Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few frugal ideas to cut costs......

-Make one trip to town every week or every other week.
Keep a list of what you are out of or almost out of and only go once instead of every other day.
This will save gas and help you be in your home so you can cook for your family, which will save you in the long run. Also, do errands this day...library, post office, etc. If you have dentist or doc appts coming up, save lists for that day. If you have just one day every week or every other week, this will help you to prepare food in advance for that day too! Save grocery runs for church nights if they are close together! (We try to make one tank of gas stretch for the month!- and we use our Kroger card to save .10 a gallon!)

-Cut all fans and electrical unnecessaries off at night. We cut our electric bill $30 a month doing this one thing!

-We stopped buying clothes! ...Well, I mean like "normal" people buy clothes. I have 5 boys and 1 girl. The boys often "hand-me-down" everything leaving little need for too much. Once a year or so, we spend between $100 and $200 (total)to buy each kid "what they need". This is usually socks and underwear and a pair pants if they need it, etc. For my daughter, its often a couple of bright cotton shirts from the clearance rack or even Goodwill and I make her several pull-over style dresses. If something comes up like a kid outgrows his shoes or rips his pants, it is bought within a few days. We don't buy shoes several times a year "just to have them" and we don't buy "extra" clothes just because they are "on sale" or we see something "cute". Each boy has one or two pair of jeans and 2 dress pants; khaki and black. For summer a couple of long shorts and a couple of t-shirts and then 2 collared shirts which are worn daily, and to church with the dress pants. All clothing is bought with some "growing room".

-We don't buy "pretties" for the house, etc. We usually buy USEFUL things if we spend money on our home or yard. Occasionally(once or twice a year) DH will find something "nice" at a thrift shop, usually "gifts" for me and my daughter. Such as a unique baking pan for me or ceramic doll for her, if found very cheap in thrift stores. Yes, there are sometimes little gifts or treats for all, but that is usually something to eat such as candy. Every now and then we will give them a dollar or two to spend at the dollar store. ...But we don't redecorate every season or every year.

-This brings me to another point. We don't buy lots of toys and gadgets for the kids. They get things at Christmas and on their birthday. Throughout the rest of the year, the above is about all we can swing. It saves money, space, and it teaches some valuable lessons. They really value money and "things" when they get them. There are a couple of other times a year that they get a little $$ from relatives, but again, this is very treasured to them since these times are few. They've learned to really plan and save for what they want and they've learned to really think about what they "want"!

-We don't replace things for looks-sake! It can be cracked, duck-taped, and even super-glued; but if its still workin', its still here! :-) Here's where we will spend a couple of dollars a year-- on super glue!

-Furniture is not replaced unless its broken.

-I've had the same pots for over 20 years! I've added to my collection; stockpots, cast iron, and several other pieces, but my basic set of pots has never been replaced! (Stainless steel! A worthy investment!)

-We do spend some on things that makes our home more "homey"! Things that make it good to be here; a place to have fun, relax, and learn. Ex. We have several computers, many books, and lots of movies. My kids love The Waltons, Andy Griffith, and Gomer Pyle! We've made small investments in those and they have been watched over and over. And recently, I spent $15 on a lawn set: badminton, volleyball, ring toss, etc. We also spent $5 or $6 on Skipbo. Worthy investments! These make for lots of fun times and priceless memories! They are our summer "splurges"!

-We don't spend a lot on homeschool stuff. We don't buy stuff just to try it. Now, don't get me wrong on this one, I have done that and this would be one area that I could really go overboard in but- we just can't do that. Its not frugal and there's not enough room in my house for extra "stuff"! :-) ...We use Robinson Curriculum and print out our books. We have indulged in Math books, even for younger kids. But most everything else, we print out. I've told you how we save on printing toner in this post. (about $7)We also buy cheap notebooks to write in ($5 a year) and we spend somewhere between $25 and $50 on printing paper per year. The rest is simply pencils! So our school expenses are below $70 a year!!!

Those are some of the things we find helpful! Click here for more Frugal Fridays!


Millie said...

Excellent tips.
One thing that we also do is utilize freecycle. Last week we got a garbage bag of nice ladies shirts (not all fit but many-the rest will go on to a thrift store) that my husband was able to pick up on his way home from work.

Abbi said...

Great tips! I think just willing to live simply helps a lot in saving money and also staying sane when you have several children.

debra said...

Those were some great tips. Thanks for sharing. I really like the shop once a week or every other week. I try to do that and it makes a HUGE difference - financially & stress-wise.