I religiously read Rural Revolution and have found so many things to ponder, try and wish I could do. Well, Patrice has me thinking about something again. She just posted her List of Frugal Tips and it got me to wondering if I anyone would find my tips helpful.
I'm going to put my list here and then send it off to Patrice so she can link it up on her blog as well. Not all of these will be for you and some of them might not seem like that big of a deal, but this is how we have 5 kids in the house and I stay at home to keep the homefires burning.
- Homeschool~ even with the cost of our curriculum we spend way less by not sending our kids to public school. The cost of public school can add up and not just in the ways that you might think. School lunches, school clothes and supplies, getting them to school and back everyday. This all cost money. Not to mention that they are then influenced by kids who have everything, or at least more than your kids do, and then they will want more stuff too. Class parties, field trips, etc all add up.
- I don't work~ the cost of daycare and gas, clothing and other upkeep to keep me going to work would cost us far more than I am going to be able to make in our particular area. I'm also not tempted to bring home take out or fast food when it's been a particularly busy day or to shop convenience foods in the supermarket. Me staying home saves us big money.
- We pack lunches and eat out only very ocassionally~ nearly every meal we consume is made at home from scratch. I plan out our meals a month at a time and shop the sales for what we don't buy from a bulk foods or resturant supply house.
- I'm crafty~ this saves us money too. I make almost all of our gift needs for the year. A large portion of our family recieves jams, jellies, other canned goods or items handcrafted by me in some way. We've found that grandma often enjoys a couple dozen of her most favorite cookies for her birthday along with a card made by the kids more than an item that she will have to dust or find a place for later on.
- Christmas is minimal~ We adopted the "wear it, need it, want it, read it" philosophy to Christmas a few years ago and our girls love it. They were being overwhelmed with gifts and sometimes would stop unwrapping to play with something because their interest had waned. This completely took care of that problem and it makes Christmas time much less stressful. Since we know what we'll be shopping for we can shop all year and pick up the best deals possible.
- We buy used cars. Pretty much sums it up right there!
- We garden and put up the produce that we grow. What I can't grow, my parents or my grandma and uncle often have extra of and I can get from them. Canning, dehydrating and freezing are important skills to learn if you really want to see your dollars stretch, in my opinion.
- We have a milk cow. Well, actually we have 2 but only one is milking at the moment. It has more than paid for us to buy the cow because we have gotten so much from her. Not just milk, cheese, yogurt and many other dairy products but also meat. She produces a calf every year (hopefully) and we can feed that calf for our freezer in 15-18 months time. The first year you won't benefit from this, but after that you can have a beef coming up for the freezer every year if you so desire.
- Learn to be happy at home. We had a hard time learning this when we were newly married, but we now far prefer being at home than to out and about. If you can't learn to be happy at home, you will always find an excuse to need to go somewhere, or need this or that and make quick trips near and far. Embrace your home and all that it holds. Enjoy a slow evening and a good book, bake cookies with the kids or your spouse, cultivate a garden you enjoy to tend, take walks around your neighborhood. Less with more often leads to more with less if you can be truly happy where you are.
- Budget. Even if you think you have budgeted to the last penny, take a look again. Can you cut out anything? Can you up your insurance deductible to make your monthly premium go down? Can you drop home phone and only use a cell phone? Every couple of months we take a look at our budget to be sure there aren't things that have cropped up that we can't somehow get rid of. Get rid of cable or satellite and go to services like Netflix or watch shows on YouTube (you would be amazed at some of the amazing programs we have viewed on YouTube).
- If you think you need something, wait a week before you decide to buy it or not, unless it's an absolute necessity to life. We have found that this is our greatest tactic to saving money. Often, the longer you think about it, the less you will need or want it.
- Try to use things that wear out in one application in another. You can re-purpose so many things into useful and beautiful items. Look at something twice before throwing it out. I've made some really lovely gifts and decor items using things that were bound for the dump
- In our very wooded Southern Oregon it makes sense to heat with wood. We can get most of our wood for free or nearly free just for going out and getting it. This saves us piles of cash in the winter.
- Save all of your errands in town for one trip. It might make for a long day but it saves on gas, time and it keeps you out of stores more often. The temptation to buy will only increase if you expose yourself to items for sale frequently.
- Let your friends and family know you are watching your pennies. They can be the key to you being successful by being supportive. It might be hard to be honest about your finances, but if they are aware it makes it easier for them not to expect you to want to go out for that dinner every week or out for drinks after work. It's helped us tremendously.
Be sure to go over to Rural Revolution to see the other great tips that are sure to be linked up!