- Pay your bills on time! Don't be late. Extra fees will eat you alive. NEVER have to pay late fees.
- Rethink gifts. Most kids have more than they could possibly need - so perhaps give them an adventure instead. Ice cream date, zoo, museum, go-carts, fireworks, etc. Adults don't generally need anything - so don't try to out do the Jones. Think about homemade gifts - food items are a HUGE hit in my family. Secondhand is totally fine as well. Find that pretty candy dish, teacup/saucer, cake plate, tool, even clothes. Sparkle it up and present it. Older items are much better quality than new. Think about gifting family heirlooms as well!
- SAVE - most people say save 10% first - then pay bills. I like at least 15% or more if you can. Always pay yourself first - your future may depend on it!!!!! If you get the opportunity to invest in 401K or similar DO IT. You won't miss the money (usually pre-tax) and if your employer contributes as well - WIN-WIN.
- Shop secondhand for most everything if possible. Small appliances and sporting equipment can all be purchased for pennies at yard/garage sales. People want the newest and fanciest things - then don't use them. There just isn't much you can't get secondhand. My logic was always - "why should I pay full price when some other igit will". I worked in an office setting for years and had to look nice - ALL of my clothes were thrift store. I had quite the wardrobe and got lots of compliments. There is NO shame in buying secondhand.
- Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without! You have all heard that. IT IS TRUE. Don't go out shopping when you have something perfect at home already. Reinvent items into new things, come up with creative ideas. That is what our ancestors did - or they wouldn't have survived. I can use a paring knife to peel a potato, I use worn out T-shirts as hankies or cleaning rags, Pop bottles are great water bottles (for storage), grungy old jeans make great patch makers for others, old clothes can be cut up into quilt pieces or rags. Dressing, ketchup, mayo, mustard - just bits left in the bottom of jar - add milk or oil and shake, shake, shake. Use it in soup, over meat, over a salad. A sauce pan will boil water just like a tea pot! The ideas are endless - just put on your thinking cap!
- Barter - barter with neighbors, family, friends. Use their tiller and give them home canned goods. Cut their grass and ask their kids to help in raking. You have eggs - maybe they have berries. On and on and on...………………….. I have a neighbor who is a retired professional painter (and rents) - he is painting 4 houses on the street for his landlord for 4 months FREE rent! Winner, winner - chicken dinner!!!!! (We all win on this one - because it looks nice too)
- Bulk or not? That is the question. I guess it depends on what you are getting and the price you can get it for. Many times you can get much better prices IF you just pay attention to store sales. If the price is right - but you can't use that much in good time - go in with a neighbor or family member - split the price and split the merchandise. Make sure you have a good way of storing/keeping what ever you buy, so it doesn't go bad.
- Holiday deals and limits. ALL stores now have "holiday" specials. Generally they set limits - but that is ok. Take your kid, your husband, your friend, etc. and get what you can use UNTIL you figure up when another sale will be. Most are either holiday specials or specials that run every 6 - 9 months. Have each person buy the limit. I have even gone back in and purchased additional. OK before I get yelled at - the store has those sales to get you in and to get rid of product - so I don't think I am doing anything wrong. If I don't buy it - someone else will - and they will make extra trips...…….. (FYI - I never empty shelves - unless they are almost out)
- Delay gratification - think about purchases before you make them. My Daddy always said "the anticipation is always far greater than the realization". Boy was he right. Think overnight, think for a week, think for quite a while - especially if making a major purchase. Hasty decisions can absolutely kill your bank account!!!!!!!!
- UNspoil the kids. They don't need every fancy new thing that comes out. TRUST ME - THEY DON'T!!!!!! Let them whine a while - it builds character. Make them earn it or earn the money for part of it. That is not cruel and unusual punishment as some parents seem to think - that too is character building! They need to know that not everything is theirs just BECAUSE they want it. You will be making a wise choice to aid in their futures.
- Try your hardest to stay out of debt! Pay it off as quickly as possible if you make any. Pay high interest first. Get rid of debt. That is one of the biggest factors to unhappy marriages. Owing money can be so destructive to your relationships and to your health - stress is not funny.
- If you owe and are basically 'upside down' - own more than you make - you have some hard decisions. Get second or third jobs, cut out doing stuff, cut back to minimal budgets (no that doesn't include coffee at Starbucks), sell stuff - do everything in your power to get more money and get out of debt. Sacrifice is necessary if you have gotten in that shape. We have all had to make sacrifices - but it is sooooooooo worth it. What a feeling of accomplishment.
(sorry I added a pic and the numbers started over)
The best thing to remember is ***** THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Amen to that. Whether you have money or don't - enjoy your family, friends, nature, pets, God, freedom, health, etc.. Those are the important things.
Money is secondary to all else in my book. I could live in a sparse room with a pallet on the floor and be happy with all the rest.
HAPPY FRUGAL LIVING