Amy . . .

What would you like to know? I am fun, but crazy. I have a most perfect husband, and 2 cats named Samson and Delilah. We are presently working on adopting a little girl from China and have a separate blog for that. I am a Christian and am working on a better relationship with him. I live in the Atlanta area and love sharing stories with people. I am also a pediatric nurse and I love it! I love to talk and meet new people and I love Disney Cruising

Thursday, April 23, 2009

need help/ asked this before

Ok, the Christophers are getting on a strict budget like most Americans. My questions are how do YOU live frugally? I am talking groceries, entertainment, clothes. Looking for all of your ideas..I am going to try to find my old post on this.
I think I need to get myself mentally ready to live frugal. I need to quit thinking I can get what I want when I want and that would help tremendously!!

17 comments:

Kim said...

Great website here - http://www.frugalmom.net/. Check out the forum. Real life tips from frugal women everywhere. I've learned alot on ways to save money on little things- especially laundry.

Mercy's Maid said...

Thrift stores/garage sales are great. I would think even more so now that you have a little one. They grow out of clothes so quickly!

Check out frugalupstate.blogspot.com too. She has some great tips.

Sara said...

Here's my best money and time saving tool. If you eat chicken...I buy a whole 3 1/2 lb chicken...I use a knife to lift up the skin gently and put garlic and spices and herbs mixed with olive oil under the skin and over the skin (you can also use a rub). I cut up some red potatoes and but some baby carrots. I stick all of this in the crockpot with about a cup of water on low all day. You can make gravy with the juice at the end of the day. Then we have roasted chicken and vegetables for dinner one night. Then I take the remaining chicken and remove it from the bones(discard bones where doggy cannot find). I put it in two separate tupperwares ready for use in the coming day and already shredded. I usually have enough for two more casseroles. You can also use those chicken meal bakes from the store but they are high in preservatives and all the bad stuff... So two other nights of the week I make Chicken Divan, Chicken tacos, chicken stir-fry, chicken pot pie, chicken salad, a literal salad with chicken on top for lunch...you can look on the campbell's soup website for lots of ideas. I can get three meals out of a chicken and I even buy the organic whole chicken for about $9, but you can get a regular roaster for a whole lot less. it is also pretty lowfat. You can do this once or twice a month tops and then the chicken is overkill.
Also, we cut coupons from the Sunday paper and target the ads that we have coupons for in order to get extra savings. I organize those coupons in a little plastic divider I got at K-Mart. You can download coupons on coupons.com as well. It takes time but I do it while watching television...
Good luck!

Dani said...

Freecycle. It's your best friend for clothes and other kid items. www.freecycle.org will tell you all about it and how to find your local group. NEVER buy new clothing for a child! Except maybe underwear. :)

Plan your meals ahead, at least by the week but preferably by the month. This stops you from eating out due to that "I'm tired and I can't think what to make" feeling so common when you have a little one. Also, look into doing once a month cooking and freezing meals. This and the menu planning has really cut down on our waste of food and eating out unnecessarily.

Lynne said...

I agree with thrift stores, garage sales, etc. for baby clothes. And buy bigger sizes too - not just what she's wearing now.

When I go grocery shopping, I buy things that are on sale and stock up on them. If chicken breasts are on sale, I'll buy about 4 or 5 packages and freeze them. The next week, if it's ground beef, I'll buy that. Buy big packages and separate them and freeze. Buy paper products at Walmart or Big Lots - never buy in the grocery unless they're on a big sale.

On hot days, keep your blinds closed to keep out the sun. Open your windows in the evening when it cools off. Cooler showers. Wash clothes in cold water. Don't run the dishwasher until it's full.

When you're out, plan your trip so you're not wasting gas. (Better yet - drive a Prius!)

Entertainment - stay home and play games or cards with friends. Watch movies on TV for free. Use the library for books for yourself and LynnMarie.

Hope some of these ideas help.

Tymm said...

When I lost my job in February we went into full on frugal mode - it is very doable.

Here;s an entertainment tip:

You ever see those Redbox movie vending machines at Wal-Mart? I became the king of those things - but there's the kicker - for FREE!

There are tons of FREE codes all over the internet - I had a stretch at one point of like 11 movies in a row for free.

Good luck - frugal is better! And now that I am employed again we are still trying to stay frugal - it's a positive all the way around...

Christie said...

Couple of things and also see my post about this coming up:

We read the ads for all the local grocery stores and map out who has the best deals on what we need.

Buy several loaves of bread when they are on sale - then freeze. Defrost a day in advance - perfectly soft and ready to go.

