My frugal tip is to simplify and love your life! When we are depressed or looking negatively at life, we are more prone to spending money. There are those "I don't feel like making dinner" days for everyone, but sometimes this becomes habit when we get depressed or stressed. The drinks after work, ordering pizzas, going through the drive through, grabbing lunch, buying just to feel good...it all adds up.
When we are positive and loving life, making dinner can become a family activity, picnics at the park replace the quick drive through, we tend to plan things ahead which eliminates the last minute stress and rush. Of course there are the positive long term effects on our health as well!
Even just decluttering can have such a huge impact on our mood. Having a place for all the toys, knowing where the scissors are, keeping up on laundry and dishes....simple ways to de-stress our lives. I know for me, when life is easier, I tend to appreciate the simple things more. I have time for the picnics, I want to have my daughter help in the kitchen instead of sending her off to the other room while I quickly get something done, I can enjoy the evening with my husband instead of being crabby and tired as soon as dinner is done.
So my frugal tip is to love life!
SAHM to DD1 , DD2 , and one m/c
As I prepare to become a mom for the first time, I am officially on a learning curve about how to enter the world of "baby and kid stuff" while keeping the values of simplicity and sustainability that we choose in our daily lives intact. At every turn in researching, planning, adjusting and researching again - from anything to cloth diapers, to sleeping, to baby wearing - it becomes clear that so much of what we consider to be necessary these days are actually niceties that we have come to assume we MUST HAVE for the "new baby" or to complete the "parent package".
For us, being curious about every choice we make BEFORE WE MAKE IT and following our intuition on what is RIGHT FOR US is our best guide to KEEPING IT SIMPLE. This has proved immensely helpful in wading through all the options, assumptions and pressures to consume and therefore SPEND - to get and stay clear about what we really need, save money and be eco-concious while purchasing "stuff" and sharing those values with others so they can support it too.
Here are some core questions from our "QUESTION EVERYTHING" list....
FIRST, is it the right item for our family:
- Do we really need it?
- What do we already have that can serve that purpose?
- How versatile is the item?
- How long can it be used (both with our family, and after we pass it on) and how much energy is required to care for and store it?
- How was it produced and how will it break down (environmental/health costs)?
IF YES, how can we get it in the most sustainable and affordable way:
- Can we get it borrowed, used or cheap?
- How can we ask others if they have it to share? (sending our list of baby needs to friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and on face book has been incredible for items people were letting go of anyway - What is that saying? "Ask and you shall receive!")
- Is it something people may be inspired to gift to us, and our 'Little B'? (For example we are having a mothers blessing, with optional gifts intentionally selected on an online registry)
Hope our muddling through can be of some help!
PLUS Liked and shared on facebook!
My tip is to not raise consumerist children. Avoid watching advertising that preys on children, avoid watching shows that exist to sell products (most kids shows). Heck, really we need to avoid screens altogether!!! My oldest has never made a Christmas List, never asked for a birthday present until he was a teenager, and then, very graciously and only with prompting. Keeping special occasions special by not succumbing to consumerist pressure has made our life magical. When children are surprised by something magical, humble, and handmade, this creates memories and happiness, not greed for more. Teach children about giving before teaching them about receiving. Our holiday rules are recycled, handmade, non-plastic or locally made. Sometimes if we need a new pair of shoes, or something we can't make ourselves, we seek out domestically made and organic or recycled materials so that our (humble) first-world wealth does not translate to someone else's misery. My 4 year old daughter recently saw a catalog with a table and chairs for elf dolls, and wished for it. It was the kind that is made froma tree branch and still has bark on it. It was tempting to want to order it, certainly from a high quality retailer, fitting many of our standards, but taking a deep breath, I realized it wasn't necessary. We spent the morning finding the appropriate logs, sawing them and pegging them together to make a simple, rustic table and chairs. It was pretty easy, and I am not all that skilled. We even used an old-fashioned hand-powered drill because we are off the grid and didn't want to run our solar batteries down. Over the next few days, when I had the chance, I used small scraps of red felt to make simple elf hats for some of our existing dollhouse dolls, many of which, by the way, we've had for 15 years from my first child. Voila! We just saved ourselves $50 or more (or credit card debt, realistically!). That's how we operate every day. If my younger children ask for something, I reeeeeallllly would like to buy it for them, but usually find a way to make some semblance of what they are after.
When you find out that you're pregnant, early on start looking for USED baby things furniture, unisex clothes (if you don't know who you're having), equipment, ect. at garage sales, Craigslist.org, ebay. Find out what the typical price is & see if you can find even a better deal for that. We found a crib with mattress & toddler bed ALL for $25 on Craigslist! And after repainting the crib, it looks almost new. At garage sales found FREE Medela double electric pump!
Liked and shared! My family makes most everything from scratch. Bulk everything is most always more cost effective. We also cloth diaper, use hand-me downs, breastfeed, make our own baby food and very rarely spend money on non-necessities - unless they are second hand.
We also make our own laundry detergent and use wool dryer balls!!! The soap cleans our clothes just fine and it is environmentally friendly also!! I know exactly what goes in it and it makes SO MUCH!! We add a little essential oil to the wool dryer balls to add some scent to the clean clothes :)
Here is the link for the recipe we used: http://www.sugarpiefarmhouse.com/my-homemade-laundry-soap-is-amazing
And here is the link for wool dryer balls: http://familycorner.blogspot.com/2012/03/homemade-wool-dryer-balls.html
Here it is January 31, and I'm proud to report that our family of six spent only $245 on groceries this month and nobody starved! We live in the San Francisco area, have one income, and eat healthily. Food is not cheap around here.
