Let’s talk about the ways in which Frugal Mamas pinch their pennies and save money. They add financial peace and financial joy, knowing that the coming days are taken care of, food is at the ready, the bills are getting paid, and there is wiggle-room in the budget to enjoy themselves and not letting anxiety over financial matters creep into their family’s life.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it starts here. If you’re not budgeting every month for every dollar, life is one big roller coaster ride of anxiety. You know that the mortgage or rent is paid, there is money for food, the lights will stay on, etc. This is where words like Prudence come into mind. Yes, it means saying no to some things. But if you have budgeted money for clothing, then you can say yes to school shopping and panic-ville won’t ensue.
I keep a simple sheet of paper each month that I like to write things down and keep a visual reminder. Some people like computer programs or apps, but I’m an old fashioned girl who likes things written down. It looks something like this…
Debt or Savings _____________________
Groceries/ Non food items ______________________
Gas for Car ____________________
Phone and Internet bill _________________________
You get the idea. Sometimes you need to work the numbers around a bit to make sure things add up correctly. Sometimes in order to save up for School Supplies, you need to put more beans and rice in the meal planning, but this is wise and yes, Prudent!
They Meal Plan
Never is it a good idea to leave dinner time planning to 5pm, an hour before your husband is coming home for dinner. Plan out the weeks menu. I love to do this on Sunday nights, I see what’s in my pantry, or my freezer. I know what the busy nights are and when I need to schedule freezer meals. I see when company is coming over and I need to double a recipe, etc.
Shop from your pantry first! Use up what you have!
Make freezer meals for difficult evenings or when you are feeling exhausted. Don’t be tempted to eat out!
Use up ALL of something. Use a spatula to get out the last of the peanut butter in the jar. Add water to the BBQ sauce bottle to get out that last bit. It feels like pennies, but it turns into dollars after a month or two.
They make their lunch the night before using leftovers.
They make things from scratch (which is healthier).
Buy in bulk!
Have a few vegetarian meals you make in the week.
Make your own coffee and stop frequenting the cafes and drive thrus.
They don’t waste what’s growing. They pick the fruit from their trees and use it! They find where the berries are growing and pick them.
They watch their power usage
When I first read that turning off your appliances and unplugging things at night would save you money, I thought it was a bit ridiculous. Until I starting saving $25-$50 a month! Do a walk through of your house in the evening before bed. Turn off lights, turn off the power switch to things like T.V’s and DVD players, etc. Plugs can suck energy just by being plugged in. Also, we converted all our lightbulbs to energy efficient ones. This will save you incredible amounts of money!
They embrace the Winter
We keep our thermostat at 61 in the winter and we wear sweaters and socks. We keep our gas fireplace running, but we keep our heater running low. I drink hot tea, and we snuggle with blankets. Not only is this the ultimate “hygge” experience, but it is also a frugal and a thrifty one.
They learn to fix things themselves and they keep things maintained.
YouTube is my best friend. I’ve learned how to gut a fish, how to install a new toilet seat, I’ve watched cleaning tutorials, my husband has done our brake pads and oil changes for the car. It is such a valuable resource! Use the internet for good and become educated!
Keep things oiled, lubed, protected, cleaned, stored correctly, sew buttons back on, hem pants yourself, fix holes in clothes, use OxiClean for stains. It’s about being a good steward with the things God has given you!
They are responsible
They don’t leave out tools in the rain to rust, they bring outside items (trampolines, patio furniture) into the garage in the winter to make them last. They don’t get speeding tickets. They use reminders so that they don’t miss bill payments or doctors appointments. They avoid tickets, and fees at all costs.
They don’t use a gym
Once again, Youtube!! With enough determination and a good workout video along with some free weights, you can skip the gym and save yourself hundreds of dollars by working out at home. You won’t have to worry about daycare for your children because they get to see Mommy working out and being healthy and they get to join you. These are the little areas in which we teach our children valuable character qualities: determination, courage, control, perseverance.
They find free Entertainment
They don’t have cable, but instead they watch things that are free online or they find out what free events are in their local community, they go hiking, or enjoy picnics. They learn how to enjoy themselves without the need to spend money.
They shop around first
Frugal Mamas exhaust every option looking for the best price before they purchase something. They don’t buy things on impulse, but they find the best deal first. They consult their husbands first to make sure that this is the best use of their money.
Their clothing is bought second hand or on a super sale
Sometimes Gymboree has clothing sales that end up just as cheap as the thrift store. Sometimes Garage Sales will let you fill a bag for a dollar. Be wise, be willing to have self control. Look for good quality items, test zippers, look for bare spots in the knees, be discerning about stains, frays or holes. Take your time and be willing to have a price cap for all articles of clothing.
Also, your child doesn’t need 10 dresses. Pair down. Create capsule wardrobes for you and your family. Select items that you can use over and over again in different ways and limit the items in everyone’s wardrobes.
They plan for Christmas and Birthdays all year round
Frugality means not buying things at the last moment, but finding good deals and savings as often as you can. I keep a Christmas bin in the closet and when I find good deals, I add them to the box. Look for book sales, toy sales, get sweaters on clearance in February and save them for next Christmas!
I also use my Ibotta app (use my referral code: egbhwcm) whenever I grocery shop. They give me money back in the form of gift cards. I use those gift cards for Christmas or Birthday gifts. Win-win!
They also learn how to DIY gifts. I’ve made soap, candles, spice mixes, cookie mixes, knitted washcloths, made body scrubs and lavender bath salts, I’ve hand painted flour sack towels, embroidered baby bibs, one year I hand painted and embroidered purses for everyone, made felted bible covers, sewn baby blankets. The list is endless and not that hard to pull off. It is meaningful when you make something yourself!
What are some ways that you are Frugal? I’d love to hear!
Frugal Mama Julia