Yep, it’s that time of the challenge – time for another implementation of the 2×2 plan. Remember this is the continual heart and soul of making impactful financial changes each month for life that makes it painless, incremental steps towards positive progress.
Remember, we are not in the game of quick fixes for finances (remember how we shared our crash-diet mentality crashed our budget or the financial controversy over a crash-diet approach vs a healthy diet for long-lasting change) but instead, we work towards lifelong changes and create new lifestyles step-by-step. Making changes for life and making changes slowly helps to ensure that you will stick with it!
Well, back to the task for this week. It is time to make those 2% changes in your budget! Both a 2% spending decrease from the previous month and a 2% income increase from the previous month. Again, look below in this post for what we mean regarding the increase in income – we don’t mean raises at work but rather extra income over and above your normal income sources. And remember that this is supposed to be a fun monthly challenge that makes each and every month a new learning experience, character building for the whole family and a lot of fun to boot!
Well, here’s your official charge for the week – push forward and push on through:
This Week’s Challenge – Implement This Month’s 2% Spending Cut and 2% Income Increase
As a reminder about the 2×2 plan…you will want to read this article:
- It’s Here! Our Secret 2×2 Formula We Used To Pay Off $1ooK of Consumer Debt (there are additional links within the article about why other approaches did not work for us for those lifelong financial changes)
Each month, we make a little game out of finding ways to cut our budget a little more and it is just a matter of putting your thinking caps on and getting creative. For us, we’ve been doing this for several years – some months with success and others, we are just at the rock bottom budget point and don’t have anything to push lower. When you get to that point – that’s GREAT! That is one of the goals…slowly get to your rock bottom budget. Also, so you don’t rock the boat so dramatically is swift, extreme budget cuts in the beginning, only to get back on the spending and debt wagon as you can’t handle those changes so fast. But even though we have theoretically been at our rock bottom budget for years, many months out of the year, we find additional ways to drop the budget a little more!
Even this month, for us, we have discovered a new way to refine and drop our grocery budget even more. We didn’t think this would be possible. But we are now living a whole foods, real food lifestyle and some of the items we were buying increased our grocery budget by a bit over the past several months. Well, our Sam’s Club around the corner recently went through a remodel to fashion themselves as a bigger competitor to Costco, including a brand new organic, whole foods section. We’ve been able to purchase many of the items we were buying at the local supermarket at Sam’s Club now and it automatically gave us close to a 2% budget cut! I am so happy about this change. It all started with that nearly free Sam’s Club membership on top of that.
As far as an income increase for us this week, I was able to find an online writing job that is a regular gig that will pay me $100 per month! For us, this is well over a 2% income increase, which is even more awesome. But not all months are that easy. 🙂
So, now get your running shoes on and make your 2% cuts and increases this month!
As a tip: We do keep mentioning this because it is a BIG category: continue to work through the long list of ways to save on the grocery and eating out budget. There are several items on a list that you can utilize to drop each month for many months. That list is found HERE.
And remember, once you feel like you have exhausted your grocery budget and eating out budget, it’s time to move to other areas! Services, fees, other payments on things you are not using, etc. Are there areas in which you could cut back and make a sacrifice? Other things you are spending money on. Conveniences, clubs, groups memberships, etc.
Step #2 this week is to also find ways to bring in extra income. These are generally in the form of extra jobs, side jobs, etc. Again, we have shared the articles on this and instead of restating the steps and ideas here, just see the previous articles as well as the Money Making Ideas section of our site and the Over 130 Ways To Earn Extra Income Ideas list.
Here’s the previous articles on the 2% increase:
- Brainstorming extra income ideas
- Turn your ideas into real money
- How to increase income by 2% each month
For those that are just now reading this and don’t know what we are talking about…
We recommend that you read up on a few articles regarding the 2×2 plan. This is a life-changing, incremental financial plan and one that helped us get out of $100k of consumer debt and one that has helped countless others to get to a better financial place. Start with this article talking about the 2% decrease that also contains additional links for even more details on the plan.
We also recommend that you start our financial challenge from the beginning if you want to really see some big changes with small weekly steps for the next 52-weeks! You can read about how to join us in the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge from the beginning.
Resources Needed for This Week’s Challenge (Reviewed from Previously)
You will need to find and gather the following resources to help you complete part of the challenge this week:
- Budget Sheets from Week #3
- 12-Month Monthly Summary Budget Planner from Week #7
- Thinking Cap
How to Figure 2% Decrease and 2% Increase
Just revisit and recalculate for this month, just like previous months.
As review, we are going to use our sample calculations based on the sample budget sheets from Week #3. Referring back to these sheets – there were 3 kinds: Bills, living expenses and debts. Exclude the debts form at this point. Add up your Bills and Living Expenses Monthly total.
In our samples, we have $1265 in living expenses and $1825 in bills. This is a total of $3,090. Then you will calculate what 2% of this is by taking 3,090 x .02 = $61.80. This is showing the same example as last month, but theoretically, there may be less living expenses or bills this month after last month’s 2% cut.
But in any regard, $61.80 is our target spending decrease goal for this month using these examples! Write this on this month’s Budget Summary Printables from week #7 (again only on the current month as you are going to recalculate this goal number each month).
Then follow the same steps by evaluating your income by referring to page #1 of the 12-Month Monthly Summary Budget Planner from Week #7. Then fill-in your 2% increase.
So now that you know your target goal, evaluate where you can make these changes this month.
BTW – we haven’t made it a continual challenge, but be sure that you are filling-out your 12-Month Monthly Summary Budget Planner from Week #7 each month. Just coordinate with the week you prepare to make your 2% decrease and 2% increase. Just start the habit. 🙂
Stay motivated, stay focused and stay encouraged! Big things are happening! You will be so thankful for these small steps that you are taking!
Have fun this week!
Need to catch up? Come join us on this challenge from the very beginning by clicking on the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge and sign up to start receiving your automated challenge from the very beginning!
One final thing…we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!
Disclaimer: We are not licensed financial planners. We are only a couple that have been just a hair-breadth away from bankruptcy and found our way out of debt with a goal to now help others. Please make sure to consider any advice given on our site and in this challenge as tips we have used ourselves; they may not work for everyone. If you have questions please make sure to contact a licensed professional.