Frugal February

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Imagine getting our monthly pay every three weeks. Wouldn't that be great?

While not wanting to wish our lives away how many of us who earn a monthly salary have wished that we could be paid every three weeks instead of every four or so? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to meet the monthly bills? Wouldn’t there be so much extra cash available each and every month if we were paid a monthly amount every three weeks?

For many people the task of trying to stretch their monthly pay packet to last the entire month, let alone having any left over for savings or non-necessary items, can be a real struggle. This can be more so toward the end of the year when the financial pressures of Christmas take their toll on your wallet.

That's why a Frugal February can be a really good way to recover from Christmas, kick start the year and get your personal finances back on track.

So what's Frugal February, and why February? The idea behind Frugal February is to try to adopt as many money saving ideas as you can during this month, such as spend-free days, not eating out, etc., and live as cheaply as possible. Try to eliminate all non-essential spending and only spend money on necessities. Why February? Mainly because it's the shortest month and that gives you the best chance of success. Most salary earners get paid the same amount of money each month, irrespective of the number of days actually worked. Of course, you don’t have to wait for February to roll around to try this - you can do this at any stage of the year. But your chances of maximising your pay are greater in February due to the three fewer days and the extra motivation of only having to try this for 28 days is also a boon. Also, 'Frugal February' sounds a lot funkier than 'Frugal September'.

So how can you save money during your Frugal February? Well cutting out things like bought lunches, daily coffees, newspapers etc. will be a big help. Also, no vanity purchases such as clothes, make up, and shoes. Try to drive your car as few times as possible, and cut back on leisure time activities such as going to the cinema, renting movies, or attending sports games. Cut out anything and everything that is a non-essential spend - just for one month. And for those things that you must buy, try to buy them as cheap as possible. Be on the lookout for bargains and discount offers. Go hard for the whole month and you might find that you have a nice sum of money left over by the time your next pay arrives. 4 weeks isn't really such a long time, and you might be surprised at just how much money you can save.

It might all sound a little too simplistic, and it probably is. But Frugal February isn't just about saving a bit of money and living on the cheap. If you do manage to last the whole month with certain activities (such as not smoking or drinking or not buying a morning coffee), you might find that you've actually developed a life-long money habit that will extend long beyond Frugal February. After all, if you can do it for one month you should be able to do it for two months, or three, or twelve. Right?