Frugal Living – Necessity vs Desire

The frugal lifestyle requires developing a clear, unmistakable distinction between one’s necessities and desires. Needs vs. wants, a concept I learned when I was kid but quickly forgot as I grew up. Having embraced a more frugal way of living, I’ve revisited this very simple concept and live it daily.

Basically, it boils down to having the self-discipline to recognize the difference between a true necessity and something you just want to have, and finding the line between the two, learning when you can cross it, and training yourself to stick to it.

One of the ways my wife and I have adjusted to this is by using the “Three Day Rule,” where you wait three days to make any purchase. What happens way more often than not is that after a day or two, the desire to purchase subsides completely. The “impulse” is gone and we have a clearer view to evaluate need vs. want. In most instances, the desire to purchase is completely forgotten and bypassed altogether. Spending no money is about as frugal as you can get.

We are not miserly, and sometimes being frugal is associated with this negative connotation. Being a miser is being reluctant to spend money, sometimes to the point of forgoing even basic comforts and some necessities.

Being frugal does not mean one has to live in squalor. We live in the modern age and modern comforts are okay to have. It’s okay to have air conditioning, it’s probably not okay to run it at 60 degrees 24/7 for six months straight (unless you live in the Sahara, I guess). It’s okay to have a TV, but do you need a 60″ monstrosity that eats up as much electricity as a stadium light?

So find the line between need and want and stick to it. Look at what you own now. Can you downsize? Anything you’re not using that you can do without? Start reprogramming your brain to quickly see the difference between something you need for daily life and the junk that’s cluttering your life, stealing your time and costing you money.

Source by Aaron Paulley

Everyday Tips for Frugal Family Living

It can be hard for families with young children to save money and cut costs, especially when it feels like there is always something you need to pull your wallet open for – activities, social events, school fundraisers, and clothing that is constantly being outgrown. But you really can cut costs and save more by making small, every day changes. Whether you are swamped in bills, saving for a family trip, or just looking to cut your expenses in general, some of these tips may help you keep more money in your pocket.

DIY cleaning products can save you a lot of money. Everyday items such as homemade dishwasher tabs can be found on Pinterest along with household hacks to help you save on supplies and repair services. Little things like keeping your dishwasher filters clean and sanitizing garburators and sink drains regularly to avoid clogs can minimize visits from the repair company.

Prepare double batches of food for multiple meals using seasonal produce and sale items. Freeze ground turkey found on sale and use later to make a huge batch of turkey chili with in-season sweet potatoes and canned kidney beans. Throw extra portions in the freezer for last-minute meals.

Ditch disposables. Diapers, paper towels, napkins, throw-away containers, paper plates, and other disposables are best replaced with reusable stuff – linen napkins, cloth diapers and glass containers all work great and last a long time. Most often, they can even be reused for something else when they are past their prime for their original purpose.

Say no to kids’ requests. Before you head out the grocery store with your children in tow, be clear about your purpose and let them know what you will and won’t be buying that day. You may also consider letting them choose one item per visit, so non-essential items don’t get out of control! Learn how to say “no” to your child.

Spend less on personal care products. Search Google or Pinterest for recipes and mix together your own bath and beauty supplies using very basic and natural ingredients. They can also do double-duty as gifts for friends and family.

Plan your purchases by season as discounts on many items are offered at the same time each year. Buy new skates and skis in the spring when shops are blowing out last year’s inventory, pick-up Halloween costumes right after the holiday, and purchase a new barbecue during a mid-summer sale.

Find fun and free events in your community. Instead of paying to go to the movies or indoor play centre, take your kids skating outdoors, to a craft workshop at the library, or a free concert at your local cultural centre. Pack your own snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate instead of giving your money to the local coffee shop.

Don’t stop here. Look at your everyday spending habits to see where you can nip-and-tuck to save more. You will be surprised at some of the things you do, that you don’t even think twice about. Somethings are as easy as making your own coffee at home, or getting books from the library instead of the book store. Who knows? Maybe you can take that spring trip after all!

