How to Live Frugal

mason     Have you ever tried Frugal living? It takes sacrifice and a strong mind-set to get out of debt, its a total lifestyle change. What are you willing to sacrifice to be debt free? Maybe a friend to wax those eye-brows or trim you own kids hair, eating rice and beans or what about going back to a flip phone with no data plan, whoop hold up, went to far! Lol. Seriously though if times get to tough and your willing to sacrifice you could go to no data plan and just use your WiFi at home or work just for say 6 months till you get bills caught up or paid off. Getting out of debt is much easier said than done, but it is possible. If it was easy than the average household wouldn’t have credit card debt at $15,611 which is based on federal reserve statistics and government data and according to Nerdwallet. Frugal living is hard and can be overwhelming at first, but just remember its a lifestyle change just like a diet would be. You cant eat junk food all day and expect to lose weight, you cant expect to blow money freely and not have debt. If we went back and acted like The greatest generation that our grandparents always tell us about than we might could turn our nation around. Think back to how the greatest generation lived. Our grandparents and great grandparents didn’t care what designer clothes they wore or cars they drove, they cared about how to stretch what little they had or they did without. They were a very thrifty society and in today’s society? Well ummm… we are not called throw it away nation for nothing (we have a horrible rep by the way). I’m a very frugal mom that has learned so many things growing up from my frugal mom. Just think of the things we can pass down to our children instead of what today’s society wants to do which is throw away everything that’s broken and buy new instead of fixing it. If we really think hard, there are many things we can cut back on or not throw away at all. I have a few frugal examples that I have changed in my life that maybe can help you too.

Re-evaluate your cell phone provider or maybe even just your plan. You would be amazed at how you can go into Verizon and get $40-$60 knocked off you bill and not even changing much on your plan (if your not in contract you open the door to bigger discounts). I know you you think its a hard step but Cut the cord! Ditching cable I thought was going to be really hard but its not hard at all. There are so many streaming devises and smart TV’s out there to choose from. I personally went out and bought the Roku1 for our bedroom for $50 and then the Roku3 for the living room and I am in love with it! By cutting off cable, I am personally saving $120 a month, that is ($1,440 a year) which is a big chunk I can now apply to paying off debt. Eliminating your cable doesn’t mean you cant watch regular TV or your favorite shows. There are so many free movies and shows out there. I do however spend $7.99 on Hulu plus which is my favorite. Netflix is $7.99 but to me its mostly older stuff and not as many shows. Both have no contracts which is really nice and both offer free trials.  Amazon Prime is a lot like Hulu plus and picks up the shows you cant watch on the other two. However you have to pay up front which is $99 a year (Half off for students) which I have not yet done because I’m making do with what I have. I bought a Antenna so that I can watch weather and anything live. For sports fans most games can be pulled up on smart phones or tablets and streamed to your TV. Then of course theirs always Applebee’s bar but those of us with a baby you can’t bring a baby into a bar or you will be reciting sweet home Alabama in a drunk Reece Witherspoon voice. Then don’t forget about searching for free Redbox codes (I run across a new one everyday). Finally, not to mention visiting your local library that has movies, along with other free entertainment.

Go homemade…. Start making your own homemade cleaning products. You would be absolutely amazed at the cleaning products you can make at home with the stuff you already have. Get thrifty!. Again, think back to what our grandparents did and how they did things. I will try to post some of my favorite recipes soon for the things I make, but in mean time ask around or of course Pinterest. Don’t go buy paper towels, I clean windows with old newspapers which work better anyways and clean with lots of rags ( yes keep the hubby’s old boxers lol). I love making my own laundry detergent its cheap and is great on clothes. There are many different recipes for the same product so if one doesn’t work for you than try a different one. I have ran across many recipes for cleaning products that I didn’t like and you just keep trying until you do. It really is simple once you start.

Vampire power……. There really is such thing as vampire power! Yes you have your very own Dracula! Just about everything that is plugged into the wall even if its turned off is still sucking your power. So unplug things when not using them. Yes its very annoying to go around the house and in tight spots unplugging and re-plugging things day in and day out but it will help on you power bill. I even unplug the microwave because honestly how many times a day do you use your microwave? Once a day? Once every other day? According to the department of energy the average house hold uses 5-8 percent of this vampire electricity usage a year which adds up to be one month of an electric bill for each house hold. Also, according to the department of energy, a TV left plugged into the wall for 20 hours turned off uses more electricity than you actually watching TV for 4 hours. You spend 18 percent of you homes energy alone just by heating water! Cut your water heater back to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, instead of the normal 140 or take a really short warm shower and use cold water for everything else besides the hot water for dishes. You should notice a change in your bill by doing these few things.

Let the couponing begin! Do not watch Extreme Couponing and think your going to be that good right way. Don’t stress that you can’t do it as good as they can but hey if you can, Bravo!  Hats off to you! It takes A LOT of time to study, find and know all the deals each and every week. Also, I tell people don’t go out and buy 10 newspapers thinking your going to get $200 in free food AND money back. Many people whom first start couponing want to buy so many newspapers having that mind-set, when they are not even sure it is a good newspaper with several inserts. Always, do your research on Saturday to even see if its worth buying the Sunday paper. There are many websites I like such as passionatepennypincher  to go to to get that sneak preview to see if its worth buying one, two,or even four newspapers. I LOVE to buy my newspapers at Dollar Tree, because yes they are only $1 when everywhere else they are $2-$3!  Keep all the coupons till they expire, even if its 25 cents ( don’t forget some places double on certain days) or the coupons you think you will NEVER use. Trust me, there were times I got free things that I just threw in my stock pile thinking I would never use and then that crazy recipe I found, wouldn’t you know, called for it or I was able to donate. Think of the church pantry’s you could fill, which is always great. Bottom line is try to start cutting back on your grocery bill whether it be couponing or living off the good ol’ rice and beans. I stumbled across the Favado app and I love it! Its really easy to discover the best deals for each store right on your phone with or without coupons. Its personally my favorite.

Sell sell sell…… De-clutter your house! Not saying your a hoarder but you would be amazed at what you can find today in your house that you don’t need or want. As my best friend always says, If you haven’t used it in a year you won’t be missing it. It’s very true. Yes we wanna keep grandmas antique gravy dish but I’m talking about all the other nick-knacks in your house, clothes you still can’t fit into (after a year of “dieting” from your new years resolution) along with the exercise equipment you haven’t touched and is collecting dust, what about all those toys your kids outgrew that you were saving for…… ya exactly! I have a Wii that no one has touched in a year, speaking of, that I keep saying oh I’m gonna start Yoga on maybe soon. You would be surprised at what you can just sell on Facebook or Craigslist today and wouldn’t cost you anything.

I’m always looking for tips and tricks on saving money, because every penny counts these days. Maybe these few things I’ve mentioned will help you and your family save. What do you sacrifice or what are you willing to sacrifice today?