Who do you see when you hear the words, frugal person? Narrow eyes focused on price tags? Tight lips tallying up purchases? Knuckles squeezing every cent out of a quarter?
A true frugal person does not look this way at all. Instead her eyes catch the bargain on the sales rack, she smiles as she looks over her receipt, and her hands are full of all things her and her family needs.
Staying at home and living on one income for the last 4 years has opened up my eyes. It has given me a new respect for money that I never had. I honestly had no idea how little we could live on. I am ashamed to say that when I was a working mommy I spent my whole paycheck every two weeks. Both Chad and I were working full time and we still managed to put ourselves in debt! We spent what we had available.
I often thought that we would get a handle on bills when we got a raise, but instead our paycheck increased and so did our spending habits.
I like purchasing new items for my home, clothes for me and my family and entertainment, but since we decided that I would stay-at-home with the children, I understand that I cannot have everything at once. That does not mean that I cannot have anything at all. It simply means I need to be creative. I do not have to look at my situation and say that we are poor and there is no way we can afford this, but instead I can start looking at my options for minimizing the cost for things that we need.
Here are a few things I did that you may consider as you bring your own spending into line:
- Telephone – If you have a cell phone you probably do not need a home phone. Unless of course your home does not receive cell phone service. However you can cut back on all the extras and get basic phone service. No need for caller id, voicemail, etc. if you have an answering machine. Let the machine pick it up and if you want to talk to the caller pick up the phone! No need for long distance either, you can use your cell phone for that. Make sure to take advantage of the free minutes on your phone like nights and weekends.
- Cable Television – Do you really need ALL those channels? With everyone away from the home going to work, school, church, gym, extra-curricular activities, shopping, errands, completing homework, cleaning house, laundry, is there anyone watching T.V.? My husband and I rid of our $55 a month cable bill for a $10 Netflix bill. We watch a movie at our convenience without the commercials and without all the fees. When we have extra time and do not have a movie we do an activity with the family, or I take a much needed mommy time out, we send the kids outside to play. Since we have no TV in the bedroom we don’t even miss flipping through all the channels to find that yet again nothing is on!
- Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions – Get rid of them! Everything is available online for free or a small cost. I use to keep the subscription for Sunday newspaper until I found that I can download the coupons and savings tight onto my Safeway Club card online.
- Credit Cards - Don’t need them, need something in an emergency? Use the money in your savings account. Without all the finance charges you will have more in there too!
- Cars and Trucks – I am going to be really honest here, I do not need all the luxury options in a brand new vehicle so I can drive all over town. I want a basic vehicle that will get me from point A to point B. What’s nice about those basic ones is that they do not come with a monthly car payment. Which means I can have a few more luxuries at home. My insurance is cheaper and I do not get extremely upset when one of the kids or our dog makes a mess!
- Groceries – Coupons, Ad’s, Menu’s, and Shopping Lists will all save you time & money. I just love the rush I get when the sales clerk says,
“Thank you Mrs. Cullip, you saved $____ on your purchases today.”
Let’s all strive towards that rush, let’s all strive for the days that after we pay for everything we need, we will have some leftover. We can be good stewards of our paychecks, no matter how much money we have to work with.
What are some spending strategies you have taken to leave more money in your wallet? Please comment below.