Monday, February 6, 2012

Ways to Save: Frugal Wrap Up


Ya get it, I'm cheap.  I like to save money.  Sometimes out of necessity, always for the thrill.  Besides the posts I've shared on being frugal over the past week, I thought I'd share a few ways we save money around our house:

  • Make a budget.  Daniel did this for us, but it's fairly easy to put together.  The hard part is sticking to it!  We looked at our monthly income, then our necessary and extra expenses.  Daniel allotted enough money to cover our necessary expenses, tithe, missions, and money to be put into savings, then figured how much we could spend on all of the "extras".  Each category has a set amount we can spend.  When we save in one category, we can use those funds to cover extras/unexpecteds in another.  For example- we have TONS of gifts to give December through Feb because of birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries.  We don't, however, spend a lot during those months on groceries (I know, that sounds weird, but we are always out of town and eating with family.  Plus, we have LOTS of leftovers).  So, extra we don't spend on groceries goes into the gift fund.  If we can be cheap on everything, we put more money on payments for cars, loans, etc. so they can be paid off quicker.
Mine.  Love it.
  • Line dry at least 3 loads of laundry per week.  Daniel and I both wear business attire to work, so I usually line dry those things anyway so they don't get ruined or shrink.  We have definitely noticed a decrease in our electric bill since doing this. I scored a garment rack for free when we moved church buildings (it was left behind) and I hang things to dry in our laundry room.  I saw it at Walmart for $37, but it is well worth the investment in my opinion (plus, great for hanging clothes at garage sales for easy shopping!).  As I posted, we make our own laundry soap, which only costs us 4 cents per load, whereas store-bought is upwards of $.15.  This doesn't sound like a big deal per load, but think about it- we do laundry for 1/3 of the cost of the cheap laundry soap.  Nevermind Tide.
  • Grocery shop and cook strategically.  I guest posted at Simply Prudent about this very thing and it saves us a ton of money. Check it out!
  • Buy in-season.  While we are on the subject of food, I will tell you that shopping for food that is in season will save you a lot of cash.  Unlike my lovely mother, if blueberries are not in season and cost almost $4 for a 1/2 pint, we simply go without.  Be creative and force yourself to find new recipes for foods that you can get inexpensively.  When I plan to grocery shop, I look to see what I can get the best deal on, then I plan meals with those ingredients.  This saves me from having to buy expensive ingredients for meals I've already planned on making and don't have the ingredients for.
  • Recycle and Reuse containers.  I save all sorts of containers to be reused as tupperware and random-use storage.  When we pack lunches, I try to use as much tupperware as possible so we don't have to waste lunch baggies (and I have been known to rinse those out, too.  I know, pathetic.  Can't help myself!).  Some weeks are better than others.  Lunch meat containers and butter tubs are the best!
  • Buy used.  Hunting through thrift stores is one of my all time favorite things to do.  I don't remember the last time I bought anything from our wardrobe or home full price, let alone from a retail store.  It really keeps costs down!
  • If you can DIY, then DIY.  That is, only if it saves you money.  Don't be fooled into thinking everything that is "DIY" is cheap and will save you money.  Sometimes it is cheaper to have someone do something for you or go somewhere to have something "done".  I do my own French Pedicures for free (last night!), but we paid to have some new furniture delivered last year because the charge was cheaper than renting and truck and paying for the gas.  Use your common sense.
  • Use couponsWait, I thought you hated couponing?  I do.  BUT, we usually only go out to eat if we have a coupon.  They are easy to find and several restaurants have them online or give free meals for birthdays and other special occasions.  There is no reason to pay full price for a meal out when you can get it half price (or free)!
  • Use cash gifts wisely.  We always wait a certain amount of time before spending a large amount of money so we can "sit on it" and see if we really need it.  Either that, or we have a list of things we "need" long term and purchase with these gifts.  For example, we bought a deep freeze with Christmas money.  You wouldn't think it would be exciting (Oh, how it was!), but we will definitely need it long term once we expand our family (we were already busting out of the freezer attached to our fridge!).  Any extra money that comes in usually goes towards paying off our cars and students loans so that we can work towards being debt free.
  • Keep a "Good Deal" book, whether it's tangible or mental.  I have been so cheap for so long that I know when something is a good deal.  Don't be fooled by sales and grocery items that end up in the weekly circular.  Sometimes companies pay for a spot in the circular and items are shown for their regular price, but people are fooled into thinking they are on sale because they are "featured" items.  Na uh.  When you find something for a good price, buy it if you need it or use it regularly.  Don't buy something you don't usually buy just because it's a good price for what it is.  This is why I hate couponing.
  • Find Free Entertainment.  I always check local magazines for free events for us to go to-concerts, festivals, outdoor movies, farmers markets, you name it (KC Parent is a great source for Kansas City folk!). They are more widely available during spring and summer, but they're still out there.  We like to rent things from the library, too.  Pretty sure I have seen every single episode of Roseanne thanks for our Library!
  • Be content with what God gives you.  I know, easier said than done.  But, this really works for us.  When we think we have to have something, we step back and say, "in the scope of eternity, will this matter?  Usually, NO.  Do I want this because I need it, or because I want other people to see me with it? Usually it's the second, which makes me realize I am being a brat.  Will this, in the long run, save us money?  If so, it makes "the list" (such as the freezer).  God commands us to be content and not covet, which is something I personally struggle with.  Knowing that God has a specific plan for my life-that ultimately Christ will be glorified (hopefully.  It will happen regardless of whether or not I choose to partake in that blessing!)-helps me to rest assure that I have what I need, will be taken care of, and blessed along the way in His timing.  We don't love Jesus because He will bless us.  We love Jesus because He first loved us while we were still sinners.

Welp, that's my two-cents worth on being frugal.  This works.  For us.  I hope you can adapt something-or at least get ideas- on how to be cheapskates like us.

Here are all of the links to the various recipes we talked about:

So long!


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