As a full-time stay at home Mom and full-time college student, saving money is extremely important and beneficial to our family. Over the past several years I have learned different ways that our family can get all the bills paid, buy groceries for the month, have extra money for entertainment and put a little away in savings. Here are 10 Frugal Living Ideas to help your family live on an annual income of $30,000 or less and still find time to have fun and save for a rainy day:
1. Coupons – Use them, love them…they are free money. Coupons can be found for pretty much anything now; you just have to hunt them. Sign-up and join as many coupon/bargain sites that you can find. Also remember to search and use coupon codes when ordering items online.
2. Comparison Shop– always look to see what store or company will offer the better price; shop around.
3. Take advantage of local farmers and farmers markets – You can find really good quality produce at a better price than what grocery stores sell produce.
4. Grow your own food- dirt, seed, water and sunshine is less expensive and more rewarding.
5. Cut down on your electricity usage and save on your power bill – if you’re not using something, cut it off and unplug it. Make sure lights are off throughout the house when you aren’t in those rooms. Keep your thermostat on 68 in the winter and 72 in the summer. Don’t run your dryer any longer than you have to and on warm sunny days, hang your clothes out to dry.
6. Take advantage of thrift stores or yard sales.
7. Save gas – reduce the number of trips you make out of the house every day on days that you need to run errands, plan your trip beforehand. Find a route that will take you from place to place that you need to go without having to back track. Carpool if that is an option; find an errand/shopping buddy.
8. Pack your kids lunches for school – Not only is it cheaper; it is healthier. Read our list of 15 Healthy Snacks for Lunchboxes
9. Find way to re-use items – For example: I use old baby wipe containers to hold the kids markers and crayons. Take worn out towels and use as dust rags, used baby food jars are great to store nuts, bolts and screws, plastic grocery store bags can be used in small trash cans.
10. Use the internet to your advantage on finding money saving deals. Use sites like restaurant.com or groupon.com to save money on doing things your family enjoys, like eating out. Look at store sales papers every week and buy in bulk when it is something you use a lot of and have found a great deal on it.
There are tons of ways that you can save money every day and live on an annual household income of $30,000 or less; be frugal and always hunt for the best deal or bargain.
Thanks Tabitha J. for this Living on 30000 or Less tips!
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It’s time to get that grill fired up! I cookout often during the spring and summer. It is much easier to clean up plus it keeps the house cooler by not using the oven. During the summer we host several parties. I do like to entertain but it can be a strain on the budget. Mrs. Not Made of Money brings us some tips today on how to save money while hosting a cookout.Continue reading
The most important qualities to living a purposely frugal life is to be prepared. Preparedness will always prevent an unnecessary struggle. I was born and raised in Florida, like many parts of the country we have our share of weather to worry about. Up North, you must be prepared for the winter weather. In the Midwest, you must be prepared for severe wind and storms. Out West, earthquakes are a part of the reality of choosing to live there. And down South and along the East Coast, hurricanes are an issue for over half of the year. Nothing can be worse than being in the situation where you could have been prepared (and often meant to be prepared) but did not “get around to it”.
Emergency kits can become extremely expensive, so you always need to keep in mind what your family needs is a disaster happens. In my family, everyone has their own bags, and then we have two family totes: one with important documents and your replaceable items, and another with everything else that can be generally used by the family. For the two totes, we use big plastic storage containers.
In each of the individual bags, what you put in depends on two factors. One factor is the needs of the person on a daily basis, the other factor is what type of emergency situation the bag is being used for. For our family, hurricane season is the main reason we pack emergency bags. Each of the kids bags are backpacks that I have found that consignment sales for very cheap. My husband and I each use old reusable shopping bags for ours.
There are three main categories to consider when putting together your kit: food, water, and supplies. Here is a full list of items to put on your emergency kit.
Most, if not all of the items on these lists can be purchased during sale cycles and with coupons. Make sure to pick one day a year (mark it on your calendar) that you go through your kits and refresh any expired goods. For our family, June 1st is the start of hurricane season and the day we go through our kits and go over our family plan on what to do in case of emergencies. Start building your families kits now. Do not wait until it is too late.
Read part 1 of Angie’s Living on $30,000 Best Frugal Tips on Thriving and (not just surviving) on $30,000 a year!
Part 2 – Basic Home Budgeting
Part 4 – How to Not Spend Money
Part 6 – Money Management Skill
Part 7 – Why Couples Should Talk About Money?
I am a stay at home mom and happily married to my husband Tom. I have a five year old daughter and a two and a half year old son. I grew up in Orlando, but went to school in New York City and lived in Los Angeles before moving home to raise a family. I have worked in the film industry since the early nineties, and for over a decade with the Florida Film Festival. I also spent many years working in marketing with Glaceau and Honest Tea. But, I am happiest at home building my family.
For more Best Frugal Tips, read these:
Don’t think it’s possible, right? I mean, seriously, who can live on less than $30,000 a year in this day and age? Well, I’ll tell you. My husband and I…and our 6 kids do! Let me walk you through the process. It wasn’t easy, but if you are as determined as I was, it is possible!
