Today I was thinking about being frugal and the difference between frugal and just straight out cheep. I choose to be frugal. It is who I am and it just makes since and I have a family to take care of and a lot of expenses. Now there are different levels of frugality. I'm kind of in the middle. I think that so many people get turned off by the idea because they think that it is all or nothing. They believe...If I'm being frugal I have to give up so much. Well that's just not true, doing just a few things can help you save money without changing your lifestyle....well that much.
Some easy ones are:
- Check out you cell phone service, many times you can have charges that you don't know about or don't realize you are being charged for. I recently figured out that I can have up to 10 people on my friends/family list. I could add anyone from any phone company...home or cell. I was able to add all of the people we call on a regular basis and reduce my minutes which saved me 25.00 a month. Which some people may say "well 25.00 isn't that much", but if someone handed you 25.00 would you throw it away? On the other hand I know hard core fungals may say just don't have a cell phone at all. It's your comfort level.
- We choose not to have a home phone when we moved to this house. At first I wasn't happy about this but I found that I rarely needed it. Most everyone I call is on my list and I saved another 30.00 a month by not having one. One draw back is that if you forget to charge your phone or loose it. I do these on a regular basis. My phone is small and I am always laying it down in high spot so the Little's won't get it. That can be frustrating.
- Health insurance...you don't even want to get me started on this one. You have to have health insurance there is no question about that, but you really need to investigate what you are paying for. You may get insurance through your work and be paying way more than what you would pay on a private plan. You may be a healthy person and never go to the doctor, but be paying a premium that has you being able to go to the doctor an unlimited amount of times. There are plans out there that you can see a doctor 5 times a year and you will save a ton a money a month.You would be surprised at how much you can save by making small changes in your plan. I find most people don't even know what they are paying for. They will throw money at a something because it makes them fell safe. You are better off having a higher deductible every month and putting the difference in you savings account. Now the trick is to do it and have self discipline not to spend the money.
- Turn off you cable and use a converter box. Do you know most people spend 40.00 to 100.00 a month on cable. I know what you are thinking...NO WAY!! Let me tell you ...this has been one of the hardest things for me to do. I LOVE...LOVE...LOVE ...T.V. and I still miss it. We have not had cable for a year now. We live far enough out in the country that we can't get regular cable or road runner. We have to have a special service that cost an arm and a leg. So we opted not to have it turned on. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going to sit hear an tell you it made my family all come together and spend T.V. free nights together. Actually they spent more time at their friends houses watching their T.V. BUT we have been able to pay off debt and bills that money would have just been lost. I have found that PBS does have some great shows that I would have NEVER watched if I would have had cable.
- DON'T BUY NEW CARS!! Oh so many of my friends have fallen into this trap. What is it about people that they get so obsessed with their cars. I have a friend who got into an accident this winter and her insurance company considered her car totaled. They paid her a sum of around $7000.00 for the car. Instead of buying another car for 7000.00 she went and bought a brand new car for 30,000.00 Yes it does have a sun roof and leather interior, but in her situation it was not the wisest choice. She only works part time, is in debt and has no health insurance. She would have been better off putting her money towards her debt or health insurance. Again these are the hard ones...I know that it seems like a great idea at the time but in the long run you will pay for it.
Now for some super simple fun ones...
- Make your own gifts and cards. So many people tell me that they are not creative so they can't do this, but there are so many blogs on the web that give you step by step instructions on how to make stuff. Most of my friends are so impressed by getting something handmade.
- Invest a little into some kid craft supplies...my kids love to make simple crafts. Don't go buy expensive kits, just pick up some large bottles of kid friendly paints, some brushes, and anything they can paint on. My Little's love to paint, I just cut shapes out of card board and they will spend a hour painting.
- Buy movies on VHS at the thrift store...yes I said Tapes to use in a VCR. I know they take up more room, but they are so much more durable than DVDS. We recently bought 7 movies for 1.oo each and my kids have watched them over and over. I don't have to worry about scratching them. There are also some many older movies that I forgot were even around. My Little's have loved this!
- Shop thrift stores for decorative items, kids clothes, books, lamps, and some furniture pieces. I have found so many cute things that people get tired of or beautiful clothes that still have tags.
Well, I think that's it for today, I want to add to these as I think of them...so I'm sure I will revisit this post again.