While I don’t claim to know it all, I’ve always been a pretty frugal stay-at-home mom. We’ve lived off of one modest income since we got married and I’ve learned some things along the way. So I thought I’d share some of my tips for frugal living and successfully surviving as a one income family!
Set A Budget
I know it sounds boring & cliche, but the only way to take control of your money is to tell it what to do with a budget. A budget is nothing more than a written plan for your finances. If your just starting out I would recommend going to your local library and checking out The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. You can also visit DaveRamsey.com for lots of budgeting resources.
Live Below Your Means
This means spend LESS than you MAKE!! Seems pretty obvious, but so many people just don’t do this and they’re going deeper and deeper into debt each month. Once you set a budget and you know what your working with then you can figure out what you can actually afford and what you can’t.
Set up Automatic Savings
We have a certain amount every week that automatically goes into savings and we don’t miss it because we never see it. Another great tip is to up the amount your sending to savings every time you get a pay increase.
Limit Eating Out
Eating out is a privilege, not a right and if you can’t afford it then don’t do it! Seriously, eating out costs you way more than if you cook for yourself at home. Especially if you cook from scratch, plus eating at home is healthier for you. This is a major budget leak for a lot of families and it can be challenging, but with some plan and prep it can be done!
If you aren’t currently menu planning then you are wasting money. Just like a budget is a plan for your finances, a menu plan is a plan for your food. I promise if you will just do this one thing then you will start to see your grocery bill decrease. The best way to do it is to plan as many meals as you can with what you already have in the pantry. Some other great ways to save on groceries are to eat meatless as much as possible and cook everything you can from scratch. Seriously, those prepackaged foods come at a premium price.
For most people, it is harder to spend cash than it is to swipe a card. We get out a set amount of cash each pay period for groceries, eating out and blow money. This helps us to keep track of what we have and when we’re out we’re out.
This is one of the best money saving tips I can give you. If you don’t go out in the first place then you won’t see all the things you didn’t know you needed. If shopping is a hobby then I would suggest finding a new one that keeps your bank account happier such as hiking or reading.
This is almost unheard of in our society. You want a new dress? Go buy it, you deserve it! Out of milk and bread? Go to the store right away because otherwise you might starve! Want a new car? Go ahead and finance because every body’s doing it! Seriously, we have an entitled culture on our hands that tells us we deserve cable and expensive dinners out. This is a lie. These things are privileges and not deserved by anyone! The next time you think you need something right away stop and think about it for awhile and try to come up with something you can use that you already have. Or consider downgrading your phone or cancelling your cable. We’ve never had cable and don’t plan to get it. We don’t pay for Netflix or Hulu. We just watch free TV with our antenna and save about $800 per year doing it. What could you do without that would save you some money?
While these tips may seem simple, they really work! Frugality is a lifestyle and you really have to implement some money saving habits in order for your wallet to grow.