Frugal Friday frugality

10 Practical Ways to Save Thousands

August 15, 2008

1. Cut your weekly grocery budget back by at least $10 a week.  (This will save you at least $500 for the year.)

Thinking how much weekly spending can save you over the course of the year will really help motivate you to save on a weekly basis.  If you can cut it by $20 a week, then you’re saving over $1,000 for the year! (Invest that in a high-interest account, and after several years of grocery saving it can really pay off!) Of course, if  you’re already at $35 or $20 a week, you may not be able to cut back quite much.

2. Don’t pay for cable or TV services. (at least $250/year)

3. Don’t buy beverages for everyday drinking. ($5/week = ~$250annual savings)

I love juice, so this has been hard to do, but we’ve been doing it successfully since April!  If I can get it for free/almost free/at CVS, then I do; but for the most part we avoid purchasing drinks. I’ve gotten some carbonated beverages and Kool-Aid for free that we keep on hand for parties or guests.  But for now, this is an area we can cut back on.  Plus it’s healthier!  It does take time to get used to this, though!

We mix up enough powdered milk for cereal and keep it in the fridge.  Milk can also be frozen.

*If you do buy milk, buy whole milk and add water; it’s usually the same price and this will allow you to stretch it without noticing a difference (if you’re already  used to drinking skim milk).*

4. Do small repair/fix-up projects yourself. (ranges)

Wives can be a huge encouragement to their husbands in this area.  Many men are afraid to try because their wives are afraid to “let” them,  Of course, don’t do something that would in the long run cause damage, but with a little research you can learn to do a lot of things yourself!

My husband recently purchased and installed a fence for under $500 that would have cost more like $2,000 had we hired someone to do it for us.  He had never done this type of work before, but was able to find instructions on the internet and in brochures from the store.

5. Try to go for an entire week without spending money on…anything (pay your bills, of course)! Then do this for several weeks out of the year. (~$100 or more a year, depending on what you normally buy)

Just make sure to fill the car up with gas ahead of time, and don’t buy anything!  Consider challenging yourself to make do with what you have in your pantry for the week, and stick with it. Most people could live for quite a while off what is in their pantries/freezers–especially couponers!  Sometimes we’ve done this “just for fun,” and it has been neat to see what we can come up with or even how God provides something we weren’t expecting.

6. Grow a garden. (at least $50 a year)

Even with our many dog attacks, droughts, and brown-thumbs, we’ve had enough to put food on the table for several meals.

7. Learn to cut your own hair/have someone in your family learn how to cut hair. ($100/year or more)

My husband has been cutting hair for some time, and even used to cut hair in the dorms to raise money.  He even gives haircuts and haircutting lessons, still! I have cut my own hair since I was a teenager; but I think that one of these days, though, I’m going to go back and just see what can be done!

8. Learn to coupon, stockpile, and CVS/drugstore shop. (thousands–our receipts indicate that we’ve saved over $6,000 doing this over the course of the year…just at CVS!)

9. Realize that if you are patient and able to wait, these days there is almost always a way to do things less expensively than what the average person is paying.

Don’t buy something just because you think you need it.  Wait a while, and try to plan ahead if possible.  A few years back, Daniel’s job strongly recommended taking a long weekend getaway twice a year.  With some praying and looking around, we were able to find a nice condo in Hilton Head for just under $20 a day!

10. Learn to be content with what you have. (priceless 🙂 )

This is probably the biggest way to save money, but it’s probably also the hardest!  For example, there have been several times where I wished I could buy certain pieces of baby equipment. However, a car seat can do just about the same thing as a baby bouncer. A towel on the floor works just as well as changing table (though we were given one), and our daughter survived her newborn days without a swing.  I know there may be a time in the future where I can have certain things I think would be really helpful, but learning contentment while waiting is priceless.

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There are many more ways; and of course, the best way to save money is not to spend money! 🙂  Saving money isn’t everything, but if you’re in a pinch, paying off school loans, or saving towards a particular goal, these are some great ways to get started.  Not all of these will work for everyone, but hopefully there’s something you can put to use!

See more frugal ideas here!.

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  • sux0rz1 August 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    So true! Being content is so challenging today! I always love to read other blogs that focus on contentment as a high priority. Thanks so much!

    -Rachel

  • Brooke August 15, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    i have a closet full of clothes, yet i am not content. as long as that is the case i’ll never be able to save money shopping

  • Sarah August 15, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  • JadeMerie August 15, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    What a great list, thank you for sharing.

  • Audra Krell August 15, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    These are really worthwhile tips. Yes, it’s true, the best way to save money is not to spend it.

  • Kristie Tamsevicius August 19, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Love the “cut your own hair” own. My dad bought this crazy vacumn hair cutting contraption to save money. He calls it a “suck cut”. Actually, it does a pretty decent job on short “boy” haircuts and it sucks all the hair right into the vacummn. Anyway, here are 5 Tips for Frugal Living that offer other ideas your readers would find helpful to save a buck or two. http://www.myloansusa.com/blog/?cat=5

  • Lorie August 20, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Great list! Thanks for sharing!

  • Julia August 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Hi, Karen!
    In regards to your haircut comments and the thoughts on trying someone else, here are a couple of frugal ideas:
    1) The new Great Clips on Pleasantburg and E North is doing $2.99 haircuts right now (also coupons in Parents mag good till 9/30).
    2) Or, let me cut it for you (not professional, but I’ve done hundreds of haircuts).