Happy New Year Traveling Wallet Readers!
It is officially 2017 and it’s time to use that new years motivation to tackle exciting tasks.
This month the Roamer clan is participating in the Frugalwood’s Uber Frugal month challenge. When Mrs. Frugalwoods first mentioned it, I was intrigued. But because we are trying our hand at travel hacking. Or credit cards rewards, I wasn’t sure we would be participating. Our 3 month deadline to meet spending is Jan 14. That is 14 days, where we would be more worried about spending rather then saving.
But we ended up reaching the spend requirement (4k in 3 months) just in time. So, since we no longer need to worry about spending, so I figure why not. We can participate in the challenge.
Today I wanted to share with you a few of the 1st steps of the challenge.
Freedom and Travel
If you are new here then maybe you don’t know. Mr. Roamer and I are on a journey.
We plan to save up aggressively to allow us to retire by the age of 40. Why do we want to retire early you ask? Well we want to have more control over our daily lives. Right now working is a necessity and sometimes it straight up sucks. Not because the work suck but just because the timing matters. For example if we want to take a really long trip Mr. Roamer and I don’t feel like we can just go out an do it. We get 2 weeks of vacation, that’s it! It’s just not enough. We use those 2 weeks to visit family in Michigan and Colorado. It’s important but we want to also see other places. New places.
So we are left choosing …are we going to see family and loved ones or are we going to go exploring on an adventure.
Two weeks is not enough time.
But it’s not just about travel. It’s about other stuff too. Stuff as simple as, and I’m sure your going to laugh, but hey sometimes I don’t want it at night 😉 . I get the urge in the afternoon. But guess what? Mr. Roamer is dutifully at his job. Or hey we both have other interest we want to explore but we also have 2 children. There are only so many hrs in the day. So we are left choosing. Do we want to spend this time taking a dance class, cooking class or spending time with our children.
It’s a balancing act. As parents we need to tend to our children but we also need to rejuvenate ourselves to handle the challenges of parenthood. Right now the only time we have to do these 2 tasks is during the time we don’t work.
Saving aggressively means that eventually our time will be all our own. We would have the financial safety net and the time to explore other things and balance our days better.
Having this goal works out well because one of the first tasks of the Uber Frugal month challenge is that you establish goals. Define why you are participating in the challenge. But more importantly what is pushing you to make financial changes.
As you can see we already established our goals and why.
Where is all our money??
Next it’s to track and analyze your monthly spending. We have been doing this for years.
But these last few months our spending has loosened. We realized that our regular monthly spending wasn’t going to get us to the sign up bonus requirements(4k in 3 months). Other then our rent, we spend about 1k a month. To meet the spending limit we pretty much spent an extra thousand that we usually would not have. That was poor timing on our part with opening the card.
We do have months were our expenses are naturally higher without us throwing money around. For example when I attend(ed) FinCon. We easily spent what we needed to between hotel room costs and paying for next years passes. So make a note of that. If you are naturally frugal. Timing for credit card bonuses is very important.
Usually we only share our monthly spending with email subscribers, but since we are doing this challenge, here is last months spending. In all it’s bloated glory.
The worst part. We didn’t track carefully enough and spent $500 more then we needed to. 🙁
|Legoland (Mother in law xmas gift)||349.95|
|Mr.’s New phone||700.92|
|Total spent on CC||2122.92|
As you can see last month was quite expensive. But there are many anomalies so I don’t think it necessarily the best month to use as a benchmark. For example we will not be going to Legoland every month. (Plus it was a gift so actually we didn’t even spend that money, we just charged it to our card to reach our goal.) Then there is the phone. Well that won’t happen again every month either. Something that does happen monthly is eating out but last months was again bloated by our attempts to reach the minimum spend.
While it might sound like I am making excuses. I am just trying to illustrate a more accurate picture. In 2015 we were able to save over 72,000 dollars and last year we did pretty darn good as well ( Check out the next post!). So we have our stuff pretty together.
What am I hoping to get out of the challenge short term?
The area I hope we will get some useful info is in negotiating. To reduce some of our “mandatory” expenses. Insurance and the such.
This challenge is also to help us make sure that last months actions don’t forever alter our spending. Last month’s practices need to be broken. We went out to eat so much. So much that while I knew I didn’t actually want to eat hamburgers everyday, I
was am still seriously craving them daily!!! Along with their sidekick, the french fry.
It’s day 6 of the challenge and so far we are doing well. We already practice a lot of the advice. But I am looking forward to discovering some new life altering info.
Will you join in the challenge? What are you up to this January?
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