Defrost three to four things for dinner at a time - then you can pick and choose on the actual day from what you have ready to go. If it's frozen, chances are you'll eat out and spend a ton more.

Consider the $1 menu at fast food places before ordering a "meal deal". Many times, they have the same thing in smaller portions and it's only a dollar. We've eaten for $5 by doing this (family of three!)

Forgo the pricey coffees and drinks. At $4 to $5 each, you can pocket that and have date-night instead at the end of the week.

Just a few ideas...

ChupieandJ'smama said...

My biggest thing is to cut out impulse buying. This is HUGE with me (and I blew it the other day when I went to Bed Bath and Beyond - $105.00 when I went in for forms to make english muffins and a bread knife. Bad shopper!).
But other things that work for me is to cut coupons, do a weekly menu and only buy things at the grocery store for that menu, menu plan from my cabinets and freezer (cuts down on what I need to buy), try to shop at Wal-Mart SuperCenter (even though I loath Wal-Mart and blame them for part of the economy). For kids clothing: I've shopped at a gently used clothing stores, Wal-Mart, or sales racks. Kids outgrow things quickly so there is no point on spending big bucks on things.

Michelle Howard said...

I get the Everyday Cheapskate newsletter. It's free, short, and sweet. The newsletter is packed with great information to help one live a frugal lifestyle with class. Mary Hunt is the author, and her company is called Debt Proof Living. There are services you can sign up for for a fee, but they are optional. I'll e-mail you the link. For anyone else wanting to sign up, you should be able to google Everyday Cheapskate and find her website, where you can sign up.

Jesse said...

First step to SAVING money is NOT SPENDING. There is a big difference between saving, which is the act of actually setting money aside (and letting it grow by drawing interest), and not spending/or spending less.

Also, the trick is not to have everything at a cheaper price, but doing without things are that are not essential to living.

a) MAKE A BUDGET and STICK WITH IT, writing it down helps you to be committed to your new plan and life style.

b) USE CASH, it's much harder to spend cash than using a debit or credit card.

c) CUT UP THE CREDIT CARDS and PAY THEM OFF (if you don't have the money, then don't spend it. Having credit doesn't count as having money).

d) START A RAINY DAY FUND, it doesn't matter how much you sock away, just start somewhere.

e) Every time you make a purchase, ask yourself sincerely "DO I REALLY HAVE TO HAVE THIS? WILL I CEASE TO EXIST IF I DO NOT HAVE THIS." If the answer is no, put it back.

f) WATCH LESS TV, the less you know about things that can be purchased, the less you will care to have them.
Enjoy a nice walk instead. It's healthy and it's the best and biggest HD screen there is, full 360 degree and even in 3-D!

Best of Luck
From the millionaire next door.
--Jesse

Natalia said...

One change my hubby and I have made is we use cash! Buying stuff with a debit card is like playing with monopoly money. When we spend cash we know that when it's gone, it's gone!

Grocery shopping we buy a lot of store brands shop the bottom shelves in the grocery store. When I find a good sale on chicken, boneless, skinless, I'll buy 10 or 15 pounds at a time and freeze it in 8 oz portions.

Clothes- good will or a good 2nd hand shop.

We used to do the envelope system. We had an envelope for clothes, gas, shoes, groceries, haircuts, fun and a special item that we were saving for. When my husband got paid we would take x number of dollars out and put the alloted amount in each envelope and put it in the drawer. Out of site, out of mind! We never had to worry about overspending, and if we did happen to take from one of the other envelopes, it was already accounted for.

Also made balancing the checkbook sooooo much easier! :) There was only 5 or 6 transactions every month and then the deposits!

Good luck!!!!

Suprina said...

Amy,
I have started clipping coupons. I actually started our of necessity. I used my first coupon(not ever just in a long time) on March 16th of this year. So far, I have saved $223.00

Just today I went grocery shopping. My total BEFORE coupons was $168.00. My total after coupons was $104.00

There is also a book called, 10, 10, 10.

Basically, before you make ANY decision no matter how big or small. You think of it how will it affect you 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now.

There is a book called 10, 10, 10 by Susy Welch. I am not a big book reader but this is a 'self-help' book that I want to read.

I also unplug EVERYTHING that is not in use. With the exception of the microwave, over and fridge, washer and dryer, and alarm clocks.

We I go to bed at night, I make sure all the TV's, Dvd players, coffee makers, radios, ...etc. are off. During the day I make trips around the house to see if there is anything unnecessary plugged in.

