Monday, January 9, 2017

10 Tips to Live Frugally

frugal -
                       sparing or economical with regard to money or food
                   simple and plain and costing little

                    - Oxford Dictionary     

Another goal of mine for 2017 is to live more frugally.  I've been pretty good at being frugal in the past, but I'm hoping to crack down in more ways of accomplishing this.  

We are a one income family.  We've chosen to live this way, but even if you haven't, there isn't a reason (in my opinion) to blow through money without any regard as to what the future may hold.  Unforseen circumstances may land you in the hospital, your car may need a new transmission, your kid may need braces (my son), etc...  If you have savings set aside, FANTASTIC!  If not, you need to work on setting some $$ aside.  

If you aren't sure where to start, you can set aside $25 a week or $100 a month.  Set aside whatever you can even if it's only $1 a week.  It all adds up. 

Some of my readers may live paycheck-to-paycheck.  That's okay.  There are ways to still hold on to some of your paycheck.  Are you ready to find out how?  Here it is:  live more frugally.

Frugal doesn't have to mean being cheap.  It means avoiding waste, being resourceful, and not spending when you don't have to.  

Still one of my favorite books has been  "MONEY SECRETS OF THE AMISH: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving" by Lorilee Craker.  You can read by review for that book HERE.
Here are 10 tips on how to live 
a more frugal life:

1.  Eat at home.  So much money is wasted eating out.  It gets downright ridiculous.  If you actually sit down and add up how much money you've spent in a year or even in a month eating out, you'd be surprised.  It goes so very fast and adds up so very quickly.  Most meals, if cooked at home, will be around $2.00 or less per person.  In fact, the other night I wanted to tally up how much the entire meal I made cost us.  It came to a total of $2.92, but there was enough for 6 servings, which made it $0.49 per serving!  Can you imagine paying only forty-nine cents for a meal anywhere else? 

2.  Shop smart.  If you are going to shop, make sure you shop smart.  Download an app called Flipp.  It keeps track of all the ads released for the stores in your area.  This even includes grocery stores.  You can compare prices for items on sale to see who has the best deal.  I use it all the time and love it!
Keep a log of how much items you frequently buy cost throughout the year and shop the following year for those items during the months where you found it the cheapest.
3.  Reuse or Repurpose.  I try to reuse or repurpose as much as I can.  For example:  Right now I'm roasting a chicken.  I will save the juices to make a gravy.  Once all the meat has been picked off the carcass for eating tonight and freezing extra to use in a future soup, I will cook the bones with water and some vinegar for 24-48 hours (adding water as needed) to make bone broth to use in future soups, when we are sick, or in any recipe that requires broth.  Nothing will go to waste.  I'll even feed some of skin to the dogs.  The rest of the skin will be cooked down and made into dog treats.  Those skins you cut off of your potatoes you could cook in the oven with salt and pepper to make potato skin chips.  What about the tops and bottoms of vegetables that you throw away?  Use those to make vegetable broth.  Some of your vegetables you can even plant the tops or bottoms to grow more of that vegetable.  
Have an old sweater?  Turn it into a pillow cover for your sofa or bed.  
4.  Buy in Bulk.  This one is now catching on with me.  I still resisted this for a while, but I have learned to fully embrace this one and love it.  Some items at Sam's and Costco can save you plenty in the long run compared to your usual grocery shopping trip.  "The long run" are the key words here.  You will put more money upfront, but the money you save is worth it.  
Speaking of buying in bulk, one of my new favorite bulk purchases is Zaycon Meat!  I am loving the savings that come with buying meat in bulk!  They have chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, shrimp...  It's free to sign up, and once you do, you can see what meat is available in your area.  A refrigerated truck arrives at a location, those who purchased drive up, and the meat is loaded into the back of your vehicle.  Easy peasy!  Right now they are offering 20% OFF of your very FIRST purchase with the code PT20 until April 30, 2017 at 11:59PM PST.  If this is your first time hearing of Zaycon or you haven't ordered yet but thought about it, GO FOR IT!   You can click the image below to be directed to their page.

