Monday, February 03, 2014

I'm Taking the Gail Vaz-Oxlade Family Financial Challenge with #PGMom #SavingMadeSimple

Have you ever gotten to the register at the grocery store, confidently punched in the code for your debit card, and had the big "DECLINED" response stare you in the face? I have. It's not fun. And a little embarrassing. On the few occasions it happened to me, I luckily had a credit card I could use instead, but I still kicked myself. Because, basically, if I and my family were better at following a budget and keeping track of our spending, this type of thing wouldn't occur.

I used to balance my cheque book. Back when I was a teenager and thought how cool and grown-up it was to have a cheque book and be earning an income. But that didn't last long. I admit it - I am a terrible budget-er and I need a good kick in the pants to get my financial life on track. That's why I've decided to join a bunch of my fellow P&G Moms in this Family Financial Challenge during the month of February.

The Family Financial Challenge is a month long challenge inspired by personal finance expert Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Each week I'll be sharing ideas on how my family saves money and makes smart financial decisions. Assuming we make those smart decisions. The saving tips won't be a problem, as I'm already pretty consistent with looking for sales, couponing, eating at home, etc. It's the keeping track of our spending where I suffer.

There's a specific theme for each week of the challenge, and I'm interested to see our prompts as we move along:
  • Week 1 – Cash, Cash, Cash
  • Week 2 – Food
  • Week 3 – Family
  • Week 4 – Clothes 
For this first week, my challenge is to sign up at and get to work on Gail's 23 step guide. As I understand it, I'll basically be analysing my financial habits, figuring out what's working and what isn't and then coming up with a plan, goals and a 6 month budget. I'm terrified. It will be a lot of work at the start I'm sure, but it will pay off. I'm a little worried about what I will discover about our spending habits! But, this is critical information to know if we hope to get our finances on track. Also – I've agreed to spend cash only this month. That may be even more difficult, as I never carry more than $40. I've had my wallet stolen, and that scarred me. And having cash in the house worries me as well. We had a break-in a number of years ago, and I know I should be over it by now, but insurance only covers so much cash loss. I was thinking it would be difficult to get Hubs on board with the cash only, but then I realised he actually pays in cash quite frequently, so I'll have to follow his lead.

Do you want to come along on this ride with me? I'd love to hear your tips for saving money too! You can share them here in the comments or tweet with the hashtag #SavingMadeSimple. And be sure to join us for a Twitter Party with Chatelaine and Gail on Thursday, February 6, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m EST. From saving money by getting better value from your laundry detergent to re-purposing leftovers, Gail will share helpful tips and tricks that will have your money working for you. You can also ask Gail your money questions by hashtagging #SavingMadeSimple! Just follow the hashtag, @Chatelaine and @GailVazOxlade to participate.

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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