Frugal Living: Exercising Frugality

This is part 3 of 4 in my series on Frugal Living. If you missed the first two posts, Measuring Frugality (and Myself) and Defining Frugality, you may want to take a minute to read through them before proceeding.
 

Areas to Exercise Frugality

By no means is my list of tips for exercising frugality perfect or complete, but I do have some frugal habits which have served my family well.

Clothing

  • Shop garage/consignment sales, especially for children’s play clothes.

As I explained in the previous post from this series, garage sale-ing isn’t all that realistic for me like it once was; so I now try to knock out my need for used (and therefore inexpensive) children’s clothing by hitting just a few big consignment sales each year–two in the spring and one in the fall. My favorite of these was held this past weekend; and as usual, I had pretty good success, bringing home 30 articles of children’s clothing–much of it name brand–for just $77!

30 items for $77!

30 items for $77!

  • Buy fewer items and do laundry more often.
  • Air-dry nice clothes to extend the life.
  • Put the work in towards stain removal to avoid/delay replacement cost.
  • Don’t shop without a coupon.
    • Subscribe to emails from your favorite stores and receive coupons right in your inbox.
  • To help with your own clothing needs, ask for gift cards to your favorite clothing store for Christmas or your birthday.

Food

  • Eat leftovers.
  • Streamline your menus, eliminating recipes that call for an ingredient you would never use up… which in turns allows you to streamline your staples, making efficient use of your grocery money and your pantry/fridge/freezer space.
  • Keep yourself stocked with all your staple ingredients. This will help ensure that you’ll be able to come up with a meal even when you’re lacking a plan… and that will help keep you from the expense of dining out.
  • Buy in bulk when possible and appropriate. Be sure to weigh the up-front cost against the future savings, and determine whether it’s the best use of your money right now. In truth, buying in bulk is for me often more about a convenience factor than a savings factor. (See previous bullet point.)
  • Dining Out
    • Take advantage of “kids eat free” nights at your local restaurants.
    • Consider that kid’s meals aren’t always a good deal. We often save money by purchasing an adult meal or two for the kids to share instead of getting them each their own kid’s meal.
    • Share a meal with your spouse. Face it. Portion sizes in America are way out of hand. Most restaurant meals are more than one person should eat anyway, so share it!
    • Drink water.
    • Watch for Groupon restaurant deals that you would realistically use.
    • Sign up to do mystery shopping, and get paid to dine out!

Household

  • Be willing to make do with what you have. It doesn’t have to be the newest and best thing to be sufficient!
  • Shop with coupons when possible. Some of the “home” stores I frequently receive coupons from include Younkers, Kohl’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
  • Ask for wanted/needed household items for Christmas or your birthday.
  • Clean with Norwex. You’ll spend a little more up front, but you’ll avoid wastefulness later.
  • Do price comparisons online before purchasing larger items.

Time

Time is one of our most important resources. The busier my life has gotten, the more I’ve had to “loosen up” with certain things–even money. Like me, you’ve probably found that sometimes, if the funds are available to you, it’s preferable to sacrifice a little money in order to save a little time. And when all things are considered, that might just be perfectly okay.

Stay tuned for the fourth and final post in my Frugal Living series where I’ll share some tips for success in maintaining a frugal lifestyle!