Frugal Living Advice and Tips
Cutting costs and frugal living does not mean you have to cut coupons on cheap foods and buy the daily special at your grocery store just because it comes with free cans of green beans.
To me, frugal living means nothing more than careful planning, extra effort and asking yourself "do I REALLY need this"?
Savings on groceries is the first thing we should look at if we decide to live frugally. After all, cutting on this grocery bill is the only thing that most of us think we can do.
You don't have to sacrifice your health by eating cheaper and processed food, just look for more reasonably priced alternatives. If you buy a packaged mixed greens salad for $3.99 for instance, you can switch to one whole lettuce for $2.49. At least these are the prices for organic lettuce at my local supermarket. This saves $1.50 right there. Let's say you buy one salad a week, this saves you $6 a month or $72 a year. You just have to wash and cut the lettuce.
TIP: Buying whole vegetables and fruits is much cheaper than buying the pre-cut ones.
One of the tips I read many times and tried but miserably failed was plan your meals. Well I planned my meals OK, but I still ended up throwing leftovers or spoiled food. There was something amiss here with my planning.
TIP: Planning your meals really means how much food you will eat at every meal.
Ordering 8 slices of your lunch meat at the Deli may seem strange in the US, where people are used to buying by the pound. Let me tell you, while being a student in Germany I was amazed by how the Germans shop. They would only buy how much they would eat, nobody really wasted any food.
So buying 8 slices of ham and 4 slices of cheese makes about 4 sandwiches a week. Now we are talking planning.
Again, making a daily menu and sticking to it is an extra step you need to take, it saves money by not buying more than you can eat, and by not having to order a $20 pizza just because you don't know what's for dinner on Thursday.
TIP: Keep a package of your favorite frozen food in case you mess up and forget to thaw your meat on time.
Prepared frozen food is usually more expensive, but it beats the $30-40 bill you will end up paying at your local diner.
Cooking your own food is not only healthier but saves hundreds of dollars.You can invest in a crock pot and a cooking book. Just put it together in the morning and and have it ready by the time you come home from work.
TIP: Don't eat out, cook your own food.
Also, learn a couple of easy put something together dinners.
You can even make your own bread with a bread maker, just add flour, yeast, water and oil, push a button and in 3-4 hours your bread is made - a delicious home made bread. Not only cheaper but healthier too.
A roaster oven is another extremely versatile kitchen appliance. You can cook practically anything - chili, sloppy joes, turkey, ribs, pork loins, baked beans. Eat and freeze leftovers.
Living frugally by saving on your grocery bill does not mean sacrificing quality of your food, it's just a matter of investing in useful kitchen appliances, planning your meals and making an effort to stick to your menu.
Home-cooked meals are not only cheaper, but better for your health.
How much TV Do You REALLY Watch?
Another bill we can reduce is our cable TV. Most of us do have a contract with Dish Network or Direct TV. You can call your cable company provider and ask for ongoing monthly specials.
TIP: Make a call to your cable company, they want to keep you as a customer and will offer your specials that might not be available on their website.
You also have to ask yourself the question how much TV do you really watch. Is it worth paying $24 extra a month for HBO/STARZ movie channels package? It is often that they repeat the same movie on these channels anyway.
You can completely cut your TV bill once your contact expires, and get Netflix. For $10-12 a month you get to watch many movies. Nextflix cheapest package lets you keep one movie at a time. Simply watch it and put it in the mail. Again, if you plan ahead and mail your movie on time you will get a new one for the weekend. It's on the weekend we watch movies anyway.You can order whatever you like to watch on Netflix-documentary shows, concerts, kids movies.
Investing time in a good book or board game is another way to spend your weekdays evenings.
Visit your local library, sometimes they even have free movies you can check out.
TIP: Your local grocery store may also offer movie rentals for as cheap as $1.
Run Laundry Only When Full
Plan your clothes ahead of time and run the laundry only when it gets full.
TIP: A lot of clothes and linens can be washed just fine in cold water.
TIP: Don't buy dry cleaning clothes. They end up costing a lot of money over time.
Also, don't run your dishwasher if it's not completely full. Sometimes we look around to find an extra pot to fill up the empty space in the dishwasher. I used to do that.
Buy Supplies in Bulk from Amazon
Buying your supplies in bulk from Amazon beats any deals from Costco, there is no membership fee and you get free shipping on anything over $25.
I was especially thrilled buying diapers from Amazon for my kids. Never had to worry about trying to find room in my shopping cart for these bulky diaper packages. Doing your groceries while entertaining a baby is enough thrill.
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