For the 5th year in a row, I have done my annual Frugal February challenge. A fun financial challenge where I put my frugalness to the test and see what additional adjustments I can action to free up more cashflow. Any money I save will be transferred into The $1000 Project Account, so those savings don’t go to waste!
Before beginning this challenge in 2021, I invested time in fine tuning my attitude. I wanted to start Frugal February with a fresh and motivated mindset. With an invigorated spirit, I was open to learning more, growing more and of course, saving more!
These are the 3 most important lessons I discovered from 2021’s Frugal February:
1. Compromise is okay – it’s doesn’t have to be a zero sum gain, where you sacrifice all joy to save money! It is healthy to meet yourself half way in order to have balance and kindness in your life. There were days where I took my lunch to work, but would also buy myself a cheeky muffin as a small reward. Whilst I still spent money, I was ahead financially, because I was saving on the larger expenses (my actual lunch) and only splurging on a snack.
2. Creativity – I used to think you had to organise your life with military precision to be frugal. And whilst that is partly true, being creative can open some inspiring frugal doors. For days where I wasn’t as organised, I turned my scrambled egg breakfast into a delicious salad and wrap for lunch. I also combined random left overs that turned out to be surprisingly filling & tasty! It doesn’t have to be perfect or a traditional lunch set, it just has to keep you full and filled with the right nutritional value.
I was also creative with my kid’s toys! I froze their toys and flowers from the garden; creating ‘frozen’ figurines for them to play with (it worked a treat)! I found old toys they had grown out of, but nevertheless loved reconnecting with. Including my kids in cooking meals was also a delight, because they find everything fascinating!
3. Little Luxuries go a long way – previously Frugal February depressed me. I know that sounds dramatic, but this is why I invested time adjusting my mindset before beginning this challenge. In the past, I have found this month to be restrictive, boring and frustrating. This year round, I allowed little luxuries within my frugal budget and the return on their investment made a significantly positive impact! For example, I replaced going out for breakfast with buying fresh croissants from my local bakery. I heated them in my oven, added strawberry jam and enjoyed them at home with my kids. I drank home-made coffee, cosily tucked up in bed. These were not superficial luxuries, but luxuries that filled my heart on a deeper level, leaving me far more fulfilled.
Frugal February ends this Sunday and whilst I will fall short of my $1000 goal, I am proud of how far I have come, financially and personally. I will share the total savings on my Instagram account and will also share how to get on board with my other annual challenge, Manifesting March! This is where the real magic happens and extra money is generated from side hustles!
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is a Channel 9 Financial Commentator, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.