When Frugality Becomes Necessity

When Mr. Money lost his job last year, we went into survival mode.  Obviously, finances were incredibly tight as we figured out what our income was going to be and how we were going to work things out.  Mr. Money has been studying software development for over a year now, and actually was accepted to a coding boot camp last year.  He attended his first session in January and graduated from the Front End Web Development program at the end March. He’s now studying the C#/.net framework and is attending classes to further his knowledge on the subject and hopefully help him get a job in the near future.  I’m hoping by the end of the year/beginning of next year he will have a junior software developer job.

While Mr. Money is working on this new career advancement, I’ve been in frugal mama mode with our budget. We’ve been bare bones for awhile (basically since he lost his job last summer), but thankfully since we’ve always lived pretty minimally/frugally, this is not a shock to our lifestyle.  We have stopped contributing to retirement and college for the meantime, and I’m confident that once he secures a new job we will be able to resume contributions.  Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to help save us as much money as possible.

Stay Home

We have been spending a lot of time at home. When we don’t go out, we don’t spend money because we don’t have to pay for gas to get places, and we also  aren’t tempted to spend money at stores  or places on things that we don’t need.  Staying home provides gratitude and contentment for what we have. Once really fun thing we’ve been doing is hosting many play dates with friends!  I love inviting my friends over and spending time with them in our backyard.  We’ve made it into a kids’ oasis!  We also do have friends that live  about a quarter of a mile away and we’ve spent many days over at their houses too!

Meal Plan

A meal plan helps us tremendously because not only do we have a game plan for what’s for dinner, but we also know what groceries we need to buy when we go to the store.  I generally meal plan around what’s in our freezer, fridge, and pantry.  I stock up on meats and things when they are on sale, and Costco has amazing prices on their organic frozen vegetables! I like frozen vegetables because then I don’t have to worry about them going bad, plus their nutrient content is usually excellent.

Cook at Home

Cooking at home goes hand in hand with meal planning.  When we go out to eat, it costs us a minimum of $25 for a casual restaurant.  We don’t visit sit down restaurants generally because it’s harder with kids, and it costs more when you have to leave a 20% tip.  Eating at home is so much cheaper!

Frugal Activities

We don’t just stay at home and never have fun.  We partake in so many frugal activities with our family and friends. We often have potlucks with our friends where we all contribute a portion of the meal- one person does meat, the other a vegetable, and the other a side or dessert.  It works out well because then one family isn’t responsible for the whole meal.  We also attend church every Sunday (it’s only 5 minutes away and we love the fellowship!) and we go for walks around our neighborhood.  Many days we will pack a lunch and have a picnic at our local park. We’ve been taking trips to our libraries- one is really close to our house and one is about a fifteen minute drive but is a lot larger and has more activities.  The summer reading program will be starting soon, and Penny is really looking forward to that!

Side Hustles

Thankfully I have been bringing in income for years through my various side hustles.  I’m thankful that I started my blog when I did, and that it does provide income that is so needed for our family.  I also try to pet sit and baby sit whenever someone asks me to.  I prefer pet sitting as it’s much less stress, but Penny really enjoys when I baby sit and I don’t ever turn those jobs down either!

I’m so thankful that we have lived frugally/minimally for years so it’s not like this is a shock.  I am looking forward to the day where things aren’t so tight and we are able to go on vacation.  Every day I am thankful for what we do have and the blessings that continue to come our way!

Is frugality a necessity for you? Are you working on paying down debt, or saving money?



“I Can’t Save Enough Money”

Lately I’ve kind of been a Debbie Downer when it comes to money. I feel like we aren’t saving enough and we have all these things that we should be saving for.  Almost two years ago I quit my job to become a stay at home mom.  I don’t regret that decision one bit and I’ve enjoyed my new job of being a wife and mom tremendously.  I love my husband and daughter more that I ever thought possible.  That doesn’t mean that things are always perfect though, and I struggle with the lack of a second income (especially now that Mr. Money had a pay cut) as well as having to be on a strict budget.  Truth be told, I don’t like living on a budget; I like to go out to eat when I want and make trips to Target to bask in the fabulousness that is Target and not worry.  However, if choosing not to do those things and being aware of where our money goes is what I have to do right now, then I will.  Things could always be much worse.

I have been really overwhelmed with feeling like we’re not saving money lately.  There are many things we need to have money for: a new roof, windows, Penny’s education, our retirement, and paying down our mortgage faster than on schedule.  I need to come up with a plan so that I can set it and forget it.

I think one of my big problems is I read about these people that are completely debt free (some including their mortgage!) and I feel like we should be doing better.  I hear about people that are my age and have over $100,000 in their retirement/investment portfolios. I feel like we’re behind in so many ways and that we’ll never be able to catch up.  Sometimes I think social media and the internet are both a blessing and a curse.

I guess I do need to give us some credit: we have made it two years with me being a stay at home mom and we haven’t depleted our savings account 😉  That is a good thing!  I need to relax about money and enjoy the time that I spend with my family.  I am grateful for everything we have and I am very glad that I did spend many years working and saving money to be able to do this.

What do you do to not worry about money? 


Things You Hate to do to Save Money

We’ve really been conscious as to where our money’s been going lately, and I’ve been taking many steps to ensure that there is little to no unnecessary spending. There are so many tips and tricks to save money, some of them easier than others; some are downright a pain-in-the-butt. Lots of things I don’t like doing just because they aggravate me or are more work but when you want to conserve as much money as possible, you do them. Here are some of the things I don’t like to do to save money.

-Wash and reuse plastic freezer bags. I feel like it is hard to get these clean, but really it’s not as bad as I make it to be. They drying is the longest part- often when the outside dries I flip them inside out to get the inside to dry. One really good thing about reusing the plastic sandwich bags is that we’re keeping them out of the landfill. We do use glass reusable storage containers, but for some things, plastic freezer bags are the way to go.

-Hang dry laundry. What bugs me about hang drying laundry is that it takes a lot longer than throwing your clothes into the dryer. Also, the clothes come out stiffer than if they were dried in the dryer with wool dryer balls. If it helps save money on the electric bill then it’s worth it. Also, the clothes will hopefully last longer and unnoticed stains are much easier to get out than if the clothes have been dried in the dryer.

-Minimize/consolidate trips. Before, I was taking a trip to Target at least once a week. Now I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to reduce the amount of gas we use and minimize our unnecessary spending. I try to hit up as many stores as possible when I’m out so that my time isn’t wasted and I don’t have to go back out again. I miss (at least) window shopping for fun. It’s also a pain to have to take the baby in and out of the car a bunch of times when I go to many stores.

No poo. Sometimes I get tired of having to mix the baking soda and water, then apply the apple cider vinegar rinse, etc.  I would also love to just wash with a good smelling shampoo and have the scent last.  The nice thing is, with no poo I’m not exposing myself to a bunch of chemicals and I’m also saving a ton over buying all natural shampoo.

-Going without cable.  *Sigh* I love having cable, just because I know mindless tv is right there at my fingertips, but is it really good for us?  No.  Going with Netflix is a much better option to help save money.

First world problems, right?! Overall, these aren’t horrible, they’re just not what I’m used to.  I am hoping that with time they’ll just become second nature and I’ll be used to it!

What things do you do to save money that you don’t like?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...FacebooktwitterrssinstagramFacebooktwitterrssinstagram