The other night a friend on Facebook asked an open-ended question about saving money. I immediately sat up a little straighter and rattled off 7 or 8 things for her to do. Then I thought, "Wow, that came so naturally!" And then I thought of two more things, so I commented again. Thinking led to more thinking, and I realized that I really am a very frugal person. It has been a process of growing up, becoming more domestic (I kindof hate that word), and being more faithful with the money God has given us to use.
If you ask my parents, they would tell you I have always been a "saver". I do have my moments of weakness, where I buy something that's not on sale, or something I don't really need, but really want. Dave Ramsey says that in every marriage there is a "nerd" (the saver) and a "free spirit" (the spender). If you can imagine the insanity..... I am the free spirit in my marriage. Actually, I call myself the free-spirit-with-nerd-tendencies. Greg is definitely the nerd-with-free-spirit-tendencies.
In honor of our joint nerdiness, I compiled a list of the things I do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that save money. I hope I give you an idea or two, and I would LOVE anyone who reads to leave a comment about things you do to save money.
*Make a budget and STICK TO IT. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (mint.com is a good starter and they have an iPhone app)
*Coupons + sales (couponmom.com)
*Set the AC on 79-80 during the day
*Make your own laundry detergent and cleaning supplies (just google that, there are hundreds of recipes)
*Line dry clothes as much as possible
*NEVER pay full price for ANYTHING
*Trade for services whenever possible
*Meal planning - only buying the groceries you need for the week (see exception next)
*Stockpiling groceries when they are on rockbottom sale. Buy 1 get 2 free meats? Yes, thank you!
*Don't eat out. (Unless it's a special occasion, it's free, or you have a gift card!)
*Make sure utilities are at the lowest rate, and threaten to cancel unless they lower it. (One phone call got our cable/internet bill lowered by $21 a month-- just ask for the retention department..)
*Stay home as much as possible, and make your trips to town worthwhile -- combine errands all on one day, in as efficient a route as possible
*Don't use paper plates, paper napkins, or paper towels. It's cheaper to do laundry and dishes, I promise. (Lest you call me a hypocrite, I will 'fess up that we do use paper napkins and occasionally paper towels, but have cut WAY back. We haven't bought paper plates in ages. I do all my cleaning with cheap white washcloths)
*Drink more water, and I don't mean bottled. That defeats the purpose of not having to buy cokes, etc.
*Be creative and resourceful. Think of ways to get what you need without paying for it. Can you trade someone for it? Can you make it yourself? Do you already have it but just can't find it? (Go look for it!!)
*Cook from scratch or semi-scratch as much as possible. Convenience foods were a brilliant marketing scheme, since most of it can be easily recreated with a freezer and/or a plastic baggie. 100 calorie packs? Buy the big box, count out a 100 calorie serving, put it in a plastic bag. 100 calorie pack. Frozen meals? Buy the ingredients, cook them ahead of time (double or triple the batch for "family size") and freeze it. Frozen "convenience" meal.
These are some of my favorites... what are yours?