The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Living Frugally


I was reading on another blog about "Living Frugally", and I enjoyed what she said. She had some good ideas. I decided to add to it, with some of my own ideas. So here it is! One of my favorite books by the way is called, "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Amy Dacyczyn. (I know, it's quite a last name!) But she has some GREAT ideas and recipes in it!
So here are my TOP TEN:
1. Wear handed-down clothes. Find a source for each of your kids, whether it is a cousin, neighbor, church friend, whatever... it will save a BIG bundle if you don't need to buy many clothes for them! Even if you have to "wear them gently" and give them back, it is worth it!

2. Shop second-hand or sales only for adult clothes. We enjoy going to thrift and second hand stores when we need clothing items, and it helps a lot. My DH got a GREAT suit for $5.00!! LOL-- really, that was ALL it cost! He wears it a lot to church and funerals! Also, shop second hand for books. We have several 2nd hand bookstores in town that are great! I can usually pay 50 cents for a good kids' book there!

3. Don't shop for "fun", or in your spare time! It is an easy way to spend more money... stay home and play with the kids!

4. Use coupons, and shop sales/ discounts at grocery stores. I can normally save $5 or more in a trip to the grocery store just from coupons! I MORE THAN pay for my newspaper subscription by the money I save with coupons. I have a system to organize them, and I go through them each week before I shop and pull out the ones I will use for that week. Sometimes the coupon doesn't give more $$ off than the generic item though, and that is important to watch for. I especially use coupons in conjunction with the store sales, and save even more! You can check your store's weekly flyer for when food is discounted. The best way to purchase meat is when it is on sale, and then buy extra for the month! A great author about using coupons is Ellie Kay. I have enjoyed several of her books. She is funny too!

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! We reuse a lot of household items for crafts... old cereal boxes, TP and paper towel rolls, baby food jars (preschools like those as donations too-- I used to be a preschool teacher!) oatmeal containers, newspapers, soda bottles (only buy for bday parties!) boxes, etc, are all great to reuse! Also reduce what you buy, and bring in to your house. When you prepare to purchase an item, ask yourself, Do I really need this right now? I know how tempting it is to buy more than you need, but wait! You will be okay! I also have reduced the amount of baby wipes I use by tearing them in half and using them only when the baby is dirty-- my mom taught me that! I have also made my own baby wipes before, and I use cloth diapers! I figured out that I save ten cents each cloth diaper I use! It was an investment with my first baby, but it has paid off!

6. Make it Yourself! Be Crafty! People love handmade items! This goes for gifts, decorations, as well as food. It is cheaper to make your own granola (and healthier!) than to buy boxed cereal. Also bread is easy to make in a bread machine and healthier too. Granola takes TEN minutes to make (by my recipe -plus bake time) and it is SOO good and filling! When you eat it with yogurt-- it will last all morning! I make my own strawberry jam too-- a freezer jam method that is cheaper when strawberries are in season. I have made several wooden plaques that I bought from Michael's-- into Bible verse name plaques for friends' kids for birthdays and baby showers. It is easy to print, decoupage onto the plaque with Mod Podge and let it dry. A great gift! Also can put Bible verses on plaques too-- like 10 Commandments or Prov. 17:22 or Phil. 4:8. Quick and easy! Last Christmas we made candles and soap for gifts. It was a good learning experience for my kids, and a great family activity! I also sell rubber stamps for Stampin' Up! and I make all my own scrapbook pages and birthday/ thank you cards. People love the cards! An easy gift is to give a packet of cards for Christmas or a birthday.

7. Use eBay to buy and sell unique items. Jamin said this, but it is worth restating! I often will sell used rubber stamps on eBay and buy books or other items for homeschool. 

8. Keep inexpensive hobbies! I am bad about this one... I love to do crafts! Beading, cross-stitch, scrap-booking, card-making, knitting, soap-making, candle-making, etc.,-- so fun and relaxing for me! It can save money, when you give the item as a gift. I sell stamps so that it supports my stamping hobby.

9. Ask specifically for gifts! It may seem tacky to you, but it has really helped us. I tell my parents/ grandparents/ friends/ family via email what we need for Christmas and birthdays. I can "fill in" holes in their wardrobes this way, get the kids games they will like and play with, and I don't have to go through the hassle of exchanging many gifts! Another great idea is to ask for money for their college funds! Then you don't have to deal with more stuff!

10. Save energy and water! Make sure you have full wash loads, use a clothes line to dry clothes, wash dishes in half a sink of water, don't let water run too long. Fill your watering can with water when you are waiting for your water to get hot! Turn off lights and appliances (printer, etc.,) when they are not being used.

HTH to give you some good ideas. Enjoy trying to live frugally!


  1. One book I love and keep reading over and over is "Simplify Your Life" by Elaine St. James. Under the title on the cover it states: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter. I don't agree with every single thing she writes, but I would guestimate that 99% of it is so sensible and has been very helpful. I like the way it is written, too. There are 100 "steps" (small chapters), so you can read just one or a few if you don't have a lot of time at once.

  2. Another book that sounds similar that we enjoyed is "Margin" by Richard Swenson. Lots of good thoughts there, about making sure you have margin in all areas of your life.


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