I grew up in a household where my parents were frugal. As I grew older and got married, I tried to incorporate frugal tips into my lifestyle to help us save money. I worked full time in a corporate atmosphere, which means I was on the road and at work for 12 plus hours a day earning a paycheck. During the course of our marriage, I succeeded at some of the tips and failed at others. This list is 8 of my top tips that saved us money while not living the fully frugal life.
8. Brown-Bagging Lunches: I did this most of the time while working because I didn’t want to pay $10-15 for a lunch five days a week. I would, most of the time, take leftovers and heat them up in the microwave at work. Other times I would eat sandwiches or make a salad. This tip can add up over the course of just a month, saving $180-$260.
7. Shopping with a Grocery List and By Yourself: This is an important tip because I will usually only purchase the items on my list and save anywhere from $20 to $100 unless my husband comes along and puts what he wants in the shopping cart. I have gone grocery shopping without my list and end up buying items that I do not need or even use just because I didn’t have a plan and purpose. Save money, shop with a grocery list and go by yourself.
6. Dry Cleaning Clothes: I used to spend $20-$50 dollars a week on dry cleaning my business work wardrobe. Included in this were my husband’s Wrangler jeans and shirts. All it took was one time with my budget being stretched to the max and not having funds to take my dry cleaning to be done that I tried washing several of the articles of clothing myself. I used the delicate cycle of my washing machine and just hung them to dry. I realized what a savings this was to our budget, so I gave away or sold several of my clothing items that could not be washed and replaced them with machine washable pieces. Another frugal tip that adds up over time.
5. Late Fees on Bill Payments: When we first were married 17 years ago, the internet was just becoming a household item and there was no online bill pay or even banking. I would pay all our bills the old fashioned way, by U.S. Mail. But I was one who couldn’t remember and incurred late charges. I have forgotten to pay the electric bill and it was disconnected. Yes, I only did it once and it hasn’t happened again. Then along came the internet and bill paying with online banking. This has saved me anywhere from $40–$80 a month because I have all my bills on auto pay. Yes, I routinely look at all my bills/statements online to review my charges and make sure I am not paying unexpected charges. It saves money, but it also gives me peace of mind.
4. Using Cash: I am a strong believer in using cash to pay for purchases. This has helped keep me from purchasing extra stuff knowing I only had “X” amount of dollars for this purchase. I notice using the debit card or credit card that those little extras sneak in on the purchase and can be a budget buster.
3. Home Cooked Meals: I will be the first to say after working 12 plus hours a day, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and cook a meal. Being tired, not having prepared for the meal, we would routinely take the easy route and order out, go through the drive-thru, or have pizza delivered. At $20 a meal ($60 for families), this can quickly add up and break your budget. Kathryn (friend and blog partner) and I prepared a week’s worth of slow cooker meals for each of our household freezers. Take the meal out the night before and let it thaw and the next morning, put it in the slow cooker and let it cook all day. Once home, dinner was done and we could eat and enjoy a home cooked meal. In upcoming blog posts, we will be sharing our recipes and freezer meals.
2. Homemade Laundry Detergent: In the Herman household, laundry is something I do every day and the cost of laundry detergent is high on the name brands that I use. I found several recipes to make my own detergent. I experimented with the recipes and made it for our household use. I will share my recipe in an upcoming blog post.
1. Overdraft Banking Fees: This is the number one frugal tip for the Herman household. No matter how diligent I was about checking our account balance online, we would have overdraft fees. This, over the period of several months, could be very expensive. My frugal tip is to put an extra $1000 in the account and do not ever spend that money. I took the money from our emergency fund and padded our checking account. I never used that amount for my budget. It was always excluded. This tip has saved me so much money that I suggest everyone use it. If you spend any amount of this $1000, immediately replace it when funds are available.
These are just a few of my frugal tips for the not-so-frugal household. They can save money in your budget and do not take a lot of time to implement. As I am unemployed, I am tweaking these tips to get more savings in our budget. I will be adding more tips to our blog posts in the future.
Please share with me some of your frugal tips that are successful in your house.