Have you broken your new year’s resolution to spend less money already? Well February is here and it’s a fresh new month. I’m going to be telling myself this every day for the next 28 days as I take part in Frugal February.

The idea of Frugal February is to have a no spend month (well, a low spend one) where you set yourself rules on what you can buy whilst using up everything you can that you already own.

I have made a note of my bank balances somewhere secret, somewhere safe and I’ll check them again on the 1st March to find out how much I’ve managed to save.

Frugal February Rules

Don’t buy anything that isn’t necessary to live

You are allowed to buy medicine, but if you’re doing this challenge, it’s worth looking up what help for healthcare costs you’re entitled to if you’re in the UK. Maybe it’s something you haven’t had time to do, but add it to your to-do list for this month. You can also downshift brands if it’s over the counter medicine you need. Instead of buying (and then having to drink) Lemsip, have store branded paracetamol and a delicious hot lemon and honey. Paracetamol is usually the only active ingredient in Lemsip (sometimes there’s caffeine I think) and normal hot lemon and honey will taste much nicer.

You can buy food, but only if it’s to help make a meal from something you already have, or if you run out of food completely. Go through your cupboards, fridge, freezer and make a note (mental/photographic/actual) of what you already have and make meals from it. If you need to add ingredients then buy basic food items and shop at food markets. Use up everything you can, start with your fresh items that have the shortest use by date. Cook large batches to freeze, make packed lunches for work, get inventive with cooking.

Set yourself a budget

I’m going to set myself an extreme budget of £1 a day. This doesn’t include travel, rent and bills. For the first week I think I’ll find this limit fine, my cupboards have food in them so I won’t starve. Week 2 is when I’ll have to start getting a bit more creative with meals. The last two weeks, I’ll probably be making and eating vegetable soup for every meal.

Make do with things you have in your house

We’ve already discussed food, but what about all the other things like hand wash, make-up remover and fabric refresher spray? If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few bars of soap in the cupboard that you have never got around to using. When you run out of body wash, face wash or hand wash, give the soap a go. If, after 28 days, you’re not getting on with it, you can throw it away filled with the knowledge that you’ve given it a fair chance. You can try using coconut oil as makeup remover or discover diy fixes for every day household consumable items.

Do not start any new projects

Don’t start any new projects but do finish ones you have already started. I’ll be sewing buttons back on to my jacket, hemming dresses and finishing a lot of work projects. I’ll also continue to declutter and I may even get around to some light diy projects, if replacing the sealant around the bath counts as diy. I need to finish a short story that I started writing, finish my other website, edit an audiobook, edit my showreel…as you can tell, I’ve got a lot to try and do this Month. The hardest part will be saying no to new projects.

Before the fiscal fast, don’t stockpile

It’s the 1st February anyway so I’m not giving you any chance to stockpile. If you’re stocking up before a fiscal fast, it defeats the object. I do encourage you to plan ahead a few days in advance once you’ve accepted the challenge, but if you have created a safety net for yourself then you’ll be cheating yourself out of enjoying success.

Find ways to cut your travel spending

If you can, try and catch a cheaper mode of transport, walk or cycle if you do have a bike at your disposal. Sometimes it’s not possible depending on where you live but while you’re taking part in the challenge, it might be worth exploring other options to get around.

If it’s broken, don’t replace it

If something you own turns out to be broken during the challenge, try not to rush out and buy a replacement. Challenge yourself to see how long you can cope without it and if buy a replacement after the challenge if you still miss it.

Are you taking part in Frugal February? Let me know what crazy cupboard recipes you come up with in the comments below.