Friday, January 25, 2013

15 thrifty tips {that work for us}

With many of us making less, facing unemployment, trying to reduce hours or stay at home with children, living frugally is a must!

Mr. Free and I have been pretty frugal from the get-go. So I thought I'd share some ways we save moolah.

When we decided for me to go from teaching full-time to part-time all while Mr. Free began grad school, we knew we'd need to be very thrify.

Disclaimer: I do love me some Target clearance, Frappuccino's and my iphone. We have a few splurges, but live within our means and save money in many ways.

So here is how we do it.

No cable. No home phone.
This saves us over $100/month.
We don't watch much TV and have absolutely no use for a home phone.
We do have netflix which costs us about $8/month. This gives us all the entertainment we need for hardly any money.

We have a small home.
Our home is 900 sq. feet (1400 if including the finished basement).
Not only is our mortgage cheaper than most people's rent, it is also cheaper in utilities.
A small home takes less heat, electricity, water, etc.
It's also less to furnish and less to clean...also saving money.

We maintain our vehicles.
Mr. Free keeps both of our cars maintained. He changes the oil, rotates the tires, changes wiper blades, etc.
Maintaining your car can save you a lot of money in repairs. And doing it yourself saves a ton as well.

We cloth diaper.
The main reason we chose to cloth diaper was for the savings. We spent $250 in cloth diapers and wipes, and these will last Levi until he is potty trained and be ready for another possible kiddo one day.
This saves us thousands.

We mend our clothes.
Instead of buying new items when we get a hole, a broken zipper or missing button, we mend it first. This saves us a bit of money when items begin to be worn.

We shop our own home to redecorate.
I often get the urge to change things around in our small home.
As much as I'd love to hop into my car and head to HomeGoods for all new things, that isn't practical.
Instead I look around our home to give items a new home and a new look.
Our playroom was furnished and decorated mainly with items found around our home! 
Saving us a bunch!

We have simple weekends.

Our weekends are full of quality time with friends and family and church.
We usually host friends in our home, or visit them in theirs.
We don't usually go out to eat or to the movies.
Rather we eat at home and spend quality time with the ones we love.

We eat at home.
As much as I'd love to eat out all the time, it isn't good for our pocket book or my waist line.
I plan our meals each week, allowing plenty of leftovers so there isn't an excuse to go out to eat.
If we's a special treat. And we usually have a coupon or gift card.

We shop at Aldi and Costco for groceries.
This saves us a lot. We can get pretty much anything we need at either stores. I've shopped long enough to know what to get where to save us most. But 95% of our groceries are from these two stores.
And I try to make as much from scratch as sanely possible.

We don't spend (much) money on hair.
Mr. Free cuts his own hair.
I cut my hair once a year (sorry hairdresser friends...)
My wavy hair is pretty forgiving. Usually once a year I'll get a cheap cut to my chin, then grow it the rest of the year.
And I buy $1 hairspray to attempt to contain the frizz.
Maybe I should care more? Meh.

We make our own detergents.
We make our home laundry detergents.
It really saves a lot! And is so easy!
I really want to try and make more household cleaners, but need to use up what we currently have first!

We shop around for best deals.
We call around to get quotes on insurances as well as internet and trash services. By shopping around we have saved a lot. Our car insurance was cut in half for identical coverage. We now have faster internet for less money and our trash is much cheaper too! It really pays to call around!

We use coupons.
I often shop at Hobby Lobby and Michael's for my Etsy shop. I never, ever pay full price.
I always use their 40% off coupons.
And their apps have the coupon built into your phone so you are never without.

We use cash. And only cash.
This really keeps me accountable on impulse purchases.
I carry only cash, so there is never a temptation to whip out the plastic for that gotta-have-it sale item.
This is a huge, huge part of us living frugally and in our budget.

We DIY everything.
We love to DIY (thankfully!).  Mr. Free remodels our home (kitchen, bathroom, basement). I DIY gifts, party decorations, toys, etc.
Luckily it's something we enjoy and saves a lot of money while doing it!

So friends....hope some of these tips were helpful! Have any thrifty tips you can share?

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