The Best Frugal Tips
What are the best frugal tips for living? What is frugality? Frugality, or being thrifty, simply put is living within one’s means. Easier said than done in this day and age. Especially when the “I want it all” attitude prevails.
Frugal is defined as sparing or economical with regard to money or food; simple and plain and costing little.
Wow! We can unpack so much in that definition for the woman of the home. All families money dynamics are different. In our home, everything has always been one, with me, the wife as the budgeter, tender of the finances. Whether you are the one making the money, or the one tending the money. I’m glad you’re here and looking for frugal tips you may or may not be doing.
I’ll just come out and say it, oftentimes women are the problem when it comes to finances. Like frugality states, being simple, ahem minimalism in the home. Do you really need to recolor coordinate and decorate every few years? With regard to money or food all the women I know love to dine out, including myself. However, not a frugal choice.
If you’ve studied Dave Ramsey at all, you know there’s the saver and the spender. Let’s face it, women like to shop. We are the ones buying things to make the dinner, make the home, educate the children. So let us dive right in
1. Thrift store & garage sale shopping
If you are someone who is an avid thrifter than this will be of no surprise to you. You may be surprised however to know there is still a HUGE amount of people who actually will spend lots of dollars on a piece of clothing. If this is within your means, great. But if you’re like me always wondering how to budget better, than in the land of plenty, there is never a need to buy an item at full price anywhere.
Craigslist and garage sales for furniture, goodwill and salvation army, or the reuse center for clothes. You can take it a step further and only buy the markdown colors and tags. I have a rule when it comes to clothes, if it’s not under $5 I’m not buying it. Exception, once in a great while I will splurge and buy something from Ross or TJ Maxx for $15-$20. But that happens only with gift cards I receive.
I was not always this way. When I started making my own money, I spent it ALL on clothing, shoes, purses. Brands for what? From the age of 20-25, if I would’ve simply thrift shopped, let’s just say I could have soooooo much money in the bank right now, or probably own a second home. No joke.
Do I miss going into a store at the mall and buying whatever I want? Honestly no. Because after thrifting so long, you would not believe what you find. On the big island of Hawaii, where I live, we have reuse centers at the dump. Yes, there is no trash removal, and everyone is required to take their own garbage out to the dump.
Well, the reuse center, maybe there is one by you, has bins of clothes. You can fill up an entire bag for $5. It can break down to $.50/piece or less. Oftentimes garage sales are great for this. If they don’t sell it, they’re donating it. So they will have tables of clothes for less than $1.
With our consumer culture now, oftentimes the clothes I get still have tags on them. I kid you not the latest, ‘score’ I found was a purple Tiganello hobo bag, brand new for $8. I looked it up online and it was a $300 bag!!! Yes, this happens often thrifting. So if you’re still a Ross/TJ Max shopper or buy things at the mall. Forget the stores, and thrift it up sister, you are missing out!
My boys call it the treasure store. Because like they say, another person’s junk is someone else’s treasure.
2. Bread baking
If you stick around my site long enough, you’re going to hear me talk about bread like I do Jesus. After leaving the Paleo diet after 2 strict years, me and bread are like best friends that went waaaay to long without seeing each other. I will typically only eat bread I make, as for many reasons I choose to eat gluten in the form of sourdough only, preferably. But food sensitivities, and allergies aside. Baking your own bread will SAVE you BIG TIME!
Let’s break this down. A good loaf of bread on the big island costs $5-7. I realize bread loaves can vary in price where ever you’re located, so let’s set the price at $3/loaf. My family of boys can easily eat a loaf a day. That would end up costing $90/month at $3. At $5 it’s $150! Maybe your family isn’t as bread crazed as we are, and you only eat 2 loaves a week. That’s $24/month.
I can get good flour at Costco for $.50/lb. If Costco doesn’t have it, it’s $1.25/lb. 1 lb of flour for a typical bread recipe is 1 loaf. So my loaf bill is at $15/month! Way better than the alternatives. If you’re in the category of two loaves a week, you’d be spending around $11/month baking bread.
It’s not as much a saver if your family is small or non-bread eaters. However, if you have bread eaters and growing children, this is a HUGE saver! That grocery money can then go to other items, or in the bank. Plus, the health benefits are HUGE! Even good organic bread is loaded with extra stuff, compared to at home, you’re baking water, flour, and salt.
