I'm just going to say the thing you're not supposed to say... Living frugally sucks. It's like going on a chocolate-free diet. You find yourself only wanting to eat chocolate. Standing in line at Target -- yes, I need that chocolate bar. Finishing lunch and ready to reach for the chocolate.
Living too frugally can feel the same way. Noticing all of the warn down things in your home, seeing great deals on things that maybe you don't need but -- you're being frugal right because it's on sale!
What if there was a way you could live frugally without feeling like you are.
Now that I have your attention. In this post, I'm going to share 8 ways you can live frugally without feeling like you are restricting yourself or going without. I've also put together amazing bonus together for you so stay tuned!
There's something about knowing you can't do something and then just needing to do the opposite. It's like there's an inner 15-year-old in all of us just waiting to get out and rebel.
The problem with living frugally is that we feel like we can't spend money on anything. Or when we do we find ourselves cheaping out on things that break so quickly that it was a giant waste of money.
Over the years my husband and I have gone back and forth between a super restrictive frugal budget to a not so restrictive budget. By going back and forth we were able to find ways that we can live frugally but also be able to enjoy things that we really do love.
If you are constantly restricting your budget, not allowing anyone to spend anything that's when the extra spending comes into play. Your 15-year-old self-comes out to play and starts making poor money choices.
There are certain conveniences that we find that we need for ourselves. If you are an Overwhelmed Busy Mom then there are certain things that you just can't go without. That's why it's important to be smart about your purchases.
Which brings me to my first tip...
Stock up when those name brands you love are on sale!
If there are certain conveniences that you just need to have to either save you time or save your sanity there is no reason why you can't go without. That's why you should totally stock up on those items when they go on sale.
Now if you find your favorite conveniences on sale but aren't sure if it's a good deal you can definitely check to see if that price is a good deal. Head over to PriceGrabber.com type in what you're looking for and check the deals.
For grocery deals, you will want to check out MyGroceryDeals.com type in what you are looking for and then it shows you the lowest price.
If you find a deal that is just too awesome to pass up, stock up! Don't forget to check to see if there are coupons that you can use with those deals for an even better deal.
Notice the cost per use.
Being frugal can be tricky. You will want to go for the cheaper brand but is it really cheaper? It is important to look at the cost per use to see if you are really getting a good deal. Sure you can find something for $1 but if it only has 5 uses and then you see something that is $3 and has 20 uses you really want to be spending the $3.
I believe that there are things that cost more but do save you in the long run. For instance, there is house brand laundry soap or dishwasher detergent that just don't clean like I want them to -- or even expect them to. So spending a little bit more with save me time and money.
If you splurge for a brand you know works you don't have to worry about rewashing items. Or if you know certain brands don't take as much product as others that too will save you money. Just make sure you are getting the best deal before you purchase.
Another great way to save a little extra money is subscription services. Places like Amazon and Target will give you extra savings when you add things to their subscription service.
The reason why I'm such a huge fan of this service is that it also saves me time. Every 3 months I have a few big boxes show up on my doorstep. I don't have to go to the store to buy them, I don't have to remember to put them on my list.
I just know they are going to be delivered every 3 months.
The more you add to your service the more you save. For Amazon, you save 5% for the first 5 items (I think) and then it goes up to 15%.
For some extra savings there are websites that show you lists of items that are $2 and under you can add to your subscription to help boost you to that 15%.
You will also want to check out Amazons coupons for the month to help with the savings!
Now that you're saving money on items you like what about your food. Being frugal doesn't mean you only can eat rice and beans to survive. I have a few tips to help you still be frugal but enjoy eating out.
But before we talk about restaurants...
Meal plan with a detailed list
This is something that I think is missed. Sure we all talk about meal planning but we don't talk about how important it is to create a detailed list.
Your list can make or break your weekly or monthly menu.
Why is that?
Because items are often forgotten at the grocery store.
Now the best way I have found to create a detailed list is to first create the menu. I like to take a look at what's on sale at the store that week to help me out. This helps me save money.
But I don't just plan for dinner. I plan for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
There's nothing worse than running out of food 4 days into your 7-day meal plan. We pay so much attention to dinner that we often forget to plan for lunches, breakfast, and snacks. So what happens is we eat out for breakfast and lunch.
Which is not being frugal and probably blowing your budget.
Once all of the meals are planned out then it's time to check the kitchen and pantry for items that are needed. Add everything you need to your list.
Your final step is to create your master list. I like to put this together in order of where it is in the store. This saves me time and with my list being in order, I don't forget items.
The best way to do this is to get the store's map and then you can create your list. You can find the store's map on their website or if you're at the store you can ask for one.
