How to Live Frugal

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How to Live Frugal

how to live frugal
How to live frugal?

In today's unstable economy, many families are having to do a lot of creative budgeting in order to avoid there being "too much month at the end of their money".

Here you will find several cheap living strategies to save money, from this frugal gal to all you aspiring money saving mamas out there.

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Simply click the link for more information on how you can participate, and save some money this year.

1. How To Live Frugal: Cook at Home

This cheap living tip may seem obvious and unnecessary. After all, if you are trying to save money, chances are you aren't treating your family to expensive lobster dinners at restaurants every other night. However, consider what you, your hubby, and your school are eating for lunch during the week.

Do you stop by your favorite pastry shop every morning for a cup of coffee and a donut? Does your hubby grab a sandwich and chips for lunch at the convenience store? Are your kids buying school lunches? All of that adds up.

Instead of buying your lunch every day, pack a homemade lunch. Whether it is leftovers from dinner or a sandwich and chips, you will save money in the long run.

Learn How to Cook Frugally

2. How to Live Frugal: Conserve Energy

In the summer time, rather than cranking up the air conditioner at the first hint of heat, try using your ceiling fan or a box fan to cool things off at home. For the cold winter months, make sure you have your doors and window insulated so that you keep the cold out. That way you can delay the need to turn on the heat. Summer and winter are the periods when most families see a significant spike in their energy bills. Taking these precautions can offset that. Additionally, rather than having your heat or air run constantly, set it so that it turns off when it reaches a certain, comfortable temperature.

3. How To Live Frugal: Turn the lights off

Only use your lights when it is absolutely necessary. Open windows and doors to let in natural light during the day. When you leave a room, turn the lights off. These simple steps could help to lower your electric bill substantially. And all it requires is a simple flipping of the switch.

4. How To Live Frugal: Unplug

Another of our cheap living strategies to save money is to unplug devices when they are not in use. You may think that you do this, but think about it. Do you keep your phone plugged in the wall even when it is fully charged? Is your computer plugged into the wall right now? What about your radio? The TV? DVD player? Video game console? All of those devices are still producing an electric current, even though you are not using them. Take the time to unplug everything and only plug them in when they are actually being used.

5. How To Live Frugal: Do Laundry Once a Week

Rather than washing clothes every other day, have a set day when you do laundry. Some families can do this once a week. Others can stretch it out even longer. Also avoid throwing clothes in the laundry basket after each use. Articles of clothing like jackets and even jeans can be worn multiple times before truly needing to be washed. The same goes for wash cloths. Unless they are dirty or stained, you can get a couple of uses out of them before washing becomes necessary. Use your own judgment when deciding when that time comes.

Learn How to Make Your Own Laundry Soap and Save BIG Money

6. How To Live Frugal: Drink Tap Water

Rather than buying bottled water to get you through the week or month, drink tap water. If you have concerns about the water quality, consider purchasing a water filter. That way, you can feel safe drinking water from the tap. If you drink on the go, refill a water bottle from your tap and take it with you instead of buying a new bottle of water every time you need a refill.

7. How To Live Frugal: Use Energy Efficient Bulbs

Consider replacing all of your light bulbs with their energy saving counterparts. Some of the benefits of these energy efficient bulbs are:
  • They last at least 6 times longer than the normal bulbs, so you don't have to buy them as frequently.
  • Over the course of their lifetime, each bulb can save you $40 in electricity. Imagine saving $40 on every single light bulb in your house. That's some nice savings.
  • They use about 75% less energy and produce 75% less heat, so they not only are you saving electricity directly, but since they don't heat your house nearly as much, you also save money on cooling.

  • 8. How To Live Frugal: Create a Budget and Stick to It

    If you want to be a true frugal gal, you HAVE to learn how to budget. And, more importantly, you have to learn to stick to your budget. Otherwise, it won't do you any good. Sort of like setting a schedule for your entire day, yet winging it every day. All you did was waste your time and paper. When budgeting, sit down with your partner and figure out every single regular expenditure that you guys have or plan to have. Be as inclusive as possible. The first item should be your income (after taxes. That way you know how much you are working with). Now write down your major expenses. Rent, mortgage, property taxes, homeowner fees, auto insurance, health insurance, student loans, auto payments, life insurance, and childcare are just some that you should consider.

