Frugal Living

Frugal Living

“Frugal” can be explained as stingy, penny-pinching, and tight. But for those with the conservative lifestyle, the word has an entirely different ring to it; thrifty, economical, and resourceful.

It could explain the type of person who likes freebies, when in fact nothing is actually free. Everything costs someone; labor, shipping, ideas, and just solid goods in general.

But for most, “frugal” is a mentality of prioritizing, saving, and getting extra creative when you can’t have everything.

My family has learned the art of being frugal over a span of 6 years. In 2012 my husband and I were expecting our first baby, near the time of his second deployment. So I made the easy decision then, to quit work. As our family expanded, I continued to stay home. We always made it work, despite the occasional challenges. I feel strongly in being a part of our kids’ early childhood development and learning. And my husband’s been even more on-board after finding out what child care costs!

As a stay-at-home mom, I always felt like I wanted to contribute more. Finally 3 kids later, I’ve been able to take a couple of gigs that still allow me to be home 6-7 days a week. However, one of the best ways to contribute as a stay-at-home mom is to save a little cash. I wish I had stumbled upon an informative blog post then about frugal living.

I’m not a financial adviser, but here are some creative ways to help you save:

Tips for saving:

Monthly bills: Understand needs from wants

Needs: housing, electricity, propane, water, car(s), insurance, gas, phone(s), nutritional food, and medical services…

Don’t need: phone upgrades, apps, music, cable, fast food, alcohol, brand clothes…

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Nikolay Frolochkin

 

  • Think about switching your phone service to something month-to-month
  • If you owe a medical bill, ask if you can combine or make lower payments
  • If you feel you can’t go without cable or internet, try the lowest packages
  • Hold off on stores that you get lost in (Wal-mart or Target, which pains me to say)
  • Save going out to eat for special occasions or only a few times a year
  • Don’t make any quick financial decisions; always take the time to research alternatives, think on it, & save
  • Always ask for deals! (My marketing professor taught this and it’s worked)
  • You can even get managers to mark down prices by offering cash today (This is one of Dave Ramsey’s fun little hacks which saved us $100 on our couch doing this)

 

At the grocery store: Understand marketing and don’t give in

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) Davies_Designs
  • Meal plan, and stick to your list when grocery shopping. Stores are designed to get you to buy more (like candy being kept low at checkout aisles for kids to see)
  • Look for simple recipes– extra seasonings/condiments can rack up the grocery bill
  • Go to the store once a week to avoid temptations during extra stops
  • Shop the same store every time so you don’t get lost and buy more
  • Aldi isn’t just for poor people and elders, you get the best price without coupons
  • Bring a calculator and cash only to help you stick to your budget
  • Avoid buying junk food and freezer meals, which tend to cost more
  • Bread, rice, noodles, and potatoes are affordable fillers for meals
  • Eggs and peanut butter are affordable protein alternatives
  • Buy healthy snacks apples, bananas, oranges, carrots, and other veggies. What would be more filling a $3-5 bag of chips or a $3-5 bag of apples?
  • When meat at the grocery store goes on sale (and is worth the cost) stock up or buy meat in bulk from your local meat market

In the kitchen: Know how to make recipes from scratch

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) fancycrave1
  • Know how to make bread from scratch- Always have yeast and flour on hand
  • Also, know how to make pizza dough, pancakes, and other similar recipes
  • Keep tomato paste on hand for pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and tomato-based sauces/dips, sloppy joes…
  • Know how to make other sauces- Alfredo sauce is so easy!
  • Freeze juices of beef/pork roast, slow cooker chicken, or ham… (use in soup later)
  • Boil the bones from your chicken, turkey, ham, etc. with water to make stock
  • Refrigerate bacon grease drippings to substitute butter in savory dishes
  • Divide those packs of chicken and freeze individually (use 1 breast per meal)
  • Same for hamburger (I divide this into 1/2 lbs for when it’s just me and the kids)
  • Meat is expensive, divide other roasts as well
  • Grind up crusty bread to substitute panko or add to meatballs
  • Freshen up leftovers by combining them to make a new dish
  • Use browned fruits in smoothies, cooked oatmeal, or make a bread from it

 

Other areas to be frugal: How to get some help/support

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Photo Credit: (Pixabay User) PublicDomainPictures
  • Gladly take hand-me down clothes, furniture, or appliances from a close friend or family member who doesn’t need them any more! My sister gives us all of the clothes my nephew’s grown out of. Thanks Sis! 😉
  • Give your items that aren’t being used a new home. Or make some cash selling them for a low price online, or selling them at a second-hand shop.
  • Instead of buying new books or movies, borrow from your local library
  • Grow a garden in Spring (& share abundance with friends and family)
  • Know about the free/low cost events/attractions near you including neat parks
  • Know what other resources/benefits are available to you

 

That’s all for now!

There’s no shame in being resourceful or even asking for help from the right people. Just remember, that is their sacrifice to you. It’s a wonderful ability to reach out among humankind. I believe we were all made to lean on each other sooner or later.

Part of raising a family is sometimes needing to sacrifice. It’s hard because we can’t do it all. And even if we can afford it, we don’t have time for all of it.

