Do Your Homework

There are lots of ways to save money, no matter how much of it you have – or don’t have. All you need to know is where to look to find the savings.

The first thing you need to do is eliminate ALL of your unnecessary expenses such as eating out on the weekends, buying lunch at work every day subscribing to magazines and newspapers and cable television.

It’s OK to reward yourself once in a while, but if you are really looking to live frugally, you owe it to yourself to save every single penny you can!

To find other ways to reduce your expenses, take a close look at your checkbook and credit card statements. You should also call your credit card companies to see if they will lower your interest rates.
You’ll be amazed at how many ways you can save money, especially once you start looking carefully at how you spend your money every month.

For those expenses you can’t eliminate, it’s time to start shopping around for the best prices. Things like car insurance, groceries, clothing and gifts can be found at very reasonable prices if you take the time to seek out the bargains.

The same is true of many of your monthly expenses – like long distance telephone service, internet service, all types of insurance, mortgages, and in some places even your utility bills.

So, if you’d like to save yourself lots of money every month – and who doesn’t – start shopping around and looking for ways to lower your monthly bills right away. Add this to cutting out unnecessary expenses and you could find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each year. The initial investment of time to seek out the best values will be well worth it in the long run.

Frugal Winter Fun

You don’t need a wallet full of cash to enjoy the cold, snowy days. There are all kinds of frugal ways to enjoy the winter season together both indoors and outdoors. Here are a few frugal boredom busters to keep your kids happy this winter, and to keep your pocketbook even happier.

*Homemade Snowman Kit

It’s just not winter fun without building a snowman. Assemble a snowman kit to have handy. Your kit can contain the following: A hat, scarf, mittens, plastic carrot nose, charcoal briquettes, (place in plastic baggie) buttons, and can add two dowels or branches for arms.

*Obstacle Courses or Winter Olympics

Jump over the mounds of snow or have relay races.

*Snow Paint

Mix food coloring and water and add to spray water bottles and spray the snow to make colorful works of art outside.

*Homemade Bird Feeder and Bird Identification

Need large pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Add peanut butter to pinecones and roll in birdseed. Keep a journal of birds in your yard. Can borrow a field guide from your local library.

*Snow Ice Cream

Mixing together a quart of milk, an egg, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a pan. Cook on stove top until mixtures thicken and cool to room temperature. Pour this mixture over fresh snow.

*Snow Golf

Use a tin can buried in the snow for the holes or just carve out holes in the snow.

*Winter Photography

Take pictures of nature. Icicles, birds, trees, etc.

*Identify Tracks in the Snow

Check out a book from your local library on animal tracks.
Once you get started, you and your kids will find lots of ways to have fun without spending money this winter – maybe you’ll even build your own igloo!

Frugal Living – What It Is and What It Is Not

There is a lot of advice out there on how to live a frugal life. You can go from anything as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room to grinding your own flour. There are forums out there where people discuss the way they use the rainwater they collect to do everything from watering plants to flushing their lavatories. These have their place.

Being frugal is not about washing out Ziploc Baggies and reusing them. It is not about grinding your own wheat or collecting rainwater. It is not even about that new dress you did not buy. It is about thinking before you spend. It is about conserving what you have. It is about saving money and managing your finances.

The point is that every household has to look at their own situation and then decide where they can – or need to – become more frugal. Frugal living does not mean doing without. It does not mean that you do not have what you need. In fact, it means the opposite.

Frugal shoppers are careful. They take care of their money and make the most of it. Many frugal shoppers actually have everything they want and the satisfaction that it does not hurt them financially. They spend time to make wise decisions. They learn how to make their dollars really work for them, instead of against them. They have more for less money.

Frugal living is about reducing what you spend, living within your means, using what you have and taking care of your belongings, including your money. It is about making goals and working to reach them. Which would you rather be: the person who decides when and where to spend his money or the person whose money is spent before he makes it?