Category: Frugal Living Tips

Back to the Basics Using Cash

I am a big Dave Ramsey fan and started using a cash only system. I was already doing a cash envelope system before I read his book, The Total Money Makeover, but I became more disciplined after reading. It’s rare in today’s world to find a financial book telling you to use cash only and no credit cards. After we dug our way out of debt, we swore off using credit cards forever. I was very happy that he felt the same way he did about them.

The main reason I like using cash is once it’s gone in a certain envelope then we stop spending for the month. I do over budget in our food envelope for those great sales. On average we spend $250-300 a month in food. It was closer to $200-250 for a family of 3, but with costs on the rise then I upped our budget. I also had to increase our budget for gas. It was a $100 a month but not it’s up to $150 so not terrible but not having debt does make it easier to swallow.

We have $1200 worth of expenses monthly which includes everything from food, gas, utilities, gifts, household items, insurance, clothes, gas, and spending money. We put about $1,000/mo in savings. We have different things we are saving for like newer car, repairs, vacation and remodeling for the house. I have it marked how much money is in each category.

The main concern I hear is what if I have an emergency? That is why you put 3-6 months of living expenses into a liquid account so you don’t need a CC. I have a debit card linked to that account as well as checks so I don’t have to walk around with thousands of dollars on me. That’s the other concern I hear often. I might get robbed if I carry cash. I never walk around with lots of cash and most of the time have $5 or less on me. When I do plan to shop then I bring a certain amount with me and sometimes a little extra so I get take advantage of an unadvertised deal.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #4

My tip for today is yet another laundry tip. I have a lot of these and not sure why but it seems pretty easy to cut back in this area. There is very little effort involved unlike many other tips I have read. I cut all my dryer sheets in half. I do hang most of our laundry on the line but there are times when I do use my gas dryer. A box of sheets will last twice as long and not as overpowering as the whole sheet. I also only buy when I get a box for under 50 cents but by using half the sheet I save twice as much on each box.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #3

I didn’t have a chance to get a new tip yesterday since the weather so bad yesterday. Today’s tip is install a low flow shower aerator. I didn’t buy a special shower head but just an aerator that fits on your existing one. I got one from Lowes for about $5 and it pays for itself in a month or two. This will not only save you money by turning off the water with a side lever while lathering, but you will help conserve our natural resources.

I love doing the things that not only save money but help conserve. I feel twice as good. If you are worried about lower water pressure then don’t be concerned. I haven’t noticed any difference.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #2

My second tip for today would be to wash your clothes in cold water. This will save you energy. I also turn my dark colored clothes inside out, especially, my dark blue and black clothes. If you have some items that are stained or dirty with oil or grease then try pre-soaking those items in a warm water and then wash on cold. My husband can get dirty from his job but this works for our family.

TMR Frugal Living Tip #1

I decided to post a series of frugal living tips daily. TMR is an abbreviation for Thrifty Momma Ramblings. I will try to post a new tip everyday except for weekends, since I get busy with my husband home. There are literally thousands of ways to cut costs in all areas of our lives. I don’t do every tip but I do apply many of them to our budget.

My first tip for today is to hang your clothes on a clothesline. The weather has been very unpredictable so I have a chain that runs the length of my washroom. I can hang a good bit of clothing on the line. I do have a dryer that runs on natural gas but I like hanging sheets outside on a nice sunny day. An inside line would be better for those that have snow or allergies. I also wash a load every other to every 2 days instead of waiting for the weekend.

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My Great Deal From the Paper

littletikesredracecarbedThis weekend I was scouring a free paper we receive that is basically a whole paper full of classifieds ads. There are great deals listed at times so I like to browse since you never know what will be listed. I came across a deal for a Little Tikes bed. It was the twin size red race car bed. We bought my son a futon bed a few months ago but it’s just not working well. The character sheets he wants for his bed are so much more expensive for full size if you can even find them. We had a twin size a couple of years ago but my husband thought it was better to go with the full size bed we got for free from his parents. I have been kicking myself ever since for getting rid of the twin bed.

When I came across the ad I was intrigued. These beds sell well and usually for more than the asking price. I called and she was desperate to get rid of it as she needed the space in her garage. I sent my husband over with the truck and it was in pristine condition. She even gave us an almost brand new twin mattress with bunk bed box spring and a brand new set of yellow sheets. I paid $200 for the bed. It’s the red one with the bookcase headboard and a toy box at the foot of the bed. This particular style retails for $400 new. The best part is the Little Tikes bed looks almost new. There are a couple of light scuffs on the corners. An added bonus is that when it’s time to sell the bed, then we can recoup almost all of our money. We got such a great deal and still can’t believe she gave us a new mattress. We put the futon bed in our spare room to keep for company. I also got a killer deal on that one from the furniture store.

We only have full size bedding so we had to buy twin size bedding for our son. So we went to Wal-Mart yesterday and found a Speed Racer comforter for $18. I wanted the sheets but thought it was odd they weren’t marked down. Hubby scanned them and it rang up at $7! I was very excited to get the whole set for $25 and he will be able to use these for several years. I also splurged on another set of character sheets for him so we spent about $50 with tax for 2 sets of sheets and the comforter. We now have 3 sets and I still plan on using his other full size comforters for now.