Last week I wondered aloud "how frugal is TOO frugal"?
This week I wanted to share (or re-share;) some things we do consistently these days in order to live in such a way that we live within our means:
1) Plan where our money goes. Even though I still have a paycheck or two coming from the school district, we are living off Daniel's paycheck now. I have not taken the time to figure out how to budget on an official budgeting program, but we do have pencil/paper and I am keeping track of all our categories and making sure we stay within those pre-set amounts. 2) Menu Plan. I can stretch my grocery money so much further this way!
2) Eating mostly vegetarian (beans, lentils, TVP, and whole grains with eggs/dairy mixed in there) even before our two week experiment.
3) Not eating out. We will go out for a very special occasion or when we are with my family once a month. This saves us a lot of money. I used to LOVE eating out when we were first married. I felt deprived when my husband felt like we should limit the amount we went out. This has been a gradual process for me, but I have honestly adjusted and rarely miss it!
4) Cloth diapering. We "gasp" use the old fashioned cheap pre-folds. I asked for them for baby showers and have spent less than $150 on additional supplies over the past 9 months, and what we have should last new additions to the family. We do a disposable at night/while traveing though.
5) Being a one car family. Saves insurance costs, gas (no spontaneous trips for us).
6) Making our own baby food. I do the blender/ice cube tray thing. Works awesome for us: cheap, quick, easy. Not as simple as opening a jar, but less waste, and more control over what's in the food.
7) Entertainment on the cheap. Since we have very little in the entertainment budget at this point in our marriage, we get creative. We get free codes for Redbox movies and do a movie night with homemade popcorn (the kind with oil on the stovetop with kosher salt is best!), homemade pizza and other foods that seem more "weekend-like". Last week I was able to get 7 boxes of granola bars/cereal for about $7, which also counted toward a pair of free movie tickets from our local grocery store. By buying things we need anyway, we were able to take get a free date out of the deal! (Anyone want to babysit for us;)?
8) Home Haircuts/Color. I have yet to do one for my husband...the last time he was due we had forgotten to get the right blade for the clippers. Next time though... We do my hair by the ponytail method.
9) Plan grocery trips using sale flyers (loss leaders) and websites such as hot coupon world or Money Saving Mom to find printables/coupon matchups. I have been able to lower our grocery budget plus we eat much better than we used to.
10) Menu Planning. I originally just liked the idea and loved reading through Menu Plan Monday. But now I am hooked, and actually stick to our menu 90% of the time!
We are always open to new ideas, what are yours?