Ooohhh! You mean CHEAP?! Yah that would be me. Or at least I thought it meant me. Then I started looking for frugal tips online. As it turns out, I’m the most wasteful person in America. Okay, that may be a bit extreme. But obviously, I’m not nearly so frugal as I thought I was.
So I’ve figured out how to give my kids a stellar home education for nearly free by using Ambleside Online as a major resource. I’ve reduced my electric bill in a big way by unplugging things (toaster, cell phone charger, microwave, etc) when they aren’t in use. I even map out and do all my errands at once to save on gas. We have no debt and even paid cash for our newest vehicle. Our only expenses are day to day living expenses. Gee, I thought that was great.
Well I got to looking at our budget and something’s gotta give. In the past year, our cost of living has increased a full 12% while Rodney’s pay only increased 1%. What’s a family of 8 to do? Well, we’re going to delve deeper into the frugal world, that’s what. For instance….reduce the amount of food we buy. According to the USDA the cost of food to feed an average family of 4 is $600 per month. My family is twice the size of an average family. So in that respect, I guess $800 a month ain’t bad but we still need to reduce it.
So to start, we’ve planted a garden. Not a huge garden by any means….but a nice little plot with 12 varieties of veggies planted in it. So far, it looks like only three things are growing. Gotta work on those gardening skills. Our next goal is to expand our garden and have more variety (and reduce our dependance on the grocery store). We have also started a compost heap. We’ll see how that goes.
My bestest girlfriend in the whole wide world gave me a Sams Club membership. Yay! I had a membership years ago when I only had one kid. It wasn’t worth it for me then. Boy is it worth it now! Just by using Sams and buying in super mondo bulk, we’ve reduced our grocery bill by about $200. Woot! It has also reduced the number of trips I make to the store for little things like toilet paper….thus reducing my gasoline bill. Double Woot!
Have I mentioned before that I’m a complete dork? Did you know I’ve been buying big containers of juice for my kids? Why oh why did it not occur to me to buy fronze concentrated juice? Or why have I been using regular milk to cook with when powdered milk is soooo much cheaper?! The list goes on and on.
Okay so we’ve reduced the electric bill and the food bill a good bit. But there have to be other things we can do. Below is my list of what I think would help and what I plan to do over time. PLEASE feel free to chime in and let me know what’s worked for you and what didn’t. Seriously, I want this information!
*buying compact tubular light bulbs (you know the ones I mean)
*hanging a clothes line in the back yard (I wash approx. 4 loads a day)
*clipping coupons (man, I hate doing that)
*menu planning (been doing it…sorta…but not really)
*making my own bread (gotta find the bread machine)
*expanding the garden (anybody got a tiller we can borrow?)
*getting large canisters and buying flour, sugar, etc in bulk (anybody got canisters they wanna give away?)
*learning to can veggies (this one scares me)
*learning to sew to repurpose old things (this one scares me too…I am not a good sewer)
Okay so that’s the list. Any other suggestions? Anything on there that you’ve tried with success or failure? Please please let me know. This is gonna be an ongoing process, I’m sure. So any tips are most welcome!