Frugal living is just sacrificing for now. You’re just investing in yourself and your family.

 

 

 

For ideas of free summer activities see the bottom portion of 80+ Fun Summer Activities for the Family.

(Featured image from Pixabay user: Tumisu)

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Top 10 Reasons to be a Stay-at-Home Mom

Are you Thinking of staying home?
After 5 and a 1/2 years of being a Stay-At-Home Mom, I’ve seen firsthand how enjoyable it can be to hang out with your kiddos all day in your pajamas. Sometimes we throw on a fresh outfit and do grocery shopping or play at the park. Most days, we clean together, do a little artwork, work on an educational activity, run around in the backyard, or build blocks or train tracks inside.

Sometimes, I struggle to be heard, I get mad that toys are scattered like confetti all over the house, and I have an overwhelming amount of housework to do. But, over all, we have made many memories together and I have been able to prepare my kiddos for preschool because of this decision.

Being a Stay-at-Home Mom isn’t as rare as I thought it was originally. Through a group that I started on Facebook, “Mommas Group”, I have found that many, many more moms are coming out about this. Although, it might be an old fashioned style of doing things, it makes a lot of sense for many, many families. And here’s why-

 

Here are my Top 10 Reasons for being a Stay-at-Home Mom!

10) Medical/Health Purposes
Think of this as a chance to become your child’s health aid, or just to nurse longer.  Is maternity leave really even long enough?

9) Allows you to be more flexible with your spouse’s schedule
Some spouses are away on business trips, training, conferences, deployments, and many more. They might work 12-14 hour days and some are always on call. Being a stay-at-home parent, allows you to be flexible with a chaotic schedule and anchors your family when one of you can’t be there often enough.

Then on top of that, this gives you and your spouse that much needed time together since he or she is so busy.

8) Allows you to be more flexible with everyone else

When you’re a Stay-at-Home Mom, you can schedule doctors appointments (or other appointments) whenever is convenient for you. You can plan play dates with the only worry as to when nap is. And you can visit family and friends when they are available. This has helped us many, many ways.

7) Allows you to experience more of your child’s development and growth
I’ve heard from several mothers over the course of the years that they just feel as if they are missing out on their children growing up. One mother once said to me “I went to pick up my daughter after work and the babysitter told me that she had taken her first steps.”

6) Promotes early learning
This kind of goes with development, but more on the side of being your child’s teacher. Prepping your kids for school can include arts and crafts, reading, preschool activity books, nature walks, intellectual conversations, sports and physical activity…. You could teach you child yoga and they would advance in some way!

5) Decrease in over-scheduling
Some days I love this. And some days I HATE this. You can stay in your pajamas all day. You don’t have to worry about buckling and unbuckling kids all day. And
that whole trying to get your family ready to be on time is for the most part, out the window. You get to be the boss of your own schedule!

4) You can be more engaged
Who wouldn’t love to just have their little one on their lap for 10 minutes longer in a day? Maybe nap with them on the couch? Or to watch their expression as they experience something new every day?

3) Allows you to utilize spare time
When my kiddos go down for nap or bed I am able to tackle some dishes, laundry, or cleaning up. Sometimes, I skip those and take a mental break. It gives me a chance to take a shower, collect my thoughts, and sometimes just to pray.

2) Teaches you to be frugal
I swear, people think you have to be rich to be a Stay-at-Home Mom! Nope. Budget, Budget, Budget! It may take some practice, but you will eventually start asking yourself if the family needs new clothes when you can’t even keep up with laundry! Do you really need to eat out with the family a couple times a week?

Frugal is just appreciating that your needs are met and not seeking what you don’t have. Which is probably a lot of stuff.

1) Childcare is FREE!
It’s one of the biggest reasons I think so many families do this. You don’t get paid. But you also don’t have to watch your paycheck get divided up into time someone else spent with your kids.

 

Now Here are 5 reasons why it may not be for you.

5) If you have a risk of Depression
According to the American Psychological Association, Moms who Stay-at-Home have an increased risk for depression.

Here is the link (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2011/12/working-moms.aspx).

4) If you can’t leave your career
If it took you years of school or you need to keep current to maintain a license. Or any other career purposes…

3) If your children are in school
This is the decision I made early on because I feel I won’t be needed at home when my kids are in school. My mission as a Stay-at-Home Mom is to help my children to be ready for preschool. So once our youngest is off to school, it will be “mission complete!”

2) If you can’t afford it financially
I get that! Some people struggle to keep their heads above water. No shame in needing to fulfill your family in that way. I actually really admire working moms for the fact that they have to come home from work and then catch up with cooking, cleaning, and everyone in their lives.

1) If you can’t see yourself being happy while doing it.
If you envision losing yourself completely as an adult, you still have your little angels to come home to after work!

 

This is solely based on my experience, mixed with some of what I have heard from other Moms. I am not a expert or professional on this subject. But I sincerely think that
it is okay to take time away from your job to focus on your family (if applicable).

You don’t need anyone’s permission to do so (expect out of respect for your spouse). And
if you are thinking of being a Stay-at-Home Mom, I hope you can make an informed decision now!