First of all, you need to get rid of the feelings of entitlement that many Americans struggle with. We did this without food stamps or help from the government. With our large family, we would have qualified for assistance, but guess what? We owned our house and two cars and we would have had to give those up to qualify. We had a huge old farmhouse and our mortgage payments were $269 a month. To rent a house or apartment, you can be sure we wouldn’t have found anything that cheap! My husband was going back to school and needed to commute 2 hours each way daily. Not having a car would have made this impossible!
We lived on much less than $30,000 a year, but this was more than several years ago, so I am adjusting for inflation. Let me give you the frugal living ideas to make this happen. Most people will not want to be this diligent about saving money. Like I said before, we were determined, and it is possible with severe cutbacks in your spending.
1. Cut your cable, internet, direct TV, netflix and cell phones
Contrary to popular belief, these are not essentials! The public library has free internet with computers for you to use, DVDs and books to borrow and much, much more! Check and see what they have to offer, you’ll be amazed. We functioned without cell phones, but if you must, get a no frills regular (not smart phone) cell at the dollar store for $10 and use it only for emergencies! We have lived and thrived for 27 years with no TV, our kids are happy, well adjusted and smart!
2. Do not get a pet, if you don’t already have one. If you do, consider finding a loving home for it.
I love pets as much as the next person, but pets are expensive! That free kitty or puppy your kids are begging you for? They need shots, food, litter box, litter, surgery to be fixed and can rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills if they get sick or injured.
3. Grow a garden
Seeds are cheap, grow your own vegetables in your backyard, front yard or in containers. I always have a pot by my back door with spinach and lettuce mixes growing during the spring, summer and fall. I never bought fertilizer or weed killer due to the cost and because I didn’t want chemicals in my kids food. We pull weeds by hand and pick off bugs or spray the plants with soapy water.
4. Stop going to the mall
If you go to the mall or out “shopping,” you are going to see things you think you need. You don’t need most of these! Just stop shopping except for essentials, break the habit of window shopping or shopping out of boredom!
5. Buy necessities at a discount store
Buy what you absolutely need at a discount store. We shopped at a place that sold overstock and out of date items. Just because something is a good deal, does not mean you need it. If it is a great deal and something you will use a lot of, then by all means, buy several. I actually found that I could buy large cans of tomatoes cheaper than I could grow them!
6. No one needs new clothes!
We stopped buying any clothes. Kids passed down clothes, relatives gave us their hand me downs and friends of mine held “swaps” where we all brought clothes our kids no longer needed and we passed them around.
7. Wash your own diapers and breastfeed your babies
I washed my own diapers, hung them out to dry and breastfed all 6 kids as long as they were interested. I totally understand that in rare cases, breastfeeding is not successful, but most people can breastfeed, especially with free advice from the hospital and LaLeche League. Your baby does not need any additional food, water or juice for at least 6 months, often longer! Research has shown that this is the best for your baby and babies who are exclusively breastfed are healthier. No judgement if you tried and couldn’t, just telling you what is cheapest and best.
8. There is no need for baby food-ever!
The creator of baby food was a marketing genius! For hundreds of years, babies were breastfed and gradually weaned to whole foods when they had sufficient teeth and could chew. Don’t drink the Kool-aid, your baby needs no special food! If you breastfeed your baby exclusively, they get everything they need. Breast milk changes as your child grows to give him exactly what his body requires. I breastfed one child exclusively until 9 months old, when I gradually added soft bites of what we ate to his diet. This is also assuming you are serving healthy, whole foods.
9. Live close to where you work and bike to work
If at all possible, do this step. You will save thousands in gas and car expenses. It would be worth it to move closer, if you or your spouse have a good job.
It takes a lot of effort and determination, but if you want to live on less than $30,000 a year, it is possible! Our kids think back on the 2 years their Daddy was in school fondly. They never complained that we didn’t have enough to eat or that our life was lacking in any way!
So, what do you think? Could you live on less than $30,000?
Thanks to Nurse Pam for sharing this frugal living ideas post!
If you are living on a tight budget (or just generally frugally minded) the holidays can be a time of anxiety and worry as well as budget stretching triumph. I have found plenty of areas in which a dollar can be stretched or saved during the holidays, but one area where you should always be prepared to pay full price is when it comes to tipping. Showing thankfulness should be something that is never done less than over abundantly. Of course we all would love to shower those who have provided help or services for us throughout the year with gifts that surpass what is socially required, but realistically that is not always possible. Especially if time are lean and frugal living is less of a choice and more of a necessity.Continue reading
Do you ever wonder Why Do You Need an Emergency Fund? It’s easy to wonder if this is important, but also how to make it happen. We have some tried and true reasons and tips here for you to understand more about why an emergency fund is a necessity no matter what your current financial situation may be.
Why do you need an emergency fund (part 1) ?
As some of the readers may have noticed, my regular series “How to thrive and not just survive under $30,000 a year” has not been around for a few weeks. One of the major reasons is because of a hard financial lesson I just learned. Most of the information in my blog posts comes from my own personal experience and doing a lot of research to figure out how to run the “business” that is my family the best I can. I have always been of the opinion that you shouldn’t spend money that isn’t yours (i.e.. credit card debt). Over the years, I have learned that building credit is equally as important as paying your debts. For that reason, we have embraced using credit cards in a controlled way.Continue reading