So what did you think of Part One? Do you do these things along with me? Here's 5 more ways we save for your consideration:
6) Downsizing our van to a economic sedan
We had an accident last sumnmer that totalled our van, so we were in the market for a new vehicle. I know not everyone can go trade in a car or two right now, but if you are looking, go for it! It really made a difference for us when gas prices were creeping up to $4/gallon last August. With our newer, smaller car we got better gas milieage with very little downsize.
When my husband and I were first dating, we loved going to see movies. We remember paying $3 or less per person to go see the newest blockbuster. And soon into our frugal married life, we found a $1 cheap theatre. Then, our #1 son arrived in our lives, and over the years we have realized that he has inherited 100 fold our movie loving gene. And he loves to watch the same movie over and over again. Yes, when he was younger, I bought videos and dvd's for the #1 son. It was during one of the wimpy frugal phases in our life. But we soon woke up to the reality that this was a waste of money.
We made the switch to renting from blockbuster and the library. That worked well enough, until we started racking up the late fees from blockbuster--yikes! We heard about netflix and quickly signed up. #1 son was able to watch his favorite movies without any late fees, Michael and I were able to watch movies at home with our homemade popcorn on our time schedule. But once we became a starving student family, we cancelled our netflix account as just one more way to trim the budget. Michael had heard about Hulu, an internet site where you could watch free movies and tv shows. And I loved having the Boise Library close by with a much greater abundance of dvd's, videos and even Wii games. And this time around, I'm very concious of when their due date is.
8) Coffee Time with hubby and friends
One of the differences between being frugal and being cheap is the knowledge that its not all about money. Being frugal is also about what your values are. What are your priorities. Yes, we are trying to pay down our consumer debt, but we are also trying to live an enjoyable, satisfying life while we do it. So for us, we have decided not to eliminate all of our discretionary spending. For me especially, I need times when I feel like I've had a little treat. But since we are being frugal, it plays inself out like this. Instead of going out for a weekly date night, Michael and I go out for lunch while our son is in school (no babysitting fees) or out for coffee at one of the hip coffee shops in this university town. Instead of going out for pizza, we often make pizza at home and have a movie and pizza night. I don't go out for lunch or coffee with friends as often as I used to, or as often as I would like, but I do go. I budget it into our monthly budget so that it can be a reality. It's important for my emotional well being, and it makes me happy.
9) At Home Haircuts
I have picked up my haircutting scissors again and once again I'm cutting Michael's hair. And I've added Josiah to my client list. I don't have a degree in cosmetology, but I've read books, I've watched professionals, and I do a pretty good job. I've had worse haircuts from professionals than what I've given my two boys. Joe is a trial to cut his hair anyway, since he wiggles and moves and generally doesn't do well. Both wear their hair in very simple cuts. With Michael's eyesight he isn't able to return the favor, but he has helped me color my hair at home which has saved us a bunch of money.
10) Doing Without
And last, and maybe the most important of all the ways we save money, is doing without. Knowing that this drastic method of frugality is but for a season, we are willing to put extra money towards the bills instead of new clothes, new furniture, manicures and pedicures, jewelry, eating out as much as I would like to (see #8 above), taking a wonderful spring vacation or renting a beach house on the ocean this summer. We don't go home to visit as much as we and our families would like us to. We don't have a brand new luxury car (see #6 above). But doing without is not all bad. Learning to do without can make one more resourceful. It can make one appreciate the simpler things in life, including family. With more stuff in ones life, there is more maintenance, more organization needed, more insurance to keep it safe, and on and on.
So there is our top 10 ways we have been saving money this year. This isn't the end tho. As I read what others say about saving money and being frugal, I know I will be adding to our drastic frugal phase ideas. Maybe riding a bike instead of using the car, maybe clipping coupons and doing rebates, maybe finding a mystery shopper job ,,, So how 'bout you? What are you doing to save money?