- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Frugal Calendar For Frugal Living
RANDOM THOUGHTS ON FRUGAL LIVING
"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."
-Henry David Thoreau
Now there was a guy who understood what frugal living is all about. Thoreau was light years ahead of his time, as he was warning us about consumerism and needless spending 170 years ago. I wonder what he would think of today’s world?
I know that for some of you out there, frugal living is like a trip to the Twilight Zone. I understand that we live in a society where spending is King, bigger is better, and there are those who feel we are measured by the number of possessions that we own.
Silly of course, but there you have it.
There are others, though, who understand that one does not need to spend excessively to be happy. There are others, still, who believe that the economy is not going to get better, that the middle class is disappearing, and that those on the low end of the economic scale have virtually no chance of rising any higher.
Those are the ones who are now embracing frugal living. Those are the ones who understand the difference between need and want, and who are taking steps to insure that they will never be without those things that they need, but also will never be held down by too many “wants” and too much credit debt.
I understand that it can seem to be a very daunting task to take on frugality all at once. Selling off everything, going on a Spartan budget, and learning to live off the land is a bit too much for some people to accept. That is why I propose you dip your big toe into the frugal waters rather than dive in headfirst. Start out slow, see how you like it, adjust to a few small changes in your lifestyle, and then add on as you feel comfortable in doing so.
This calendar is for you! This calendar gives you one suggestion to try each month of 2013, a dipping of the proverbial toe. None of these suggestions are hard to do, and none will seem to be too large a shift in lifestyle. Try one frugal idea per month and maybe, just maybe, they will become natural to you and you just might like them.
Shall we begin your new outlook on life?
A guide to frugal grocery shopping
- Frugal Tips For Grocery Shopping
The battle line are drawn. It is you against the giant retailer. Read these suggestions if you are interested in saving money on your grocery bill.
Plan meals according to what is on sale that week! Instead of always buying New York Steak for the family, buy a lesser cut of meat that is much less expensive. Instead of buying a premium coffee, go with one that is discounted down that week. Instead of buying whole chickens, go with another turkey since they will be discounted in January.
Challenge yourself to find cheaper products that will still allow you freedom in preparing meals. Which is cheaper, ground beef or ground turkey? You can make the same meals out of both of them, so why not go with the cheaper of the two for one month?
Cook only on Sunday! Make enough on Sundays to last the entire week. You will be surprised how much money you save by doing this. Prepare a chicken and roast, and then coast the rest of the week eating leftovers. Boil that chicken carcass and make soup. Use the roast leftovers for sandwiches. Stretch those Sunday meals out and don’t choke under the pressure and do extra grocery shopping or extra cooking during the week.
Only cooking on one day per week saves money, and it also saves time during the weekdays that can be better spent relaxing and enjoying down time.
Shop thrift stores for one month for all clothing and household items! No cheating now! For the entire month you may not buy any new clothing or accessories.
This writer has purchased two new pairs of jeans and one package of underwear in four years. Period! Everything else I needed, from fleece outerwear to socks, have been purchased at Goodwill. If I can do that over a four-year span, you can certainly do it for one month.
Alternative option: build a small greenhouse using plastic sheeting and flexible tent poles. Get some seedlings started so you can reap the benefits of fresh produce in the summer.
Frugal gardening anyone?
- Frugal Gardening Tips: Living Simple
Why spend money on gardening when everything you need you already have? There are many ways to have a fruitful garden and not spend loads of cash.
Start a garden! You can either build raised garden beds or dig out a garden in your yard. What do you say? You have no room in the yard? Well then make a container garden on your patio, or make a vertical garden using an old pallet.
Every penny you save growing your own veggies and/or herbs is a penny you can use for some other need; you also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your food is safe from pesticides and from chemicals injected into the store-bought produce.
Turn off all lights in the house during the day, and leave them off….for the entire month. If you absolutely cannot do without lights on, then lessen the number of lights that you use. You get bonus points if you unplug your microwave when you aren’t using it. You get double bonus points if you lower the thermostat in your house by two degrees.
Less energy used + less energy paid for = happy frugal homeowners!
Hang up a clothes line outside and begin hanging your washed clothes on the line to dry. No using your dryer unless absolutely necessary!
What’s the benefit? Are you serious? First, you are saving money because that dryer is not gulping energy, and secondly your clothes will have that wonderful fresh smell and feel to them, like they did when you were a kid and your mom hung the laundry outside.
If you don’t have a backyard then put up a clothes rack out on your patio or deck.
Hold a garage sale! Spend June gathering all of your unwanted items and yes, you do have unwanted and unneeded items! Plan on having your sale any weekend other than the 4th of July weekend; make up flyers, put signs at the major intersections, and then sit back and collect your cash.
Frugal living embraces de-cluttering, and nothing de-clutters like a garage sale. Anything that you do not sell, take to the Goodwill and donate it.
Do not spend any of your change! For one month you are forbidden from spending even a penny. All change goes into a central holding container. All family members have to empty their pockets into that container each night. If you are at the store and the total of your purchase is $6.04, then give the clerk seven bucks and get change back; you may not give her six bucks and four pennies! No cheating allowed!
Why? Because this is a quick way to save some money for other needs, and you just might find it becomes a habit, so that by the end of November you have enough money for Christmas gifts.
No television for one week this month! Just one week! I was going to suggest for an entire month but decided I was pushing my luck with that one. J
Unplug the television, or put it into storage, for one week. The kids have sports and homework, and of course they have computers for entertainment. This writer has not had a television for six years, so I’m thinking any one of you can go one week without it. Why would you? Of course I could say to save money on electricity, but the truth is that television promotes spending through the ads. It also takes away from quality time that a family can spend together.
Do not use any credit cards for one month! Pay cash for everything you need for the entire month. If you don’t have enough cash to pay for needs then you can use that change that you have been saving for two months. If you still don’t have enough cash then sell some items on ebay, or have another garage sale.
Credit card debt is killing this country. Try for one month not adding to that debt.
What do you think? Can you do this for one week per month?
Give your time to a local charity! I did not say give to a local charity; I said give your time to a local charity. Big difference! There is a huge difference between giving ten cans of food to the Food Bank and working at the Food Bank for an afternoon. There is a big difference between tossing a couple bucks at a homeless man, and working at the Soup Kitchen serving the homeless.
There are people who are absolutely miserable every single day of the year. November is the month that we give thanks, so give your thanks by giving your time to help others.
Merry Frugal Christmas
- Frugal Christmas Ideas: Living Simple
Christmas does not have to be a season for going into debt! Living Simple ideas like these will bring you warmth and enjoyment without breaking your personal bank.
Set a budget for gift-giving this holiday season and then stick to the budget. Instead of buying gifts, make them yourself. Homemade gifts say “I love you” so much better than store-bought gifts.
If you really want to get into the spirit of the season, give one less gift to everyone in the family and buy a gift for someone in need.
And if you really want to dazzle the frugal gods, do not put lights up outside. It just wastes energy and flushes your hard-earned money down the toilet.
Let's chat about simple living
ONE YEAR BUT A GREAT START
Can you do it? Can you make one small change in lifestyle each month? I’m betting that you can, and I’m also betting that you will enjoy the change.
If some of these suggestions just won’t work, you can rest assured that I will be writing an alternative calendar that will be out soon. It will have different suggestions for each month, so you can pick and choose between the two…..or…..you can use both ideas during each month, and then you will be well on your way to being a frugal guru!
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)