Let’s 34-Day Reset together: Fall 2021 Style!

As many of you know, the 34-Day Reset challenge is evergreen - you can start at any time!

But it’s a new school year, we’re well into 2021, and the holidays are already starting to bear down on us (what? how is this possible?), so we thought it was a good time to start a collective push for a reset! We’ll officially start on September 1st, 2021, but feel free to jump in at any point. 

Who’s with me?! If you need a reminder, here’s the rundown of how this works. There are three rules:

1. Track all your spending: use YNAB, use a pen and paper, whatever floats your boat!

2. Buy only essentials: you get to decide what this means - tell us below how you’re defining it below 😊

3. No eating out: we can do hard things!

And of course, you get to set your house rules however you’d like. Support your best friend's restaurant by getting some takeout. Buy that gift for your spouse who’s had a tough week. Roll with your unique punches, and don’t beat yourself up!

Once our 34 days are up, you might find you’ve saved a chunk of change! It’s totally up to you what you’d like to do with the spoils of your reset: save them for holiday gifts, pad that emergency fund, harvest one of your Wish Farm wishes? You get to make the choice!

You can get started by signing up for the challenge on our website and you’ll receive the 34-Day Reset Workbook to use during the challenge.

Once you’ve gotten started, thread a reply here to let us know how you’ve formatted your house rules, and what you’re aiming to do with any extra money! We’ll be here to cheer you on and keep you accountable. Let’s gooooo!

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  • Goal: $750 ($500 car insurance, $250 emergency fund)

    House Rulez:

    • No buying drinks, water only!
    • No purchases besides bills, gas, and groceries.
    • No buying lunch. I work in retail, when I don't pack a lunch I walk over to the grocery section and use my grocery budget.

    Backstory: So I just restarted using YNAB, like 2 days ago. I have a more simplified fresh budget, and I'm doing things a little different from the previous times I've tried.

    Living the paycheck to paycheck cycle right now and have two major bills coming in September! Wish I had funded those True Expenses months ago 😭.

    My most urgent bill is brakes and rotors for my car. Thankfully, I only need them on the front for now. Last time my tires were rotated, they informed me I would need brakes soon, so I knew well in advance 😐.

    Insurance snuck up on me. I knew it was coming but I thought I had time... I do not have time.

     

    I'm aiming to save $750, $500 for insurance and $250 to start an emergency fund. My main goal is the $500 because if I pay my insurance premiums in full, I save $77! The $250 is more of a challenge because of the extra car expense. I plan on saving this more through picking up extra shifts and hopefully some overtime. I think the hardest part is going to be logging my purchases in YNAB. Rarely did I log before and mostly used the program as tracking. I know the lingo, the 4 rules, and I've seen all the youtube videos. YNAB works, I just have to put in the effort.

    Like 7
    • biomeh Welcome back! I'm so glad you're here 😊The mindfulness part, and just generally getting back into the habit can be the hardest part - you've SO got this. I'm excited to hear how it goes! 

      Like 1
  • Im in!

    Goal is £500

    Rules:

    1. No eating out at all. This inlcudes my weekly lunch treat on a Friday and all takeways.
    2. Reduction in Grocery Budget - cooking more cost effective meals. No steaks for us!
    3. Free Family Outings - save the money from our Family Trips budget and go to the park/beach etc. instead
    4. Earn some more - My wife is going to pick up some extra shifts if anyone else she works with is looking for a day off. I'm going to try and sell some stuff. Any stuff. Like anything I can find....

    We live really lean. Our bills are under control - we wouldnt be able to look at our bills and somehow cut back and save £1000's. Insurance is carefully managed every year. We dont have streaming services. Our mobile plans are dirt cheap (but really good). As a result, our main opportunity is earning more and thats a real challenge. I have a good job and also work a second on a Saturday. My wife is a stay at home mum but has a couple of small jobs (1hr shifts here and there). We spend intentioanlly and with direction, so theres only so much we can cut back on!

    Like 6
    • Hammett98 Yay, so glad you're in! It sounds like your budget is already pretty locked in, and I'm stoked to see how you're able to get creative. I always struggle the most with cutting back on grocery spending (especially during sprints like this!). Do you have any go-to strategies or recipes? 

      Like 1
      • Hammett98
      • Sea_Green_Vacuum.15
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel Step 1 I think for us is to eat all the food we have in the freezer! Theres probably more than a weeks worth in there right now. Probably a lot of Chicken that we can cook in different ways. For grocery shopping it will be taking a list and buying only whats on the list. If its not on the list its not in the cart! (Thats stops the snacks and chocolate creeping in!) The list comes from meal planning - I like flexibility so instead of having fixed meals on fixed dates, we just pick 7 days of meals and then have what we want from amoung those choices. It works for us! And since you started the thread, Im pretty sure that obligates you to be in the game and not on the sidelines ! Whats your rules and goal?!

      Like 2
    • Hammett98 this is all awesome! I'm in the same boat too with trying to be creative and eat what I already have... which is why tonight we are having a turkey (I had a turkey that went uneaten from last Christmas)... a nice turkey dinner on September 1 haha! It will be delicious and they'll be leftover turkey to make soup with after the fact!

      Like 3
    • leannekristin Turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pie, turkey/potato casserole. The last three freeze if you want to space out the turkey consumption. 😉

      And if you save the bones (even just stick them in the freezer instead of the trash, if there's no time tomorrow for cooking, though my sister makes stock in the crock pot), you can make turkey stock to freeze and use in later soups, pies, or other dishes that need yummy liquid.

