Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Being frugal.

I'm cheap, I admit it. Living on one income and having 4 growing children make it hard to keep the bills down. They need to eat, wear clothes, and be warm in the house. There are some things you just can't avoid that cost money, but it's all in how we go about meeting those needs that make it possible to still live cheaply. I'm one of those people who kind of rolled their eyes when someone said they just didn't have enough money for the bare necessities. After all, those same people ate out more than we do (that would be 2 or 3 times a year for us and a couple times a month for them), they bought chips and pop and other treats, they had a second vehicle, a cell phone, satellite TV, paid for child care, had call display and everything else going on the phone, had new clothes more than we do (that would be a couple shirts a year for me & the kids and a couple shirts, pants, coat etc, a month for them). Oh yeah, I knew what their problem was!!!

Now all my wisdom has come back on me. We are needing to be much more careful as the kids get older and grocery bills go up, they grow out of their clothes, and need glasses replaced and stuff, and school books don't grow on trees for the home schooled family ya know! Also the money from the government starts dropping just when the kids are up-ing their costs. I could sit around and bemoan the fact that we aren't living high off the hog, or I could get serious about it and start doing all those things I would have loved to suggest to all those poor poor people who owned cell phones and a couple cars and new clothes......

So here is what we've done. Slowly we've been working away at cutting costs and I'm giving the list of things to you. I would LOVE to hear any suggestions of yours to add to these. If it wasn't for doing all these things we just couldn't afford to live as we do.

* We do not use the Visa anymore.

* Using wood for heat. It really is the cheapest. Hubby even ordered the logs (they are much cheaper than having it split for you) and cut them up and chopped them by hand to save some money.

* I cook mostly from scratch. The more processed it is, the less likely it is that I will buy it. Hubby has been known to come home with 16 litres of ice cream from time to time though. I'm serious. :) I also go over all my flyers and shop around to get things a few cents cheaper.

* Our garden has produced lots of good stuff for us that is now in our freezer and will help with the grocery bill all winter.

* We cut down our gas bill by not going out very much. This bill is still crazy high but I don't see how we could cut it down much more.

* I cut all of our hair. My kids don't know what it is like to go to a hair salon. That's a lot of money saved if you can live with how you make yourself look. By me not going to my regular salon for a trim once a month I am saving $396 a year! (But there's still a chance I might get desperate soon). :)

* We don't eat out. We get a pizza maybe twice a year and go for Chinese food once or twice a year for a very special treat. My how the kids think it's cool to go out like that!

* Vacations are non-existent for awhile. At least until we are in a better position financially. All of our vacation-y kind of fun will have to happen close to home and we'll just hope people are able to come see us.

* I don't go shopping. I don't even bother looking at things unless they are in a grocery store or I know exactly what I am looking for elsewhere. If I go I'll just be too tempted to bring home everything I love, and I usually love everything!

* Hubby cancelled his cell phone.

* Hubby cancelled all of our extra features on our home phone. I thought I would die without call display but I'm fine. I don't answer the phone during school hours and let the answering machine do it's job.

By just cancelling those last two things we are saving over $500 a year!!!!!!

* We use those energy saving light bulbs.

* We use a cash system. I have envelopes for groceries, gas, diabetic supplies etc.. and it's easier to keep track of how much you have. You always know whether you have the money for something or not because you can see just how many 20's are at your disposal.

* This one made me sad. I cancelled my Typepad blog and saved myself a few dollars by going with Blogger which is free.

* I love this one. We buy all the kids clothing from Frenchy's. We really cannot afford to buy their clothes anywhere else. I can't remember the last time I bought something brand new. (actually I did buy Katie a pair of shoes a couple months ago at Zellers, whoops!) And (gasp!) I even buy presents at Frenchy's on occasion. I found a great Father's Day gift for last year and both of my niece's b-day presents. I got all three of them for less than $5!!

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Now it's your turn to roll your eyes at me because you know exactly what my problem is, and give me your ideas, I will be very grateful!


Anonymous said...

We get local papers for our community and surrounding areas, and I am always finding free events to go to. I do spend the money on gas sometimes to go to these places, but I always pack our lunch, and the kids and I (and often our friends) benefit from this frugality. The odd time I get caught out without having packed a lunch, I always can find a grocery store nearby or a grocery Zellers or Wal-Mart. I will buy a carton of milk and a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter (or something like that). I may already have this stuff at home, but I will use it, and take it off of next weeks groceries. I was actually about to go on a buying spree at Frenchy's because people have been very generous to us with the new baby. That translates into two or three new outfits for baby Jack for now, and if I am lucky, I may find some cloth diapers there too!

Erin said...

look at you being all frugal and a good steward of your money...we are getting there, slowly but surely. i'm loving your ideas, they are inspiring to me. my main way to save money...STAY HOME AND TAKE CARE OF MY HOME AND FAMILY. I can't spend money if I'm too busy baking, cleaning, playing with Dorey, doing laundry, cooking meals, etc... If I do go out, I'm deadly with my debit card. So it's best if I stay home sweet home :)

Nikki said...

What a great post! I'm just like you in the rolling your eyes bit. Some relatives of ours with kids fairly close to the same age as mine complain they don't make enough money to feed their kids. But they watch first-run movies at the theaters (children included), have cellphones, buy expensive/trendy clothes regularly and go paint-balling, buy the latest CD's and DVD's and on and on! Come on! Feeding your family is top priority!

I agree with Erin's comment. If I stay home it's much easier to be frugal. I'm deadly with my debit card too.

My kids love hand-me-downs and think thrift stores and yard sales are a place to find treasures.

We grind our own wheat and bake our own bread, eat lots of healthy beans (that we buy dried and then prepare), and we try to grow a garden. Although, the garden this year was a miserable failure. We cloth diaper and are using the same diapers for number 3 & 4 that we used on number 1. We also do OAMC (Once a Month Cooking). This continues to save us a tremendous amount of money.

When we record all of our receipts then we are even more cautious of our spending. That way we can see where the money is going and where we can cut back.

And we pay our tithing and rely on the Lord for his blessings. :)