    Next, you should write down all of your regular expenses. This includes your utility payments (electric, gas, water, etc.) If your bills are not fixed amounts, use the yearly average to determine the numbers. If you have any memberships (gym, zoo, museum, Netflix, etc.) you should include all of those as well. This is also where you should include travel expenses such as gasoline if you have a car or bus/train passes if you use public transportation.

    Now you will want to consider those expenses that change from month to month. Review how much you have been spending on groceries the past couple of months. Consider any regular car or home maintenance that you require. If you know of any projects or repairs that are likely to come up, budget for those as well.

    Don't forget to budget in the "fun stuff". If you know you buy a new pair of shoes every 3 months, you should budget for that (or cut down - your choice). If there is a DVD or CD coming out that you absolutely HAVE to have, budget for it. A new movie that you refuse to miss on opening night - add that to the budget. Also, use your budget to plan your purchases for such special occasions as birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

    Finally you should include your savings into your budget. If you would like to have a nest egg or a rainy day fund or a retirement account, budget how much you will put into it every month.

    Learn More About Budgeting

    9. How To Live Frugal: Pay Your Bills On Time

    Again, this is another of our cheap living strategies to save money that people may write off because it seems so obvious, but I'm going to discuss it anyway. When you pay your bills late (especially if you do it continuously, you end up accruing late fees. And you may think it's not that big of a deal. $5 here. $3 there. But it adds up quickly. And it is money that you are just giving away.

    How to Pay Bills on Time

    10. How To Live Frugal: Buy Necessities in Bulk

    When you are going shopping, buy your groceries and personal care products in bulk. You spend more money at the time, but you save money in the long run.

    11. How To Live Frugal: Become a Couponing Mama

    Another way to save money on groceries, personal care products, and a wide variety of other products and services is to clip and use coupons. You may not think that is doing you much god to save 30 cents on a box of cereal, but cents add up. Plus, if you learn the art of couponing (including learning your store’s couponing policies and stacking coupons) those savings can add up quickly.

    Learn How to Coupon HERE

    12. How To Live Frugal: Buy During Sales

    Another way to save big when you shop is to shop during sales and to stock up on necessities when they are on sale.

    13. How To Live Frugal: Buy Used

    I cannot stress enough the benefits of buying used. If you have an idea of used products being dirty, raggedy, and worthy of the dump, banish that from your mind. You can often find used products that have been gently used and are in excellent condition. Typically, they are from families just like yours and mine that are simply trying to clear out some space in their house and make a little money in the process. So shop at yard/garage sales. Check out online resources such as Craigslist and online yard sales. Frequent flea markets, consignment shops, and thrift stores. You never know what treasures you can dig up.

    14. How To Live Frugal: Sell what you don't need

    Speaking of which, having a small yard sale or selling individual items is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. By selling items your family no longer uses, you are not only adding some money to your budget, but you are likely clearing up some space in your house that you may need.

    15. How To Live Frugal: Buy Only What You Need

    This is another one that you may think goes without saying, but most people would do well to pay more attention to it. Don't buy something unless you actually need it. This can apply to so many different situations. Do you really need that new pair of shoes? I know you love that artist, but can't you just as easily listen to the individual songs on YouTube? I know that ground beef is on super sale, but you already have 20 lbs of ground beef at home. One thing that I do when grocery shopping is make one go round, putting things in my cart. Then I sift through my cart, item by item, asking myself - can I live without this? That way I usually end up putting some things back. Treat every purchase that way. Ask yourself "Do I really need this?" If the answer is no or you find yourself trying to rationalize the purchase, put it back.

