web analytics

Tag Archive | "living on a dime"

11 Tips for Frugal Living



by Tawra Kellam


 

Frugal living is all about making the most with what you already have. Here are 11 tips from LivingOnADime.com to help you get started:



1. Barter for services when possible. For example, we exchanged lawn mower repair from our neighbor for a table (garage sale find) that he was looking for.


2. Learn to fix things for yourself. These days, with the Internet making information so easily available, you can fix most things yourself. We do 95 percent of the repairs around our house and we aren’t that handy. We just keep looking for the information about how to do it and keep working until we get it fixed.


3. Stop eating out. I know you hear it all the time but STOP! The average family spends $300-$500 a month just eating out! Eating out truly is one of the biggest causes of debt! I am always amazed how someone can be “totally broke” and can’t pay their bills but are still able to go to the drive-thru of their favorite restaurant.

4. Study nutrition information and find out what you need to eat to have a healthy and balanced diet. Then stop eating the junk and eat healthy inexpensive meals at home. We have a lot of menu ideas here at LivingOnADime.com that can help you get started.

5. Figure out a way to live without it. If something breaks and you don’t have the money to fix it or if you are out of something and you don’t have the money to buy more, figure out a way to live without it. If the lawn mower breaks, can you borrow a friend’s lawn mower? If your washer breaks, go to the laundromat. If you break your tea kettle, use a saucepan to heat water. In most instances, you can find a way to make do or do without something until you have the cash saved up.


6. Do things for free. Go to the library, have a picnic or read a book. Kids are just as happy playing with mom and dad in the backyard as they are going to the zoo. If you can’t pay cash for the “fun stuff” you can always have fun at home.



7. Buy items used. We buy 90 percent of the items for ourselves used. Going to yard sales and thrift stores does not take any longer than going to a retail store but you can save 90 percent off the retail price!



8. Just say no…to your kids. Let kids buy their own toys and extras! Our kids pay for all their own soda, candy, treats like nail polish, their own computers and extras. You are not the Bank of Mom so just say no!



9. Find a cheaper way to do things. Go to a beauty school to get your hair colored (or don’t have your hair colored at all it isn’t something you need to survive). Go to a mechanic school to get your car fixed. Hire a kid instead of a lawn service to mow your yard (only if you can’t do it yourself for medical reasons). Paint your own house instead of hiring someone, cut the cable and the cell phone (gasp!), and have birthday parties at your house. There is almost always a cheaper way to do things so try to find the cheapest way and save some money!



10. Cut kids’ activities. Most kids are in way too many activities and they’re often expensive. I know families who pay $175 a month for gymnastics lessons but can’t pay the mortgage. There is a problem with this kind of thinking! Kids won’t die if you don’t give them all the lessons and activities you can’t afford.


11. Get it for free. When the landscapers were laying sod in our new neighborhood, I asked for the scraps and we were almost able to put in our entire backyard for free. When they were building houses, I asked for the 2×4′s that were going into the dumpster and got enough wood for our shed. When they were pouring concrete patios, I asked for the leftover concrete and they just poured our entire cement pad for our shed for free!! If friends have kids older than your kids, ask if you can have their hand me downs when they are done.
Get as much as you can for free and you can save thousands of dollars!

Article courtesy of www.LivingOnADime.com.

Posted in BusinessComments Off

Less is More this Christmas!


After laying down my last women’s magazine telling me how to be less stressed during the holidays, I’m even more confused and stressed then ever. On one page I’m told to take time for myself and indulge in a lovely spa bath. As I turn the page, I’m told to give all my friends and family homemade ornaments. Then there are articles telling me how not to gain weight at Christmas parties. Isn’t that like telling a three year old to not get dirty while making mud pies?
To top it all off (and the part I like the best) is after they tell us how to get rid of stress and not gain weight, they give us 10 pages of recipes for Christmas cookies made with real butter and cream that are decorated so elaborately in the pictures that it probably took a trained kitchen staff of 10 a week to make one cookie. Doesn’t anyone live in the real world any more? If you are like me and can’t stand that kind of stress, try some of these Christmas ideas from www.LivingOnADime.com to help you have a relaxed and Merry Christmas.
Don’t over-spend. It may be tempting to fixate yourself on the sparkling look in little Johnny’s eye when he sees that $300 play car under the tree. Advertising people are really good at feeding many parents’ fantasies of their children thinking that mom and dad are the peaches and cream for shelling out the cash and looking fondly back on the moment for the rest of their lives. In reality, most kids have lost all interest in that particular toy long before the credit cards are paid off. “When we were growing up, my mom pulled out all of the stops at Christmas to make it as wonderful for us as she possibly could. The funny thing is that now that we are grown, the things we remember the most fondly are Mom’s red jello salad (made with red hots yummy!) and sitting together and reading the Christmas story before opening our presents. I can’t remember what presents I received, but I always look back fondly on the Christmas story.
Do a few things well. Instead of trying to do everything and ending up depressed with how it all turns out, focus your energy on a couple of things that are the most important to you. You may be tempted to extravagantly decorate every room in your house, but if you don’t have the time or energy, focus on one room, like a living or family room. If your entire house is beautiful but you have to go see a therapist when it’s all over, the romantic mystique will be lost. Trust me, I know about this one from personal experience.
Limit activities. Think of the holiday season as triage for activities. Don’t commit to do too many things. One or two parties during the holiday season will make you get all tingly in that “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of way. One or two parties a week may send you over the edge, especially if you have kids. (Refer to my therapist comments above.) This also applies to all of those appealing looking activities around town like Victorian Christmas events, Christmas celebrations at the zoo or winter carnivals. One or two can be a lot of fun, but too many will ruin the fun.
Limit cookie baking. Don’t try to make 15 different kinds of cookies like Martha. She may look like she is super woman, but did you know she has a lot of people that help her? How much help do you get with your baking? I mean real help, not your five year old who makes everything twice as difficult for you. This is great for grandma, but you have to see your daughter every day and grandma can send her back when the house is sufficiently covered in flour. Again, pick your two or three top favorite cookies to bake and celebrate the fact that you had few enough priorities that you remembered to put the sugar in them.
Everything doesn’t have to be homemade. I know that we advocate making your own stuff, but Marie Callendar’s makes some great pies that you can pass off as homemade if you want to soothe your guilty Martha Stewart conscience. In 20 years, your kids will look fondly back on it as the best pie they ever had. But seriously, if you are making things homemade just to save money, remember that some things like candies and pies are often more expensive to make homemade, especially if you cut your finger while slicing the apples. Don’t ask me how I know, just trust me on this one.
These aren’t the only things you can do to reduce your stress, but if you stick to doing a few things well, you can truly relax and enjoy the season with your family. In the end, they would rather have fond memories of their time with you than memories of how strung out mom was after she burned the cookies.
Tawra Kellam is the publisher of the website www.LivingOnADime.com and the author of Dining On A Dime Cookbook.

Posted in NewsComments Off