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To live frugally is not something that I do naturally. It is something that I continue to learn how to do so that our family can afford for me to be at home with our 3 year old. It is not easy and there is some work to be done to save money and be debt free. The key for me has been to learn to spend less and save more without that becoming the focus of our family’s life. I certainly want our children to understand the value of a dollar and to make good financial decisions. However, I don’t ever want them to feel that the expenses of having them are a burden to us as parents. In our house, it has turned into more of a we save money on x, y and z so that we can do a, b or c. Our children know that we focus on keeping our monthly expenses low and they know that Mama is very serious about her coupons.
This has been a difficult balance to achieve. We began to focus on our expenses out of sheer necessity. The details aren’t important. I’ll simply say that the economy affected us as it has so many others and we had to make changes. As we faced the task of cutting expenses and living within our means, I realized that our stress was obvious to our kids and it bothered me. It changed how I dealt with the worry and the strain because I didn’t want them to worry. I don’t want them oblivious to the world, but they will face their own financial worries later in life; now is their time to be children. In the course of all of this change, I learned some important lessons about saving money and be on the way to be debt free for life.
1. Make Saving Money Educational: When my children do go to the grocery store with me, I use coupons as math lessons. I pick up the item, tell the child the price, the value of the coupon and if it will be doubled. It’s his or her job to tell me the price. When we are shopping for clothes and there is a 20% Off Sale, I ask them to figure out the reduced price of the piece of clothing. They have to figure out the answer or Mama’s not buying! I am certain that my children do not always appreciate the math lesson, but I realized recently that my mother did this with me. Because of this, I can figure out sale prices in seconds and make decisions about deals. It is a gift my mother gave to me and one that I am passing on to my kids.
2. Buy What You Need Before You Need It: I do not have a stockpile. I don’t have room for one and I’m not totally in favor of large stockpiles. I do have a few back-ups for the non-perishable items that I know we will use. For example, ketchup is like liquid gold in our house. When it goes on sale and I have coupons, I buy a few bottles. It saves me later. By doing this, I usually save on all of these items. When I do not, I end up in a pinch and have to pay full price. Mama would rather but it as a discount.
3. Plan, Plan and Then Plan Some More: If there is anything I underestimated about living frugally, it is the planning required. It is not enough to cut some coupons, sign up for the store rewards card and head on down the aisle. That will lead to a much bigger spend than you intended. Ask me, I know. I have the receipts to prove it. Saving money is a process. It involves planning meals, sourcing coupons, reviewing the sales, possibly visiting multiple stores and sticking to your plan. My approach has changed and is becoming more like a ritual each week. I have changed from a small coupon holder to a large binder so that I can find my coupons more quickly. I read all of the flyers, identify the best sales at different stores and match coupons where possible. I have changed my approach to cooking and meal planning. The more we eat in, the less we spend and the more I plan, the less we eat out. For each trip to the store, I have a list in spreadsheet form with the prices of sale items, my coupons and more. It keeps me in check and I’ve learned that makes a big difference to our bottom line.
We’ve been focused on living more frugally for about six month now and we have seen results. By cutting our expenses and saving on food, we have been able to take our kids on mini-vacations and day trips that we would not have been able to afford. We’ve refocused our attention so when possible, extra money is spent showing them the world around them. A museum trip, a weekend at the beach and a few afternoon Texas drives were made possible by this frugality. The best part is that saving the dollars has given us back so much more than money.
Thanks to Cyndy Lay for these tips!
Read more of our Frugal Ways to Save Money tips:
It is true. I am buying more organic food. I have also seen a huge increase in my bill until I realized that I could get my grocery bill down easily by following these tips to save on organic foods .
The first tip is buy local. I mean it go to the farmer’s market. I grab my cloth bag and $20 and see what I can challenge the kids to buy. I find that if my children pick the veggies they will try new things. This local farmer’s market in West Virginia is a great example of a place to buy more for your money.
As a tenant paying rent to a landlord, I never really thought about how much it costs to maintain a home. You pay the rent, the electric, water, gas, and trash bills but if something goes wrong, you call the landlord. Hopefully, the landlord cares about the property and sends a repairman out to fix the problem.
On the other hand, as a homeowner, you not only have to pay the mortgage and utilities, you have to budget and pay for various things which can go wrong. There’s the faucet or toilet which starts to leak, the garage door or doorbell which mysteriously stops working, the washer which decides it’s not going to make it through the spin cycle without stopping dead in its tracks. Welcome to home ownership and the repairs associated with it!
These are all things which have happened to our family. These are things which seem to happen at the most inopportune times. The trick to save on home repairs is to have a budget for these eventualities. Each month, we set aside money which is solely dedicated to fixing things around the house. Sometimes there is enough to fix the problem and sometimes there isn’t.
My husband will admit to anyone that he is not a “fix-it” kind of guy. As a landlord with multiple properties, he called in the professionals who fixed the problem and sent him a bill. I’ve teased him over the years about his philosophy of home repairs: “Who do I write the check to?”
