Simple tips for saving money and my favorite hacks for cutting the budget

Are you looking for easy to follow, and even easier to implement, ideas for saving money and frugal living? You won’t need to go extreme and cut out all the fun, or follow some impossible budget. If there seems to be more month than money, then it’s time to start looking for a few simple tips to save money. A little meal planning is a simple way to save money on groceries, and if your family is anything like mine this is one area in the budget that can get out of hand very quickly.

The thing with frugal living in America today is that it is like dieting – nobody wants to hear that they need to make a lifestyle change. Everybody is searching for the magic pill that will help you lose 20 pounds. It’s not gonna happen! You need to watch what you eat, limit your processed sugar intake, get up off the couch and go for a walk every now and then.

Same thing with living on a frugal budget, it’s not easy! You can’t just have some reality show come into your home over a long weekend and sell all your stuff and think you will live happily ever after within your budget and never overspend on clutter again! Sorry, to burst your bubble but it doesn’t work like that. Trust me; if that was the case I would have signed up years ago!

Choices

Unfortunately for you and me, changing our daily habits is where we need to start if we want to reduce our spending and attack our debt. Want to save up to take the kids on that Disney cruise this summer? Want to cut back some hours at your soul-sucking job so you can spend some time with your kids while they are still young and actually want to spend time with you? Then you will need to really honestly assess your spending to figure out where you can cut back.

Cut the cord

For me, one of the easiest choices for our family was to send the cable guy packing! We cut the cord and haven’t looked back since. Why spend all that time cutting out the $3 lattes when we were sending nearly $200 every month to the big box cable company? Speaking of which, see how I get my fancy coffee without the guilt trip here!

 

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Dinners

Another huge undertaking I learned 7 years ago was how to cook from home. This was not something I inherently knew or learned at home as a kid. This is a skill I taught myself via the internet. Thank goodness for YouTube videos and Pinterest inspiration. I can look in my fridge and see what I have then type in chicken and broccoli dinner and get hundreds of ideas for dinner.

Every Sunday I sit down and look at both my calendar and my freezer to see what we should plan for dinners that week. Knowing which days we will be crazy busy with activities and which days I should be home in the afternoon to prep gives me a better idea of what types of dinners to pick each day.

Also knowing that I have plenty of ground beef in the freezer helps guide me towards spaghetti or chili, rather than chicken marigold for my menu plan. I save so much money on groceries using this method of planning our dinners.

Rational Minimalism

Reading Josh Becker’s book Simplify really struck a chord with me in my journey towards cutting back my expenses. He didn’t tout complete and total sparsity, he didn’t tell me to throw out everything except 33 items of clothing (as if!). What he explained in his book is that they are a family of 4 living in a normal house with normal possessions (including toys on the floor!). However, they are taking steps to be more intentional with their belongings and not letting their garage and closets become overflowing with items they will never use or need.

For me, just going through my garage alone has been so freeing and literally makes me feel lighter. Someday I might even be able to park my car in there! Tackling our closets has also been a major undertaking. Of course there is the fact that the boys grow seemingly every single day! So I need to swap out clothes sizes way more often than feels possible.

Whenever I feel like our closets are overflowing, or find it hard to put everything away when doing laundry, I know it is time to do something about it. Once a season (or so) I try to make it a point to spend an afternoon going through each item and making sure it still fits or doesn’t have any rips or stains. Anything that still has life in it; I will take to the consignment store and usually get a few bucks for our too small clothes. Otherwise, whatever they don’t want I will just drop off at the local shelter and let it go to a family that actually needs it more than we do.

Frugal living

There are so many ways to save money and cut back on our possessions. If you are looking to cut back on your hours at work so you can actually enjoy life, don’t worry that you will have to live some extreme sparse lifestyle. You can still enjoy yourself and keep more than 100 total items in your home, just look for simple ways to cut back and you will be spending your summers camping with the family rather than slaving away at the office.

From saving on groceries to cutting back on our possessions and finding the best ways to cut the budget; we don’t need to get extreme to save money. These simple tips have been enough to see real progress on saving money each month and allowing us to live on a lot less than we ever thought possible. So now, instead of racing off to work extra-long hours, we can actually enjoy life and live a little simpler.

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