Friday, March 4, 2011

Combating Frugal Fatigue

There is a new buzz word for you. Frugal Fatigue.

My own definition?

"Living on lentil soup, buying undies at the Salvation Army, borrowing movies from the liberry, reusing teabags, showering only on even days, generic everything, and feeling so deprived one goes out in retaliation and buys a $3000 Coach handbag."

Has this happened to you? Are you tired of scrimping, saving, scrappin' and survivin'? I think a lot of folks are and some wind up in worse trouble.

With the price of gas soaring literally by the minute, we all have to watch our spending and it's looking like we are in for another $4/gallon summer. And everything else is rising as a result.

I declared today a No Drive or Spend Day. I just hunkered down with the little one, and paid attention to some neglected house duties and just played with my boy. And it was a great day!

Some tips below to help you save and possibly rethink your spending habits:
1. Buy generic! A recent study showed a family of 6 can save $4000-5000 per year if they bought mostly generic products. Many store brands are just as good and contain the same ingredients as name brands. This applies to all over the counter meds too. They are all regulated by the same higher power, just cheaper!

Laundry, dish washing detergent, talcum powder, aluminum foil, etc are all products that end up down the drain or in the trash and are definitely worth trying generic.

2. Buy in bulk, but only if it's something your family eats/uses a LOT of on a regular basis.

3. Shop around (but only if you have time and it's not wasting more gas). Keep a running list on your fridge of the most frequently bought products and where the cheapest price is for that product. Then stock up.

4. Designate certain days (or weeks, if you can swing it) as "No spending days". I know this is not helping the economy but if you're struggling, it's not your JOB to stimulate the economy so much. You do need to worry about your own needs! Eat what you have in the house. Don't be afraid or ashamed to tell the kids why and what you are doing. They need to know sooner or later. Let them help you get creative and try to make it fun. My kids love to clip coupons and help in the kitchen. Put them to work, stat!

5. Make a double batch of whatever you're cooking and freeze your leftovers for later. This will save you time and money later on. And check out DoItDelicious for some handy tips for freezing.

6. Keep a well stocked pantry and freezer. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious (if not more) and last longer than fresh produce. This will save you multiple trips to the market, saving time and gas. You can freeze lunch meat, hard cheeses, bread, soups, etc for later.

7. Consignment stores! It is now chic to shop here so what are you waiting for? I have bought incredible winter coats for the kids for $12. Brand new Easter outfits for less than $10. LL Bean snow pants for $5. And these items were all brand new. I feel no shame. Quite the contrary, I feel an incredible victory coursing through my veins when I find a treasure! AND, you can consign things that are outgrown and make some money back. Always a bonus!

Two stores I like: April Showers for the little ones and Flip Boutique for me. Check your local listings under "Consignment" or "Resale". You will be pleasantly surprised once you change your mindset. Most consignment stores only accept good quality, name brand items so you can feel good about your purchases.

8. Brown bag it every day and forgo the drive thru coffee. Healthier and cheaper, need I say more?

9. Stretch your haircuts a little longer than usual. If you normally go every 6 weeks, try 8 weeks. You might like your hair a little longer!

10. And speaking of beauty regimes, don't be afraid to try at home beauty treatments. Take a look at
this blog for more great suggestions.

11. Last but certainly not least:
Be grateful every single day for what you do have. Whether it's your health, your children's health, the roof over your head, getting through another day, or simply the melted snow; money does not buy true, inner happiness and peace. Hunker down, make the best of it for now, and be thankful you don't live somewhere like Haiti or Libya. Write down every day what you are thankful for and you will find you are the richest person alive.


melissa said...

every american needs to read this. awesome, becky!

Ally said...

Don't forget thrift stores run by non-profit organizations! Open Closet/ Closet Abierto in Providence has a ton of clothes and we're working on improving our selection. When you shop you can feel good that your money is going to a great cause!

Becky's Big Bytes said...

That's great to know Ally! If you have a link, feel free to post in on the FB fan page and I can include it in the blog. Free advertisement is always nice. Thanks so much for sharing!!
: )

Grace said...

Glad I "squirreled" onto your site. I do all the things you've listed and every bit helps. My husband complains about #3. All I can say is that I'd rather spend $3.00/gallon (or what-eva gas is going now-a-days) and save a TON on our most frequently used staples. Using coupons on top of sale items are even sweeter! Thanks for posting.