Frugal Plan for Frugal Living
An Armature's Guide to Spending Wisely
By Stacy Landen
A coupon here, bulk-buy there, a "buy-one-one-get-one" sale here... how much are we actually saving?
I'm encountering a newly-appointed (Yes, appointed!! Can you believe someone has actually trusted me with an official task?!) adventure to pursue the essence of what makes a frugal (and much less expensive) life. I have been chosen to fill one of five positions as a member of the Frugal Living Committee, organized by the church.
My Mission: To find ways to be a thrifty, nifty, savvy shopper.
Sounds like a CHALLENGE!!! :D Which means I will find every extreme way of saving money as best as I possibly can. (I always over do every task I'm given - so let’s see what level I can take this to!)
Here's what I already do at home:
I love buying bulk! Flour, sugar, spices, cereal, dog treats, - there is an amazing selection when it comes to bulk foods and items out there, people!!
Here’s what I do (Or am working up to!)
1. Buy bulk spices. I bought individual spices, all in their own little jars at the spice rack section of my local grocery store, just for my husband and I to realize later that all that individual spending really ate up our wallet! After our spice jars were all empty, we kept them and decided that buying the spices from the bulk section and re-filling the jars would be a much more economical way spicing things up in our kitchen! Even our salt and pepper shakers joined in!
2. Buying bulk ingredients. It is most often cheaper with most items you cook with, buying cheap items this way, like sugar, flour and cereal is a great way to go.
3. Buying bulk water. Instead of buying dozens and dozens of 24-packs of bottled water, consider trading for reusable water bottles and either the fill-it-yourself 1 gallon or 10 gallon jugs at the grocery store, then refill those nifty reusable bottles. Or! If you’re savvy like my momma, instead of throwing those empty water disposable/recyclable water bottles in the recycling bin, fill ‘em back up!! (Make sure they are nice and clean though! We like to run them through the dish washer!) Get creative! Refill those bad boys with your favorite flavored drink! Yum!
Some quick Tips in Frugality:
· Be a Savvy Shopper! Look in your weekly ads for coupons and sales!
· Buy per unit price not the comparison item on the shelf that is marker at a cheaper price - look for cheaper price by comparing price per weight. The more you get for your dollar is what counts, even if the overall price is slightly higher than the rest. It might just be me, but 15.8 cents per unit (weight) sure sounds like a better deal that 26.3 cents per unit, don’t you think?
· Make a goal for your spending every time you enter the store. Tell yourself “I’m not leaving this store with more than $$ in my basket.”
· Take a calculator with you to the grocery store! If you don’t already use one when you go shopping just to keep track of you accumulating spending, take one anyway! You never know when you’ll find a discount that needs calculating or a price comparison (this works great with figuring out which price per unit [weight] is the best deal). Heck! If your calculator is basic and doesn’t have a duel calculating function for adding up those totals and figuring out a discount… bring two!! ;)
Baby can be expensive, we all know that. But there are a lot of ways you can save money and provide all the necessities for your bundle of joy.
· Baby is easy to feed when he's still getting his meals from the mom factory (or as my husband calls it, "The Dairy", but for those of you who use formula, it can get expensive -and fast!
· I recently learned that a local 2nd-hand/consignment store in my area sells unopened, unexpired containers of baby formula for half the price you would find it at the grocery store! Who knew?
· MAKE YOUR OWN BABY FOOD! You can find kits and How-to books on how to make your own baby food! Chances are, you can probably find it cheaper, and in as-good-as-new condition, at a 2nd-hand or consignment store, too! ;)
2nd-Hand and Consignment Stores and Baby
THE THOUGHT of SECOND-HAND SHOPPING!!!!!! It used to make me quiver and send a nasty shiver down my spine! "Eewww!! Who would buy someone's used garabage??" My previous way of thinking has significantly changed, that is, under a few circumstances:
I only buy second-hand items that you can't tell that they are second hand - yes! These items DO exist!!! I recently bought a second-hand up-right baby swing, one that would have been somewhere around $150-200 new on the shelf for just $50! (This price choice was mine for 4 other possible choice - in this case, I chose the more expensive choice because I felt that of the 5 possible choices for a second-hand swing, this swing was newer, in better shape, all around, and worked the best for my needs, as well as longevity. No way I would spend less just because it costs me less now, when I know the thing is going to die on me in a week and be forced to buy another one - that kind of spending racks up the $$$ fast!
Bottom line: Look for items that are unstained, undamaged – because 2nd hand store rarely, if ever, have a return policy, good-working condition, safe and hygienic – be smart people, use your common sense ;)
Think outside the box! Bet you never thought of looking at a consignment store for much more than baby clothing at a 2nd hand store! You can buy used (no, not gross or disgustingly stained – no self-respecting store would accept or sell those-) cloth diapers there, too! You can buy them at half the price you’d find them new!
Ask if you can work for credit. Some privately owned consignment stores may consider letting you work for credit to buy stuff in the store
Trade and exchange! That’s what they’re here for! Trade in your baby’s and kid’s out-grown clothing for clothes that fit!!
If at first you don’t succeed! Shop, shop again!!!!
Practice patience, it may take time to find the deals and save the money.
Discipline. Practice it. If you resist the urge to buy whatever, whenever and whatever price you happen to find it, you thank yourself later!
These are the personalities of a frugal shopper.
Keep a few extra bucks hand y for the opportunistic buy! Sales and deals are always popping up – you never you when or where you’re going to find those savings!!
Save Money on Diapers!!!
Our family uses cloth diapers. You might be thinking of the folded cloth and safety pin your mother used with you if you’re not familiar with the cloth diapers of the 21st century. Cloth diaper, today, have vastly improved fro their fore-runners, with highly more absorbent materials, leak protection, a vast array of styles to suit your personal preferences and need, you wallet and even your fashion sense.
MAKE EVERYTHING YOU EAT FROM SCRATCH!!
No, I don;t mean scratch yourself then open a box-dinner!
Learn to cook from scratch! Not only is cooking from scratch healthier, that is, it can be if you choose to cook as so, it is CHEAPER!!!!!!!!!!! Save you money and eat a home-cooked meal!!!
This feels like a good place to end, for today, that is! There is more to come!
DISCLAIMER: All information is merely observation through personal practice and experiences. Please note that your experiences and outcomes of any attempt to model your shopping habits are 1. At your own will, I am not responsible for your personal shopping habits, nor do I claim to change them in any way, or improve your financial status or financial management, or financial standing in any way, 2. Have, here by, been advised you may experience a different outcome based on your geographical location, local economy, and resources and time available to you, the individual, and 3. Personal preferences of chosen brand of any and all item, shopping location and stores and all other variables, thereafter.