Frugal living isn't about being a cheapscape. It's about being smart and getting more for your money. There's nothing wrong with wanting to put a little money away for let's say, a family vacation, or your child's college education etc ...
There are so many things we can implement into our daily lives that can help us save some extra cash, even hundreds of dollars a year.
Tips for saving money:
# Start A Change Bank:
Get an old coffee can or a peanut butter jar (any kind of jar or container will do) Put all your change in it. When you go to the store and buy something that cost's $1.58 give them $2.00 not $1.58. Put that extra change in your jar. I empty my purse out once a week and I usually have anywhere from 5-10 dollars in the bottom. I make it a point to not touch it throughout the week. If I run out of cash, then I don't buy anything. (If you find yourself digging into your change then put it in your jar twice a week, or every night before bed.) DON'T TOUCH YOUR CHANGE!!!
# Pack Smart For The Kid's School Snacks:
Buying pre-packaged snacks can be expensive. Retail companies charge extra for the packaging, so why not package them yourself?
Get some baggies and an assortment of snacks that come in bulk, like a box of cheez-its, raisons, pretzels, graham crackers ect... Get creative! Make your own baggie snacks! You'll save a ton of money and you'll get a couple weeks worth of snacks versus a couple days.
# Make A List Before Grocery Shopping:
Before doing this, figure out what kind of meals you want for the week (if you shop once a week) If you shop once a month, figure out how many dinners you need to get you through a month and write them down. Make your list and follow that list. Sometimes we can't help to go grocery shopping when we're hungry and then we tend to splurge. Making a list will help you to not compulsive shop. Buy your cereal in bulk. The big bags tend to be cheaper and last longer.
Put your needs before your wants. Some people have a hard time with this. I know I do sometimes. I seem to need everything, or the kids need this or that ... Toilet paper is a need, not cookies. If you struggle with something and you feel you want it, but not quite sure if you need it, wait a couple days. See if you can live without it. If not and it's still there, then maybe it's really a need, but you have to make sure. Think of how much money we spend every year on just "wants."
# Clip Coupons:
Some people hate to do this and others spend hours on it. You don't have to spend hours to save a few bucks. A few coupons with every shopping trip will save you tons in the end. That extra money can buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.
# Unplug Things:
Don't leave unnecessary things plugged in. Even if it's turned off and it's plugged in, there's still power going through it and your electricity bill will be unnecessarily higher. Unplug things like, radios, lamps, heaters ect ... when your gone at work, or even when you're home and not using them.
# Eat Leftovers:
Have a leftover night. There's so many things you can do to spicen up those leftovers. You can make a soup or stew, add a tossed salad, have hot turkey or ham sandwiches ... If you do this once a week, you can save around 80 to 100 dollars a month.
Tips From Dawn
I am on the parent coalition committee for the school district. We have speakers come in and gives us good tips. We had one come in and tell us about pantry shopping.
What you do is before you go grocery shopping make a list of items that are in your pantry and fridge. Go over your list and either using a recipe book or Internet, which is easier to enter the ingredients you have on hand to find recipes.
It was unbelievable to think we had nothing for meals in the house and would have to run to the store and spend money when it was not necessary.
An example of some meals by pantry shopping we did was mushroom steak. In our inventory we had hamburger, stove top stuffing, a jar of brown gravy, and potatoes. We did have to pick up a couple of small items which was an onion and fresh mushrooms and that was a meal.
Another inventory list we had was boneless chicken breasts, milk, spaghetti, a block of cream cheese, broccoli and before we knew it we had broccoli chicken Alfredo for dinner.
I was able to plan 2 weeks worth of dinners just by what we already had on hand. It saves a lot of time and money on shopping. Of course there may be a couple items here and there to complete your recipe.
Planning ahead is also great if you are a busy working parent. I just go over my inventory on hand and make a list of things needed to complete the meal. Of course I got my little 5 year old chef help me prepare the meals.
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