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.
I know a lot of people wonder if they should purchase travel insurance on their vacation. Airline costs are at an all time high, and having it will cover most flight cancellations plus it covers your baggage. It’s not very expensive and usually about 5% of your total trip. If you get sick or hurt on your trip, then it cover those medical expenses. You would want the most protection you can get, especially when traveling out of country.
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 know many people say that cold air is a luxury but for me in this heat it’s definitely a must. I live in very humid South Louisiana so no way I could I survive these summers without my cold air in my car. I’m very frugal in many areas but having a working air conditioner is one of the things I splurge on, especially, when the temperature is 95+ on a daily basis.
The air conditioning in my husband’s truck has went out so we are definitely looking into this great site. They offer a warranty on all their parts they sell and Free Shipping! That is a great deal with the high gas prices.