Last year I did a very successful money saving experiment called Frutober. The name is derived by combining the word “frugal” with “October” and stands for spending money very wisely for the month, mostly by cutting back on eating out and paying for entertainment. Last I was able to cut my living expenses for the month by 40%! You can read all about it here.
I plan to do it again this year and I’m calling out to readers to join me.
The rules are simple – you allow yourself a $75 food budget, no exceptions. This forces you to carefully choose your groceries and select when you pay for food. You are allowed to eat free food (whether it be from work, a friend who offers out of their own kindness, or food at an event/party) and this does not detract from your budget. You are allowed and encouraged to eat food from your cupboards and freezer that you have accumulated over time. Of course stock piling on purpose in September is cheating, but I’m not going to judge that.
Since everyone needs a life, allow yourself an additional $25 dollars to spend on going out. This is your “party/entertainment budget” and will probably be spent on open bar tips for the bartender and Vitamin Waters the day after (this is experience speaking).
You are definitely not supposed to buy clothes or other frivolous items during this month (unless you can justify it out of your entertainment budget), so you are encouraged to stay away from stores and to avoid online shopping at all costs. However, feel free to use gift cards or stores credits you have accumulated – just don’t too much spend over.
Toiletry purchases (soap, aspirin, vitamins, detergent, etc.) are up to your discretion during Frutober. However, you are encouraged to use toiletries you may have stock piled to increase your personal savings ratio.
The single pre-meditated purchase you are allowed (and highly encouraged to make) in September is…. your Halloween outfit!
Halloween is the night you are finally let of the hook to celebrate how you would normally. So if that involves an expensive bar ticket or a cab ride home, give it to yourself for a job well done!
Feel free to blog along with me if you’re interested in doing your own personal Frutober, but I’m also doing an open call looking for contributors who would like to share their own Frutober experiences. Benefits will include insider invites to parties and events where you can party for free (save bartender tips) with other NYCRD contributors! Apply now to be a Frutober contributor by emailing NYCRD at nyc recession diary @ gmail. com.
--Katharine Ricci, NYCRD Executive Editor
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