What a great few weeks we’ve have had on the 52-Week Take Back Your Finances Challenge. We have focused on a unique aspect of saving on the grocery budget – it’s not been the shopping side as we have already dealt with much of that, but it’s one the actual kitchen side: How to save even more on your groceries after you have purchased them and as you find ways to use them!
Well, now it the time of the month to begin to find ways to cut another 2% this month and find ways to increase income by an extra 2% to give you an additional 4% in your budget to work with again.
We actually just went through this again last night and found another $20 that we could drop from our budget. Even though we have been using this method for a few years, we have reached our rock bottom budget. But life happens, things change, budgets change and so we like to re-evaluate often to see if we can still make improvements and this month was one of those months for us!
Alex has also found an additional way to bring in some extra income this week that will hopefully produce 2% more and just continue to grow. We have been doing this process for 11+ years now and we are always learning something new, finding something new and improving little by little.
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)
Again, this is where the regular, incremental changes take place that are going to make for a rock-solid financial situation. The tasks on the “in between” weeks that we recommend are going to have some amazing impacts on your finances, but it is this habit that will keep you going on and on and on…
As a reminder since the first time we talked about decreasing spending by 2%, you will eventually hit your rock bottom budget. You will know when you get there. However, you can also reevaluate your spending each month after you hit it to be sure and monitor. We follow this process today. Most months, we don’t have anything else to drop, but every several months, we find ways that we could cut back and do! However, for most of you, as this is only the third month, most households have many more months of dropping 2% monthly spending before reaching their rock-bottom budget.
We also want to direct you to the grocery and eating out budget. We know that this is just the fourth month in this challenge that we are encouraging you to drop your budget, so you still may in fact have some wiggle room in your grocery, eating out and household products budget. This is one of the bigger areas of household budgets that have the most wiggle room for most. It’s a big topic, and just like previous months, continue to work through the long list of ways to save. That list is found HERE.
Once you reach your rock-bottom grocery 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? We’ve shared tips in the past month’s 2% decrease ideas, but this month, look to those bills that provide a service/membership and decide if you are really utilizing the service/membership and whether or not you could cut that service out of your monthly spending.
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
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!
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.