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! :))