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Frugal February Challenge – Five Ways to be Frugal in February

You may have heard the term Dry January recently, but have you heard of Frugal February? It’s a similar concept for your spending. If your budget is a little tapped out from the holidays, Frugal February is an opportunity to press reset and get back on track with your spending and budget.

Keep Tabs on your Spending
Approximately 55% of people don’t use a budget, and 56% don’t know how much they spent the previous month, according to a 2021 survey from The Penny Hoarder. The research also found a correlation between not tracking and owing more than $5,000 in credit card debt. Review your credit card, bank or credit union statements and tally up where you’re spending. You may be surprised to see where your money is going! This exercise can help you prioritize what’s important, what can be put on hold, and what you can cut from your spending completely.

Eat Your Pantry (And Freezer)
Each year, 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food are thrown away, with nearly 40% of all the food in the US being wasted. Don’t waste yours! Instead, make it a point to meal plan and use up what’s in your pantry and freezer. This is a great way to reduce spending by using what you have on hand. According to the USDA, nearly 9% of our budgets are spent on food, with about 5% going to eating at home and 4% to eating out. This is particularly important now, with inflation higher than it’s been in years. Food inflation specifically was up 5.3% from October 2020 to October 2021.

Join Your Local Buy Nothing Group
Need a ladder to reach those gutters you’re trying to clean out? Or a crate to train your new pup? It’s Frugal February, so you’re not buying, right? Consider your local Buy Nothing group. These local groups, most of which are Facebook-based, have racked up 4.27 million members as of August 2021. These groups can easily be found by searching Facebook for “Buy Nothing” and your town. These groups are also a great opportunity to get a head start on some spring cleaning.

Use Those Gift Cards
For years, gift cards have been the most requested gift at the holidays. Perhaps, as a result, 51% of adults have unused gift cards, and the average adult has $116 in gift card value. On top of that, nearly three-quarters of people have been sitting on those gift cards for a year or more. Consider Frugal February a great time to break them out, or if you don’t use them right away, plan to spend them sometime soon!

Set Some Goals For 2022
Research shows we’re getting better at achieving our financial resolutions and goals. In 2021, 71% of people stuck with their financial resolutions versus 58% in 2020. Set some goals, and stick to them! Here are some common goals to set: create an emergency fund, pay down debt, select a weekly “no spend day” and save more for retirement.

Since February is the shortest month of the year, it’s the easiest month to limit your spending which will ultimately adjust your spending habits for the future. Set yourself up for success early in 2022, and take a shot at Frugal February!

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