5. Set up storage.  You are going to need a place to put all that meat.  Invest in a deep freezer and a vacuum foodsaver.  Divide meat and foods into smaller sizes to vacuum seal and freeze.  I even like to chop my onions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots in advance and freeze until I'm ready to use (no vacuum seal needed--ziplock bag will work fine).
Another way to store food is to invest in a dehydrator.  With a dehydrator you can dehydrate your own spices and herbs, fruits for snacks, jerky, fruit leather, and even fruits and vegetables to later rehydrate for cooking. 
If you invest in a pressure canner, you can can cream of mushroom soup (and the like), broth, tomato sauce, jelly, jam, vegetables, meat, etc....  The possibilities are endless. 
An additional bonus to storage is you won't be running to the grocery store everytime a storm blows through or it snows.  We live in the south, and when snow is expected, everyone runs for the store to grab bread, milk, eggs, and such.  They should have set up storage.  😀

6.  Buy Used.  Not everything you own needs to be brand spanking new.  I promise.  Ever hear of antiques?  Some people think it is okay to have antiques but the thought of buying something used makes their skin crawl.  Umm...antiques were used.  
Let's say you need a chair for your bedroom.  You could easily drop a few hundred in a furniture store, but if you were to check on craigslist, a nearby flea market, or a yard sale, you could find the right chair for even less than a hundred dollars.  It may be perfect as is, or it may need a little TLC with a fresh coat of paint, sanding and a new stain, or be reupholstered.  No biggie.  

7.  Repair Instead of Replace.  The same TLC you would put into a used product you purchased you could do with something you already own.  
Resurrect old woolen clothes using a disposable razor.  The razor will get rid of the pilling, making it look new again. 
Give your table a new coat of paint.
Take old leather shoes and try buffing and repolishing them to give them a new shine.  
Dye your faded jeans.
Get handy with stitching and sewing to add lace, new lines, buttons, etc to your old, plain t-shirts   

8.  Cut the cable.  We chose to cut cable/satellite many years ago.  We watched regular network TV shows through an antenna or DVDs.  Only recently did we acquire an android box.  You can find them for around $20.  Our cellular plan has unlimited data, so we are able to use it to watch TV or movies on the box without any extra charge aside from electricity.  
Another line you can cut is your home phone.  If you don't need it, don't keep it.  Most people these days rely solely on cellular.  Home phones are phasing out, especially since cellular phones travel with us when we leave home.  
9.  Learn Something New.  We have gotten into a rut of needing to buy things instead of making it ourselves because...well...we don't know how to do anything anymore.  Learn how to do things.  
Learn how to build a birdhouse if you need one.
Learn how to make a quilt, knit, or crochet if you need a blanket.  (I'm working on this one)
Learn how to garden.  (I'm working on this one too.)
Learn how to fix a leaky faucet instead of buying a new one.
This list can go on and on.

10.  Get Money Back.  Yes, you heard that right.  This isn't technically frugal.  Use apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, SavingStar, etc...  When you go grocery shopping, check to see if the items on your list are also on any of these apps.  If so, you can scan the barcode, take a picture of your receipt, and BAM!  you get money back.  
Click here to get started with Ibotta or enter gqesrig when you sign up on your phone to get an extra $10 on your first rebate.Personally, I love using Ibotta and Checkout 51 the most.  I joined Ibotta November 6th.  Ibotta as of today, January 9, 2017 has paid me $70.50.  It's only been 2 months!  
Click the image to get started with Ibotta, or enter gqesrig when downloading onto your phone to get an extra $10 rebate for signing up.  
Join those apps with coupons and sales, and you end up paying minimally, nothing, or even GET PAID to buy the product you were going to buy in the first place.  
Example:  I needed Zantac for heartburn.
Zantac                                    =  $8.19                               
I had a coupon for $4.00 off.   = $4.19
Checkout 51 gave back $4.00 = $0.19
Ibotta gave back $3.00            = $2.81 money maker 
I got paid $2.81 to buy Zantac 

Living frugally doesn't have to be hard.  It doesn't mean you become boring.  It doesn't even mean you stop spending at all.  It simply means trying to withhold spending until necessary or spending cautiously.  It means not wasting.  It means appreciating what you have.  And it all leads to a better outlook, a thicker bank account, and less stress.  
 Shop Now at Zaycon Fresh

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