It’s funny. We have been forced to be frugal for at least three years or so now. We thought that we were struggling, and being frugal before that, but we were so blind. It took two layoffs and a bankruptcy to wake us up to being truly frugal. Talk about God “hitting us with the holy 2x4” (as a friend of ours would say)! While it wasn’t a fun journey to where we are now, we are feeling way more rich today then we did when we had a larger income and the nicer cars. God is blessing us in so many ways now, as we live the frugal lifestyle!
So I’ve given you some ways to be frugal in homeschooling. Now onto everyday living . . .
First, give up the big status driven purchases. As a frugal person, when I see someone with the expensive brand name apparel, I think “ok, either they found a really good find at the thrift store, or they spent way too much”. I have some very generous friends that pass down many, many beautiful clothes to my children. I am so VERY blessed by these acts of kindness. Practically everything that my little one wears is a thrift store find, and she is very well dressed, with many name brand clothes. We also gave up the newer cars, and paid cash for our minivan. It is 12 years old, but still looks nice. My hubby does all of the minor repairs that it needs. Before we started driving this minivan, we were leasing a brand new version of the one we drive now. After buying our current van (which we like better, by the way) I weighed the price of leasing the last van vs. buying this one. We paid over $3800 EACH YEAR to lease a van, that we now OWN an older better version of to the tune of $2750 total (plus a few minor repairs that still don’t bring it to the cost of the other van FOR A YEAR). Consider whether the big name is really worth the money that you waste to own it?!
Think creatively. I didn’t say illegal or dishonorable, I said creative! ;) In other words, look at a want or need you have as an opportunity to be frugal. I’ll give you an example. Like most families, we like pizza. But unless you buy the one topping $5 pizzas, they are just too expensive, and you only get one topping for that price. Making homemade pizza is an idea, but some of the crusts out there are either not that great. And some crusts are just too expensive when you add ingredients for sauce, cheese, and toppings. But if you shop where the restaurants shop, like Gordon Food Service, you can buy pizza crusts in bulk for about $1 a piece. I hope that my Italian brother-in-law doesn’t mind me sharing this, but his pizza/spaghetti sauce is soooo good! To make an awesome pizza sauce, just mix tomato paste and tomato sauce, an Italian blend of seasonings like Mrs. Dash, chopped garlic and onion, and sugar. And then if you buy a bulk bag of shredded cheese (5 lb. bag of Mozzarella Provolone Blend from GFS? Yummm!), you can save so much money! Then just add fresh veggies/ toppings. Doing this, I can make a pizza for about $2 that will blow the pants off that $5 pizza place pizza any day!
Speaking of food, shop the manager’s specials at the grocery store! My hubby calls me the markdown queen. There are times when they clearance something out, like training pants or deodorant, that there is no obvious reason for them doing it. I’m fine with that! The other day, I went to the grocery store to buy training pants for the little one. I was ready to pay $16.99 for a bag of 52 pairs of training pants. Then I saw three $5 bags of training pants in the clearance basket. Hmmm, save $1.99 and I also receive 17 more training pants by buying them that way. Oh, but they were blue “boy” training pants. Big whoop dee do! They work the same, don’t they?
Do you love movies and old TV shows? We don’t have cable. In fact when the country converted to digital television, we let them leave us behind. Our TV in only used to play movies now. This was one of the BEST decisions that we have ever made. Cable is so expensive, and the junk on TV these days isn’t worth watching anyway. But from time to time (maybe up to three times a week) we do go to Hulu or Fancast and watch a family friendly movie or old TV show like Dragnet or CHIPS. It’s so much better than what is on TV now, and (other than the internet connection) it’s free!
And have you ever made your own laundry detergent? That is an awesome way to save money if you have a family! I just went to the Duggar family's recipe page to find my laundry detergent recipe. I figured that if it was their recipe for laundry detergent, it HAD to be good. After all, they have to do A LOT of laundry! It was sooo easy to make, and for less than $2.00 I was able to make 640 loads worth of laundry detergent! We have been using it for a couple months now, and it works great! I will never go back to buying laundry detergent again.
Well, I’ve shared some of my tips . . . now it’s time to share yours!