I do have a real detailed meal planning planner inside The Ultimate Busy Mom Planner to learn more about the 166-page planner you can click the button below.
Now we all know that eating in is the easiest way to save money and live frugally but sometimes we need a break from the kitchen. So how do you live frugally and eat out at the same time? Well, I'm glad you asked, that brings me to my next tip.
Happy hour - appetizers - kids eat free
Yes, happy hour, appetizers, kids eat free, and even splitting an entre' will save your money.
Going to dinner during happy hour have its advantages. The restaurant is usually less busy (that's why it's happy hour) but if you cannot do the 4-6 happy hour and 8-10 happy hour is out of the question then this might not be for you.
Some restaurants have daily deals. Maybe your favorite dinner is on sale on Thursdays so you don't have to worry about making happy hour, just plan a family dinner on the days that your meals are on sale.
Ordering appetizers can help save a ton of money too. Appetizers aren't 3 bites anymore, they in many instances, are full on meals and they are like half the price. You can even split the appetizer and save even more money.
My husband and I love to order a plate of nachos at our local Mexican restaurant during happy hour. We save $3 by going early and we save even more by splitting the appetizer as our meal.
We end up eating out for about $15.
If you have kids under the age of 12 (in most cases) you can find restaurants that have kids eat free on certain days.
Again, at our local Mexican restaurant, they have kids eat free on Tuesdays and Sundays so we are literally eating out for $15 for the entire family.
Now living frugally cannot be complete without knowing where your money is going. Which brings me to my next group of tips...Finances...
Organize your bills and use a budget
This is so important if you are wanting to live frugally. Set up a budget and organize your bills. It is so easy to waste money on late fees, interest charges, and other silly fees when your bills aren't organized and you don't have a budget put together.
Inside The Ultimate Busy Mom Planner, there is a full budgeting planner included with debt trackers, debt pay off schedules and more. If you want to take a look, click the button below.
Track your spending, know where your money is going.
No budget is complete without knowing where your money is going. It is important to track your spending.
Track everything that is coming and going out. You can grab a simple piece of paper and write what you bought, when it was spent, and how much. Then you can do the same thing for money coming in.
Again inside The Ultimate Busy Mom Planner all of that is included so you can organize your finances.
Finally, my last tip about how to live frugally without feeling like you are is...
Negotiate your bills
We so often just pay our bills without questioning the price. Try calling and seeing if you can negotiate the price or get a lower price.
If you have cable or satellite TV try calling about every 6 months for a better deal.
If you have medical bills, call them up when they come in and see if you can get a lower price. Do keep in mind that they may require payment at the time of your call.
When my oldest daughter became ill and spent some time in the hospital we had bills coming in left and right. Mind you, we have insurance but it was all of the co-pays and the "out of network" garbage that we had to pay for.
At the bottom of one of the hospital bills read "Call us to see if you qualify for a discount." Well, I called and guess what? I qualified for a 25% discount. They did require that I pay over the phone but I was totally fine with that.
So it doesn't matter what the bill is, call and see if you qualify for a discount, promotion, or anything else that will help you save a little money each month.
When you organize your bills, create a list of your bills and when the price will increase, and when it's time to call them up for a deal.
Regardless if you are or aren't living pay check to pay check it is important to live a somewhat frugal lifestyle. You never know what the future has in store for any of us.
Now I know that a lot of information was thrown at you. In this post, I shared my 8 tips to help you live frugally without feeling like you are. For your household and grocery items, I shared that you should try to stock up on items when they go on sale, notice the cost per use to make sure you are really getting the best deal, and finally utilize subscription services.
When it comes to eating, my tips were to create a meal plan with a detailed list making sure you include all of the meals. Know that you don't just have to eat in to live frugally there are simple ways to enjoy eating out try going to happy hour, eating appetizers, or going on the days when they have deal or sale.
Probably the most important part of how to live frugally without feeling like you are is to organize your finances. Make sure you organize your bills, create a budget, track your spending, and please try negotiating your bills when it is possible.
Since I know that was so much to take in at one time, I did put together an amazing bonus for you called the Living Frugally Without Feeling It Workbook. Inside this workbook, I have a quick reference page that has all 8 tips for you plus action worksheet for you to use to help you take action on each of the tips I showed you today.
This workbook is free, all you have to do is click the button below to download it.
I would love to know in the comments below what tips will you be doing to help you live more frugally? Are there tips that I didn't share that you do? Let me know I would love to hear all about it.
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Thank you so much for stopping by and below are a few other posts that I though you'd enjoy!