The holidays typically wreck-havoc on bank accounts. Admit it. You cringed when you received the credit card bill in January. I know I did. In years prior, we spent the beginning of the year trying our best to spend wisely. If we were smart we tried to continue the mindful money management throughout the year. January is typically a blur, so it’s no surprise that February is when we kick off money saving strategies. There are a few tips to aid in your journey to a Frugal February.
Thrift Shopping Bounty
While still in the early stages of a new year, February is a great time to take advantage of thrift store shopping. Hundreds of people nationwide benefited from the discounted prices of clothing, jewelry, furniture, and electronics during the holiday season. A survey conducted by LendEDU found that the average cost of Christmas per consumer for 2019 was $668 with 58 percent of that going to gift expenses. I, like most people, don’t want to pile onto the amount of stuff in my home already. So the old and unused items have to go to make room for the shiny new stuff. And with that, like the saying goes; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re renovating your garage to a man cave, stop by the thrift store. If you’re building your first she-shed, stop by the thrift store. If you’re looking for some new-to-you pieces to add to your wardrobe, stop by the thrift store. Now is a great time to find the newest and best of the recycled merchandise without putting a huge dent in your wallet.
Be a Free-ish Event Connoisseur
It is hard to mesh having a social life and being frugal. You know, just as well as I do, that stepping foot into any bar, restaurant, or movie theatre puts you at risk of spending too much money. Budgeting prior to heading out on the town can be helpful. But more often than not, you end up overspending at some point. Overspending is easy in many social situations. For instance, you may forget to factor in paying for parking before going out on the town. You may also forget to factor in the birthday shot (or two) of tequila at dinner for your friend, while celebrating their birthday. Don’t allow your fear of blowing your budget cause you to miss out on hanging out with friends. Turn to local sources to help you find free events to attend throughout the year. Follow the social networks of your local news stations, newspapers, and city parks associations. From farmer’s markets-to-art walks and food truck events-to-live music, there has to be something going on in your neck of the woods. Most of which will be free or pretty close to free. Sure you can spend money at these events, but there is less pressure to do so.
Re-evaluate Your Expenses
Of course, this tip is probably something you should have done before the first day of the New Year. You probably could’ve put it off until mid-January even. However, if you haven’t taken the time to re-evaluate your finances by February, you should consider doing so. The best way to make frugal decisions is by knowing exactly where your finances stand. According to Rachel Cruze, author of 15 Practical Budgeting Tips, “A budget doesn’t limit your freedom, it gives you freedom! It’s really all about being intentional with where your money goes.”
“A budget doesn’t limit your freedom, it gives you freedom! It’s really all about being intentional with where your money goes.”Rachel Cruze
How will you know if switching to a different coffee shop is truly saving you money if you don’t know how much you’re spending on coffee day-to-day? How will you know if it’s worth switching to a different internet provider if you don’t know how much you’re paying currently. You need to know when you can afford to splurge and when you need to practice more financial discretion.
Frugal February can usher in an awesome financial mindset for the year. Consider thrift store shopping if you need to make changes to your home decor or update your closet. Connect on social media to find out about free events going on in your community. Don’t forget to sit down and re-evaluate your finances. Knowing where you stand can give you much needed peace of mind. Following one or all of these tips can make a difference in your spending. Call it stingy, or penny-pinching, or maybe thrifty. You can call it many things. Whatever you choose to call it, there is no denying that being focused on your finances is important.