    16. How To Live Frugal: Shop from a list

    Which brings us to my next point - always shop from a list. Before you go shopping (whether it is for groceries, personal care items, Christmas gifts, school supplies, etc.) take the time to write down everything you are going to buy. Then go through your list and ask yourself "Is this necessary?" If it isn't cross it off. Then, once you are actually shopping, make sure you STICK TO YOUR LIST. Only buy what is on it. I know there are times when you legitimately forgot to put something on the list. Or perhaps something that was not on your list, but that you do need, is on super sale. At times, you will need to make an exception. But, for the most part, your list is the law.

    17. How To Live Frugal: Shop Around

    Don't feel as though you have to shop at one place just because you have always shopped there. See what is out there. Are there any competing providers or stores that offer better prices. And this goes for multiple things. Grocery stores, gas stations, cable companies, phone companies, internet services, clothing stores. If you can buy it, you can buy it in numerous places. Don't be afraid to check out your options. If you are intent on staying with a particular company, ask them if they will match or beat their competitor's prices.

    18. How To Live Frugal: Entertainment on a Budget

    Being a frugal gal does not mean that you have to be confined to a boring lifestyle. Your family can still enjoy what life has to offer. Check out what your area has to offer for free or at a low rate. Keep on the lookout for discounted packages or discount days throughout the year. Many family-friendly places will have certain days where admission is waived (whether for certain people or for everyone) or where the admission is discounted. If packages are available for places that you frequent, consider purchasing one. You pay more up front, but if you go there often, you end up saving more money in the long run.

    Instead of going out to the movies, consider renting a DVD from Redbox, utilizing Netflix, or waiting until the movie comes to the discount theaters (which is usually after it has left main theaters but before it comes out on DVD).

    More Frugal Entertainment

    19. How To Live Frugal: Bundle Up

    No, I'm not talking about preparing for winter. I'm talking about bundling up your services. Instead of getting your cable from one company, your internet from another company, and your phone from yet another company see if one of those companies offer a nice bundled package. You typically end up shaving off money from your monthly bill when you take this simple measure.

    20. How To Live Frugal: Cut the Fluff

    Stated simply, if you don't need it - cut it out. Does your phone company charge you for 411 services that you never use? Are you paying for premium channels that you rarely ever watch? Analyze your bills and keep on the lookout for optional services like these that you don’t really need. Then call around and request that they be removed.

    21. How To Live Frugal: Plan Ahead

    This touches back on the whole budgeting thing. But it's so important that I am going to discuss it again. PLAN AHEAD! If you know that you are going to have to repair something, save up for it. If you know you are going on vacation to visit the in-laws at Christmas, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to buy your tickets. Planning ahead can save you loads in the long run.

    22. How To Live Frugal: Walk More Often

    One major expenditure that most people have deals with transportation. Keeping your car well maintained. Affording gas to get around. One way to cut back on both wear & tear and gas expenses Is to walk more often. Instead of driving your car the 3 minutes to the library, why not make a real outing of it and walk there? If your utility company is within walking distance, walk there to pay your bills. Walk to pick your kids up from school (this gives you more time to talk about their day and hopefully to tire them out a bit). By only driving your car when necessary, you conserve your gas for when you actually need it and, thus, you have to fill your tank less often.

    23. How To Live Frugal: Carpool

    Another way to save money on weekly transportation costs is to have your hubby buddy up with people from work and carpool. Even if you can only carpool once or twice a week, that is 1 or 2 roundtrips that you have saved. By the end of the month, you have saved up to a week's worth of gas. Imagine if you could carpool almost every day? Jackpot!

    24. How To Live Frugal: Use Public transportation

    Of course, the best way to save on transportation costs is to use public transportations. This may not be feasible (or even available) for everyone, but if it is you should consider it.

    25. How To Live Frugal: Stay Healthy

    My last tip is to take care of yourself. By taking precautionary measures with your health, you reduce your chances of having to go to the doctor for anything serious. And I'm sure we all know that the price tag attached to health care is rarely something to smile about.

    What home savings tips do you have?

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