Hey ladies! Welcome to Frugal February. If you’re reading this, it’s because you shop a little too much, like me, and have decided to do something about it. Shopping isn’t a bad thing, but it’s just okay to slow down, ya know? I buy at least five new items a week, ranging from clothes to beauty products. That’s 20 new things a month. I think that’s too much! Zara and Sephora get so much of my money, and and I’m forever ordering stuff online. Did someone say, “Amazon?” I found a shopping bag full of clothes with the tags still attached a couple of weeks ago. I’d totally forgotten all about this stuff and the receipt read, “09/15/2017.” I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “SIS! YOU NEED TO CHILL!” So here we are.

February is the shortest month of the year: only 28 days. Starting on the first, we’re gonna get fabulously frugal. This isn’t one of those financial fasts where you have to stop eating out and cease getting your hair and nails done, no! We’re simply going to cut back on picking up random shades of lip gloss and cute tops at Target. Now I’m no financial expert, but I’ve composed a list of seven very simple tips to help get us through! Here goes…

1. Let’s make a list. Write down all the things you typically spend money on during the month. Next, categorize them into two groups: essentials and non-essentials. The non-essentials are what we’re gonna stay away from. For example, I’d group feminine products and groceries under my essentials, and the new Fenty products that I’ve been dying for grouped under my non-essentials. Be honest and realistic with yourself here. Unless you’re an MUA, weekly purchases from Ulta really aren’t essential.

2. Set a goal! If you need some sort of numerical/monetary value for this challenge, create one! You know how much money you make and you know how much money you usually spend on “non-essentials.” Take the extra money you’d usually spend at Target and put it away… for now.

3. Unsubscribe! If you’re like me, you’ve got an inbox full of your favorite stores alerting you about specials and promotions. LET THEM GO! Seeing all the great deals will just tempt you. You can join the mailing list again on March 1, 2018.

4. Find something to do. Instead of going to the mall, go for a walk in the park or go to the gym. Maybe even spend more time at home. Whatever you do, stay away from the mall! Sometimes I go shopping just to kill time, but I always end up seeing something new and make an impulse buy. When I stay out of the mall, I buy less. See how that works? Quick tip for those who work in retail and must go to the mall: have tunnel vision on your way to work and leave the premises when you go on break. Be strong, sis. You can do it!

5. Don’t check out! If you absolutely must browse the web for new stuff, create a wishlist instead of a cart. Most sites offer to reserve items on your wishlist for at least 60 days. I know ASOS does! You’ll be fine. On March 1, 2018, you can freely revisit your wishlist, add to cart and cash out on your new stuff. Maybe even buy more with all the money you’ve saved over the month.

6. Leave your card at home! This may not be suitable for everyone, but if you can, limit yourself to a daily cash budget that’ll cover things like food and transportation. I’ve been trying to implement this now, allotting myself a maximum of $15-$25 a day. This should cover my lunch and gas if I need any. For those of you that depend on services like Uber and Lyft to get around, your card should be attached to those accounts anyway, so you really don’t need it. Knowing you don’t have extra money with you to shop will force you to just go home instead of strolling into Homegoods to “look around.”

7. Cut back on “treats.” Now I know I said we weren’t going to discuss food and eating out, but many of us cash out at Starbucks and our local bakeries often. I know I do! My local Cami Cakes knows my order by heart and me by name, smh. Instead of stopping for it every day, try every other day, or maybe only have it on the weekend. Baby steps! This will help you save a little change and also allow you to look forward to rewarding yourself after a long week of being responsible with your coins. 

I know we’re all girls here and shopping is just apart of most of our DNA. Again, it’s not a bad thing, but it’s totally okay to relax a bit and work on saving. I’m sure there’s a whole lot more we can do, but this is a cute and simple way to start. Many of us have created a lifestyle for ourselves that we lowkey can’t even afford. There’s a huge difference between simply paying for something and having the ability to afford it. No shade, but I know from personal experience that I overspend all the time trying to feed my obsession with fashion and beauty. At 25, I think it’s time I work on breaking that habit and be a little more financially responsible. It’s never too late and it’s never too early. What’s the point in securing the bag if you don’t know how to handle it? If you agree and are committed to being fabulously frugal with me next month, take down the following message. It’s a short pledge I created to stay on track. You can write it down, type it in your notes, take a picture, or whatever you need to do to keep it in mind.

I (insert your name) am fully committed to being fabulously frugal all month long. I know my spending habits are a little out of control and I am ready to change! I will take these seven tips into account and do my best implement them. I got this!

Frugal February begins promptly on 02.01.2018 and will end 02.28.2018. I will reach out to you periodically throughout the month to check on your progress.

 I’m so excited about this and I can’t wait to see how well we all do at the end of the month! Cheers to being frugal and fabulous!!! 

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