Budget Series Week 2- Ways to Live Frugally

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As we continue in our Budget Series many people have wrote to us wondering how we live more frugally. I think as a society that is something we struggle with. How do you live and get by on a 'cheaper' budget when you are making less and things are costing more? About six months ago I bought a book that is called "365 Ways to Live Cheap!" There are some really great points in this book- some we do in our home, others I would like to implement. So today, I would like to share some of my favorite ways to live a more frugal life. Maybe this will help you out or someone you know. We would love if you would share with us by commenting ways that YOU live a more frugal life!

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I am going to share with you some of my favorites from the first half of the book and will share more in another blog post. These will focus on Appliances, Automobiles, Banking, Children, Clothing, Clutter, Credit Cards, Debt, Energy Use, Electronics, Fun and Hobbies, Groceries.

  • When Purchasing Appliances: Do the Research- The biggest mistake you can make when purchasing a new appliance is to head right down to the local appliance store and open your wallet. The time we spend researching the models, price, efficiency, reviews, will be well worth it in the end. 
  • Make your own powdered laundry detergent. I have done this... I haven't found a recipe that I am a huge fan of.. so if you have one, please do share. 
  • Carpool, Use a Bike, or Walk- If you work in the city with others that live near you, carpool. Perhaps you live close enough to bike to work or activities: this is better for you financially and physically! For me, living on base, I try and walk most places with my son if we are going somewhere right here on base. 
  • Start saving for college as early as possible- even before your child is born. Make it automatic... even $10 a month will add up!
  • Use Cloth Diapers- Some people can't do this. We tried with our first, but because I worked full time, it really didn't work. Once we get settled at our new house, I plan to transition into cloth diapering... it is better for baby and pocket book! 
  • Make your own wipes! Have you done this??? I have! I LOVED my homemade wipes... but ultimately the convienence of the already made wipes won.... Perhaps I will try this again as we get settled this summer. 
  • Hand-me-Downs OR Shop Yard Sales for Young Child's Clothing- Our kids outgrow clothes so fast. Why do we spend tons of money at the expensive clothing stores for kids? They outgrow them so fast and as they get older, they mess them up quickly by playing... I for sure get used clothes, most used clothing is still in GREAT condition.. why not?
  • Find a friend to swap childcare with vs. paying a babysitter: BlESSING
  • Activities- take kids outside, read to them, get on the floor and play with them. Turn off the TV. You are saving energy :) Spending quality time with your kids, and you don't have to spend anything to do these things.
  • Buy Clothes on Off-Season and Tax Free Weekends- If you do buy new clothing, do some careful planning around it.. you can save a lot of money!
  • Get Rid of Clutter- clutter itself is a Giant Money Hole! Have a yard sale, put a 'sell by' sate on it, donate your items! Don't replace your clutter with more clutter.. haha~
  • Credit Cards- Know what you owe! Create a master list of every debt you have (non-CC included).. you need a complete picture of what you owe before you can take charge of it.
  • Switch to use only cash or checks for a year- This is hard!! We are doing this with about 1/3 of our expenses. We don't have that many expenses.. but it is so much easier at the Gas Station to swipe my card than to go inside, after getting kids out of the car, to pay! But we are keeping track of it, staying on our budget, so I think it is okay! 
  • Know your NEEDS vs. WANTS!
  • Use LED Lights!
  • Turn off lights you aren't using... unplug electronics. Turn of your computers when not in use!
  • Cut back on hobbies and fun that constantly require buying more stuff!
  • Check the community calendar for FREE events! -This is how we get buy from moving place to place. I take advantage of this, I love doing FREE stuff! 
  • Library- There are so many fun things to get from going to the library! You can get books, DVDs, Music, Quiet time... and most offer a children's time! WE surely go each week!
  • Limit how often you eat out!
  • Grocery Shop once a Week AT MOST! -This has helped us a ton! 
  • Eat Before you Grocery Shop!
  • Plan your meals... so you have your list- stick to it! - This has helped us too.. and makes the shopping trips SO much faster. 
  • Start a Garden- I miss mine! 
  • Buy in Bulk!
  • Cook in Advance and Freeze- I am the freezing queen! I love doing that! Makes life simpler! 
  • Shop at Farmer's Markets!

My favorite fun one that I got from these chapters was this one:

  • Have a Money Free Weekend! Transform the idea of living cheap into something fun. Challenge yourself and your friends to spend an entire weekend without spending any money! Look for free activities to do as a group. Eat using the stuff you already have in your house. Engage in personal activities that don't require you to spend money, like curling up with a book you've had for a while that you've been intending to read or going through the junk in the downstairs closet. Get into a routine of having money-free weekends once a month, or even once every other weekend and you'll find your entertainment expenses (and expenses in other areas) will go down rapidly. 

Make sure you comment and let us know what you do in your home to be more frugal. Also, stop by tomorrow because we are having our very first Budget Series Giveaway.... you will NOT want to miss it!

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See other posts from our BUDGET SERIES: 

What is a Budget