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life so much turkey is on the horizon within these 34 days hahaha! 😂

      Like 1
    • Hammett98 Love this! I meal plan similarly - I like to think of it as Rule 3 for cooking.

      And you caught me! I'm on the sidelines until after this weekend - my birthday weekend! My partner and I are going to sit down on Monday to decide how we want to set ourselves up once we see what damage we do, and I'll start a thread of my own once the mayhem is over 😆

      We have so, so, many friends having babies or getting married before the end of this year, so my guess is we'll see how much we can move into our big "weddings&babies&showers&travel" section of the budget. 

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life leannekristin all this turkey talk has me longing for Autumn! Which we won't see here in North Carolina for a solid two more months 😞. Maybe I'll roast up a turkey just for those fall vibes...

      Like 1
  • Ok, I'm in!! 😄

    Generally, challenges feel too constraining for me, but in this case I'm coming off of two months with gobs of vacation and other excess spending and I'd like to pull in the reins! Also, this is the last full month my husband works his seasonal job, and I'd like to save as much of this extra money for us as possible.

    Here are the things I'll consider this month:

    • I will buy birthday gifts for two friends this month.
    • I will likely buy airline tickets and accommodations for a trip in October.
    • I will spend some money on items that are necessary for one home-improvement project—finishing the paint work on my kitchen cabinets (that is my Labor Day weekend project!).
    • I will not eat out and I'll plan our meals more thoughtfully this month to save money on groceries.
    • I will not buy anything for the house that is not necessary (this is where my spending generally goes wild!). Necessary means things that I simply cannot do without this month in order to manage the house... and I think I'm pretty well stocked up here, so I shouldn't have to buy much of anything!
    • I will not buy plants or plant-related items.

    My goals are:

    • Save at least $1000 in the #3434 category
    • Fully fund my Held for Future Month category to be a month ahead for October
    • Save as much of my husband's tips as possible in the Home Fund

    All the best to you all!

    Like 4
    • Dela YAY Dela! I'm with you - I tend to steer away from the constraint of a no-spend challenge. In fact, I gotta be totally real here: I'm here as a cheerleader, but still trying to decide if I'm going to participate 😂

      I'm stoked that you're giving it a go. Sounds like your house is about to become a propagation station 😉- gotta get those new plants somehow! 

      Like 2
    • End of September update: 

      • I saved $650 in the #3434 category
      • I saved the majority of my husband's tips
      • ...And I used tips to help us stay a month ahead.

      How did the "rules" go?

      • Wow—there were more birthdays this month than I had planned for! It's important for me to buy gifts for folks, so I spent on five birthdays and one birthday dinner.
      • I bought airline tickets and accommodations for a trip in October. I canceled a different trip and will see that money come back to me as a credit on my CC.
      • I bought some pots for plants that were gifted to me. I didn't spend money on house things that weren't necessary otherwise—even for the house project. (I didn't get to it this month!)
      • I ate out more than I would have liked.

      Reflections:

      I'm going to keep going in October! Right now I'm buffered by a month, we're meeting our savings goals, and the pantry is stocked. So my focus will be keeping up the good work while reducing the amount I spend specifically on eating out and home goods. My plan will be to hold off on day-to-day stuff and instead spend money thoughtfully on the trip later this month!

      Like 2
  • I'm going to try this out!

     

    I don't typically spend a lot on things I don't need, but then I'll have a "bad" month and spend more than I've budgeted. So this challenge can't hurt! 

     

    My rules are: no Amazon (except subscribe and save). No fast food except when I have cash (this is what I normally do anyways). No taking cash out just for fast food 🤪 No meal delivery. No dining out. And then I'm going to try to only spend $100 in groceries in the hopes of clearing out my freezer and cabinets. 

     

    My exceptions are: 

    • Weekend of Sept 10th is my employer's 75th anniversary Gala and I've saved up $200 for that weekend.
    • Sept 14th is my boyfriend's birthday, and I have $116 earmarked for that.

     

    The hardest part for me is figuring out my savings goals. I think I will choose $350 which will finish up my "ear curation" wish farm item and start on my new phone fund. Best of luck to everyone!

    Like 3
    • Emma Catherine Welcome! A freezer/pantry clearout challenge is my kind of challenge! Let us know what fun meals you come up with along the way and best of luck 😊

      Like
  • I'm in! My goal is to finish the 34 days feeling proud of myself financially.

    My rules:

    • track all my spending daily
    • essentials (what I've budgeted for) and replacements only . I also would be really happy to spend less than anticipated in some categories... I'm looking at you, groceries!
    • streeeeetching what I already have (seeing if I can use something else rather than spending $, questioning if I need to replace something I use up, and seeing if I can go without for a little while longer before repurchasing)
    • no eating out on my own dime ;)  (if I'm invited out on dates or if my parents want to take me out on their dime while they're in town then that will be a-okay :) )

    Good luck to everyone! Happy September 1st!

    Like 4
    • leannekristin I love love love your stated goal. Welcome, and good luck! 

      Like
  • This will be good for me, as it coincides with a change to less income. 

    Rules for Now (still need to finalize):

    1. No eating out, except celebrations. Attempt to do those frugally. Like, really, we need to talk about the plans for this.

    2. Stay within grocery budget. It's down by $150 from the last year, while some costs are up. I'm moderately nervous, but I can do hard things.

    2a. Focus on food prep. Make making the basics from scratch a priority. Saves money, I control ingredients, etc...

    3. Maintain date nights, but go for free activities, not even necessarily a fancy home cooked meal (we'll still eat normal food). 

