Living frugally doesn't have to be difficult, or even inconvenient. There are simple things you can do to save money and still enjoy your life. Since I've started to get into the frugal living lifestyle, I've learned so many things and I want to share them with you.
I'm happy to say we have only a few more payments left on one of our vehicles and we will be fast-tracking payments for vehicle number 2 as soon as possible! Living frugally is making a huge difference in our lives. Only 4 months ago, I became a stay at home momma. I was working full time and my kids were in daycare for 10 hours a day. My 2 boys were constantly sick and therefore I had to take a large chunk of time off every month to care for them. Not being able to fire me for this reason, I got let go from work without cause.
What a blessing in disguise! Since we had 1 income stream (which was fine because I was barely making enough money to cover our $2000 daycare bill every month anyway) we did have to make some adjustments to our lifestyle.
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Things To Stop Buying
Buying Coffee Shop Coffee -The first thing we did was evaluate our spending. Can you believe we were spending $400 a month on Tim Hortons coffee? It's only $2 a cup, and yet with 2 people drinking Tim Hortons on a daily basis, we were spending a ton of cash!
Mind you, when I was working, I would buy breakfast and lunch at Tim Hortons every day...so I guess if I'm being honest it wasn't the $2 coffee that was causing the issue.
Regardless, we cut down on our Tim's and started seeing the savings pretty quickly.
Grabbing Corner Store Snacks - Corner store snacks were a huge money sucker for us. My hubby, bless his heart, loves the corner store. We spent a ton of cash there every month and I didn't even realize it was a problem until I sat down and evaluated the spending.
We were able to cut down on our corner store spending by including the snacks that were purchased from the corner store into our grocery budget. We had to expand the grocery budget to accommodate but it wasn't nearly as much as going to the store daily and spending $20 or more in one go.
Giving Expensive Gifts - If you're going to a wedding, it may not be a bad idea to buy something brand new, but make sure you buy it on sale! If you are shopping for kids, you can buy gifts second hand and the child will love the toy either way. They honestly don't know the difference between new and gently used anyway and they barely play with the toys they already have, so chances are this toy will end up in the toy box unplayed with within the week.
Splurging On The Latest Electronics - My husband, my darling husband. He loves big TV's and all the latest gadgets from Best Buy. The reality is though, the 72" TV will work just as well as a 50" TV in the family living room and you can save a few thousand dollars by not having the best of the best of technology.
Ways To Cut Living Costs
Meal Planning - Chances are, if you're planning your meals, you won't have produce go bad, you won't overspend at the store and you'll be less likely to go out to eat. Meal planning does wonders for saving money. Just last month we spent under $300 for 30 days of meals for my family of 4. Oh and on the note of meal planning, I highly suggest investing in a deep freezer because it will be a lifesaver when you're buying food weeks in advance.
Turning Down The Heat - It is a good idea to keep your home around 68 degrees in the daytime during winter, even if you are at home with the kids. Chances are, you're probably pretty busy with all the playing and cleaning you have to do that you'll keep warm anyway! We usually turn our heat up to 71 degrees at nighttime and then it goes down to 68 again at 7am. I like to bake with my kids during the day so that can keep my kitchen quite warm for a better part of the afternoon and I like to keep my kids dressed in warm pj's in the daytime. This get's a little difficult when you have a potty training 3 year old who doesn't pull his pants down yet to go potty, but we make it work to keep the heating bill low. We managed to save over $200 on heating and electricity in the first month I started to implement our heating rules.
Cutting Down On Laundry- You may be laughing at me on this one but it's true. You can cut down on laundry by asking your children to put things that they did not end up wearing back into their drawers instead of on the floor. You can also wear some clothes more than 1 time before washing. I personally complete a load of laundry once every 2 days. I used to do it once a week and then live out of laundry baskets because I was too tired to fold 8 loads of laundry in one go..but I have since changed my ways and now I have no issue folding a small amount of clothing from one basket and putting it all away. You can really keep track of what your kids are wearing, not wearing and what's actually dirty this way. I am down to 4 loads of laundry a week with my new system and that is 4 loads of laundry less than I used to do.
Insulating Windows - If you live in a colder city like I do, your windows may be a source of lost heat. If that is the case, see if you can find some window wrap, silicone or edging to add to your windows to keep the heat in. Check to see if your doors are properly fitted to the frame so that the heat stays in your home. One of our back doors has a large space between the door and the threshold and I just put a blanket right at the bottom of the door to keep the heat from escaping the house. This is a temporary solution ofcourse but it is working quite well for the time being.
Frugal Family Activities
Spending Time In Nature - Walking outside of your home doesn't cost anything and is a great activity to get the kids active. We spent the summer of 2018 screen free and at local playgrounds. We hit up 3 playgrounds PER DAY! Yes I am insane and I was exhausted but we all had the best time and spent no money on all the excitement.
Using Yearly Passes - In my city, we have the zoo and a science center that are 2 favorite activities for our family. To get into these places costs a fortune and so we invested in some family passes that cost the same as if we went to these places 2 times. Since we love to go to these places a few times a month, these passes were well worth it. *Tip* If you do end up going to places like that often, pack your lunch because eating out costs a ton!
Staying In For Special Nights - You can make any family day in a special one, you just have to get a little creative. My father for example, whips out his guitar and teaches other family members music. My husband and I like to play board games with our kids. You can host a movie night with favorite snacks or do something super simple like a pipe cleaner craft that takes seconds to create but can provide an hour of fun. Get creative and stay frugal!
Things To Keep In Mind When Shopping
Create A List- Whether you are off to the grocery store or you need some household items, it is important to have a list so you don't stray and buy more stuff that you may not really need. I create a list even if i'm simply going to the thrift shop because I won't be going to the thrift shop unless I need something specific, and it is so easy to buy more than what you came for when the prices are so low.
Coupons Are A Marketing Tactic - If you walk into a shop and see the coupons available and something from your list is on sale, then fantastic! Go buy that thing at discounted prices. As tempting as it is to buy something at a discounted price that you need anyway eventually, it is better to stick to your plan.
If you do end up spending extra on an item you saw was on sale, adjust your list and sacrifice an item of the same value. If it's not worth it to do that, then skip the item.
Clearance Rack Deals - If you are out shopping for clothing, check out the clearance rack before you hit up the regular sales. You never know what you might find in there! I found some of my favorite items of clothing on clearance racks. It's not that the clothing is bad quality, it's that the company had trouble selling it for whatever reason and now needs more space for new arrivals. Reap those benefits and shop clearance.
We were forced into our frugal lifestyle because finances got tight, but we learned so much in a short period of time and we are loving the frugal life.
How do you live a frugal lifestyle?