Living on Less-Awesome Frugal Living Tips

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It is usually in desperate times that we realize how important it is to be frugal. I am currently living in one of my desperate times. Lucky for me, I am always using my frugal living tips and I try to make sure I have money to fall back on. Pair that with my budget skills and I hope to survive this unsettling time.

My “day job” as I call it consist of providing dental care to children…at their schools. Well, with the schools being closed in my state for the remainder of the year, this has left me homeschooling my kids, trying to stay sane and drawing un-employment.

My husband is an “essential” worker as a firefighter for our neighboring county. SO, as he is entering into the danger zone each workday…he still gets a paycheck. Living on one and a half is very different than normal.

I’m sure you might be finding yourself in this same predicament. If you are or if you are just looking for some ways to be frugal during uncertain times, here are my tips.

Save Energy

This tip is something I practice regularly. It can be as simple as opening up the blinds or curtains to let natural light in while you turn the lights off in the house.

This one is hard for my kids to understand. My teen thinks he needs a light on in every room even if he is just sitting at the table to eat a sandwich.

If you have the window open and the sun is shining, you can eat a sandwich without a light!

You can try changing your lightbulbs to more energy efficient ones like these.

Another tip for saving energy is your thermostat setting. Try keeping the heat on 68 and the Air on 78. Energy.gov reports that turning your thermostat lower by 10 to 15 degrees for 8 hours per day will help you see an energy usage reduction of 5 to 15 percent per year on your bill.

Its not as bad as you might think. I always tell my kids when they start to complain to “go outside and then come back in” then you will see the difference. lol.

I have more ways to cut your utility bills here.

Cut your Grocery Bill

I didn’t think it could be done but trust me it can. I wrote an entire article dedicated to saving on your grocery bill.

One thing that I do to really help in this category is to meal plan. I use this $5 meal plan to get meal ideas that are very inexpensive. If you sit down once a week and plan out what you are cooking, you can make a grocery list that is easy to stick to so you will spend less at the store.

You can download my grocery list pdf to help you make your list easier.

Grocery Store
Photo by Oleg Magni

I take about 30 extra minutes on Sunday afternoons to make a list from the recipes I picked, then I head to the pantry to see if I have any of the ingredients on hand. If not they get added to the list. I also check the fridge where we have a notepad for adding items that we run out of during the week like butter or eggs.

Know When to Spend and When Not to

This is a very important tip. As I am sitting at home under quarantine right now, I have found myself scrolling through my social media more than normal. So many ads have popped up in my face tempting me…

BUT, I know that now is not the time for that because there is still uncertain times ahead of me so I resist the temptation.

Its a skill that has not always come easy to me but the best way to enforce it is to make sure I have clear goals in mind for my money. When you do this it makes passing on the temptation so much easier.

Skip the Impulse Buys

This is where the most money can be spent unnecessarily. It’s a hard habit to break but when you do, you will realize how much you really spend. See some money-saving hacks here.

Photo by Burst

Ditch the Cable

We got rid of our $70+ a month satellite bill a few years ago. I thought this was going to be hard because I had become so addicted to the convenience of the DVR recording option.

But little did I know that it was one of the best things we have ever done. I don’t miss a minute of it.

We use Netflix and Hulu to watch our shows. I have found that I watch less television and spend more time doing other things.

Hulu and Netflix both are like recording services because just like with the DVR…I can watch them whenever I want. Hulu lets me save my “shows” and it helps me keep up with what I’m watching.

Try to Get Out of Debt

I know how hard it is, trust me…I’ve been there. But having that hang over you every month and knowing it is sucking up all your money is so daunting.

When you put things on credit cards you end up paying more for it in the long run after interest is tacked on. So use these tips to help you get started on being free today.

DIY Projects

We DIY just about everything. If you think it is not possible…check out YouTube. There are thousands of how to videos on there that show you step by step what to do.

I have fixed our refrigerator, cleaned our dryer and learned how to use a biscuit joiner to make a countertop on there. I promise you it will save you money and its fun.

When you are finished, you can look back at what you have done and be proud of yourself!

Use Less

This is a hard lesson I’ve been trying to teach my kids, especially since we are home and quarantined. From the ketchup to the toothpaste to the shampoo, you don’t need to waste it.

For example, you only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush your teeth (I know because I’m a dental hygienist) but as you brush it lathers up and you end up with plenty.

Another example is the ketchup, my kids end up squirting so much that we can eat two meals with what is on their plate. I tell them to start with a little and add more as you go, there is no need to throw away all the extra that they accidentally squirt out. If they don’t overdo it in the beginning, you won’t have to waste it.

Reduce Reuse

Bulk Buys are the Best Buys

We always buy in bulk. Even before the toilet paper shortage of 2020… I buy at Sams Club in bulk. It ends up saving me money in the long run because you can get better deals this way. Plus, when everyone was freaking out over toilet paper…we had plenty. Its been over a month in quarantine and I still have it.

I also get frozen foods and meat here. When I buy chicken, I cut it and freeze it with freezer paper and deep freeze it until I need it.

Get Yourself a Budget

Knowing where your money goes is an easy way to be frugal. If you can account for each and every penny then it is no mystery what is being spent.

You can start a budget at anytime!

I hope these frugal living tips will help you!!

You can also check out my other posts about being cheap.

Also, go follow me on Pinterest for other helpful tips.