Budget Series: Frugal Living

Debt Reduction Series Budget Tips

I’ve already shared how we save money on groceries, today I’m going to touch on a few of the other ways we save money to stretch our meager budget:

Buy Used
Nearly everything we purchase is used.  Our entire family wears clothing from yard sales and thrift stores.  If we need something, we try to get it used before looking elsewhere.  Craigslist is a great resource.  If you have safety concerns, meet sellers (or buyers) in a public place and take someone with you.

Gas
With the cost of gas increasing, I have learned not to take driving around for granted.  For driving around town, I try to combine trips as much as possible, and I count the cost of gasoline.  It’s so easy to fill up the tank and drive around without thinking about the cost.  Now, I estimate the cost of trips based on gas mileage to be sure that whatever I’m doing is “worth it.”  I live in a small, rural area, so this problem might look different for people in cities, but I still think it’s important to consider.

Entertainment
Most of our entertainment is free. The boys and I go to storytime at the library each week, usually followed by a picnic at the park. They look forward to it, and it’s completely free. If you’re in a larger area, you probably have lots more free entertainment options than you realize.  Even if you’ve lived in your area forever, check out visitors centers, etc.  You might find things you didn’t even know were offered. Otherwise, we just try to plan fun activities for them at home, Pinterest is full of great ideas for kids’ activities.  You can also easily start your own playgroup.  Social media (like facebook) makes it easy to connect with local moms. 

Make Do
My number one frugal tip is to make do with what you have.  When you’re trying to live on a tight budget, either by necessity or by design, you need to reconsider your “wants” and your “needs.” For most things, we make do with what we have until we can’t.  Then, if it’s not a need, it doesn’t get replaced. My father-in-law doesn’t understand this and really gives my husband a hard time about it, but if you’re on a tight budget, you have to really count the cost of everything, against the basic necessities like food and shelter.

Basically the way we save money is that we don’t spend it. I’ve already shared that we stopped eating out, but we also just generally don’t spend money. And we’re okay with that. I won’t say that there are never moments of wishing things were different, but for the most part, we are content, even without the ability to buy stuff. Imagine that :)

I will admit that I stressed a bit over this post. We’ve made so many steps in this frugal lifestyle that I couldn’t possibly think of everything that we’re doing.  If you’re looking for more frgual ideas, feel free to ask specific questions, or check out some of these resources (I haven’t read all of these, but they turned up in a quick search)

The Peaceful Mom
Money Saving Mom
50 Ways to Save Money
100 Ways to Save Money

What are some ways that you save money and stretch a meager budget?

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Other topics in this series:

~Debt Discouragement
~Why Debt-free? (What the Bible says about debt)
~Our Budget (Frugality is necessary)

~Frugal Living (The Grocery Budget)
-Poor is in the attitude, not the bank account.
~Frugal Living (Saving on other expenses)
~Create Your Own Budget
~Our plan to be debt free (including our mortgage!) in about 6-7 years.

(Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial advisor. I am just a mom with a family living on a single income and I want to encourage others that it is possible to live on a tight budget and still have your needs met and be content…and get out of debt! I really hope that our personal budget information will help someone.)

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