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!
Goal: $750 ($500 car insurance, $250 emergency fund)
- 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.
Goal is £500
- No eating out at all. This inlcudes my weekly lunch treat on a Friday and all takeways.
- Reduction in Grocery Budget - cooking more cost effective meals. No steaks for us!
- Free Family Outings - save the money from our Family Trips budget and go to the park/beach etc. instead
- 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!
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!
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!
I'm in! My goal is to finish the 34 days feeling proud of myself financially.
- 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!
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?
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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- No Steam games this month! They'll come on sale again girl, you'll be okay.
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! 💪
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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!
I'm jumping in late - I've decided to start on Sunday.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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!
- Kick-off our 2022 investments category with enough to get a head start on maxing our Roth IRAs!
- 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!
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!
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.
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.
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...
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!
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!
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.
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!
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?
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!