I love being frugal, but I feel like last year we just got lazy in this area of our lives. Our second cross country move in two and half years took priority, and I slipped off the couponing wagon simply because I didn’t want more things to move. So, as we head into the new year and your family starts thinking about ALL your goals, perhaps you really want to reign in your spending some.
I think so many of us are seeing these exciting things about achieving financial independence. Honestly, big things like that come step by step, choice by choice, so make small adjustments. This blog post is intended to give you some tangible steps to take to build your confidence in frugal living and hopefully helping you shift your mindset and habits so you always go for the frugal choice.
Make a meal plan- Plan out easy recipes every week, make a grocery list, choose a day to grocery shop. I like to mix up crock pot recipes, tacos or burritos every Tuesday night, a simple Korean dish one night per week, snack and movie night (we bought a bunch of clearance Hickory Farms holiday box sets).
Shop at Aldi, if you can- I love shopping at Aldi! They have wonderful products at great prices. If you live near one, consider shopping there for as many things on your list as possible.
Cut the cord & if you’ve done that already pay attention to what services you’re signed up for.— For example, do you REALLY need Amazon Prime/Netflix/Hulu simply because that is cheaper than having cable? We decided to keep our Directv service, because the pricing was incredible. It also gives us some wonderful football channels, so we can host game watches at our house and save on social calls! We also have Hulu basic, because it we snagged the 12 months for 12.00 promotion over Black Friday.
Use your library to the fullest extent- Libraries offer patrons so much more than just books (I mean books are great too, haha!) I like to place my books on hold for pick up, and let the kids select their books and a couple DVDs on our weekly trips. You can also take advantage of stories and crafts. Check your library’s schedule of events, and also check to see if your library participates in a cultural pass so you can visit local attractions.
Reassess your cell phone bill- Can you cancel your contract and get a new cell phone plan. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful pricing, and when our contract ends we will be switching providers.
Schedule a childcare swap with friends- schedule some trades with friends so you can schedule some dates. The further ahead you can plan, the easier it is to plan out affordable date nights.
Be honest with people about what you’d like for gifts- movie tickets, gift cards, etc. make suggestions when you’re asked. This year for Christmas I asked for food and restaurant gift cards!
Look for free activities to do outside of the home or be intentional about your home time so that you also have fun at home. Attend library activities, go to events with parks and recreation, host play dates at the park or rotate homes with friends. Also, see if your church offers any playtimes or mom’s groups. Here’s a list I put together last summer of frugal and free activities for kids.
Follow frugal/budget blogs and social media accounts- I find this very helpful, because when I’m watching others reaching their financial goals while still enjoying their lives.