Here's my second tip:
Buy your produce at the Mexican/Latin markets! Fortunately, we have a lot in our area--Mi Rancho, Chavez, Mi Pueblo etc. I've been getting great deals on apples and oranges at Mi Rancho. Sometimes the apples can be $.79/lb and oranges $.33/lb. It's the same produce! Pretty shocking the huge mark up we pay on produce at big chain stores.
My husband likes to have meat-and-cheese sandwiches for lunch sometimes, but deli meat can be expensive! Plus it's a serious sodium overload.
Once every couple months, we buy a whole pork loin for about $2 a pound, brine it with spices overnight, and smoke it in an outdoor smoker (or you could slow-cook it in your oven).
Then I slice it thin and put it into freezer bags by week-sized portions. He pulls it out of the freezer as desired.
Meatier sandwiches, less money.
Make your own yogurt and granola. I make 4L of organic yogurt for 6$ (cost of milk) and you could make soy yogurt for about 1.50$/4L. I make the yogurt and granola at the same time. It takes about 40 min but you can definitely multitask as you do it. I make about 4L of granola too and keep most of it frozen to keep it fresh.
Instead of paying for school lunch daily, I make homemade, healthier lunch for my child some made out of organic foods.
We were also researching on best reliable solutions how save money on car expenses.
Another way for us saving on gas money is we use a XP3 fuel enhancer. We decrease our fuel consumption & increase mileage to drive for longer periods of time. For our mid size average car, it allows us to drive extra 75 miles. This also can be used on ANY gas/diesel powered engines.
My tip, buy everything second hand. Reduces waste, and your "new" thing will be "used" within a matter of months so why not just purchase it at 1/2 to 1/4 of the price. And try your best to keep your belongings in good shape, and when your time is up with that thing, send it along to someone else. Moving into a new house? Buy all furniture, decorations from craigslist and thrift stores. Expecting a baby? Buy *everything* on your registry second hand. Buy a used car. Spend the time to find quality used goods and you will save so much! Don't buy new!
Married Since 4/05
Mom to the silliest girl since 1/12
And SUPRISE! expecting #2 in 12/15
Let your light shine.
My frugal tip:
Save, clean, and re-use things that most other people toss to the garbage or the recycle. It's so much easier than you'd think.
example #1: zip lock plastic bags - no need to buy them if you already buy products that come packaged in them, like sun-dried tomatoes, shredded cheese, or even some sugars now come packaged in plastic zip locks. They are easy enough to clean and can be used over and over.
example #2: glass jars - no need to buy glass containers to store food in (as many people no longer think plastic for food storage is safe) if you already buy things like jarred pasta sauce, olives, etc.
example #3: old clothes - no need to buy (as many) dish rags or (any) paper towels if you are willing to cut up old t-shirts and use them to clean surfaces with.
My frugal tips- I make what I can from scratch (I belong to an organic wholesale coop so I can buy in bulk too). Also, I like to repair things and make do with what we have- why throw away what isn't working instead find a new use for it. Also- I use a diva cup and mama cloth. We do a lot of hand me downs and I garden and can/dry to preserve things in our home. Being green is actually very frugal and that is where a lot of my frugal tips come from. Oh, and eating whole food close to nature is really very frugal. Oat groats cost way less than a box of instant oatmeal packets!
When my boys were little, the biggest money saver turned out to be making their cloth diapers from recycled/discarded clothing. When my first two children began to wear out their purchased cloth diapers, I started making them. Now that we have another child on the way, I would love to win some, as I do not have much time to sew anymore! To go along with these, I also made cloth wipes out of old receiving blankets.
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
Bicycle! Almost two years ago, we bought a Yuba Mundo cargo bike to haul our 6 and 8 year old boys around on, as well as groceries and whatever else. Our 9 year old can keep up with us on his own bike. The first year, we biked 3 seasons in Chicago. Then last year, after I got pregnant with our 4th child, we decided to take the plunge and sell our car, and NOT buy a minivan, since we wouldn't be able to fit the whole family in the car anyway.
Now we no longer have car payments, gas payments, insurance payments, no costly repairs other than routine bike maintenance. Not only do we save this money, but such a huge change has altered our lifestyle. We ask ourselves, do we REALLY want to go out and buy that? We go plenty of places by bike, walking, or on public transit, but make far fewer shopping trips than before. The best part: The Yuba CAN carry a full load of groceries. The most we have ever needed to haul at one time was 11 bags, but it can hold more than that!
Hopefully the benefits in family fitness will also reduce long-term health care costs. The children are happier on bikes and not cooped up fighting in the back of a car. There is no price tag on mom's sanity!
(Normally I do wear a helmet. In the bottom picture, we had just taken the bike up to the park for its first spin with the boys on it.)
Entenmann's Bakery Outlet saves us TONS of money. We spend only $15-$25 per month on Brownberry bread products to supply bread for our family of 5 (4 of whom are male). When their coupon books are available, they are well worth the purchase price, and save us an additional $60/year off the already amazing prices.
Dumpster dive. Well, that is from the days of college kids, but in our own back alley we have scored so many useful things that people just set out for others. A tumbling mat for the boys to use in the basement. A nice wooden cabinet that we turned into a pet cage which blends nicely with our furnishings. Fence slats which we used to fence in our garden. Bricks which we have used to edge our borders. Large Rubbermaid bins which we have turned into compost containers. A dresser for one of our children. A large bucket of legos. Carpeting for the unfinished basement, attic, and back entryways. Charcoal briquettes and rock salt. Laundry baskets (we never seem to have enough!) I'm sure there are more things, but these are the things that come to mind.
Teach children to care properly for their possessions and the possessions of others. Our children know that if they lose something or damage something through foolish behavior, they pay the cost to repair or replace the item. This cuts down drastically on the time spent searching for lost items, as well as the time and money spent repairing or replacing lost or damaged items.
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