Source by Kristen Wint

Frugal Household Tips – Family Money Management Helpful Housewife Hints

The frugal household tips I’m going to share with you will help you to keep more cash in your pocket by putting these helpful household hints to use.

When it comes to family money management, these are straightforward approaches that my family uses. In fact, speaking from experience, if you begin to put these tips to use, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much money you can save.

Home Energy Savings

There is no doubt you can stop the leaking of cash following these home energy saving tips. Did you know that the average family spends at least $2,000 a year on home utilities? The good news is that there is a lot you can do to save energy and money at home.

Below you’ll find easy and low cost frugal household tips that I use to save energy.

  • Programmable Thermostat Frugal Household Tips

    You can install a programmable thermostat and knock down your heating and cooling costs by at least $200 bucks a year. These thermostats are really fantastic pieces of technology. You can program in the times you turn on the heating and AC using a pre-set schedule. By doing this, your furnace and AC do not operate as much when you’re sleeping our out of your house.

    When shopping for a programmable, you should look for the most energy efficient thermostats. The best ones you can purchase have the ENERGY STAR label meaning they’re government backed superior energy efficient products.

  • Electricity Frugal Household Tips
    Light Bulbs – You’ll want to use ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) because they use 75% less energy, last up to 10 times longer, and put out 75% less heat than standard light bulbs.

    I use CFL’s for all of our lighting, both indoor and outdoor. They cost a little more than standard bulbs, but definitely save you money over the long haul.

    You’ve probably heard this before, but its true – turn the lights off when the room is empty. Better yet, you can use what we have in our home, motion lights – a huge energy saver.

    AC – You can plant trees or bushes near your AC unit to give it shade. This allows the AC to use less electricity than the same one operating without the shade.

    Appliances – If you’re in need of a new appliance, these days they’re much more energy efficient than the older models. When shopping around for a new appliance, be sure you compare the yellow energy guide labels. The label will show you the estimated yearly operating cost of the appliance and how much annual electricity the appliance uses.

    Refrigerators and washers and dryers are the biggest appliance energy guzzlers. To keep your refrigerator more energy efficient, be sure to clean the cooling elements behind and beneath the unit.

    I do this yearly and it really works. I forgot to do this one year and noticed it took longer for our freezer to freeze ice cubes. As soon as I cleaned the cooling coils, bam – the freezer was back to normal.

  • Water Frugal Household Tips
    You can substantially cut down your water costs by taking short showers instead of baths. You can also save money by lowering the temperature on your hot water heater to 120F.

    Other tips: Wash full loads of dishes in your dishwasher; Turn your water taps off when washing or brushing your teeth; Fix leaking taps; Reduce the amount of flush in your toilet by adjusting the float on the top of the toilet basin; Program your sprinklers to run 3 times a week instead of daily; Get energy efficient sprinkler heads which cover more area needing less water.

  • Insulation Frugal Household Tips
    Having proper insulation can save you a ton of money on your utility bills. You’ll especially want to check the insulation in your attic and basement.

    Speaking of the attic, what you can do to ensure it’s properly insulated is measure the thickness of the insulation. If it’s less than R30, you’ll want to add more insulation because most homes have between R30 and R60 insulation thickness.

    You’ll also want to make sure the heating ducts (especially in your attic) are insulated. You can actually lose up to half of your heated air if your ducts aren’t insulated.

    Weatherstripping all of your doors is another insulation money saver. Also, don’t forget caulking. You’ll want to seal all openings to the outside where air leaks. This includes doors, windows, and where plumbing, electrical and duct work penetrates through your walls, floors, soffits, ceilings and cabinets.

  • Other Energy Saving Frugal Household Tips

    You’ll want to plug TV’s, DVD’s, your computer, and other home electronics into a surge power strip. You’ll also want to turn off the surge when you’re not using the equipment because PC’s, TV’s and DVD’s use quite bit of power when they’re in standby mode. Change furnace filters often to allow your furnace to run efficiently.

