Wednesday, December 27, 2017

12 Money Saving Monthly Challenges Better Than New Year Resolutions

The new year is only a few days away.  You probably have been spending some time thinking about your new year's resolutions for 2018.  You may even have them already written down, and you can't wait for January 1st to get started.  I was in the same situation until it dawned on me that I never stick to all of my new year's resolutions.  Last year around this time I suggested that you turn your resolutions into goals instead.  The odds are very much against you if you don't.  Well, this year I have an even better idea: 12 money saving monthly challenges!

Every month you'll have an opportunity to start a new challenge.  Now, you don't necessarily have to participate each month.  At the end of each month, prior to the 1st day of the next month, I'll be reminding every one what the next challenge is.  These will have you focusing on just one bad habit at a time, versus trying to do multiple new year's resolutions all at once.  Some challenges will be more difficult than others, depending on how bad your money spending habits are.  I'd do every challenge that will result in the most money savings for me.  Okay, so here are the 12 monthly challenges:

1.  January: No buying any cups of coffee.  If you want coffee, you must brew it at home.  Instead of spending X number of dollars every day at AMPM, 7-11, McDonald's, Starbucks, or your local Java stop, you'll only spend around $0.18 to brew your own coffee at home.  Even if you don't buy coffee daily, you may get the urge here and there to make a coffee stop.  Sorry, you can't do it in January!  Resist the temptation and save.

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2.  February: No eating out.  All of the meals you eat in February must have been cooked at home.  No buying lunch at work, during your lunch hour.  No going out to dinner.  Cook your significant other a great meal for Valentine's Day.  If your family gets upset at you, tell them you're part of a group undertaking a challenge and you can't let others down.

3.  March: No drinking at pubs, bars, or nightclubs.  St. Patrick's Day is in March.  If you celebrate with some green beer at your local pub, in order to meet this challenge, you'll have to make your green beer at home.  Alcohol is overpriced at bars and pubs.  You pay like $4-7 for a glass of beer when you're halfway to a six pack with that same amount when buying at the grocery store.

4.  April: No online purchases.  Buying medication online is the only exception.  If you want to buy something this month, you'll have to drive to get it.  Chances are you'll be too lazy to get in the car and you won't do it.  So resist the temptation to visit Amazon and eBay.  Say "NO" to impulse online purchases!

5.  May: No using your credit card(s).  Oh this one is going to be a real challenge for many of you.  Look, many of you are in serious debt because you can't stop using your credit card(s).  Many of you carry balances that cost you hundreds of dollars in interest each year.  So, for one month you must put away the plastic.

6.  June: No gambling or lottery.  Believe it or not, buying lottery tickets and gambling is in the top ten of money wasting habits.  So this month you're not allowed to get that quick pick at the liquor store, or buy any scratch-offs.  Like frequenting the casino?  Too bad, you're banned for all of June!

7.  July: No buying any new clothing items or shoes.  Sorry, maintaining your wardrobe will have to wait.  No living vicariously through others either, meaning, no shopping for someone else!

8.  August: No underusing your gym subscription.  It'll be the last month of summer and no you may not start to hibernate on your gym visitations.  In August, you'll have to visit your gym one more time per week than you normally do to qualify as having completed this monthly challenge.

9.  September: No spending on your hobby.  I hope I don't need any spare tubes for my bike in September!  I admit I fall victim to email marketing from my favorite cycling shops.  I won't spend a dime on my hobby in September.  And I won't cheat by buying everything I think I need for my bike in August.  You do the same with your hobby!
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10.  October: No buying groceries without a list!  Wasting money on groceries is a top ten money waster for Americans.  That's because we go into grocery store with an idea of what we need, and end up buying more.  These impulse buys kill our finances.  So in October, you may not enter a grocery store without a list of the items you need to buy, AND you must stick to that list!

11.  November: No wasting food.  Another thing Americans are known for is wasting food, especially at home.  Uneaten or expired food is a huge problem in most homes.  For November, you must attack every food item in your fridge and make something with all your leftovers.  This includes that Thanksgiving meal!

12.  December: No buying yourself a tech gadget.  You got Christmas and the end of the year all psychologically pressuring you to upgrade or buy the latest tech gadget.  As cool as it is to get the latest in tech in your hands, the reality is that you probably don't need it.

Alright, here are your 12 money saving monthly challenges. If you want to save the most money, do them all!  Or you can pick and choose.  The first monthly challenge is coming up.  Be sure to go to your grocery store and buy ground or whole bean bags of coffee to brew at home because buying coffee at stores, shops, or restaurants is a no-no in January.  Thanks for reading!

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