Wanna Learn To Be Frugal With Me?

FlickrWorriedManAre the lousy economy and past bad financial decisions joining forces to scare the crap out of you? Well, you’re not alone, baby!

Like many families, we’ve had to cut back on our spending in the last few years. We pay our bills (mostly on time) and save up to do something fun, like a recent trip to Philly for a friend’s wedding. But, we have no savings and have accumulated quite a bit of debt. Now, we’re looking at braces and college and car expenses for the kids.

It’s getting out of control and the ride HAS to slow down now.

Does any of this sound familiar? I know we aren’t alone and I want to document my journey towards frugality to help others too.

Now, I’m not going to go completely off the grid or anything like that. I don’t want to change our entire lifestyle. Besides, I’d probably have rebellion stewing in the family if I did.

Frugality, to me, is about learning to be more careful with my resources – thinking about what’s really important and cutting out the extras, planning ahead, and being less wasteful.

I plan to focus on learning how to pay down our debt, cutting out unnecessary expenses, selling things we no longer need, and limiting our food expense. Also, with the holidays breathing down our necks, I’ll try to find ways to cut costs without being a Grinch.

Just to make things clear: I’m no expert but will do my best to give good information or at least point you toward someone else who can. I also can’t claim any guarantee of success. In fact, I expect to fall right on my face at some point. Several times, no doubt. But I promise to be truthful and probably poke fun at myself in the process.

Is this something you might be interested in? Are you already ahead of me on this? Please join in with your ideas as we go along. I’d love to hear them!

Flickr image courtesy of pedrosimoes7

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9 comments on “Wanna Learn To Be Frugal With Me?

  1. D J Mills says:

    I am stuck with rates, water, electricity, telephone, broadband, car rego, etc so accept I will always pay these. I do lower my food bills by growing all the easy to grow vegies, and four hens keep me supplied with eggs. I buy basic products and cook my cakes, biscuits, pies, icecream, etc. This does save money, because it is cheaper to cook/process own food, rather than pay others for processing.

    I now organise my shopping trips for minimum running around in car, and I do use less petrol this way, so the saved petrol can be used for day trips or visiting relatives, etc.

    However, with teenagers, there is no way you can save on fuel. 🙂

    I wrote a book on Living with Preservatives and Additives which has a side benefit of saving money in food. I must pull it out of the cupboard, edit it and publish it. 🙂

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  2. D J Mills says:

    Opps! The title was Living without Preservatives and Additives!

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    • E.K. Carmel says:

      Absolutely, you should sell this. I think more and more people are becoming aware of the sort of crap that gets added to foods and want to cut it out or at least down.

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  3. Hey, I Eileen. We’re in the same boat ourselves especially since I haven’t worked in about three years. Like Diane I’ve learned the best way to save money is to make things like cake, biscuits, etc. myself. It has been hard to adjust from going out whenever we wanted to let’s make do with sandwiches. Of course when you cook more then chores, such as washing dishes, go up. Ask anyone, I hate doing dishes. But needs must.

    I’ve also cut back on our satellite bill to the lowest I can without losing the Syfy channel etc. In return we’ve gotten a Roku which will eventually replace the satellite. I love the Roku and recommend it to anyone. The only reason it has not totally replaced satellite is because the area we live in only has one channel. We’ve either got to get another tv that allows for a Roku hookup or a digital box/antenna for that old analog tv in the bedroom. Of course if things get worse there may not be a choice we’ll have to make do with the one tv and get something figured out as we can afford.

    I do try to hit sales and use coupons where I can. I’m not a big coupon user, I’ve seen the shows on TLC but maybe I’m missing something or our area doesn’t have the coupons those people do. I just don’t see coupons that are that useful to me.

    I’ve learned that not all generic is best quality or value. For instance when I compare Walmart’s Great Value products such as cheese or dish liquid to their name brand counterparts they come up short. For instance Borden’s 2% cheese is cheaper than Walmart’s Great Value. Even though the Great Value dish liquid is cheaper I don’t think it’s a quality product and I use more than if I just bought Dawn so I just buy Dawn.

    On the other hand I can’t tell much of a difference between the Great Value crackers and their name brand counterparts. Basically it’s trial and error til you figure it out what works best. I generally mix it up with some generic, name brands and off brands such as Sun. I also shop at more than one store if necessary and if they’re not in the same area then keep a list for that area so I can do everything at one time to save gas.

    My challenge is the number of animals I have. Ten cats and now four dogs. I’m not dissing cheap food but it can and does cause health problems. My animals don’t get the most expensive food but I do my best to make sure they get something that gives them the nutrition they need. Added to that our water is not drinkable so I have to buy water for not only ourselves but our animals.

    Right now I’m sort of holding my breath. Paul’s insurance and other expenses have gone up but his hours at work has gone down. I’ve just been praying we can hold on. It is nice to talk to someone else about their struggles so I’d be glad to hear how things are going on. Btw, how is the revising going?

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    • E.K. Carmel says:

      I agree with you on the store brand items, it’s hit or miss. I plan to bring that up in a future post too. And your drinking water situation is really unfortunate. That’s a lot of water to buy!

      My revising is slow but mostly steady. I’m working on ch5 now. Had to rewrite part of ch4 so that took a little longer. Honestly, I don’t know how people do NaNoWriMo. I suspect they don’t do much else in the middle of that. Thanks for asking!

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      • Technically the water is supposed to be drinkable but take today for instance; it is very orange because something happened with the well yesterday; I’m guessing that has something to do with the color. Most of the time you can’t see the orange, it only shows up with slow build up on appliances, our clothes or whatever. It’s orange because there are a lot of minerals and rust in it. To add insult to injury it smells to high heaven because it also contains sulfur.

        I’m told everyone else drinks the water but I can’t see how they drink much. I like water and 90 percent of the time it’s all I drink. Added to that I’ve got one dog that can’t tolerate it, she literally gets the bloody flux. When I realized what was causing it I stopped even cooking with the water for us and put all animals on bottled water, too.

        Bottled can be very expensive over time. I hated all the plastic bottles that were everywhere. My solution was to get an inexpensive water cooler. We found two stores that sell filtered water which is a lot less expensive than bottled water. Doing that helped a lot with our grocery budget.

        Even if we moved I’d keep my water cooler though. I love that I have instant cold or hot water as needed. It’s lovely when I want hot tea, all I have to do is press the button.

        I look forward to more posts about ‘frugality’. Glad to hear the revising is moving along, If you want me to look over anything I’ll be happy to help. Take care.

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        • E.K. Carmel says:

          Wow, that’s horrible! I remember when we were looking for our first house, we saw a couple with wells, but my husband is familiar with the possible problems and we said no to them. I know if you want to live in a particular place, you sometimes don’t have a choice.

          Thanks for the offer! I think I’d like to get this revision further along before asking beta readers again. You were a great help with Ch1 and it gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

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  4. Your husband is right about wells, they’re a pain the rump for a variety of reasons.This isn’t the first place I’ve lived with a well but I think it’s the worst. Most of the time it’s the pump that breaks down, usually at the most inconvenient moment like when you’re in the shower with a soapy head. Also, when the electricity goes off, so does your pump.

    Occasionally the well has other issues like with bacteria and the like. A smart well owner gets his or her well tested on a regular basis or just dumps chlorine in it as a matter of course. Either way it’s not like city water that just comes out of the faucet whenever a knob is turned. I like to live in rural areas therefore the majority of time that means a well. I guess it ends up being a trade off.

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