The Savvy Spending Challenge! How low can you go?

Do you have extra debt that you’d like to pay off faster? Are you saving (or wish you could start saving) for a particular item your family needs (a car, a computer, etc.)? Are you just as curious as I am to see how much more you could stretch your regular budget, what you could be getting better deals on and what you could actually do without?

Then join me for my Savvy Spending Challenge, starting November 1st!

Here’s the challenge:

If you were to go hard for one month, being extremely cautious and frugal about every single purchase, trying to go without and really save every penny possible, how much could you save? Our goal is to spend nothing more than what we absolutely need to live (bare essentials- house, food, car, insurance), and to use our creativity and ingenuity to find other ways to do what we want, make what we want, and still have a fantastic month, saving a far higher percentage of our income than we normally save!

The beauty of the challenge is that it’s only one month. We can do anything for a short amount of time. I can’t imagine living this way indefinitely, but for one month, I know that I can do it!

Why am I doing this, you ask? Here’s the (sort of) short version of a long story: Last spring we were in the process of saving up for a new car, because we had no debt and desired to keep it that way. Sadly, the car died a little earlier than expected. We were left with two options- to buy a very cheap car with the amount that we had already saved (in hindsight, this would have been the best option), or to spend a bit extra and get a car that would go the distance for us, but have a small amount of debt.

Because my husband is in sales, he earns extra commission checks that we do not count on as part of our regular budget. We reasoned that we could easily pay off the debt within 6-12 months, and be left with a debt-free car for the next 4-5 years after that. However, we did not count on my husband being diagnosed with cancer and being out of work (on disability) for 6 months, only two months after we bought the car (don’t worry- it has a happy ending- my husband is now in remission and started work again part-time two weeks ago- praise God!).

This unexpected change of plans (hmmm, doesn’t James say something about not boasting in our own plans?) left us with a debt, that although manageable, feels like a burden to us. We have discussed this issue a lot in the last few weeks and have decided to go all out (gazelle-intense for all you Dave Ramsey fans) and get this thing paid off by the end of 2007!

And thus the Savvy Spending Challenge was born! We have chosen November 1st to start one month of squeezing every ounce of savings that we can out of our regular income. And we wanted to invite you to join us on this adventure!

If you have never done this type of intensified scrimping and saving, let me tell you, it works! We have done it before, numerous times in our marriage. And we have often surprised ourselves with what we could go without and how little we could get by on! This is a character-building, marriage-strengthening, and financial freedom-developing activity. It has helped us to both pay off debts we had when we were married, and also to save up money for special purchases. This absolutely works for us, and we would love to have some fellow travelers in our journey.

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P.S. Tomorrow I’ll be posting all the details of the challenge! See you then!

I’m so excited to announce the prize that I will be giving away at the end of the Savvy Spending Challenge!

Crystal, whom many of you may be familiar with from Biblical Womanhood, and her incredibly practical and helpful new blog Money Saving Mom, has generously agreed to give a FREE Supermarket Savings 101 eCourse to one of my lucky readers.

Topics covered in this course include:

-Designing a menu plan that really works

-Menu planning on a budget

-Simple, no-fuss, frugal menu ideas and recipes

-Creating a workable grocery budget and how to stick with it

-Learning how to find good deals

-Time management and efficiency in frugal shopping

-The basics of using coupons – where to find them, which coupons to cut, how to organize them

-Step-by-step explanations on how to make the most of deals at CVS and Walgreens

-A photo tutorial of a typical $35/week grocery shopping trip for our
family including some of our favorite $35/week menu ideas.

-Links to helpful resources and websites to aid you in this money-saving journey

-And much more!

So how can you get in on this great giveaway? At the end of the month, I will ask all readers who have participated in the challenge to comment and let me know how their family did, and what percentage of your income you saved! Of those readers, I will do a draw to choose who will receive this fantastic package, which I know will encourage you to continue to learn how to spend less and save more!

In the meantime, I would highly suggest that you take a look at her Money Saving Mom blog for some great practical ideas on grocery savings, couponing, and especially some current deals if you live in the USA, as well as many other resources and ideas for frugal living. And if you’re not joining in on the challenge right now (if you are, you have to wait until after November!!!), take a look at this course to see how your family could benefit from Crystal’s expertise (seriously, ladies, she spends $35. a. week. Wow.)

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  1. Funny — I was just thinking today that I needed to do something like this for a month. Unfortunately, with two trips out of town briefly this month, I don’t suspect this is the best month for it. But, I may try a version of it soon!

  2. I’m willing to give it a try. I’m a fellow DR fan. Glad to hear about your husband. God’s blessings on your family.

  3. Why, yes, this sounds fun, actually, and motivating, though I plan to be doing my Christmas shopping in November, too. I want to be able to celebrate Advent stress-free. 🙂

  4. I’ll be back. I really really think we do a darndest job of not spending money, so it will be interesting to see how I can not spend even more and save!

  5. I too am in a similar situation with our car. I like this idea! I meet friends ALOT at the mall for lunch. One thing I can do is take lunch to the food court. There is playground there and that is FREE.


  6. I think this is a wonderful idea, and something that in 12 years of marriage Hubby and I have never done, but it is high time we did. Thanks for the suggestion, and I’m looking forward to reading more about it.

  7. This sounds like a good idea. We are in a serious financial crunch right now because my husband had to close his company and is unemployed. While we probably cannot save anything in November, it will be intersting to see how little we can spend.

  8. Would love to join you in this. My only exception would be that we are in the process of organizing our garage and getting my DH a tool box. This would put me over on my spending for the month. But otherwise, I think this would be a great idea so count me in.

  9. You go girl!
    I so wish I had been introduced to the Dave Ramsey Way before we ended up in the financial mess we are in now.
    It is smart thinking!

  10. This sounds like a great idea, my husband and I are currently trying to get rid of credit card debt, not that we have alot compared to some, but I would really like to start working towards me being able to stay at home with my kids. However, with Christmas and such I don’t know if it is such a great time for us. I am thinking that maybe we will do a two-month kick for Jan/Feb. There are five Fridays in Feb and that extra money could go a long ways to dig us out as long as we stop spending as we go along. I will keep up to date on how you are doing.

  11. Okay….I am going to try this. Is it okay to start late? The next pay check we get I am going to see how little I can spend in the grocery/household area. We are selling all our big baby stuff this month plus baby clothes at a kids swap. This is so we can then buy more clothes and Christmas gifts for the kiddos with out taking from our current budget. With the leftover money we intend to stock our new freezer :o)

  12. count me in, if a little late.
    I posted in another comment on your blog about what we have been doing to be savvy in our spending.
    We are just starting with this paycheck, but I had put other things into effect before.
    So I hope things work out well.

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