My mother was an immigrant and my dad grew up during the Depression, which made them down-to-earth, appreciative … and also frugal. My mother’s penny pinching would upset me as a child though. I was embarrassed when she would need to get her quarter back from the pay phone if her call didn’t go through. I would get annoyed when she gave me a hard time and guilt trip when we checked out at the Banana Republic in high-school. O.K., maybe I was a brat.
Only now, the frugal gene and crept up on me, even though I still try to fight it. Though as a family on one salary, we have to make it a priority to not spend beyond our means each month. At the same time, I want to feel like all our needs our met and we can live full life. I want to be able to purchase that cute dress that pops up on my Facebook feed and do a one-click shop on Amazon from time to time. Those darn ads really get you!
Still, I know I have to watch that spending and be financially smart. Here are a few ways to save money while still feel wealthy:
Plan Meals – Instead of going to the super market and dropping everything that looks delicious in your cart, plan meals ahead of time. Planning ahead helps slash that grocery bill because you can be conscious of how much each meal costs — and you will feel somewhat organized! Just because you’re planning doesn’t mean you have to skimp out. It will actually give you more freedom to buy ingredients you love like shrimp, salmon or steak!
Go Cable Free – We gave up our cable and cable bill a few years ago, and don’t miss it at all! We now have a Smart TV and binge on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. We also get basic channels and for my CNN obsession, I’ve downloaded SlingTV, which is about $14.99 a month, and watch it on my computer. Try going cable free and see if you feel just as happy with your viewing options.
Home Mani Pedi – I love a nice mani and pedi at the salon, but I usually walk away spending $60, when I add in that extra 20 minute massage. How can you not? During winter months, I bought a nice little home mani/pedi kit and I do my nails at home, when the little one is napping. Though I’ll still splurge at a salon on a special occasion too. Still, cutting down on this expense every week makes a difference in your budget.
Start a Babysitters Mom Club – I haven’t tried this yet, but starting a mom’s sitters club seems like a great idea. See if a few of your mom friends might want to trade babysitting hours. You can babysit for them on a night or two a month when your partner is home. They can do the same for you. You may even get to enjoy their cable for a few hours while vegging out on their couch!
Shop Consignment – There are so many great vintage/consignment shops popping up these days with gently-used and brand named clothing and items. If you want to go a step further, check out some of the Goodwill‘s in any high-end neighborhoods near you. You will be pleasantly surprised at all your great finds!
Craft and Frame Holiday Gifts – With the holidays coming, we are getting ready to use that credit card, buying way too many gifts for everyone we love. When possible try framing some of your child’s art. It’s amazing how many family members will think your child is a genius Picasso when they see your toddler’s art in a frame. You can find really affordable frames in stores like TJ max or Walmart.
Give Back – As much as I want to hold onto every dollar, the practice of giving is powerful. There are so many families who need our help. For example, I came across this heartbreaking GoFundMe campaign named Save Benny and Josh from a couple who I knew through friends/Facebook. They are trying to raise money to cure two their two boys who have a fatal disease. The crazy thing is that the more we give, the more it comes back around too. In some odd way, the practice of giving is always part of my budgeting. It feels good and it’s the right thing to do.
It’s funny how we become like our parents, even if we trying to be different. I definitely inherited some frugal genetic code, but I’m going to use it for good. Hopefully these tips and others will help us save some extra money each month, so we can have some handy for a rainy day, and for that cute little black, velvet dress online too!