Barb Likos shares her frugal living tips with Mom It Forward readers today. She is the owner of The Cupon Cupboard where she moderates a terrific forum of frugality and simplicity!
A new year, a move toward frugal living, an unstable economy, and yet a hopeful feeling of change at the same time—although these phrases seem to oppose one other, upon closer examination you'll see they blend together perfectly. I am convinced that 2009 holds an awakening of gratitude, family bonding, teamwork, and a sorting out of what is truly important.
I believe we should return to simplicity and give it a warm welcome. (photo by hotair)
Simple living gives us more family time and less stress over providing frivolous material possessions that don’t have anything to do with making memories or developing family relationships.
Yes, we still need to pamper ourselves occasionally, but with some suggestions, budgeting will become a fun and adventurous experience:
- Pack a lunch. Fast food is a waste of money and extremely unhealthy. Pack fruit, soup, and other healthy alternatives.
- Stop credit card spending. Try to find larger items used. By using Craigslist or an email blast to family and friends, you’d be surprised at what you can find! When my flat screen computer monitor burned out, I placed an ad on Craigslist under the “things wanted” category. Two hours later I was hooking up my new 19” monitor, purchased for $20. The same one retails for $150.
- Use coupons when grocery shopping and always make a list. It only takes an extra hour per week to do this and if you shave $40 off of your bill, that hour you spent was the equivalent of earning $40 an hour. Think of it as a freelance side job! You can find printable coupons and learn more about saving on groceries and gas at The Coupon Cupboard (http://thecouponcupboard.com).
- Find free entertainment at your local parks, bike riding and trips to the public library.
- Birthday parties. There are plenty of ideas that can cut the costs but not the fun. One family took their three year old to a local parade that happened to fall on her birthday. At three years old, the little princess thought the parade was all about her birthday! What a fun memory and story to tell for years to come. Even with older children, spending time together means more than an expensive gift. Have a picnic party, take the family fishing, or plan free games to play together. It’s all about the memories.
This is truly a time of change and transition for all of us. It's also an opportunity to greatly enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.