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My Frugal Life: Frugal Finesse Success

Living frugal is very important these days, especially to those with the economic job struggles, two jobs to one household downsizing, limited income on disability, increased cost of living, and cut backs on the job, utilities increasing, etc. I took a good long look at my financial situation, I started to take notes, and most importantly, making a diary of spending. I have written this article in hopes to share with you my success and I hope that you will reap the same!

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First, do an over view of your financial situation, put it down on paper in black and white. Mark the top with your total income figure, below will be a list of your monthly debts. Next, get a small note pad (spending diary), make a list of ALL of your spending for one month, mark the day you start with the date, save receipts, (you will be shocked!) If it's $.25 cents to a parking meter or a dime tossed in a fountain, write it down. You will be shocked! Here are some ways to curb excess and unnecessary spending.

The best way is to pay with cash - ONLY. Not with a credit or debit card, for an entire month. Tuck away all your cards in a drawer. Cash a check at your bank for necessary funds for the upcoming month. It is almost as though, if you are using plastic and not cash, as though it is free, that is why using cash has a better effect upon your spending. If there is a purchase that you really desire, sleep on it, question if it is need or want. We have all made purchases on impulse, having buyers remorse later and another charge to our card. Always pay down the highest interest credit cards when it is possible.

Stop the "I need to go to the store for bread" deal. Make a list of planned items that you will need for the week, not each day. It will save time, money, and gas. I realized that eating out one day a week at Subway or another fast food place, with the money spent, I could buy bread, lunch meat and cheese that would pay for at least 3 days of lunches! Yes, pack your lunch. Better food is made at home verses fast food, less calories and more nutrition! Get a small cooler and have bottled water, juice, or soda, purchased on sale, available when you are on the go.

Be certain the air pressure in your car tires are correct as that can cause fuel inefficiency. Wash and clean your own car, it is not that hard and doesn't take long. Do your own yard service work, it's good exercise and will save you money.

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This part is for women: I color my hair myself, I do my own mani and pedicures (self taught and there are even YouTube videos to show you!) These services are savings of approximately $1200.00 a year!

My old saying is "When you are poor, it makes you more creative", and it is true. Re-purpose and re-use everything you can before pitching it out to a landfill. Donate, trade, barter items and services. Shop for daily necessities and cleaning products at the true Dollar stores (Dollar Tree, Everything is $1.00). Shop a thrift store, have a yard sale. If you have even a tiny yard, put up a clothes line, line dry your laundry, weather permitting, the savings on not using the dryer is substantial. Water left in the dish sink can be used to water plants. Use microfiber cloths and less paper towels. Old clothing? If not donateable, old sweaters make nice pillow covers, old T-shirts are great for cleaning the house and car, and also to make for filling for pet beds. Large bath towels that are discolored or worn can be cut into several rag cleaning cloths.

Turn off all lighting and appliances you are not using, unplug the ones you do not use daily. LED lights are cooler burning to use and cost efficient. Use a toaster oven instead of the big stove oven, when possible. New electronics are very enticing, but, have only what you really need.

Want a room re-do on a slim budget? Shop a paint sale, a gallon of paint, some elbow grease, recover pillows, and re-arrange the furniture - VIOLA! New look at the cost of under $30.00. An old sheet makes a great drop cloth.

The list is endless to being frugal and re-inventing items, use your imagination! After one month with your spending diary, you will become very aware how much money goes out to spending without a mere thought! After your review, you will see ways to help yourself cut out the excess spending. Frugal finesse has no limits!

By Missy from OH

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August 30, 20110 found this helpful

I also use and reuse just about everything. I'm going through closets and cupboards for a garage sale. I had one last year, sold things really cheap just wanting to get rid of them, and made a bunch of money, so I plan on having one this fall too. Keeping track of things is really an eye opener, you just have to be disciplined enough to follow through.

I plan shopping trips only once every 3-4 weeks. When I think that I absolutely have to go to the store, I wait another week, forcing me to use things in the back of my pantry and freezer. Meals can get creative and we often try new things.

However, I do disagree with the "pay cash for everything." I use my charge regularly for groceries, gas, etc. I'm very careful to not buy things that I do not need. I pay it in full every month, and get a nice cash refund yearly that I put in the bank. I look at a charge card as a tool, not an entitlement, and do not abuse the privilege of owning it.

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