It’s March 1, and I declare it Mindful March.
We made one big financial goal for 2019 and are striving and working hard to make progress. We started the year with a great January and made some progress with our goal, so to continue the momentum, I wanted to double down on our financial goal and be very mindful with our finances.
Our goal for 2019 is NOT to feel deprived,
but rather find creative ways to get through the year without unnecessary spending.
The goal is to be extremely intentional with our money,
so we can put more towards our financial goals.
5 Action Steps for a Mindful March:
1 – Write a budget/spending plan for March.
In order to succeed with your money, you must spend time on your money–and that means writing a plan for your spending. I’m a big fan of Zero Based Budgeting. If you’re new to writing a budget, read: How to Start a Budget (and be successful at it!)
If you need encouragement and guidance with your budget, join my private Facebook group: Family Budgeters Unite! This group is dedicated to helping you succeed with your money. (Note, you will be asked to answer 3 simple questions when you join. This is to keep out any trolls and help to keep the group a safe and encouraging place. Requests that have not answered the questions are deleted.)
2 – Track your cashflow.
Do you know how much money is flowing in and out of your bank accounts? Review our spending daily to understand where your dollars are going. You might find some interesting habits.
One way to track your spending is to log all of your purchases, bills, atm withdrawals, and any outgoing spending on notebook paper at the end of each day. Assign a budget category to each transaction, so you can add up what you spend on food, fuel, clothing, self-care, etc.
For a list of budget categories, read: How to Start a Budget.
3 – Choose one budget category to be mindful of.
Review your actual spending for January and February and choose one category to really focus on in March. Are you dining out a bit too much? Do you walk into Target for just one thing and come out with a big bag of stuff? Do you buy groceries, but have nothing to eat? Are you buying too many clothes with an already packed closet? Or maybe you want to focus on reducing your utilities, such as electric or water.
Pick just one budget category to really focus on in March and see how much you can reduce the spending.
In my case, I will continue to focus on groceries. My growing teen and tween gobble everything up as soon as I walk in the door with grocery bags. I want to find some snack ideas for active and growing athletes. Also, all 4 of us are getting bored with the meals I’ve been preparing. To save time, I rotate from a list of recipes that can be prepared quickly, but it’s time to mix it up and find some new ideas. How can I reduce our spending without sacrificing the quality of our meals? This will be my mindful category in March.
4 – Start Planning for Spring/Summer Clothing
My oldest daughter has grown 5 inches in the last year. I’m pretty confident that her warm weather clothing that I packed away last fall will be handed down to her sister.
March is a crazy month with weather in central PA. There’s always a possibility for a final snow storm or we could have 70 degree sunny days. I will start preparing for the winter to spring wardrobe transition by spending the month going through our warm weather clothing bins and taking an inventory of needs, so I can take advantage of sales and thrift store finds.
5 – Find Extra Cash
What can you do this month to increase your cash coming IN? Read my post, 31 Days to Find $1000, for ideas. How much cash can you find? Set a goal for yourself for March.
How did we do in Frugal February?
I made 8 action steps for the February:
- Write a budget/spending plan for February. DONE! I write a budget every single month and review and update it weekly. For my strategy and spreadsheets, check out my Family Budget Spreadsheets.
- Track our cashflow. I have been testing You Need a Budget (YNAB) since November. It has taking me awhile to get the hang of the software. There is a free 30 day trial period, but I felt like I needed more time to master it, so I bought a year plan in January. It is changing my mindset with budgeting. I’ll write a review of YNAB eventually when I feel like I have a firm grasp of it.
- Cook/eat from the pantry/freezer. I have used up quite a bit from the freezer, but not to the extent that I reduced our grocery bill. I didn’t over-spend though, but I didn’t reduce our spending either. The key is to plan-plan-plan.
- Use up products from the bathroom and cleaning closet before buying more. I have so many bottles and tubes of beauty products and it will take me a long time to use everything up, so I will continue this challenge.
- Plan ahead. The goal of this step was to avoid trips through the drive through for drinks and snacks when I’m out and about with my kids. Before we leave the house, I tell my kids to grab their water bottles. It’s amazing how they are dying of thirst right about the time we pass a Chick-fil-a.
- Have a frugal Valentine’s Day. DONE! We bought sweet cards for each other and my husband bought me flowers from the grocery store. I made a nice dinner that we all ate in shifts, because V-Day was on a Thursday night, so my husband and I were chauffeuring kids to their activities. So much romance at my house…lol!
- Look for free entertainment. I had plans for us to go to an outdoor IceFest, however, some cold/bug hit my house and we spent much of February lounging on the couch watching Netflix.
- Find Cash. I received a $40 check from Ebates that I put into our Christmas Savings Club. I returned about $30 worth of stuff I bought in January that I decided I didn’t need.
How did you do in Frugal February? Did you make some progress with your financial goals?
Share in the comments.