Cold. Snowy. This scene is in my backyard, except we have four more more feet of snow covering the ground. There is something about snow. It is so clean and crisp. It reminds me of a blank sheet of paper begging to be written on. I love the dawn of each new day for its a new start for me. I also love writing lists on a brand new sheet of paper and marking those things off the list as I accomplish them.
Below is a list of some of the things that my family already does to save money or have done to save money.
1.Make our own laundry soap. Washing clothes for cents per load.
2. Shop at garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops. We did this for clothing mainly, but often find books, videos, shoes, and other household items we need.
3. Each child wears hand-me-down clothing. Before you go picturing ragamuffin children with torn outdated clothing, stop, and be assured for the record my children dress normal.
4. Shut off lights when not in use.
5. Keep heat at a low temperature in the house and wear layers. This encourages movement at times or cuddling under blankets as we watch free movies.
6. Play board games, read books, and borrow free DVD’s from the local library instead of going out for entertainment.
7. We buy in bulk, cook in bulk, and freeze the food.
8. We plan a menu, shop around the menu, shop once a month, keep our pantries and freezer stocked at all times, and only shop once to twice a month. We do shop more often for perishables like dairy and fruit and veggies.
9. We try not to impulse buy.
10. If our children want something that is not in the budget, they must use their own money.
11. For sporting events, road trips, and other activities were food venues are present we bring out own food each and every time. I always have frozen water bottles packed, snacks ready to go, and I will grab a large cooler to throw it all in. It has saved us hundreds of dollars over the past ten years of doing this.
12. For souvenirs on planned trips, we encourage the children to fill small container with sand from the beach, a polished rock, or a sea shell to bring home. Or we stop and buy postcards as a memento of our trip, even a day trip. We do allow and budget for one key chain from a place we visit, then at home with save it with our decorations, and place it on the tree at Christmas. For a beach trip I will take the sand, shells, and rocks and place them in a Mason jar with a lid. I label the jar with the date and location. The children love this. And each year we love seeing the key chain ornaments come out and share the stories from that day. Creating memories.
13. If we are in a new town, we look for free activities or free museums for our family. Often just a trip to a new beach, playground, or other free attractions are just has fun. In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we have the ability to see free museums, back road attractions, fishing holes, waterfalls, hiking trails, lighthouses, state parks, canoe rivers, and the list goes on. For fun in a new area, we find the visitor center and allow the children to take brochures of interests. They have a collection of brochures and maps of places we have visited over the years.
These are just a few ways we have chosen to live in our frugal lifestyle. We are still learning there are things we can do, too. This is where I would love to have some tips or ideas on what you to do save money or be frugal.