3. NO RESTAURANTS
Oh restaurants. How your fried food smells lure us in like a fish on a hook. As a past server, this one is a biggie for me. Even if you don’t go sit down, those drive thru’s, and Starbucks count. Any convenience meal on the go is always way more than a meal or snack you prepare at home. There’s just no other way around it.
Many people on a strict budget don’t go to restaurants, maybe this is already you. I challenge you then. Do you drink any drinks besides water, and your morning coffee or tea? Sodas, bottled drinks, and even water bottles add up really quick.
This was a big one for our family when we started to budget. My husband works hard physical labor in the heat of the tropics. The gas station with it’s cooler full of alluring temptations; from soda to kombucha, or his favorite good belly probiotics, would always call him in. That’s $2-5 a beverage choice. I used to never carry a water bottle with me. You’re running errands and you get thirsty and buy the water bottle. That’s $1-3 a bottle!
When I calculated out how much he was spending: $80/month on hydration! Add in my water bottles out and about, and it was well over $100/month. That’s over $1000 a year! There’s a lot more than hydration I can think of I’d like to spend money on. God gave us water for free so our bodies can stay hydrated.
It is not hard to grab a reuse bottle and keep it filled up. So many of them even keep cold, so if you’re like my hubby you can have that cold drink to cool you off in the afternoon.
If you’re looking to find ways to save money and change habits, all the little things help. I started making our own lemonade, and kombucha for pennies instead of dollars, in a year that’s huge!
I know I said 3 things, but I couldn’t have the best frugal tips article without stressing the importance of budget implementation. Plainly speaking, “a budget is simply telling your money where you want it to go,” as Dave Ramsey says. This means you tell every dollar how you want it spent. If you’re going to indulge, you budget indulgence. You have an actual amount that is set to spend for groceries.
The average American still equates that budgeting is just simply looking at their bank app every day and seeing where their money went. But, in order for budgeting to truly be effective in paying off debt and accomplishing financial goals, money needs to be told where to go and when. Just paying the bills on time and spending the rest on what you think you need isn’t a budget.
A budget is writing down how much money you make in a month, and all the bills you have. Then take the extra money apart from bills. Your money needs to be told where to go.
How much do you actually want to spend on groceries? What do you actually want to spend on restaurants? How much do you actually spend on gas? Do you really want that car loan payment, or can you sell it and get a car for less? When you look at your money in a budgeting way, these are things to ask yourself.
If you’re starting from scratch, a good place to begin is printing off the last 2 months of bank statements and adding it all up into categories. This will at least give you an idea of how much you’re spending monthly on certain items, like groceries and gas.
It will also be a shocker when you look at the monthly totals of those easy impulse purchases. Believe me, even the best of us frugal budgetarians still fall for the call of a friend who wants to meet for coffee, or the sporadic date night ice cream.
You then can really dive into your finances and see where you want to allocate funds, including paying off debt quicker. Because let’s be honest, we’ve been sold a lie that debt is our friend. Debt is the enemy. It keeps us in bondage.
God’s word is full of teaching on debt. Not to mention, the difference of stress levels when you’re just making it, comparative to having enough to live comfortably.
Oftentimes, most people can live very comfortably if they just make some of the simple adjustments I mentioned above. It also is being a good steward over what God has given to us. You can never expect God to give you more if you’re not properly tending what He already has given. And it’s not just about finances, it’s about general well being. I know many people who have far less than the average person, but they tend everything they touch in life so well, that God gives them such a peace, and joy.
I will leave you with some random extra frugal tips I have found to be very useful when wanting to up my game of frugality:
- wash your hair with baking soda and ACV(apple cider vinegar)
- wash your face with manuka honey
- every time you want to go to a restaurant, put that cash in an envelope and watch it add up in a month
- shop at Costco or other discount bulk grocery stores
- Get a Prius(the gas mileage is for real unbelievable)
- Go for a walk in the park and pack a picnic for your next date night
- Tithe fully, God will bless those who give out of a cheerful heart
- If you’re not using it, sell it on craigslist
I’d love to hear other tips you may have budet-ristas. Leave your tidbit of wisdom below.