    4. There are some things that I need to restock from my bulk/household categories, but try to minimize.

    5. Reward is that the budget is viable and I build good skills/habits. I'm not good at identifying useful external rewards. Any ideas?

    Like 3
    • Move Light Sound Life It sounds to me like you're being super intentional which is a great shift! Good luck to you during this challenge!

      Like 1
    • leannekristin Thanks! We have had one prior month of no convenience meals/dining out, but that was two years ago. After we proved it was possible, the goal was simply moderation. However, this summer definitely exceeded moderation, I think because I knew what was coming and was slightly rebelling. A zero-spend rule on professionally prepared food is a good way to reset those habits.

      Like
    • Move Light Sound Life Absolutely & making it fun :) . Just because you're eating at home it doesn't have to be boring. Trying new recipes is one of my favourite things to do.

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life said:
      5. Reward is that the budget is viable and I build good skills/habits. I'm not good at identifying useful external rewards. Any ideas?

      My partner and I were chatting about our potential participation yesterday, and I was so hung up on which goal additional saving would go toward, what we would reward ourselves with, and how we'd represent all of it in the budget. He said something along the lines of "isn't increasing mindfulness enough in and of itself?" 

      To which I replied, "I want a treat!" 😆

      But he was right, I think. That increased awareness is a huge reward, especially in a season of change. I love that you've listed the skill building in and of itself as a reward, but maybe giving yourself a fancier date night at the end of it, while maintaining the rest of your newly formed habits, is also a good goal? But it's totally up to you and what motivates you. Best of luck! 

      Like 4
      • biomeh
      • biomeh
      • 1 mth ago
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      Move Light Sound Life I'm doing the meal prep thing too. Since I've never tried it before I'm shopping weekly and prepping for 5 days at a time.

      Like 1
      • biomeh
      • biomeh
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel said:
      "isn't increasing mindfulness enough in and of itself?" 

       I love this! I don't always take the time to reflect, it's always eyes on the prize, then on to the next goal.

      Like 3
      • Hammett98
      • Sea_Green_Vacuum.15
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel Im more of an "earn my bonus before I spend it" type so we havent given our goal an actual category yet. It sits in the budget as "34 day challenge". One thing I do when I dont have a plan on how to use money is follow the 50% 30% 20% rule - which is how my entire budget is organised. So 50% of my challenge money will go towards Needs, 30% towards Wants and 20% towards Debt/Savings. In reality it means the 50% will probably pad out our Car repair or insurance  budget, the 20% will go on debt and the 30% for a treat like a night away or a spa break for my wife. Happy Birthday by the way :-)

      Like 1
    • Hammett98 Ooo, love this! I think 34DR spoils are an excellent candidate for the 50/30/20 rule. And thanks for the birthday wishes, too 😊

      Like
    • Intrinsic rewards are always the goal, but sometimes extrinsic rewards can be really helpful in changing behavior. I still don't have a good extrinsic reward, but I do have a win!

      Instead of going out for brunch at a place we really like, we had leftover mushroom risotto topped with poached eggs. It felt just as fancy as that cafe would have been and cost about $3.50 per serving (vs. an easily $30-40 meal, depending).

      I'm now more motivated to keep making homemade broth (and buying bone in meat) because if I had used a box from the store, it would have doubled the price of the risotto.

      A note on the risotto: I don't like rice, but I am trying to learn good, healthy (not completely carb-heavy) ways to use it. It was a good start. It was also my first time making it and had a few bumps along the way.

      Like 1
    • Avoided a late night fast food run last night. We didn't want to pull weird stuff from the freezer. But we did. The accountability of this challenge may have helped.  Now it's meal planning time.  I need a category of meals that are mycountersarefullofprojectsanddishes(bothcleananddirty)andistillneedtoeat kind of easy, because actually having a workspace is turning into high-dollar real estate that increases the difficulty level of otherwise easy recipes at the moment. Unfortunately, my freezer is nearly depleted. Sigh.

      But I should have my counters back soon.

      Like 1
      • Hammett98
      • Sea_Green_Vacuum.15
      • 1 mth ago
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      Well done - the lure of the quick fix fast food is strong! You'll be reaping the reward of your efforts before you know it. I myself resisted a bottle of pepsi max lime and some nice shaving stuff that was on deal today whilst I was killing some hours wandering around the shops (Im away on business so went for a walk). My budget was spent for groceries and I cut out toiletries - I have plenty!

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life Such solid wins! And YUM. Savory breakfast is one of my very favorite things. An old favorite cafe of mine used to do this herby, cheesy, polenta with mushrooms, greens, and a poached egg on top. It was my favorite thing ever. 

      I'm glad you've discovered a good rice dish - risotto can be so lovely and meditative to make, especially as the weather cools! 

      Like 1
    • Check-in: Some things came up that necessitated convenience meals (three of them!), but in context, I am fine with this choice. As always, convenience meals come out of our grocery budget. As long as there aren't any more this month, we should be ok.  I still need to learn how to make bean soup. 

      On a happy note, we avoided multiple times of saying, "I have food, time, and the wherewithal to make food instead of picking something up, but I don't want to." So, that's good. It would have been much worse to have used up the cushion on laziness. 

      Even though this week hasn't gone as planned, it will be ok. Just keep swimming (forwards), everyone!

