Frugal Month – Week 3 recap

Onto week 3 of our frugal month challenge.

What did we spend this week?

Day 15 – $9.99 (online game) + $86.30 (grocery) + $27.00 (gas) + $100 (Martial Arts fee)

Day 16 – $156.60 (gym membership) + $16.40 (Kansas toll fees for multiple months) + $10 (charitable donation)

Day 17 – $163.65 (oil change and vehicle maintenance)

Day 18 – $15.00 (babysitting)

Day 19 – $12.98 (grocery)

Day 20 – $103.93 (wedding gift + card) + $60 (babysitting)

Day 21 – $19.99 (game purchase) + 21.25 (lawn fertilizer)

Week 3 total = $803.09

Running total = $426.58 (week 1) + $551.47 (week 2) + $803.09 = $1781.14

This week is a perfect example of where a lot of small things can really add up. I felt like I was being pretty frugal this week, and yet we had our highest week yet…almost double week 1. Whoa.

This is where Mr. BPR likes to talk about the difference between being frugal and being cheap. We could have saved money on day 20 by either having only one of us attend a friend’s wedding (no babysitting fee) or not buying a gift, but considering most of our friends are now married this isn’t an expense that comes up very often. We’re ok spending money to help a friend celebrate an important milestone. Plus the wedding included a reception with dinner, open bar, and dancing, so we also got a nice date night out of it.

The martial arts fee is a frustrating one. We had signed up our oldest son for Taekwondo last summer  – he initially loved it and was going multiple times a week, but the last few months his interests have switched and we haven’t pushed it. Our mistake was in not cancelling the membership as the interest waned, and we are now stuck paying the fee for 3 months due to the contract stipulations. $300 over the next few months we could have spent on just about anything else. Lesson learned.

The gym membership is certainly a *want*, but one we both love and use a ton. For most of our adult life we’ve lived without a gym membership, but once we had kids it became harder and harder to find time to exercise. This membership not only includes full-use of the facilities, but also covers the “free” drop-in childcare the gym offers – this allows us flexibility to exercise whenever it’s convenient for us, and as a result we now workout more frequently and consistently than we ever have post-kids. Bonus that the kids love going because they get to play for an hour or two, and the childcare staff are all awesome. It’s a fairly expensive recurring monthly expense for us, but one we feel is justified for long-term health benefits. This one isn’t going away any time soon.

The oil change and vehicle maintenance was another big purchase this week. Our cars are 8 years old – both have been paid off, but are getting to the point where some routine maintenance is required to keep them running. Mr. BPR took his car in to a get an oil change, and was caught off guard when they said his battery needed replaced. Considering most car batteries only last 3-5 years and his was 8, I’d say it was due! He made a quick decision to let them replace the battery, though in retrospect probably could have saved a few bucks to do it himself. The cost of convenience, and lack of planning.

The first online game purchase was one our 8 yo son purchased using his allowance money, but since it technically comes out of our pockets I’m including it here. The second game purchase was something Mr. BPR bought to play with the same son (don’t worry, he employed the 72 hour rule before purchasing). It’s a good family activity and they’ve already gotten enjoyment in just one day, so I think it’s worth it. Once the other two little robots are old enough maybe they’ll enjoy playing the same games.

The lawn fertilizer? I don’t know about this one. I want to not care about our lawn and quit buying into that “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, but we have the worst lawn on our street and it makes us feel bad. Even worse now that spring has finally arrived – everyone else has really lush bright green grass, and ours is a patchy mess. Ugh. We’ll see if the fertilizer helps. We’re not going for lawn of the year here, just trying to blend in a bit better with our immediate neighbors.

Where did we save this week?

By far the most interesting way we saved money was to give our goldendoodle, Ozzie, a haircut instead of taking him to the professionals. I’m sure he’ll forgive us…

I still skipped lattes at work, haven’t bought any new clothes, and we’re still rocking a $0 on Amazon purchases.

Mr. BPR has been learning to use Blender, a 3D modeling tool, with our oldest kid. He wanted to sign up for access to tutorials that would have cost around $12/month, but instead made the decision to first try and see what he could learn from free videos on youtube.

There ya have it. Onto week 4!

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