Welcome to the 24/7 MOMS Frugal Living Event! We’ve poured over blogs and books to present an inspirational mix of information and tools. We welcome your questions, ideas and feedback. Our Frugal Living Event begins an ongoing conversation to encourage one another in all things frugal.
Small Changes = Big SavingsAuthor: Amy Hannold of SavingCentsEveryday.com
In our time of financial insecurity the term “frugal living” has fewer stigmas than it may have once had. Pick up any magazine or newspaper and you’ll see a cover boasting of how it’s going to save you money. Manufacturers and retailers have shifted their marketing from “Buy Me, It’s Cool” to “Buy Me, I’ll Save You Money”. Everyone is talking about how much things cost, and how we wonder when the rise going to stop.
Frugal Living philosophies and instruction are widely available. Unfortunately, often times taking in this information and changing our habits falls last on our “To Do” lists. Time is as valuable (and in short supply) as money. Motivation, too, can be intermittent, between paying bills and raising your family. Let’s begin with small changes that will mean big savings now. Multiply them and you change your annual budget.
Prioritize, Focus and Make a Goal: Evaluate your receipts for one week. Prioritize where your money goes. Trade a daily coffee for a more significant treat (or savings deposit) at the end of the week. Chart your progress and share your success with others. Want to make a big purchase (without credit)? Paste a picture of your purchase goal inside your checkbook. Before you spend, weigh the worth of smaller, “habit” purchases against what you’re saving for.
Make the Calls: Discover reasonable ways to decrease the use of your utilities to reduce monthly bills. Consider if you can do without extra features or products. Of the services you’re going to keep, call suppliers of your phone, newspaper, cable/satellite, and other services. Ask for their promotional or “new subscriber” rate. If you don’t get what you want on the first call, call back and perhaps get a better answer (politely ask for someone who can make charge deductions). If you’re eligible for AAA, military, Entertainment book, AARP, government or other discounts, ask for those, too. Note on your family calendar two weeks before your new discount will expire and call back to ask for the same rate. If no discounts are available, ask them to match current competitor promotions. Consider a credit union for your banking. Consumer education opportunities, lower rates and other services can be a big help.
Comparison Shop Instead of Impulse Buy: There is always a way to spend less. Taking time to find the best price can sometimes also change your mind on the purchase. If you choose to save (or eat in), over spending money, bank what you would have spent and watch your funds grow! When dealing with salespeople, ask them, “Is this the best you can do, price-wise?” Familiarize yourself with price matching policies. Don’t be pressured into buying. Instead ask questions and get a second opinion. Pursue consumer ratings, so you know how the product has fared in use. Bizrate.com and ShopLocal.com are good places to start.
Network! Make Friends and Save Money: Get to know your neighbors. Know what they are looking to buy or sell. Often, a mutually beneficial arrangement can be made when the word gets out. Multiply the eyes and ears that are searching for you and you’ll hear about a good deal. Split subscriptions (or swap magazines & books) with friends. Websites such as Freecycle.org, Freepeats.org, Paperbackswap.com, Swaptree.com, and Craigslist.com offer many finds for less. Start a local Facebook group to unite your neighbors, sharing news of good deals in your area. Invite friends over and trade good ideas and frugal resources. Seek to encourage and equip others, and you’ll be blessed.
Frugal Quote for Thought:
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship” -Benjamin Franklin
Frugal Reading Review:
The Tightwad Gazette, Promotion Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn. Available in three separate volumes, or one “Complete” version.
Published throughout the 1990’s, this trilogy of frugal living ideas fills the “Tightwad Gazette” newsletters published by the author and responses from her readers. Beginning with “10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year”, the author lists ten spending habits that, changed, would save you $1,000 in 2009 (factoring in inflation since the 1990’s). Simple, homemade ideas to use resources wisely are illustrated, to meet every interest. There are even tips on converting your spouse to frugal living. The author conversationally mentors you through ideas that to some may seem “too-frugal”, however you will learn valuable methods for living better and spending less. Purchase your copy of Tightwad Gazette at the 24/7 MOMS store.
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