Friday, April 12, 2013

Ten Ways to Help You Save and Become More Frugal


I'm going to let you guys in on a little secret:  I haven't always been "frugal".  I *thought* I was.  I would go to girls night out with just $20 in my pocket (poppin' tabs, not tags), hit the clearance aisles for clothing and buy generic foods.  While I was still being "cheap" in the eyes of my peers, I knew I could do better.  I still had cable, debt and zilch in savings, even while working 60-70 hours per week.  AHHHHH!  So, for the past several years, I've been on my journey to a higher level of frugality.  I feel so much more secure in my finances now!

Ten ways where I like to save money:

1.  I use Netflix instead of cable.  It's cheap and has plenty of stuff for me to be entertained.  I always regularly check the Facebook swap pages and Craigslist for movies that may not be on Netflix.  If I can get a DVD or Bluray for $3 or less, it's mine!

2.  I cook at home as much as I can.  Along with this, I shop weekly sales and stock up at lower prices, and with coupons of course!  But, we do like to eat out on occasion.  When we do, we try to have a coupon from Restaurant.com, Sioux City Journal's Deal of the Day or the like.

3.  I do my own nails.  Pedicures and manicures are insanely expensive.  A $10 foot bath with some warm water and bath salts can help loosen the calluses and a $5 foot kit helps you to scrub them.  Check the Dollar Tree for even better deals!  I only get a pedicure about once a year as a treat for paying off a bill or getting a bonus.  I also rarely have my hair cut.  A great place to get your hair and nails done when you want to pay is the Iowa School of Beauty (check your area for a local beauty college for their discounted rates!).

4.  I keep the air conditioning and heating at a modest temperature.  If it's between 50-80 degrees, I keep the windows open instead of running the AC or heat.  Warm clothes during the winter and summer dresses in the summer keep me comfy at all times.  Ceiling fans work great too!  Check out your local power provider's saver program to see more ways to save.

5.  I make sure my dishwasher and washing machine are loaded efficiently.  I don't put pots and pans in the dishwasher as they take up more space than several plates and bowls might.  I wash my clothing when I have a full load only.  Less running = less electricity/water.

6.  I (we...) do our own lawn care.  I'm too frugal (cheap? sure, cheap) to spend $20 on a cut by the neighborhood kid (sorry parents).  I did it twice and each of them missed a spot.  I'll do it myself, boys! :)  I also don't want a bunch of chemicals in the yard that may hurt my dog or vegetable garden.

7.  Gardening!  I buy a lot of veggies, but during the summer I plant zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, peas, eggplant and more.  One eggplant at the store might cost me $1.99/lb, but I can buy 4 plants for that (and seeds for cheaper, if I have the time)!  Gardening definitely helps with the late summer frugality.  I freeze tomatoes whole for recipes in the wintertime and I also make pasta sauce to freeze.

8.  Thrift shopping, of course!  If my jeans are starting to fall apart, or I just broke my favorite mug, I hit the thrift stores.  I always find something fun.  I don't always buy, but I do enjoy the experience.  It's a pretty frugal hobby for me and it's relaxing.  Here's a list of local thrift stores in the Siouxland area.

9.  Paying off the credit cards every month.  Paying interest isn't worth it.  I used to do it, like most people, but decided that if I couldn't afford to pay it off each month, I didn't need to buy it.  I paid the credit card off quickly and never looked back.  I then applied this thought process to the car interest and paid my car off two years early.  I hate paying interest.  I also hate late fees.  If you're paying the minimum on your cards, put an extra $20 as you can so you can pay it off quicker.  Pro tip:  If you're late on a payment, call the company and ask for the late fee to be removed.  A lot of times they'll do it if it's your first time, or even once a year!

10.  Walking instead of going to the gym.  I may not have heavy equipment here, but I do have a treadmill (a splurge at Christmastime, which I paid for with saved money from being frugal in other ways).  Walking outside is great for you.  Having a gym membership, plus driving to the gym just takes more time out of your busy day.  Take the whole family for a walk when it gets warmer!  See the Sioux City Blue Zones Project and learn more about how to be healthy and improve your lifestyle without breaking the bank. :)

These are only some helpful savings tips.  Saving money may seem hard at first, but trust me, it's worth it.  If people call you cheap, tell them "thanks". ;) Pin It

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