I have a larger than average family, there are 7 of us, and I like to pride myself in living a little differently than everyone else. We have one income, provided by my husband, and I like to think that part of my job is making the very most of his paycheck. Over the years, we have become expert and making a dollar stretch into more buying power than anyone thought possible.
I’d like to share some of my most favorite simple tips and tricks so that you can make the most of your paychecks as well. With just a few changes you, too, can live the “Good Life” on less! Here are my 5 Frugal Living Ideas.
1. Eat 99% of your meals at home. Fast food and eating out suck away more of your precious resources than anything else. And, when you really think about it, the value for the money is not that great. Most fast food meals are between $4-6.00, when that is compounded between 2, 3, 4 or more people it suddenly becomes more than you would spend on several days’ worth of groceries to be prepared at home. Save up and go out for special occasions, it will be much more of a treat! Who doesn’t like a home cooked meal?
2. Switch from store bought cleaners to homemade cleaners. By switching out a LOT of chemical laden cleaners for a few simple items that mix and match to make many homemade cleaners, you can save yourself a bundle over the course of a year. Stock up on baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, borax, alcohol and peroxide instead. The internet is full of homemade cleaners, just type “homemade cleaners” into Pinterest and see how many recipes come up! Pick a few and try them out, I think you’ll find that they work just as well as the ones you are used to.
3. Ditch cable or satellite. I know this one may not be popular with everyone, but getting rid of cable or satellite can save you HUNDREDS of dollars a year, thousands for some people with extra channels or premium packages. It might be hard at first, it was for our family, but we eventually found so many more things to do like read to each other or to ourselves, we had more time for outdoor and family activities and we no longer stay up later than we want to so we can finish watching our “shows”. You can also sign-up with NETFLIX.
4. Switch to using cell phones only. Let’s face it- we’ve become a society of people who need to be in constant contact with each other. In some ways this is great, but sometimes (and I know you all know what I mean) there is just a little too much “togetherness”. If you have a landline and a cell phone, consider getting rid of your landline and having a cell phone only. We saved a ton of money by doing this a couple of years ago and our internet provider even has an option for an internet only line (which is what we have). You always have your cell phone with you anyway, so why worry about having a phone in your home?
5. Shop yard sales and thrift stores. We have found so many items we were looking for (including canners, canning jars, camping equipment, kids clothes and toys and so much more!) for new or next to new at yard sales and thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new. Often people buy or receive things as gifts and never use them, so they sell them or give them away. Craigslist is another great source for free or cheap items you need or would like to have but have sticker shock at the price of new. Decide what you would be willing to buy second hand and shop for it. The savings can be phenomenal.
I know all of these ideas aren’t going to be for everyone, but maybe if you can apply one or two to your situation, you can make a dent in your budget and allow yourself a little more wiggle room. My family and I are living proof that a large family can live on less than $30,000/year and have fun while we’re doing it. It just takes determination and firm commitment. You can do it too!!!
Raising a family, large or small, can be a difficult task no matter where you come from or your position in society or in your community. I have a large family of 10 when everyone is together, so I am always looking for a good deal or a way to save money, there just never seems to be enough of it no matter how hard we all try.Continue reading