t be getting rid of.
We will be allowing ourselves £40 per week for food and household during the fast, and £5 per week for any social or non-need spending. The £5 is more to allow Gabe to carry on with local groups and soft play or similar, on weeks with good weather the hope is to spend nothing at all and enjoy the woods, beach, and many other free local attractions.
I will be detailing our weekly budget, how we spend it, and whether we stick to it, each day. With frugal recipes, ideas on how to mend and make-do, activities for toddlers and young children that are free or cheap, and anything else we find along the way.
The Frugal Fast starts on 01st November 2015 and will end 31st October 2016 – provided we want it to. My hope is that we stop the spending cycle and no longer think of our wants as needs. It will mean no more weekly coffee and cake (unless home made), no new clothing, gifts will be home made crafts, no movies or eating out, no more electro gadgets, etsy or wahm spends, no more new fabrics (will be scouring charity shops for bits if needed), or anything else that crops up along the way.
If we think something is a genuine need we will write it down and if we still “need” it at the end of the month then it will be bought, in the past I’ve found that by the end of the month the need was very much a want so hoping this works well for us again. A hard one will be stopping requests from little one when out shopping, but I do think learning to budget well in childhood will give him some very valuable tools when he grows up.
So here goes! Wish us luck.