Today’s thrify tip is cook more meals from scratch. Even with the higher costs of food, it’s cheaper to cook a homemade meal than to eat out. I even started making my own breads instead of buying them at the store. They taste better and are more filling. I plan my menus by the week but some do a monthly plan to save more time. I prefer a weekly basis since I have a better idea of appointments or things that come up during that week. It’s also easier to cook with dietary restrictions in mind.
Category: Frugal Living Tips
Today’s thrifty tip is completely turn off or unplug your electronics and appliances that aren’t in use. I don’t mean the stove, fridge, or washer/dryer but things like your stereo, TV, microwave, and computer. I started doing this for the last few months and have noticed a difference in my electric bills. They still use energy even when you turn it off as it’s in standby mode. I have my computer on a power strip with a switch and have put my tv and dvd player on a similar strip. Now I just turn off the strip when I’m done with these items at the end of the day.
Today’s TMR tip is to clip coupons. I know some people don’t have time or might not use that particular brand. If you really want to save on brands that you already use, then you should start clipping. Even organic coupons are more readily available than in the past. I admit I don’t use a lot of coupons for food, but where I really save is on our health/beauty items and OTC meds.
Another tip is to print your coupons online. There are several great websites you can use like coupons.com, RedPlum, Smartsource, and Coupon Network. You can find them on the blog at the top under Coupons. I also like to use online coupon finders like coupons by answers.com for more great coupons and deals online. This all helps me to save more money.
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.
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.
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.
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.