Penny Saver at The Saved Quarter who managed to save $6,000 in one year on an income of $18,000 is hosting The Saved Quarter Challenge this year.  I have joined.  My goal will not to be to save a particular amount of money but rather to keep from dipping too far into our savings.

In the vein of full disclosure, our savings account currently has $16,354.  My goal for The Saved Quarter Challenge is not to let my savings dip below $12,000.  You may remember that until August, our budget has a $-1,060 deficit every month.  In the summer, my husband’s income will probably be even more unreliable, leaving us with a bigger deficit.  Here is the plan to avoid relying on savings too much:

1.)  Continue to find ways to cut our basic expenses.  I have set a goal of shaving our grocery budget to $50 a week.  I plan to do this by having pantry challenges, making more foods from scratch and selectively using coupons.  I will also continue to tinker with cutting other areas of our budget.

2.) Write down everything I spend.  To do this, I am using a tool called Pear Budget.  (I will share more about this in a post tonight.)

3.)  Make some homemade Christmas gifts throughout the year.  I am not going to only give homemade Christmas presents next year, but I do intend to make some of them to save on expenses.  Rather than waiting until November to make items (as I have many previous Christmases), I am going to start working on them now.

4.)  Bring in an average of $500 a month to our household budget through freelance writing and advertising across my three blogs.  To help with this, I have put several writing books on my Booking It list.  I put those books early in the year so I can learn how to make money through writing.  (I already do make some, but not nearly enough!)

5.)  Continue to declutter and sell the excess at a garage sale, on eBay and on Craigslist.

6.)  Try to barter for some of our regular expenses such as our rent (see if we can maintain the lawn to get a portion of our rent discounted) and my son’s dance lessons.

7.)  Try to lower some of our montly expenses by asking companies for a lower rate.

That’s my plan.  I would like to leave the savings completely intact, but the lowest we want the savings to go is $12,000.  (Then, once my husband graduates, our next goal will be paying off those pesky student loans, but that is another post and another challenge! :))

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