    If you have an attached garage, you should keep it closed, especially in the winter to provide further insulation.

    You can purchase the glass block basement windows which provide much better insulation than the standard installed windows. You’ll also want to have better insulated dual ply windows throughout your home.

Household Repairs And Replacement

I can’t forget about this subject when it comes to frugal household tips. Sometimes you need to call on a contractor; but they’re expensive. So, the more repairs you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save.

Believe us, many repairs performed around our house I didn’t just do because I was smart. I had to learn how to do them while also not spending too much of my time learning how to get the work done.

You’ll find the following to be excellent sources of information on do-it-yourself repairs and replacement.

  • Internet

    Take a look at This site is a goldmine of self repair and replacement information. It’s categorized by how to topics. You can also use their keyword search field to quickly get the info you’re looking for. In most cases, you’ll literally get step by step repair/replacement instructions.

    For instance, I recently had a basement wall water leak and also had to replace a garbage disposal. I didn’t have a clue because I had never had the experience doing this work.

    I did a keyword search for garbage disposals and basement leaks on this site and bam, the rest is history. I installed a new disposal and the basement leak was repaired.

  • Do It Yourself Store

    You can also get excellent information by talking with the pros that work at Home Depot or Lowes. At the store I shop, I’ve found that these people really know their stuff and are willing to offer information if asked. People like to feel important and knowledgeable, so they’ll generally help you out.

Source by Tim Derey

Frugal Travel Tips For Packing Light

Airline restrictions are getting tighter and tighter with the amount of checked bags limited and overweight baggage being charged an extra fee. So for the frugal traveler, packing light is packing right. There are some tricks to making the allowance stretch without resorting to buying the pricey new light weight luggage.

A Smaller Suitcase

Huge suitcases when empty can almost push travelers past the allowable limit. Converting to the next size down saves weight that can be used for clothes and souvenirs. Soft sided suitcases are fine for non breakable items (like clothes).

Rolling Clothes

You’ve moved to a smaller suitcase but how to make all your clothes fit? A simple answer is to roll them. Rolling clothes takes up less room than folding them flat. Every section of the suitcase is filled, including air pockets. A bonus is the clothes normally have less wrinkles.

An Extra Duffle Bag

I always pack an emergency soft sided duffel bag just in case I make more purchases than I plan. They also come in handy as a dirty clothes bag, limiting laundry needed.

Black Running Shoes

Shoes are perhaps the heaviest items to pack. That’s why making pairs stretch to numerous occasions make sense. Planning on packing a sporty shoe to reduce pain while touring around cities by foot? Make it a black running shoe. Not only do these shoes fit in better in European countries (where few people wear running shoes for everyday wear) but they can also pass at operas and ballets (where often no running shoes are allowed).

Wash And Wear Flying Clothes

Luggage gets lost or delayed. That is a reality of flying. So unless you wish to spend money on an entire new wardrobe while waiting for your luggage to be found, I suggest wearing clothes, while flying, that can be easily washed and quickly dried.

Not only do I wear a set of easily wash and dried clothes but I carry on an extra set also.

Make Purchases With Luggage Restrictions In Mind

On a first trip to Mexico, I bought a sombrero for my sister. Not only did I have to carry it to every city I went but I had a difficult time bringing it back on a flight.

On the other hand, once I purchased a wall sized painting from Bali. I broke down the frame, rolled the canvas, and wrapped it in plastic similar to a pair of skis. I had zero difficulties bringing it on the plane as the airline was accustomed to shipping skis.

When I make any purchase while on a trip, my first thought is “How am I bringing this back?” If I can’t put it in my luggage or pack it as a separate piece, I consider shipping it directly. If that isn’t financially feasible, I leave it back.

With the tighter and tighter luggage restrictions, it makes sense to reduce the amount of luggage needed as much as possible. Using these tips will save space and hassle.

Source by Kimber Chin