Things like a leaky faucet or toilet are generally a quick fix. YouTube is a great resource for these basic items. When our washer stopped mid-cycle, we looked up the problem on the internet by searching the problem along with the model of the machine. Fortunately, we discovered it was a simple problem which was quickly remedied by following simple instructions given on a website.
First and foremost, determine if it is something you can competently fix. If it isn’t, then it’s time to call in the professionals. Be sure the contractor you hire is not only licensed to do the work you require but also bonded and insured. You want a contractor who will stand behind his work. You do not want a “fly by night” contractor that is liable to do more harm than good.
Ask friends to recommend professionals they have used. Once you’ve identified two or three contractors, get written estimates and ask to see their licenses and proof of insurance. If they are truly professionals, they will have no issue producing this documentation. In the end, you won’t be sorry and will most assuredly save on repairs because you won’t have to fix what the fly by nighter made a bigger mess of.
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This 2013 our goal is to save more money! MadameDeals is all about Making Dollar$ Out of Change, so everyday we will be sharing some useful and simple tips that we can easily do. Saving a few buck$ may not be a lot, but if you will combine all the savings that you can get within a year, I’m sure you’ll all be surprised with the result.
Our budget saving tip for today is on how you can save on shampoo!
When bathing, instead of pouring large amount of shampoo at once, our tip is to pour small amount first and repeat the process.
First use about a quarter sized amount of shampoo. Yes, it won’t lather much, but you will get the surface dirt off. Next rinse.
Then repeat the process with the same quarter sized amount of shampoo. This time the shampoo lathers really well! Rinse and use conditioner if needed.
You may doubt it at first, but try it and it will work. By using two smaller amounts, you save about 50% on shampoo!
Save money this 2013, check out our other Saving Tips!
Also, read our other Useful Tips posts!
Instead of buying expensive hair care products, you can also try to make and use these natural and homemade hair products:
I know some girls dream of princes I dream of Frye cowboy boots for women. I know that Frye boots promotion hardly ever come up. I am honestly not sure where this boot problem came from since I lived most of my life in Florida and we didn’t wear boots. I can tell you I fell in love with these boots. The problem was they are expensive. They were so much money that after turning over to look at the price I put them down like they were on fire. Then I picked them up and asked to try them on. I tried them on. I fell in love and I gave them back to the clerk. The reason was simple I could throw on my credit card but I could pay off my credit card with them on there.
I left the store over a year ago. I went online and tried to find them. I spent the next year saving for them. Then I didn’t realize how hard it was to find them. I had a game I played with myself for a year. The do you need that or do you want those Frye cowboy boots for women more. There were time the answer was yes and times the answers were no. I would come home and put the money I saved in the safe. It was sometimes $3.00 and sometimes $30.00. It was birthday money and wow, I saved using coupons money. It was hard earned money. I knew one thing those boots were made for walking and I was going to have them.
I guess I fell in love with the pearls and the fact that I had never seen Grey Frye Cowboy boots before. Well, I am pleased to announce that I bought my Frye boots. It took over one year but I did it. I even caught my Frye boots on sale I got 15% off. I love how they fit. The leather is subtle and not stiff. The boots hit on my mid calf. They are not heavy and they are very comfy. They are remarkable You can see what I paid minus 15% by clicking on the pink text below. I am proud of myself for sticking to my goal. It is easy to use a credit card it is harder to actually not buy stuff so you can buy what you really want. What am I saving for next. Well, I am saving for a Rolex. I assume it will take me several years but if you want something you have to work to buy it. You have to give up things to get what you really want. I know one thing I love my boots and I love knowing I paid cash. I should not prior to buying them I paid the extra money the 15% I saved into my children’s college fund.
Deborah Frye Boots <— click to find out how much I had to save
Now you can see how much I had to save! Wahoo! I love my new grey boots. They are adorable!
I must admit I love to get stuff in the mail. I know gasp. I also am addicted to shopping. I am addicted to frugal fashion finds. Thus having a deal site makes sense. I know that I can get better deals on the internet than in the stores. I also know what brands look good on me and how to score them for 50% or more off their retail price. I recently went to lunch with another blogger and she shared this awesome site Like Twice. I thought oh she looks cute I am positive this is something I should check out for you.
I went to their site and I signed up for a free $10 credit. You can see my jcrew jacket that I got for $10 off was a real deal. I got my jacket quickly and it looked just like the picture. It fit perfectly and I love it. I am going to shop there all the time. Twice consignment is my new favorite store. I am even going to consign my own clothes on there. It is so much easier to find nearly new clothing on their site then searching the racks of goodwill. I also know they are in great condition and will arrive nicely packaged. This site is the real deal. I suggest you sign up while they give you $10 off your first purchase. I am sure you can find something cute!
What is your best fashion score?