      Like 2
    • Today was a food success day! Prepped two full meals that will provide leftovers, cooked two other things that will be building blocks (which prevented food waste!), And washed almost all the dishes! There was a small backlog, though, so I technically caught up on all the current dishes. There were five to start with and only two different ones left, as an example. Can I wake up early to make bagels? That's the question. It would be nice. And cost-effective... Supper was $3.75 per serving. We used to average around $2.50 per serving on this meal. I did use butter instead of oil in the pie crust, but the other prices are going up as well. 🧐 Anyways, we can only do the best we can. And study history. And hope.

      Like 4
    • Move Light Sound Life Homemade bagels! YUMMMMM. I do value my sleep....but that sounds soo good.

      Like
    • Marisa Haha! Sleep won! I've never made them before, so it was always an ambitious idea to make them before daybreak. However, I'll do some baking tomorrow and start with those. 

      Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life A friend of mine makes them regularly and they are apparently fairly easy - just a few steps.

      Like
  • This sounds like fun! I'll have to work this around some already existing plans, but I think that'll work. I've got a fairly big repair to my car coming this month, so whatever I can save to help defray that cost will be nice (I'm currently determined to try and keep my spending, even with this repair, under my monthly income. We'll see if I'm successful at this.)

    1. I'll be visiting out of state family for a few days this month to celebrate my nephews birthday. The tickets and his birthday present are already paid for, but I've still got to eat and drink while down there. This dining out spending will be okay, but for all the nights I'm at home thinking of it, no bueno. 
    2. Limit the amount of "treats" I buy at the grocery store. One of the things I do when I want to dine out, but don't want to actually dine out, is pick up something premade from the grocery store. I'd like to limit that as much as possible this month. I just know it's costing me more than I think it is.
    3. I also have three other birthdays coming up this month. We're all adults and buy what we want, so gifts probably aren't going to be an issue. However if they want to get together for a dinner/BBQ at someone's place, I can pick up something at the grocery store to take with. 
    4. No Steam games this month! They'll come on sale again girl, you'll be okay. 
    Like 3
  • Coral Network said:
    One of the things I do when I want to dine out, but don't want to actually dine out, is pick up something premade from the grocery store.

    So glad you're in! Also, I'm SO guilty of this ^^^. Solidarity in not doing it this month! 💪

    Like
  • What a great timing! I was thinking of doing this exact thing and I'm glad that I can do it with other people to keep motivated. 

    We have birthday season upon us, but I believe that we will be able to stay within our goals. 

    1. Purchase necessary groceries and keep it under budget by $10 every week. 

    2. Purchase gifts with earmarked money throughout the year; do not overspend. 

    3. No eating out despite being stressed out at work; no excuse for this one. 

    4. Save  at least $300 during this budget challenge. 

    5. I will NOT buy anything on Amazon not previously earmarked. 

    6.  Eat and plan meals with pantry food. Goal is to completely deplete it. 

    Exceptions: 

    1. Birthday season is upon us so we will only spend if necessary and avoid going over budget for such events. Make something for the party with our previously bought groceries whenever possible. 

    2. My birthday celebration, I will try to make sure that most things are made at home and not bought from a restaurant. 

    Like 1
    • Gironaso September begins birthday season for our house, too! Best of luck with your rules during times of celebration (and have an excellent birthday!) 😊

      Let us know how those pantry meals go, and if you come up with anything fun! 

      Like
      • Bunchberry
      • Bunchberry
      • 1 mth ago
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      Gironaso I love your goal to completely deplete your pantry! I was making pasta for work lunch last night and realized that my pantry is full of different noodles that I've had for a year...but not any pasta I actually want to use! I decided that this month I want to reduce my pantry's noodle overstock with some creative cooking. Keep us posted on your pantry adventures and any interesting combos you come up with!

      Like 1
  • I want to get a month ahead. I'd really like to see my bills in October accounted for. I have been living frugally, not buying "stuff", & tracking so that will continue, but I'm not a month ahead. My salary drops in the summer significantly so I had to dip into my TE's to roll with the punches. I haven't really eaten out much this summer and suddenly there were 3 dinners last week and it felt over-whelming! Both socially & financially - still used to being a locked down hermit. I've noticed too that restaurants have REALLY increased their prices. We looked at a menu online for an Italian restaurant we wanted to try.  Seafood pasta was $22. Great I'll get that. In the restaurant, it was actually $32. WOW $10 increase! Seriously? At least my local sushi takeout has kept its prices consistent and I'll keep supporting them.

    1) I will eat out, but both sparingly and frugally. I have a $200 cap for month. I'm not going to stay home since I've done that since March 2020!!

    2) Meal plan and grocery shop. This is the biggie. Feeding teenage boys on a budget.

    3) Do more yoga and drink less wine. Save calories & money.

    Goals:

    1) Fill up my leached True Expenses & actually build them up.

    2) Get a month ahead. 

    Hopefully achieve both by October: by trimming Sept spending, bigger paycheques for Sept, and I'll devote my side hustle income to getting a month ahead this month. October will go back to my car savings goal. 

    Like 1
    • Purple Foal Welcome to the challenge! Getting back to spending a bit more and being social has definitely been overwhelming. It's definitely a great time to incorporate extra mindfulness about what really fills us up, and it sounds like you have an excellent plan 🧘‍♀️

      Like
  • So, we're a week in....everyone on track?!?

    We actually started our challenge early so we are 10 days in.

    Things I didnt budget for was my daughters dance lessons - £44.59. In fairness I didnt know she was going to keep going to that one. I moved money from her School Expenses fund to cover it. We have gone way over what we need for her School Expenses so it seemed a good move (inlaws paids for her uniform so that was a good saving)

    We changed mobile plans. Very small win but down from £8 per month to £3.67 per month for both of us, plus we keep the same data allowance.

