in an effort to become more regular at blogging (yes, i know i've been a slacker), i've decided to try my own themed day, beginning today. every friday shall henceforth be known as Frugal Friday where i will bestow oodles of frugal ideas on my faithful readers in exchange for comments (or your own post if you'd like) giving your ideas on frugal living.
some people think that the word "frugal" sounds awful, but i have to admit that i quite like it. its much nicer than the nasty sounding "cheap" or pittying "poor". frugal people quite often are frugal by choice rather than necessity and this, i think, is the best sort of frugal. i, however, fall into the second category. our piggy bank is on a bit of a diet at the moment and, the way things are going with this whole recession, it looks as if it may get worse before it gets better. because neither josh nor i even want to consider ending my full time position as a stay at home mom, i've got to do my part and find little ways here and there to scrimp and save and stretch and just be smart about how i spend the money that josh works so hard to provide for us.
here are a few ways i've embraced the frugal life lately:
1. laundry. you may remember that a month ago my dad bought us a washline (or clothesline, as they say here in the USA) which my dear husband put up for me. i cannot begin to tell you the happiness and satisfaction i get from pinning my loved one's clean clothes up on the line and removing them, smelling of fresh breezes, an hour later. i've also just begun to really take a second look at the clothes i'm putting into the washing machine. are they dirty enough to be washed, or could they be used a second or third time? pajamas (especially tristan's) are throughly used before they are washed and many times his shirts are just spot-washed and worn the next day. i wash everything in cold water except for the REALLY dirty icky things, like dish cloths and bibs and socks.
2. phone bill. my mil gave me the idea of looking over our monthly phone bill to see what sort of services we are being charged extra for. is call waiting really a necessity when i have a perfectly good cell phone that someone could call if they needed to get ahold of me? how many long distance calls are we really making per month and are we paying for more of that time than we're using?
3. dinner. the best idea i've gotten so far is from aimee's blog. she suggests adding lentils to your ground meat the next time you make hamburgers! if you cook and mash red lentils, then add one part lentils to 2 parts meat, then season the meat as you normally would for burgers, you honestly can't even taste the lentils! not only is your meal now healthier, but you've just stretched your meat. i made hamburgers the other night and used the leftover lentil/beef mixture to make meatballs for spaghetti. tasty. my mil told me that she adds oatmeal to her burger patties as well as shredded carrots and onions.
4. thrift stores. okay, so i know they smell like stale cigarette smoke and sweat, and i know that there is a lot of trash in between the treasures, but when you do find those treasures, its amazing!! tristan and i make a weekly trip (walking, of course) to the local thrift store because its basically a new store every week with all the new arrivals! the other day my little wire wisk got bent out of shape (literally) and i had to get a new one. why pay $3.99 for a new one in the store when you can grab a perfectly good used one for only 25c? last month i bought a bumbo seat (which are around $30 new) for only $2.99 and am storing it for baby #2 (who, for the record, does not yet exist), and the month before that i scored on a lawn chair, complete with 2 cupholders, for only $1.99. children's clothes are also wonderful thrift store buys if you're not blessed with hand-me-down's like i am.
i've got plenty more ideas, but i'm going to save those for future friday posts. now its your turn: what have you been doing lately to save money?