Thursday, June 7, 2012

Adjusting Our lifestyle: Living Frugally

Reposted from my other blog.  I posted this back in 2008!  I could benefit from following my own advice!

With all of the hype going on in the news about the financial crisis, I am admitting it that I am one of those "weird" people who goes a little further than most to find little ways to be frugal. I have not always been this way and I am not a huge authority, but I feel like the Lord has helped me a lot in the past couple of years to use these ideas to keep our family from going into debt.

I have gone from feelings of panic to peace.

I know I have posted about this a little bit before, but in light of the economic situation I have decided to revisit this topic a little more in-depth.

I have read most of these ideas somewhere else, but I could not tell you where since I have "studied" this subject for quite awhile. If you are interested, keep tuning in because I plan to start adding frugal tips to my blog.

Some of them may seem like "no-brainers", or something you have heard before. Yet I have been surprised by my own and others' lack of wisdom in these areas. We know what we should do, but a lot of times we just don't care, feel like it, or we don't think. Then when it comes time to pay bills, we wonder where the rest of the money went. We "nickel and dime" ourselves to death (or debt!).

My first set of frugal tips. I hope they can help someone:

*** Menu Planning & Grocery shopping***

1. Plan your menus BEFORE going grocery shopping. Here is a good menu template you can print or write out on notebook paper.
2. Look in your pantry/refrigerator and plan around what is already there and build on it. Do not waste (Use things up!). How many times have we forgotten about something only to have it go bad and then we have to throw it away. We could avoid this problem by just keeping an eye on what we have! If you have a carton of sour cream sitting on the refrigerator shelf, don't let it go bad! Make a casserole or something else to use it up. You can find lots of recipes online these days!
3. Buy in bulk. A couple of examples: I hardly ever buy canned beans and I never buy minute rice (I can hear my church friends chuckling right now.. maybe that's why they run late.. ha!). I always get the huge bags of rice and dry beans and store in a tea pitcher.
4. Start out by planning at least 2 weeks of menus and shop for at least two weeks instead of every week. You will not only save on groceries but on gas too! Work up to longer times between shopping trips. (If your kids are like mine, hide the extra stuff until time to eat it or they will try to eat it all the first week. You could even separate stuff into portion sizes baggies or containers!)
5. Try to make a couple of vegetarian meals a week. It's not that hard once you get started. You could start out with one meal and then add 2 the next time.
6. Use less meat in casseroles, soups, stir-fry, etc. Think of meat as a side dish instead of the main course. (Or go huntin' or fishin'!!!!! Woo hoo!)
7. Budget and use cash. This gives you a set amount/limit and helps cut out the impulse spending. If you have money left over, open a savings account or place it in an envelope for the next week.
6. Cook in bulk and freeze leftovers. I don't do the once-a-month cooking, but I do try to cook extra every evening so that I can have left-overs for lunches or the freezer for something quick in a pinch. Maybe one of these days I'll get brave enough to cook a month's worth of meals. I do cook bulk breakfasts and freeze though. This is a big benefit for me since I am not a morning person!

I am not "the queen" in these areas, but they are areas I am working on.

Let me know if you can add anything to the list!

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