    Outside of that we are fully on track. We havent eaten out at all. We are about £6 ahead on our grocery budget but bought some food in bulk so thats to be expected. Slightly ahead also on fuel, but I have a full tank so hoping that sees me through to the end of next week. We have £380.97 already towards our £500 target, still with my wife's £200 from her job to come on the 14th. So everything is looking good.

    We may beat our target so might have to decide to stop at £500 and put whatever else we save straight onto debt, or just keep going. Good problem to have! Regardless, we are going to stay the course through to the end of the 34 days.

    Like 3
  • I'm in! I just jumped back into YNAB after a year away. I also recently started a new job that pays....modestly....and this challenge is just what I needed to jump start my savings and sinking funds. I spent some down time at work today setting up my fresh budget and I'm excited to get going with it!

    House Rules-n-Goals:

    • No eating out *as an unplanned substitute for making dinner*. It's my birthday in a few weeks and I plan on enjoying my favorite reuben at the end of the month! But otherwise, my goal is to stay on track with meal planning and cooking at home. And saving money by cutting down on food waste! (Sorry, mushrooms and scallions that are languishing in the veggie drawer right now.)
    • Forward any non-essentials to people who are looking for birthday or Christmas gift ideas (hi, partner and Mom!).
    • Do the math: compare the cost of maintaining my current car (aging station wagon that needs $$$ repairs) with buying a used car.
    • At the end of the month (first month with new job/different income), review how I did with spending and consider revamping the structure of the budget to include a wish farm/more structure for non-essential spending.
    • Stick with it, support others, and finish! 

    Good luck to everyone who's participating, especially to my fellow YNABers who are navigating a change in income! 

    Like 2
    • Pumpernickel Princess First off, welcome back to YNAB! I love this framing of the reset as a time to reconsider the structure of your budget and your priorities in this new season. Good luck, and let us know how it goes! 

      Like 1
  • I'm jumping in late - I've decided to start on Sunday.

    My rules:

    1. No eating out - including work cafeteria. I work in a hospital, and it's WAY too easy to eat there, using my badge to pay via payroll deduction. I just looked at my last paystub YTD, and I've been spending an average of ~$66 every 2 weeks on this (nearly $1200 for the year, or $8/shift). That's too much.

            **Exceptions: ABSOLUTELY NONE**

    2. No fabric or patterns. I have enough sewing stuff to keep me occupied for a few weeks. 

            **Exceptions: I can buy any notions (buttons, interfacing, etc., that I need for projects already in the queue**

    3. No Uber to or from work. I used to walk to work, when I lived a mile away. I recently moved and now I'm 4 miles away. I don't have a car, but I can bike or take the bus. I haven't been doing either regularly, because I like getting a little extra sleep in the morning. I need to not only save money, but get in shape, so I plan to be cycling most days.

            **Exceptions: if it's raining hard or thunderstorming. I can also buy an LED light vest to wear on the bike, now that it's not quite light out during my commute.**

    4. Essentials = food for pre-planned meals, cat food & litter, household necessities. I plan to keep an ongoing list on my phone's notes app, so I can keep track of things.

    5. Track everything, of course. Set aside time to track/reconcile daily, instead of every few days.

    My goal: to pay off ~$1000 in high-interest loans I recently took out. My credit isn't great and I was in a tight spot... and now I'm still in a tight spot because the payments and interest are eating up my paychecks.

    Other things:

    - I have some extra money coming in! On the 28th of this month, I'll get about $300 extra from selling back PTO. Four weeks later, on 10/26, I'll get my annual bonus ($1k minus taxes; last year I ended up with $649). I'm currently doing a contract where I agreed to do 12 extra shifts over 12 weeks, and I get $2800 at the end - that will pay out, minus taxes of course, on 11/23. So by doing the reset, plus these little windfalls, I plan to be in a much more solid financial position by the end of the year. I'll be using all of that to pay down other debt.

    - The work food plan is basically to buy frozen meals from Trader Joe's and the like. They're not *too* unhealthy, and even though it's more expensive than cooking from scratch, it's cheaper than cafeteria food. A frozen entree + a yogurt + a piece of fruit is satisfying and easy. I need this to be easy. 

    - I think that's it? Might update/reply later if I think of anything else.

    Like 2
    • 178920629 Welcome! I love how well thought out and specific your plan is, and how you've incorporated ease into it. I especially hope that you find joy in cycling to work (a dream of mine!) 😊

      I have to add that I love the Trader Joe's plan - they have the BEST frozen foods/meals. Do you have a favorite?!

      Like
      • 178920629
      • 178920629
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel the vegan tikka marsala is life! Also the guilt-free mac & cheese.

       Tomorrow I’ll work on a meal plan & grocery list, and hit the store on Sunday morning while my daughter is in Hebrew school. I have a ton of apples at home I need to use up as well…I’m thinking pie, ofc, and some baked oatmeal.

      Like 2
    • 178920629 Yessss the vegan tikka is so good! And I fully support apple-cinnamon baked oatmeal. That sounds like the ultimate September food! 

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      • Bunchberry
      • Bunchberry
      • 1 mth ago
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      178920629 I'm so glad you specified sewing materials in your plan--that's an easy money sink for me too! Sometimes the most fun projects come from making do with scraps! If you feel like it, I'd love to hear an update on your budget sewing projects.

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      • 178920629
      • 178920629
      • 1 mth ago
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      Pumpernickel Princess I've finished one dress and a pair of slip shorts, and will probably finish up a tshirt tonight.

