Being frugal is in. Due to economic times many people are being forced to live on less. Let’s look at how we can feel empowered by shifting our attitudes about spending and buying less.
Instead of feeling like a victim, poor me, I can’t have this, I can’t have that…I tell myself I’m learning a new way to live that will enrich my relationships, my savings account and myself. We are taking back our freedom. This is our chance to get creative and make it as much fun as we possibly can.
Some of the methods I suggest may have been said before. But have we put them into practice?
Some are new ideas or a twist on an old one. Hopefully what you read will inspire you to act and create even more ways to save.
1. Grocery shopping. Limit your time in the store. Plan your meals. Bring a list and stick to it. Do not bring your children with you and don’t shop when you’re hungry. Shop for food once per week. If you run out of something put it on your list for the following week. Learn to improvise. Also check your reciept to make sure you haven’t been over charged for anything.
2. Purchase generic store brands. Buy in bulk. Join a food co-op. Stock up on ceral, rice, beans pasta, soda, shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, bathroom tissue.
3. Use coupons. go to www.coupons.com and www.couponmom.com. Purchase what is on sale for the week. Choose apples on sale and purchase the full-priced when they go on sale.
Teach your children to be frugal. Challenge them to find coupons for things you need.
4. Brew your own coffee and tea. At the same time give yourself permission to treat yourself once in a while. Get a large jar and put your change in it that you’d normally spend on coffee or other fancy drinks. Label the jar “Money I Didn’t Waste.” When the jar is full deposit it in a special account. If your latte costs between $3-$6 each time, imagine the savings over 10 years.
5. Pack a lunch for work. Gather a group of coworkers that want to do the same. Each person can take a day to make sandwiches for everyone. Then you only have to do this one time per week. Make it fun. Ingredients for sandwiches should become a household staple.
es and bring them along when you are on any road trip over one hour. Always be prepared.
6. Avoid all vending machines. End of story.
7. Be prepared with snacks. Carry healthy snacks in your purse and car at all times especially if you have children. Buy in bulk if you can, then divide into servings and put in ziplock baggies. Get the kids involved. Always have drinks in the car as well. Then you don’t have to stop and shop at convenience stores.
8. Cook at home. If you don’t know how to cook, learn. Prepare meals together on the weekends. Make large batches and freeze what’s left over. You can also purchase a crock pot so your meal is ready when you return home.
9. Go out to eat during happy hour. Happy hour usually has appetizers half price. Order soda and you can get free refills. If alcohol is your choice that is discounted as well. You can also find deals at www.restaurant.com.
10. Purchase gifts for your children on birthdays and holidays only. You are teaching them to live on less. They will grow up without a sense of entitlement.
11. Go to the matinee.If you go prior to 6 pm tickets are discounted. Treat yourself to ice cream prior to going and avoid spending money at the consession stand.
12. Purchase less music. Listen to your old stuff.
13. Watch less TV and you and your children will view less commercials.
14. Cut your cable bill, look at basic options.
15. Avoid late fees by paying your bills on time. Pay your bills on the same day and at the same time so it becomes a habit.
16. Practice gratitude when you pay your bills. Be grateful for every service and product you purchase. You will change your attitude and energy. It doesn’t have to be an unpleasant task.
17. Examine your credit card bills to make sure you aren’t charged for something you didn’t purchase. Do the same for bank and phone statements. It’s amazing how often we find errors.
18. Eliminate your land line if possible. Hook your internet via cable.
19. Seek out and get your hair done at an education beauty institute or learn to do your own,
20. Do your own manicures and pedicures.
21. Purchase used books, discounted books or go the librabry. Teach your children to do this as well.
22. Buy pre-owned cars that have low milage and are only a few years old. Find a knowlegable person to help you make the purchase if needed. A new one depreciates the minute it’s off the lot. Always negotiate the price, always. Be willing to walk away.
23. Care for your car and keep it as long as possible. When you are finished paying for it put it put the monthly payment in your savings account.
24. Purchase an online DVD membership. Netflix is cheaper than renting or buying videos. You can also get them at the library.
25. Purchase appliances that are dented or scratched.Sears put theirs on sale. We have purchased them for our cottage and havesaved a significant amount of money.
26. Do your own landscaping.
27. Grow your own food if possible. Get your famiily involved.
28. Do your own house cleaning. Involve your entire family in the process. Choose the same day and time weekly.
29. Unplug electric apliances instead of just turning them off. Turn off lights and fans if you aren’t in the room. Lower your thermostat in the winter and wear a sweater.
30. Carpool and/or use public transportation. If you did this regularly you could save a lot over the years.
31. Ride your bike if possible to work or to run errands.
32. Travel closer to home. Learn to camp and enjoy the outdoors. You can take more trips that are less extravagant. Check for online bargains and discounts.
33. Entertain at home. Invite everyone to bring a dish to pass and play games or cards.
34. Purchase gently used clothing. Go to thrift shops and garage sales. Grab a friend or two and make it fun.
35. Partner and share babysitting services with family and friends.
36. Stop all memberships. Exercise at home instead of joining a gym. Give up online memberships as well. Give up your country club.
37. Don’t allow emotions to control your money. Never shop when you’re bored, sad, cranky, angry or in a bad mood. Find other ways to uplift yourself.
38. Shop thrift stores, flea markets, and garage/yard sales to decorate your home.
39. Avoid purchasing brand name shampoo, conditioner and body wash and other products
40. Barter services. Organizing, painting, cleaning, automobile repairs and other talents and jobs can be bartered with friends, neighbors and families.
Bonus: 41. Quit smoking. Get help with addictions. They rob you of more than your money.
Please leave a comment and tell us how you are being frugal or in 2009!