I am by no means an expert in this “living on less” life style, in fact, I am VERY new at it. However, I was talking to a friend of saving on our phone bill, and she said, “I never thought about that, I wish people would talk about that kind of stuff like this more…”
It got me thinking, with the economy still in the doldrums, and fuel prices starting to rise, extravagance is definitely not in vogue. So I thought I would talk about my new fashion statement, frugality.
Below are listed a few thing we, as a family, are doing or have done to stretch a dollar. Do you have anything to add to the list?
1. Hold on to your car for at least ten years. After you have paid it off set up a special saving account and keep on deposited your “car” payment in there, then when the time is ready, you will have a nice down payment for your new car. Or, choose to buy a “new to you” car instead, and not have a car payment at all.
2. Downsize your house, tough to do in this economy, however in the long run, it will save you in mortgage, insurance, taxes, and energy bills. Frankly, we did not “downsize”, but we never “upsized” either. We are still in the little house I bought when I was single in 1997.
3. Less is more; we have a saying in our house called “No net gain”. If you bring something home, you have to give something away. This philosophy goes for toys, clothes, electronic equipment, even food. How many times, have you bought something at the store only to realize you have something similar at home?
4. Prior to grocery shopping, create a menu for the week. It does not have to be fancy or complicated. After you decided on a menu, look through your pantry, and write down what you are missing. Then look at coupons to see if you can use them. Try to go grocery shopping by yourself, when you are not hungry.
5. Clean out your closets, get rid of all the stuff that does not fit you or your family, which you do not use or love, or that is beyond the point of repair. Now, play dress up, see what mixes and matches. This can be very fun with little girls. Write down what you are missing, maybe it is a white blouse or a black tank top. Keep the list in your wallet, and when you go clothes shopping, stick to this list. Do not be embarrassed to accept down-me-outs from friends or go to thrift stores. You would be surprised what you can find there for $2 or $3 dollars. However, do not buy something just because it is a great deal or on the clearance rack. Be patient, wait until you find what is just right, in fit, and selection.
6. How many phones do you really need? Do you still have a wall phone? We were able to transferred our home phone number on to a cell phone, and got rid of the wall phone. We have NEVER missed it. At first, we used the extra money to upgrade our cell phone service, but then we realized after a couple of months we were not using all of the minutes. It was because almost all of our family members also had Verizon cell phones and we could talk to each other for free!
7. Let’s make a deal! Do you use the same carrier for Car and Home Insurance? We had two different companies; my husband called both carriers and asked them to make a deal with the same coverage. We ended up going with Travelers because they gave us the better deal.