      I have a ton of WIPs. I have a closet full of fabric. I have dozens of patterns. I just need to work with what I have instead of being enticed by the newest pretty things.

      I like to say that buying fabric, etc., and actually sewing things, are two separate hobbies. The trick is to just focus on the latter.

      Like 2
  • Okay, y'all. This household is in as of 9/6! We'll end on 10/10, the start of a few-week period of wedding insanity in our world.

    Our rules: 

    • No dining out or alcohol purchases at all: As of now, I do not think there are any exceptions to this. 
    • Essentials: groceries, household supplies needed to maintain cleanliness/functionality of our house (i.e. no fancy Scrub Daddy store binges for me - something I am prone to), things to keep our pup alive, bills.
    • Our exception: we have a couple of very important weddings coming up. Most of the expenses associated with these are already out the door or previously budgeted for. That said, we will not include gifts, dress alterations/attire costs, or travel expenses in our reset, as they need to happen and we're on a specific timeline! 

    Our goals: 

    • Kick-off our 2022 investments category with enough to get a head start on maxing our Roth IRAs! 

    Other things: 

    • I'm going to try really, really hard to stay under budget on groceries, like many of you all. I'm notorious for buying exactly what I want without looking at price tags or sales. I will be more mindful as I shop.
    • I've created a folder in my Chrome bookmarks bar for any "shopping carts" I create during these 34 days. At the end, I will assess their merits 😆
    • I have a few nicer items of clothing that I think I can sell for a nice boost - I will try and sell those, as well as find a few other things to sell from around the house! 
    Like 3
    • Rachel I love your idea to create a folder of carts. So smart!!

      Like 1
  • DAY 10 (or whereever you are in your journey) CHECK-IN! 

    What is the biggest win you've had so far?
    How about a challenge or setback you've encountered?

    Thread how it's going below! 

    Like 1
  • Biggest win for us has to be that my wife has already earned the monthly target we set for her by picking up extra shifts at work and as of today I have also earned my monthly target from my second job (its a form of trading so income isnt guaranteed), meaning anything we earn from now to the end of the month is a bonus. On top of that we are already due to be ahead of target when my wife gets paid her usual pay on the 14th.

    But it is a challenge. Lots of food from our freezer wasnt really edible anymore! And we are just hanging in there with our grocery budget. Its tight and we've eaten frugal. Our fuel budget doesnt look like its gonna hold as I'll have to go into the office a few more times than I expected. Plus theres a number of different things I would normally just go and do - like my headphones need new ear cushions (badly now) but Ive resisted just doing it. I definately fall into the trap of "Ive worked hard all week, I deserve it". But thats why I like this challenge - its all about just how hard you can go. It doesnt have to be sustainable - but the windfall will make a very nice difference!

    Like 3
    • Hammett98 Whoa - that's a big win with those extra shifts! 🎉

      My freezer also needs a deep dive.... I know we have some local wildlife rescues that take freezer-burned meat, so I think I need to go through some things. 👀

      Like
  • I'm back in town and it's so nice to be surrounded by my own stuff and able to snuggle my own kitties again. 

    The trip was nice, and I was able to keep the food expenditures down to a minimum while I was there, which was nice. Luckily I only had to do the smallest bit of wam-ing to cover the birthday brunch. I forgot tax is a thing in other states. 😅

    And of course, one of the games I had on my wishlist went on sale the *day* after I started the challenge! It's one I've been looking out for for a while, and as it's on my Switch wishlist rather than my Steam wishlist it would have technically been within the limits I set for myself. But the spirit of those guidelines was giving me a lot of side-eye about it. I didn't end up buying it. I'm hoping that with the holidays it'll come on sale again, and I can wait a couple more months to play it, I've got other games I'm working my way through still.

    I think if this had happened later on in the challenge I might have bought it. I'm starting to see in how many little ways I get relief from purchasing little things. Or at least, going ahead to purchase something that I budgeted for but isn't essential. 

    Like 3
    • Coral Network Resisting that game purchase is a big win, especially when you could have come up with a loophole. It truly is so hard, and I tend to fall into Hammett98 's camp of "I worked hard this week - I deserve it!" or even "I'm just gonna get it next month anyway." 

      I think that awareness of our tendencies to find relief in purchases is a win in and of itself. I hope the game goes back on sale for you very soon, though 😉

      Like
      • Hammett98
      • Sea_Green_Vacuum.15
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Coral Network I absolutely applaud you for this. Resisting that game purchase is as true an indicator that you will succeed as you'll ever see. That mindset is the difference maker. Well done.

      Like
  • Day one!

    Grocery shopping is done! I didn’t get any frozen meals - I only had $18.04 to work with and I didn’t want to use so much on just a couple of things. Luckily, I get paid on Tuesday, and I’m off work and can shop again on Wednesday, so I didn’t need much. Total was $17.64. I’ve already logged it in ynab.

    Later today, I’ll prep the baked oatmeal, boiled eggs, and vegetarian Greek pasta salad (recipe from Budget Bytes; I’ll sub chickpeas for the chicken).

    Also deleted the Uber app from my phone, since I won’t be needing it for a while.

    Like 3
  • So...day 2 did not go so well. Restarting tomorrow. I'm off work tomorrow and Wednesday, which will give me time to prepare better. 

    Honestly, the biggest issue is dragging my butt out of bed early enough to bike or take the bus. And that comes down to good old-fashioned self-discipline, which I'm terrible at...

