This is Episode #112 from The Money Mindset Podcast. Below is the edited transcript for easier reading.
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What if you could save hundreds of dollars a month without doing anything crazy or drastic or extremely frugal?
You know, I’m not all about that frugal life. I do not have time for clipping a million coupons and things like that. Would you be interested?
Would you do some simple things each month to really help change it up, keep yourself motivated and saving all year long? Well, in today’s episode, that’s what we’re gonna dive into.
Now, let’s get started. Welcome to the Money Mindset Podcast. Well, you’ll find a judgment free zone to help you free yourself from overthinking and the fear of doing things the wrong way. It’s time to shed yourself of the mom, guilt, procrastination, and perfectionism so you can start doing the things that you really want to do with your money instead of just working to pay bills.
I’m Ashley Patrick, ex-detective turn debt-free CEO of my very own business and stay-at-home mom of three. Not too long ago, my dreams of staying at home with my kids seemed impossible. I thought I’d have to stay miserable in a high stress and demanding job just so I could retire someday. After gaining the confidence in my own ability to manage my family’s finances and a simple step-by-step plan to make it happen.
I was able to pay off $45,000 in just 17 months, which then allowed me to finally quit my job, stay at home with my kids, and build a debt-free business. Now, my mission is to help moms like you conquer debt and free themselves from the mental load of handling their family’s finances. If you’re ready to shed the guilt and shame surrounding your past money mistakes and tackle your debt, this is the place for you. Let’s get started.
Let’s do this because 2023 is going to be your year and it starts with making some simple, easy to do changes, which includes money saving challenges.
So let’s dive into some things that you can do in 2023 to help you save some money.
No Spend Challenge
Now, one of the best ways I have found and and really the easiest one to do is just to do a no spend challenge because it is whatever you want it to be, you can make up the rules, you get to decide what that means for you.
It doesn’t mean that you don’t spend a dime for anything all month long.
It could be on the weekends. You don’t go out and spend any money on entertainment and fast food or restaurants, things like that. It could be a two week challenge where you don’t spend anything.
Now you have to do a little bit of prep work ahead of time to make sure you have all the food and necessities that you need. So there is a little bit more work on the front end for that one. And you could do a whole month.
But if you’re new to this, I would not recommend an entire month as your first challenge because I want you to be successful and if you shoot for the stars and land on the moon, it’s still a success, but it doesn’t feel that way cuz that’s not where you’re running to go, right? So we gotta set realistic expectations for yourself so that it is motivating.
So you wanna do it again, right? But if you just set your expectations too high and you wanna not spend anything for an entire month and that’s not realistic and you end up having to spend some money, then you feel like you failed and what was the point, right?
So make it something that is doable for you. So it could be no going out for breakfast before work for an entire week.
It could be no spending on Amazon for an entire week.
It could be deleting those shopping apps like Walmart and Amazon and Chewy and all the, the Target app and all the apps that cause you to spend money, delete them from your phone for an entire month.
And then, you know, and you don’t have to do all of these things, right?
We’re talking about one thing. I want you to focus on one challenge at a time, which is what that is why you can have a different challenge each month because I want you to change it up to keep it fresh and new and give you that little extra boost to motivate you to do it.
So, remember no spend challenges are whatever you want it to be for as long as you want it to be.
It’s basically focusing on what you’re overspending on and what you’re struggling with and trying to improve that in small doses.
And you’re probably addicted to shopping online. You’re addicted to opening up your Amazon app and just ordering something and having it be there in a couple days. That’s why addiction’s so hard to give up.
I had to do a challenge similar to this in an addiction class that I took in college because I wanted to be an addictions counselor and I had to give up something that I really liked. The thing I chose to give up was Dr. Pepper.
And let me tell you, it was so freaking hard and once that challenge was over, I’m back to drinking it again. So I need to do it again. I need to do my own Dr. Pepper challenge. But it gives you an idea of how your brain works and why it’s so hard to give up things that you’re addicted to.
📌 Make it as long as you want it to be, make it for what you need help with and help to reset.
And maybe you start with two days or three days and then you do five days and then you do seven days, then you do 10 days.
We want it to be achievable and realistic so you can keep that motivation going.
Like it doesn’t need to be, oh I’m not buying on Amazon for six months. That is probably not realistic or achievable for you.
That’s why I love just a general no spend challenge.
Pantry and Freezer Challenge
Now another challenge that you can do that will save you a toll of money is to meal plan.
Do a pantry or a freezer challenge. And this you can kind of change the rules up too for what you want. Now remember I know you people, I know you like rules, you want some guidelines.
So there’s a couple of different ways you could do this.
Your challenge could be to make a meal plan for at least six days a week for each week of the month.
Then when you go to the grocery store…..
📌 sticking to your shopping list, you’re sticking to the plan, not buying a lot of extras,
📌 using a calculator while you shop so you can know how much you’re spending and that will, that will save you hundreds of dollars
If you are the average family in like my family where you just go and buy a bunch of crap and then you’re like, what the heck do I eat as part of that meal plan and that challenge, look through your pantry and your freezer, see what you already have and use that up.