I live in a 3,000 square foot home, 2 stories. My neighbor lives in a 2 story 3,007 square foot home. We received our electric bills today....
Mine, $179.00
Her's, $489.00

We turn off ALL lights when not in use.

During the winter our thermostat is set at 65º. During the summer it is set at 79º. You would think we would get hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but we don't.

We use fans and open our windows during the summer. Winter we bundle up, where sweats, Cover up with blankets when needed. And we are kept warm.

We still haven't turned on our air yet. We are trying to hold out until June 1st.---Don't know if we are going to make it or not.

We have a dishwasher. I don't use it. I wash my dishes by hand. And there are 6 of us.

Hang your cloths to dry. I hang dry about 40% of our clothes.

I use a binder organizer for all my coupons. I have finally got a pretty good stash of coupons going.

I have put a lot of my savings and time saving tips on my blog. I think the direction of my blog is changing up...just a bit...it is still about my everyday stuff with my family...however, I have added in my coupons, freebies I find, things I saved on and stuff like that. I even have pictures of my coupon binder on there.

Take 5 min. showers. as well.
When I am drying clothes I set a timer for either 20 or 30 minutes depending on the amount of clothes in the load. I take them out, when the timer goes off. Sure some items might still be a little damp...but they dry...very fast.

I spend about one hour a day Monday-Friday looking for Coupons on the net. None on Saturday. And then on Sunday I spend between 1-2 hours looking for coupons on the net and looking through my newspaper.

I just found out a few days ago...when you go to park your car. Park you car so when you leave you can pull out straight forward and not back out. It uses more gas to go in reverse than it does to go straight forward.

My family hasn't even eaten out in 4 months. Not even on a dollar menu at Sonic or McDonalds. I make everything from scratch and usually have leftovers for at least 2 people a quick lunch.

If I am using fabric softner sheets in the dryer. I cut a full one in half. and reuse them twice.

If I am using liquid fabric softener I dilute it times 3 of the amount of softner used.

hmmmmm, I think that is it....sorry so long.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

This is a coupon website Rick and I use:

http://www.retailmenot.com/

We also try to shop with ads and coupons and if we go out we set a budget before we go out to help us not get tempted and we pray about our budget. I know last year before we set a budget for Christmas we prayed about it a lot. I also have a coworker who highly recommends Aldi's for deals. There is not one near where Rick and I live. Also we try to take lunches to work most days to save money versus buying food and we can make it healthier. I enjoyed reading the comments on your blog and got some tips myself! I hope Michael is doing better!

Macy

Anonymous said...

Amy go to www.couponmom.com a great help to use your coupons. they match up what stores have on sale with the coupon from online or in your circulars. a lot of great ideas on your posts already. my advice is to research it and find what is best for you that is realistic and makes sense for your family. Don't overwhelm yourself. I do a lot of coupons, and my kids stay home or are at school when I do my coupon shopping. Don't buy things you don't need or use just because it is on sale. Only if it is free then you can donate that item to a food bank'or shelter.

Three-Bean Salad said...

I say a hearty Amen to what has already been posted! Another resource in your area is Clark Howard. He airs daily M-F on WSB, so you can listen while you work around the house if LM is napping or also if you are in the car. We also invest in an Entertainment Book each year so we can still do some fun things but for less $. You have to be careful whenever you use coupons, though, that you are really getting the best deal. Sometimes we humans can be tricked into buying things "because I have a coupon" when it really wasn't an item that was needed, or the store brand is just as good for that particular item but we bought the name brand because we had a coupon and still paid more.

Also, I believe you have Aldi stores in your area. They can be great for some things. They have a limited stock (you aren't going to find a lot of specialty items there), but I go about once a month and stock up on the stuff I know is cheaper there...pretzels, some meats, some canned goods, etc. Like anything, you've got to read the labels and see if the item matches up to your standards, but I think it is worth trying most things once. I've only gotten a complaint once from T and K about one of the cereals. Other than that, it's been great for us!

TimandKim said...

Out of necessity-my dryer is not drying well and don't want to buy a new one- I started hanging our clothes to dry. I bought a $10 rack at walmart and it hangs a large amount. I set it up in the laundry room. Once they are dry or almost dry, I put them in the dryer to fluff up and finish drying. It might take longer, but I can do one load each evening if I need to and it gets it done during the week. I was having to run the dryer 3X to get one load finished. Now I do about 20 minutes just to finish drying and fluff up and get the stiffness out. Plus the clothes seem to last longer and don't fade.

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