Are you frugal? I try to be. We're not rich. Not by a long shot! But you know what? We never go without. All of my childrens' clothes look really nice, as do mine and hubby's. We always have plenty of food, and good stuff too. We have what I think is plenty of "gadgets" and we have lots of fun.
That being said I'm going to tell you about some of the things I do to save money. I will try to remember all of them, but it's such a part of who I am -after years of practicing - that I may leave something out. I'm going to try to put them in categories so that they make more sense, but some of them may run together a little because they fit into more than one group. If you're not interested, then skip on to the next post. It's fine, but if you are interested read on. There may be something you haven't thought of yet.
1.) Cut the credit. We have 1 credit card and we truly only use it for emergencies. No, sales on clothes isn't an emergency unless you have absolutely no clothes. No, I mean like your air conditioner going out for instance.
2.)Don't buy unnecessary things. If what you're buying isn't an immediate need like medicine or you're on your last roll of toilet paper, wait a week and see if a)you can find it cheaper, as in on sale or used or b) it's something you really need at all. Do you really NEED that new shade of lipstick or could you make due with what you have and get it when the other runs out?
3.) Don't eat out as often. Look, I'm not saying stop all together. I LOVE eating out and would do it much more if I were rich, but I'm not so I don't. We could afford to do it MORE often, but it would effect our bottom line. We generally eat out once a month, sometimes twice if something comes up, and even then I can make it out of a place with a dollar menu for around $10 for the whole family. Granted, Reid and James can split a McChicken and a small fry and be just fine so... yeah. But we don't get soft drinks from anywhere, we drink water or drink something from home if we're bringing it back to our place. Ultimately it saves money and is better for your health.
4.) Do routine maintenance on your vehicles, change your air filters in your heat/air unit often (1x/month is best), and just do general upkeep on everything you own. It may cost a few dollars now, but it's much better than more than a few dollars later.
5.) Do as much as you can yourself. It's November and lots of leaves are on the ground. Go rake them! Make it a family project, try to have fun with it, and you'll be getting exercise too. Play a game like "I spy" while you do it. May sound like a child's game.. and that's because it is, but who says adults can't play? And at the end you will have saved X amount of dollars. Money that can be used for something else.
7.) Plan your errands. Don't do an errand or two a day. Plan a day where you do errands and then think of the best route to take so you're not doubling back and such. It'll save gas and most of the time it's easier on the nerves.
8.) I buy almost all of our clothes used. Goodwill, consignment shops, craigslist, you name it. And I never turn my nose up at hand-me-downs from friends and family. The only time I buy new is if I catch a really good deal on the off seasons. I do not pay over $1 for new clothing. I don't need to. We get everything we need, and I spend around $300/year on clothes for all of us. I know there's some that will turn their nose up at this, and that's fine, but I can guarantee my kids look just as good as anyone else's. I just pay way less for the same thing.
There's LOTS more I can put here but I think I'll stop there because there's one more area I want to talk about before this blog gets waaay too long. That topic is food. I'm extremely proud of the fact that I feed a family of 5 on around $320/month. Some people take saving money a lot further than I do and that's fine. But here's what I do.
2.) I may not get a paper out here, but they do deliver sale bills for free. I check those and write down sales all the places are having on things I need. However, I do not usually go to those places to get said sale items. I go to Wal-Mart. They have this program set up where you can "comp" an item. ( I do this because it saves a lot on gas and time by not having to run to 12 different stores.) If it's the same brand/size you tell them at the register where the sale is and how much it is they'll give you that price on the item. Even if it's the store's brand, get the Wal-Mart brand and you can comp it. Now, it can get kind of embarrassing holding up the line to do this, especially if you have multiple items to comp, so this may not be for everyone. I go late in the evening about 8pm or so so that the lines are much shorter and the people behind me can get in another line if they want. To each their own.
3.) The one exception to my buy only what you need rule is meat. If I find a really good sale on meat, and I mean really good, I buy up as much as I can afford. We have a Hills IGA here that has a sale on hamburger meat once every 3 or 4 months. 10lbs. for $12. I have been known to walk out of there with $100 (approx. 80lbs) worth of meat. Then I bring it home and wrap it in freezer paper in 1lb. packages and write the date and what it is on the paper... so I don't get my meats mixed up in the freezer and so that I use the oldest first. That's 80 meals worth of meat for $100. I love it!
4.) Aldi. It's a great place to get some things, especially milk and eggs. You can get some things well under the price of the same thing only a different brand name at other stores. I don't buy fresh fruits and vegetables from there though. They always seem to spoil quickly in my experience.
5.) Do less convenience foods. Frozen pizzas, hot pockets and such really cut into your food budget. I know its a pain to cook, but if you're looking for ways to cut your grocery bill try it. You'll see the difference.
7.) I buy bulk items from Sam's Club. Once again, I only buy what I need. This can be just as dangerous as coupons in my opinion, so you have to really rein yourself in if that's not something you're used to doing.
Oook.. I could go on. I want to go on, but you're probably bored to tears by now. If you know of any other ways to save, I'm all ears! I may have already heard about them, but I may not have. I'm always looking for new ideas.
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