July Wrap-up

I started playing the Money Game on July 13 starting on Level 1 with $5.  My husband caught the bug and started playing with me about a week later.  We grew the $5 to $509.86 which was just over 10,000% and we’re currently working on Level 95. Only 156 more levels to knock out – whoo hoo!

Just to compare, the S&P 500 is up 6.34% year to date as of today according to CNN.
Screenshot 2016-07-30 15.56.25

 

In one way, I wish I had come up with a way to make the first $5 earn a quarter and so on.  On the other hand, I’m shocked at how much extra shook out of our regular budget. We didn’t squeeze the budget trying to eak out some extra.  Every deposit was money that was sitting around in a change jar, gift card or was extra in the budget after a bill was paid. In the past, we always overspent on food and made it up whenever we came in under somewhere else.  Gift giving was our other budget buster that had to be made up somehow.

I leveled up 5% at a time mostly by spending more carefully, coming in under budget and then transferring the savings to our savings account.  It’s amazing what just paying attention will do.

I also

  • cashed in three change jars that I found laying around
  • used two $5 gift cards I found
  • deposited an expense check my husband received (I was careful not to drive around needlessly and we didn’t have to use it for gas money
  • we used tons of produce from our garden and made sure to eat leftovers instead of buying more food to come in under budget for groceries – this is huge for us and helped our budget cough up extra for the Money Game
  • gave up some personal spending money I had planned to spend on an expensive hair product
  • started shopping for gifts more carefully resulting in nicer gifts for less money (coming in under budget)
  • I was careful about using a timer when watering the yard and planning trips so I wouldn’t waste gas while running errands
  • grabbed the extra when our power and phone bills came in under budget

 
I didn’t

  • nag
  • suggest we cut our budget
  • change the quality or amount of food we normally cook and eat
  • sulk when we ate out cause we could have saved that money instead (I briefly wanted to but whatever)
  • cut our giving budget

 

Looking forward

I’m so excited about the Money Game.  I doubt if next month’s percent growth will be as high but it will be fun to see how it shakes out as we keep playing.  We now have a bit of money to work with too.  Getting this money to make money is going to be critical.  It will take too long to get to a million if this money doesn’t get to work!

The first real test will be next month.  This game can’t be taken seriously if it doesn’t become self-sustaining.

Level Completed: 94 Total Balance: $509.86

Our Money Game fund has grown 10,097.2% since July 13.

Have fun and level up!

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Leveling up with the phone bill

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

The phone bill hit my in box this morning. Since my husband is paid weekly, I set aside 1/4 of the total amount needed for the month every week. Four times a year, there is an extra week. I just hit that with this bill (June was a 5 week month for him and I’m seeing it actually hit the budget this July).

$30 a week is our budgeted amount for the phone bill so I get to take that extra $30 this week and put it in the Money Game fund.

We’re at the point where we need just under $25 to level up and that amount is growing quickly each time. It’s getting more challenging and 94 levels probably won’t get knocked out next month. That’s okay – we’ll keep playing the game and we’ll keep having fun. I’ll be thrilled if I come up with something that makes this $500 cough up $25. That’s the real goal and that’s where the magic happens.

Level Completed: 94 Total Balance: $509.86

Our Money Game fund has grown 10,097.2% since July 13.

Have fun and level up!

What’s up with this percent growth I keep reporting?

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

It’s starting to feel a bit silly.

I could have said I was starting with a penny and then the percentage would be way higher. But the rules of the game say we start with $5 so the first month’s growth is based on that.

It will sound more realistic in August when I report the percent growth for the current month compared to the past month.

I think it will be interesting to see where it levels and then hopefully climbs. I also will compare it to the S&P each month.

Level Completed: 89 Total Balance: $399.86

Our Money Game fund has grown a whopping 7,897.2% since July 13 (just over 3 weeks ago).

Have fun and level up!

Christmas in July … leveling up

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

After I wrote a post on gifts,  I realized Christmas is a huge opportunity. I also woke up this morning DYING to level up. I found another great deal, bought a gift online and pocketed the difference from our budget to our Money Game fund. Total saved? $80.00

Level Completed: 93 Total Balance: $479.86

Our Money Game fund has grown a whopping 9,497.2% since July 13.

Have fun and level up!

PS – I thought I’d should mention that we have a Christmas budget and we add to it each week. I have some money budgeted for Christmas so you’ll see these posts from time to time as I find deals and have money available to spend. I’m really excited about this challenge. I may have Christmas done early for the first time in my life!

Use your local FaceBook garage sale group to level up

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

I admit I’m racking my brain trying to figure out how to get this going without depending on finding extra money in our budget.

