Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Great Article for the New Year

I've heard a lot of these suggestions but there were some I had never thought about. Check it out!

50 Ways to Save Money in 2008

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here are some great websites that have awesome ideas for inexpensive, creative, Christmas gifts:

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Devote 15 Minutes a Day to Frugality.

Too often people think there isn’t enough time to be frugal in today’s society. We rely on convenience items like fast food, ready-made mixes, Shout Color Catcher (so you don’t have to take the time to sort laundry)…you get the picture.

According to Trent at The Simple Dollar you can be frugal by devoting just 15 minutes a day to frugality. By making small changes, you can reap big rewards in your budget. Trent provides a list of 20 money-saving strategies that take 15 minutes or less to accomplish. Then he challenges his readers to spend 15 minutes a day on frugality for the next 30 days.

I’m in! For the next 30 days, I will spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something frugal. I’ve already done today’s task. I made a menu plan and grocery list for the next week. Is anyone with me?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

One Must be Organized to be Frugal

Most of the time I’m a fairly organized person. There are times, however, when organization goes out the window, and the clutter in my life begins to pile up. It’s at these times that frugality goes out the window. An example of how disorganization cost me happened yesterday. We received a call from the YMCA on Friday reminding us that the deadline for soccer sign-ups was today. So yesterday I loaded up the kids and drove to the YMCA to sign them up for soccer. I knew soccer sign-ups were in August, but I never called to find out when they started.

Had I called, I would have known that the early sign-up deadline was August 21. Because I missed that deadline, I had to pay an extra $5 for each of my children. You may say it’s only $10, but $10 mistakes can add up quickly.

Other symptoms that disorganization is costing you are:

  • eating out too often, because you don’t know what’s for dinner
  • buying duplicate items, because you don’t know what you already have on hand
  • washing one outfit at a time, because you need to wear a particular outfit tomorrow, but you forgot to throw it in the laundry with the rest of your clothes a few days ago
  • paying a higher interest rate, because you forgot to pay your bill on time
  • paying late fees, because you forgot to return a book or dvd to the library

What is the answer? Learn to be more organized. Yes, organization can be learned! Some resources for learning to be organized are: In simple steps, Flylady teaches you to organize your home little by little. I have had a lot of success using morning routines and weekly home blessings. When my home is organized, I don’t feel overwhelmed by clutter, and I am more productive.

Flylady isn’t for you? Try Organized Home. It’s a different approach to the same principle. Everyone can organize his/her home with a little discipline and effort. I’ve come across tons of great tips from the message boards. Organized Home has some pretty cool printable forms, too!

Getting Things Done. I had heard great things about this book, but I didn’t know if it would apply to a stay at home mom like me. I read it, and I have found ways to apply it, especially when it comes to paper clutter! David Allen presents a pretty good system for filing and keeping track of all the papers and emails that make their way into our lives. I recommend this book for anyone who has trouble with paper clutter.

HouseWorks is a great book if you really don’t know where to begin with the clutter in your house. Written by Cynthia Townley Ewer, the CEO of Organized Home, this book is a wealth of information from how to declutter your house to how to clean things. I wish this book would have been around when I first got married!

Having a tough time with meal planning? Try Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely. This book has 6 weeks worth of dinner menus for every season of the year, complete with grocery shopping lists. Copy the list, cook, and eat! It doesn’t get easier than that! The recipes are very healthy. The groceries cost me more than what I personally budget for a week, but it’s still less expensive than eating out. Leanne also has a website, where you can get menu plans emailed to you every week for a fee.

A free option is Menus4Moms. I love this website when I’m strapped for time, because I can get 5 dinner plans for the week plus a grocery list FREE! The grocery list also includes an estimate for the cost of the week’s groceries. I’ve found that it’s usually pretty accurate. The menus aren’t quite as healthy as the Saving Dinner menus, but they’re kid friendly, and still much healthier than eating a Big Mac.

You now you have some resources to help you get organized. No more excuses for unpaid bills and last minute trips to McDonald’s for dinner! Now excuse me while I do a 27 Fling Boogie!
If you have a favorite website or tip for getting organized, please share it in the comments!

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A Great Article...Let's be Frugal Friends!

Ten Great Reasons to Have Frugal Friends

frugal laundryBy Shannon Christman

Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, local faith communities, service organizations, and even mommy groups all acknowledge the power of positive peer pressure. When you want to accomplish a goal or live your life a certain way, it is a bit easier when you meet with others working toward the same end.

Whether or not you consider yourself a “joiner,” positive peer pressure can help you in finances just as well as in other areas of your life. Even if you never join a formal organization, it’s important to have at least one or two frugal friends. Here are ten ways they can help you:

Encouragement: When you postpone buying something you want to add to your savings, it doesn’t always bring the warm fuzzies you might get from bringing home that new purchase. A frugal friend can remind you that saving is worthwhile and that not everyone spends like “the Joneses.”

Keeping Up with the Browns: For those who do enjoy a bit of financial competition, having frugal friends can provide a new type of competition, the opposite of keeping up with the Joneses. Rather than trying to buy everything the Joneses have, try to save as much as the Browns.

Fresh Ideas: Methods of saving are as varied as the people who save. When it seems like you are pinching pennies every way you can, you might find that your frugal friends are doing something you are not. Talking about ways you save can benefit everyone. When you hear a different perspective, you might even realize that your way of cutting expenses doesn’t save as much as you think.

Similar Thinking: When everyone around you is showing off their latest designer clothes and hot gadgets or making fun of “cheap” people, a frugal person can feel quite alone. While it’s valuable to have friends who think differently from you, it’s also nice sometimes to know that others think the way you do.

Inside Information: When frugal friends find truly good bargains (not just the standard weekly sale where the department store charges what should be regular prices), they are likely to pass on the information to someone who truly appreciates it – another frugal friend.

Inexpensive Get-Togethers: Spending time with spendthrift friends can put a big dent in your entertainment budget. Frugal friends understand that less expensive entertainment options (potluck and game night at home as opposed to dinner and a movie out) can be just as much fun; if you do splurge on a night out together, you don’t have to be embarrassed by your cost-cutting ways (such as ordering water instead of a mixed drink at a restaurant or going to a matinee and skipping the popcorn).

Inexpensive Gifts: Frugal friends don’t measure your loyalty by the amount of money you spend on them. They value inexpensive, well considered gifts as much as expensive gifts, and they might not even expect you to give them any gifts at all.

Borrowing or Trading: Frugal friends understand why you might not want to run out and buy things you won’t use often. If they have something you need or want to use briefly (and you are dependable enough to take care of their things and return them promptly), they are likely to be willing to loan you their things. You can return the favor, as well. If you both have things you no longer need that the other person wants, you might even choose to trade permanently instead of borrowing.

Sharing Expenses: If you and your frugal friend both need something that neither of you has, you might be able to work out an agreement to share the cost of it. Whether it’s a lawnmower or a vacation, sharing expenses can be a great way to save, but only if your personalities are compatible for it.

Preparing for Retirement: When you save so much that you’re able to retire early, what will you do with yourself? While your spendthrift friends are still working to maintain their lifestyles or pay off debts, your frugal friends may also be retiring and will have more time to spend with you.

It’s always easy to find people who spend more than you do, but do you know anyone who spends less? If not, start striking up conversations at a thrift shop or library (or anywhere else the frugal people in your community spend their time). Making a frugal friend is worth the effort.

Image courtesy of Tim Somero