    Like
      • 178920629
      • 178920629
      • 1 mth ago
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      (meant to say I'm off tomorrow and Thursday)

      Like
    • 178920629 Oh goodness - getting up early is a trick for me too. I've been bribing myself with a good book to get in bed early enough that I can get up early - sometimes it's too good and I stay up late reading.... 😬Good luck with your reset reset!

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      • 178920629
      • 178920629
      • 1 mth ago
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      Marisa Thanks!

       

      Reset reset is going... okay. I did put $10 on my Sbux card yesterday, but I'm going to just move forward. So this is day 3. 

      Bought some groceries yesterday. Also got a pair of sandals and a tshirt for my daughter, both of which were necessary. I ordered lights for my bike wheels (the LED vest I wanted was sold out; this was what I decided on instead), and a couple of sewing notions from Amazon, all of which are allowed.

      This morning I did Uber to work, but I had enough points to get a free ride! And I brought food, so no cafeteria visits today.

      Like 1
    • 178920629 It sounds like you're doing great, and I like that you're looking forward and rolling with the punches. I'm trying to do the same after buying two very not essential pints of Jeni's ice cream during my grocery trip yesterday 😆

      They felt essential in the moment!

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      • 178920629
      • 178920629
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel Ice cream is always essential, imo...

      Like 1
  • Today marks exactly half way there for us.

    This is tough!

    I seem to have a good list already of things I wanted to buy but couldnt - some wax/polish for the car, new car air freshner, bits for my hobby etc.

    The grocery budget is straining. We went for £35 per week, but have so far come out at £41 and £39. Our typical spend is £50-£55.

    The fuel budget is gonna break - Ive had to go to the office more times this month than I planned and I'll have to keep doing it through the rest of the month. Hopefully the damage wont be too great.

    We havent eaten out at all. And outside of a few things (daughters dance lessons) we have kept true to our rules. With my wifes paycheck today we hot our target. But we have a debt payment at the end of the month after I get paid (which is how we normally make the payment) that we are going to try and fund from extra income already planned for the next 2 weeks. So we have stopped at £500 which was our target. If we do fund our debt payment we will roll anything extra should there be any into the 34 day challenge fund.

    Jury is still out on what we are going to use it for. It feels like we never have a situation like this so we aent used to making a descision about what to do with it! I did an undebt.it calculation and we can be debt free in Apr 2023. It makes sense to throw this on debt but it also feels the least rewarding. We could do the challenege again in say January and combine the savings and do a family holiday next year. We could pad true expenses, give ourseleves some spending money - the list is endless. What makes sense to you? Any input is welcome.

    Good luck everyone - I hope you are all still on track!

    Like 2
  • It is a good thing that there is a thread like this since people tend to think that they need to buy a new things to work with. Well, what you listed is also one of the best ways to save money and declutter your things as well. Have any of you guys already tried this challenge? Hopw to know your experience about this!

    Like 1
  • HI Folks,

    64 year old man here from the UK. 

    Recently separated so now much poorer and renting for now but I am running my own financial show! I could never share YNAB or budgeting with my wife. Sadly we just weren't on the same page financially.

    I noticed this thread a bit late but it has made me think quite a lot. I had a very expensive August with  a short holiday and suddenly needing to replace my 17 year old daughter's Mac book. (I did this from one months pay just by moving from other categories). 

    This month I have thought twice about every bit of spending and it has been a worthwhile reset. I realise that my natural tendency is to track spending rather than budget. I will spend and record rather than notice that I've already spent what I've set aside in the category when I'm in the store. I will have to reboot every now and then to bring myself back to active budgeting.

    So here we are in mid month and all my categories are still healthy in green and avoiding the recent creep where I'm having to replenish some of my discretionary categories.

    One thing that has given me unexpected motivation is that my current (checking) account is lower than normal because I bought the Mac book. I appreciate that in this type of budget it doesn't really matter where the money is held but I am very keen not to go into the red and also to try and avoid a transfer between accounts. 

    Like 2
    • Welcome Nwozer ! We're so glad you've dropped in!

      Like
  • So far so good over here! I'm a week in and so far have stuck to all my rules and goals. Some successes:

    • Nailed it with the work lunches and from-scratch dinners this week! I'm glad it's getting cooler out, because I whipped out the crockpot this morning to make a big bean and grain soup that  will be ready when I get home. I've also been more consistent in picking up our farm share--vegetables that were paid for months ago! Taking whatever fresh veggies I have and throwing them into a salad with a grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc) has been a lovely foundation for dinner and bagged lunches. Also, my new coworkers bring great lunches and I've gotten lots of inspiration from them!
    • I exercised restraint at the grocery store and left the fancy stuff on the shelves. I live for delicious food, but this month I have to make it myself! I've switched to having a piece of fruit as my morning snack instead of allergen-free granola bars that were so expensive, they might as well have been made of money. I spent about $100 for two people on a trip that usually would have cost me twice that.
    • I cut out some subscriptions I wasn't using and saved $20/month at least! I'm going to miss my virtual yoga studio, but I found a free channel on YouTube called Yoga With Adriene that I've been enjoying the past three mornings. Setting aside the time to work out and be centered in the morning helps indirectly with this challenge, too--when I'm more relaxed and present, I think twice before I buy. It's not why I do yoga, but it's a great (free!) fringe benefit.

    Moving forward, I still want to set up a wish farm and figure out what the heck I'm going to do about my car. I have some big expenses coming up in October that I want to prepare for too (hello, annual family camping trip). With my current income, I only have $375 left over every month after rent, utilities, and essentials, but I truly want to spend only from my income without dipping into my savings. I'll be in this position for a year, and I would like to come out of it with either my savings intact or more savings than I started with. Moral support and practical tips are welcomed!

