It’s that time of the year again for a Focused Frugal February!! Adding the focus to your spending challenge for the month can change everything. I know that when we start the new year, a lot of folks that try to change everything at once. However, there are sound arguments that state trying to focus on more than one habit change at a time will decrease the odds of achieving success in any of them.

More often than not, we focus on the bad, instead of how we’ve improved. Instead of focusing on the things we did do, we should focus on what we didn’t do. Sure, I didn’t meditate and read in the morning, but I did go on a run and that’s better than doing none of those like I usually do. The best way to combat this is not to set yourself up for the disappointment.

Focused Frugality

Pick one line item on your budget and spend the whole month focusing on it. Whatever your worst category of spending is, I recommend starting there. This could be your grocery bill, clothing, restaurants or something completely different and specific to your life.

This is the line item that you will focus on this month. If it’s your grocery bill, you will specifically try to find recipes that use less expensive ingredients. The key here is to do this in a sustainable way. While you could eat rice and beans all month, you’ll be sick of that shortly, possibly causing you to over-correct and drastically overspend the next month.

I tried versions of this in college when I was trying to live on a very strict grocery budget of $37/week. If I had actually known more, I probably could have eaten much better on this, but my planning was poor. I would swing between spending $0.17 on ramen to spending the entire week’s worth of $ on a meal. What I needed to do was find a balance between great tasting food that’s relatively simple to make and keeps costs low.

With any budget line item you pick, the key is to find a reduction in spending that’s sustainable. Striking a balance between enough spending to maintain your happiness, while not blowing your savings or debt pay off plans. It’s all about balancing your lifestyle with your budget.

Weekly Budget Category

For the next month, I plan on repeating last year’s weekly budget category discussions. Specifically, I’ll be focusing on things that you can do to trim your budget in different categories. I’m excited for this year to get down into the nitty gritty of ideas for spending reduction that will still maintain a balanced life.

Take the next few days left in January to take a look at your spending habits and find what your pain points are in your budget. I suggest picking that budget line item for your Focused Frugal February. The hardest part is getting started, so once you pick your budget item, make a plan to reduce your spending and take the power away from the unknown.

Get Involved!

If you have a specific budget category or line item that you’d like me to explore during Focused Frugal February, reach out to me and let me know! Also, if you have any tips that you want to see shared, let me know and I’ll be happy to share them over the next month.

Now for the most important part: Get started!

Have a specific budget category or line item that you’d like me to explore during Frugal February? What are you planning on focusing your efforts on cutting? Let me know in the comments below!