I volunteer with a young woman at church who told me she was almost finished furnishing the new house she just bought with her husband. I was impressed that they knocked it out so quickly and she showed me the local FaceBook garage sale page she uses to get great deals on nice furniture.

I had no idea! She added me to the group and my goal for this morning is to get something listed before I leave for the day. This might be a great way to get rid of some clutter and level up at the same time.

I’m working on Level 90 and need $10.01 more to complete it.

Is this an idea that would work for you? Does this give you any other ideas? Let’s help each other figure out how to level up in a way that’s win-win. I know I have a really nice pair of Brooks Brothers heels that I’ve barely worn. My husband found them on sale and bought them to surprise me. They are just too big and I can’t wear them. They’ll go up first.

I’ll come back with an update on how this works – or doesn’t work.  Wish me luck!  I’d love to hear if you’ve had success selling things locally.

Have fun and level up!

Get richer with lower AC

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

I just got the mail and the electric bill came.  We keep the temps in our home at 78 during the summer.  If I get too hot, I go outside and do yard work for 15 minutes.  When I come in, the house feels cool.  Even with recent temps in the high 90’s, it works.  This is something we’ve done for years by the way.  If someone is visiting, we crank up the air to 72.

The bill came in $66.51 under budget.  At first I was stunned as it’s a peak month.  But we were gone for 10 days over the 4th on vacation.  We had the thermostat set even higher while the house was empty.

So nothing much has changed since my last update over breakfast.  The entire amount gets transferred to savings and we get to level up again.

Level Completed: 89  Total Balance: $399.86

Our Money Game fund has grown a whopping 7,897.2% since July 13 (just over 3 weeks ago).

Have fun and level up!

 

 

Level Up with a free lunch

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Money Saving Mom posted this deal from Moe’s.   Download their app and get a free burrito.  You know those things are huge right?

Take what you would have spent anyway and deposit it in your Money Game account.  I plan to do it if the deal is still going the next time I’m out (our nearest Moe’s is 20 miles away).

Have fun and level up!!

 

Leveling Up with an expense check

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

I’m blogging about every deposit to give you ideas of you can grow your own fund and to provide real life examples of how quickly (or slowly) it will grow.  I know it’s going to look and feel differently in the lower, middle and higher levels.  I would love to look over someone’s shoulder as they do this because it would help me do even more.  If you’re playing along, please, please share.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  I know I won’t have every answer but as people join in, we’ll figure it out together.

My husband’s expense check for last month just hit our checking account (he normally does these right away but we were on vacation and I think the first week or two back on the job feel like catch up to him).  I’ve never included these in our regular budget because I have no way of knowing what the cost of gas will be and how much other driving we have had to do in a particular month.  When we get one, I catch up the fuel budget if it’s in the red and we used the rest for the  baby step we’re on.  Occasionally, we decide to just blow the check on eating out or something.

This month was kind to us.  The fuel budget is fine and his check was $148.97.  I got to deposit the entire check in the Money Game account.

It still feels like a fun game because we haven’t cut back on our other budget categories (except my own personal spending a few times).  I’ve loved watching my husband come in and ask if we got to level up that day.  I can’t wait to see the data next month because it will give us a chance to start forecasting a little bit.  We’ve saw so many cool things happen when we were knocking out our consumer debt and paying off our house.  This is even more fun because these “payments” are to us – not to a bunch of bills.

Level Completed: 85  Total Balance: $333.35

Our Money Game fund has grown a whopping 6,567% since July 13 (just over 3 weeks ago).

 

The Money Game is flexible

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

I realized this morning I’ve only been doing this (from scratch) for just over 3 weeks and the money has grown over 3,500%.

I also realized it doesn’t have to grow to a million.  Once you get to the level that the money is bringing in more and it’s plenty to meet your needs (whatever it is that you need it to do) then you can start using the money it makes.  Does that make sense?

For me – having a way to bring in $10,000 a pop would mean I could fund bigger projects around here like replacing a heat pump, updating the kitchen or rennovating the pool.  Say I have enough to buy and sell a piece of land for a $10k profit – then I’m golden at that spot.

I’m not saying I’m stopping – I’m saying this whole idea is flexible.  You don’t have to have a million and you don’t have to stop at a million.  You could also hit pause, taking a profit to complete a project and then resume piling up profits and growing your Money Game fund again to new highs.

Leveling Up on Payday

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

I moved $14.05 of my own personal spending money to our Money Game fund. That completed Levels 72 & 73 with a good start on Level 74.  It’s getting harder to knock out more than one level with these small deposits.  I’ll still take them though!

Level Completed: 73  Total Balance: $184.38

Our Money Game fund has grown 3,587% since July 13 (exactly 3 weeks ago).