    I hope everyone else's month is going well!

    Like 1
    • Pumpernickel Princess Yay for staying on track with groceries/food! That's a huge win, and that soup sounds soooo good (recipe?)!

      Also, I'm jealous that your weather is cooling down! Ours is ever so slightly starting to do so here in the southeast, but we've still got quite a few weeks of solidly warm weather ahead. We're making crockpot chili this weekend anyway, though 😆

      Making the choice on the car is such a toughie! A few years back we decided to go for a new to us car - it created debt, but we knew it wouldn't need much in the way of repairs for a long time, and the consistent monthly payment felt less scary than the potential huge repair expenses on the beater we had. That said, every situation is so unique. Feel free to keep talking it through here!

      Like
      • Bunchberry
      • Bunchberry
      • 1 mth ago
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      Rachel yesss crockpot chili! I made some cowboy caviar this week, which has similar ingredients but is nice for warm weather. (And it’s almost all pantry ingredients and is super cheap, just corn, black beans, and tomatoes with some lime juice and cilantro if you swing that way!)

      The soup recipe is Crescent Dragonwagon’s vegan cholent! I make it in the crockpot without the green beans, parsnips, and seitan (conveniently also the most $$ ingredients) and it’s always come out hearty and delicious. Feel free to swap out any whole grain like wheat berries or brown rice if you can’t find barley. A photo of the recipe is attached!

      I’m in a similar place to your car logic. I would definitely prefer a regular payment to having to surprise replace the muffler just as the timing belt is scheduled to go (ugh!), but....I really, really love my car! And I work in a rural area where it makes sense to have a station wagon instead of the Priuses I've been looking at. So time will tell how that decision shakes out! If anyone in this thread wants to coach me through the emotional process of letting go of a beloved but spendy car...

      Check out the recipe and let me know how all your fall soups turn out, everyone! Further recipe sharing is encouraged :)

      Like 3
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Bunchberry ooh lovely I love bean soups.  I also love just leaving out the recipes you don't like or don't have - for me parsnip and seitan (I quite like green beans so might use).  I'm also wondering about adding some mushrooms as I'd probably be using my homemade chicken stock which isn't a 'dark' stock. 

      Like
    • Bunchberry Ohhhhh, that soup sounds so lovely! Definitely saving a photo of that recipe 😊I LOVE a cowboy caviar. I have a very similar recipe that my friends just call "#thesalsa." It's exactly the recipe I make when it starts to feel like summer...perhaps I should make it once more before the weather officially turns! 

      Like
    • Yes I can yes, especially in soups! I just made this last batch with dried black fungus tossed in, but I imagine it would be great with any mushroom. Let me know how it goes if you make it!

      Like
  • Happy Monday all! Hope your week's starting out well. 

    I had a slight hiccup this week when I purchased some toys for the cats that they didn't absolutely NEED to have right now. But oh boy do they love the Go Cat wand toys. All in all, not a purchase I regret but one that probably could have waited a bit to happen. 😺

    One thing I was wondering about, is how people are going to tally up everything they saved during the challenge? For the money saved in September it's pretty easy, whatever's left over at the end of the month in those categories is what was saved. But what about the first (almost full) week of October? Those last dangling four days of the reset?

    Like
    • Coral Network Yes, it's funny how much of a conundrum it can feel like to actually represent things in YNAB. My husband and I went back and forth for quite a while debating some methods, and ultimately, I think it depends on your typical workflow.

      Since we started late, we had already budgeted as normal for September. We're leaving things as they are (tempting as it can be!), and letting them roll over into October. Because so much extra will roll-over, we're hopeful that what's left from our "income for next month" category after assigning out October will represent our "savings." We'll put all of the extra leftovers into our retirement savings category.

      That said, I think our method here is a little loosey-goosey 😆I know some move money into a 34DR category as they go, and some will sweep categories at the end of the month. Let us know what you decide! 

      Like
    • Rachel You mean I get to now spend more time looking at my budget and thinking of ways to organize things just how I like? *happy budgeting noises*

      Although seriously, that's a good point, we'll all do it a little different, which is part of why personal finance is so...well, personal. And it's kind of beautiful that way too. 

      Like 3
  • So we are 24 days in - Im away for work at the moment so all food/fuel is covered which is a bonus.

    We have literally shaved and saved to almost the total bare minimum so far and with the end in sight I think we really will make it.

    We split spending into Needs, Wants, Debts, Savings.

    Wants being non essential:

    • 88p on some hair grips for my daughter
    • £15.21 on a CD I wanted (very rare and an amazing price - this was my one failure on the challenge)
    • £35.54 on some supplements - one actually controls my cholesterol so could be a need but I have always considered it a Want.
    • £13.49 for my daughter when she had a day out with her friend.
    • £3.79 posting some gifts to my wife's cousin (gifts were regifted)

    Thats all we have spent in 24 days outside of our obligations.

    Groceries - we are still behind. I think the target was too ambititous. But we have still spent £19.40 less than out normal budget

    Fuel - Its going to be seriously close. Im going to have to budget more next month as I need to be in the office more.

    I hope everyone is doing well with their challenge - I enjoy reading your updates so keep it going!

    Like 1
    • Hammett98 Woohoo! I was so excited to see this update 😊You're crushing it, and you're in the home stretch. Keep it up! 

      Like 1
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