I’m actually doing that because my freezers are full. And so I am going to go through insert making meals and planning around what I already have and then I will rotate into stocking back up, stocking the meats up.
I like to get, you know, a little extra meat here and there through the month so that I can go ahead and prep it and freeze it for those days that I don’t feel like cooking or I forgot to make something I ran out of time and so I just gotta grab something from the freezer.
You probably have a lot of ingredients in your freezer and in your pantry that you can use up to do this challenge.
I’m not saying use only things that you have in the freezer in the pantry, unless you already have everything which you might, so don’t feel, don’t have that expectation that you can’t still go to the store to grab a few ingredients to make some meals with things that you have in the pantry and freezer.
It will help you tremendously on your spending at the grocery store if you stick to your plans.
I love freezer challenges. I do them a couple times a year to just kinda get things out of the freezer cuz you know, my inside freezer gets freezer burned really quick, but my deep freezer doesn’t. And so I definitely try and use up things and my inside freezer sooner than my deep freezer because it just gets freezer burnt.
And so if you have an issue with your deep freezer, this came up inside Money Success Club the other day. If you’re getting a lot of freezer burnt food in your freezer, it’s probably because you have an old freezer or it’s just a freezer attached to a fridge, not an actual deep freezer.
So if you’re struggling with that, consider getting a deep freezer if you have the money and the space because you can make so many meals and put it in the freezer and then you’re not having to think about what to have for dinner.
You can just throw something in the oven or in the pot or whatever, and you’re not having to do a bunch of meal prep ahead of time. You can put it in the instant pot even. And so I find that very helpful to have extra meals already made in the freezer or prepped in the freezer.
So another challenge that you can do is the $5 challenge.
And this is where every time you get a $5 bill, you save it.
Now this is really only gonna be helpful if you use cash.
If you’re using your debit card or credit card, you’re never gonna get a $5 bill, right? So this works when you are using the cash envelope system and you’re using cash frequently and you get $5 bills.
Sometimes people will even intentionally try and get $5 bills so they can save more. But if you do that through like the whole year or maybe a month, six months, of course the longer you do it and the more cash you use, the more likely the more money you’re gonna most likely save.
Another challenge that I like to do is a $5 a day challenge.
So this will be more helpful if you’re not using cash and that is to just save $5 a day. It’s not a ton of money, but it is a couple hundred dollars at the end of the month. And so $5 a day you could just transfer into a savings account or you could get the cash out and set it aside, you know, outta sight out of mind.
So that is another $5 a day challenge that you could do if you’re not really using cash. So that is, you know, $150 a month if I’m doing the right math off the top of my head. So that’s not bad, right?
You could also do $10 a day, like if you wanna save more than that, you have a goal that you wanna save $300 in a month and do $10 a day and you know, you could kind of make it a game too and like, like, and just get on your app and transfer $10 every day. Like, oh, did I do it yet today? Did I? And you might end up accidentally sending more money to their, to the bank account, right? So that is another challenge and you could do that even for a week to start.
You know, the great thing about money saving challenges is you can make it what you need it to be, what and what you want it to be. And so, you know, if you’re really struggling with saving, just test it out. Do a couple days at a time.
You don’t have to do the entire month at once.
So you’ve got an entire year to kind of think of some different money challenges that you could do each day. A member of Money Success Club was doing a challenge for a week of not eating out for breakfast.
She was struggling with just out of habit, out of routine, going through the drive-through for breakfast before on her way to work. And so she just made a goal for that week to not do it at all and she did it.
So it doesn’t have to be anything big, but you know, you’re talking seven or $8 a day times five, like that adds up at the end of the month. Like that’s over a hundred dollars a month on breakfast.
It may not feel like much each day. So you gotta really think about where you can take small actions that still add up at the end of the month.
So those are just some of my favorite challenges. I know eating out is a big struggle for most of us. And so could you just not eat out for lunch for two weeks, like a whole paycheck or a week? Now if you’re going out every day, it might be a little hard for you to do the entire month at once, right?
So maybe start out with a week, maybe even just four days a week instead of five and just have your one day week where you go out with your friends or coworkers. That’s what my husband does now. He goes out on Thursdays where he used to go every day, so that’s saving a lot of money. It’s healthier and he still gets that time to go out to lunch without feeling like he’s, you know, suffocating or sacrificing so much and being at the office too much, right?
So thinking about what you’re struggling with that is really kind of a habit going through the drive through even for dinner. Like what could you do and challenge yourself to not do, to save somebody this month?
Maybe you’re gonna make dinner at home five days a week. It doesn’t have to be every day. That’s the great thing. It doesn’t have to be like this big impossible task that you feel like, oh, I’m never gonna be able to do that. So why try?
💜 Start small, save big.