I have something to admit! At one point in my life, I was the person who ALWAYS purchased the cheapest item. It seemed like the best way to save money and apply frugal living concepts. Right? I mean, cheap is frugal. Well, that is not always the case. Usually I am teaching my husband about saving money, but this is one area he had to teach me about! So, does frugal living mean always buying cheap?…
Frugal living can mean different things for different people. When you decide to commit to frugal living, you definitely have to change your mindset. But before you can make any decisions about frugal living, you need to know exactly what is frugal living?
Is frugal living just saving money? To this, I would say definitely not!
So, if frugal living is not just about saving money, what else is frugal living?
Have you ever done this? You get super jazzed up about something and maybe go a tad overboard. Then you sit and wonder what the heck you’ve done! A few summers ago I went on a grocery shopping trip and found organic blueberries on sale. I LOVE blueberries! I am not going to totally embarrass myself by admitting how many pints of fresh blueberries I bought that day. Let’s just say A LOT! I have a hard time turning down a good deal on something I love, what can I say? Well, I got all those delicious blueberries home and had to figure out the best way to preserve my blueberries. I figured out how to freeze blueberries and will never have to be without them again!
(Since that sale shopping frenzy, I have purchased my OWN blueberry bushes. So, I still freeze blueberries all the time in the summer.)
Don’t we all just dream of having a flat stomach? I know I do! Mine could definitely use some help here or there, but there is always the issue with all of the work and self-control that it takes to achieve that. Getting a flat stomach takes three main components: abs workouts, healthy eating, and cardio. Whew! I am a little tired already, just thinking of it! However, one awesome thing is that you can do a TOTAL abs workout at home without needing any equipment.
Being able to do a abs workout at home with absolutely no equipment means that although getting that flat stomach we all dream of may be a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be a lot of money!…
My first couponing excursion was a true mess. I had done DAYS worth of research on all the “hot deals”. I thought I was all ready to jump right in and well, I DID jump right in – head first, without looking. I think we ALL know how those situations end up, right? Truth is, I got to the store had my coupons all over the place, didn’t know what I was looking for – the trip took FOREVER and was frustrating. But, try again I did and eventually got a good system down for a successful couponing trip. I think there are a few important couponing tips for beginners to take note of before they start their first couponing trip.
Learning how to get started couponing really isn’t super difficult. There is some research you need to do in order to understand all the terminology, rules and tricks. But the main couponing tips for beginners that I believe are important are more about HOW to go about doing your couponing.
So, you are interested in living more frugally or you are trying to live more frugally, but are struggling. We have all been there! It is really difficult to go from living one way and then changing things around. It takes conscious thought, planning and some self-control. When my husband and I got married, he was used to not being as thoughtful and frugal with his budget as I was accustomed to. We had both decided to go back to school and move to the beach right after our wedding. With these changes, our finances were going to be particularly tight. So, it was really important to get him into a frugal mindset. Learning how to make frugal decisions is really important. If you don’t learn how to do this, you will likely have failure on your path to living frugally.
When I first started living by a strict budget, I wondered if that meant “fun” things were never going to be on the table again. Luckily, that is not the case! Ok course, living by a strict budget does mean thinking more about things before spending money. You should build some funds into your budget for “fun” things otherwise you likely won’t have a reasonable budget. And if your budget fails it will be hard to try to stick to it and make it work.
To avoid a failing budget make sure you have a good budget tracking system in place. I use these super awesome budget tracking worksheets to keep my household on track!)
So, if you are looking for a little fun, you may need to find some cheap things to do. Just because we are talking about cheap things to do, that doesn’t mean they won’t be fun. They may, however, take a little more thinking or creativity at first….
I don’t think anyone would disagree that saving money is a GOOD idea. However, many people feel like the can NOT save money. Afterall, if you are in debt or living paycheck to paycheck where are you going to get even more money to put into savings? The fact is once you actually LEARN how to start saving money you will find that it is not as impossible as you may think it is.
When my husband and I first started dating, we were living paycheck to paycheck even though we were already living frugally. We desperately wanted to move to a different state, but moving is super expensive. What we needed was to learn how to start saving money so that we would have enough for our move. We did a lot of traveling for work on the weekends and we had already learned how to travel cheaply and eat cheap while on the road. But at the end of the day it never seemed like we had any money left to save. We needed to do SOMETHING different….
Do you ever do something and think, “wow, how cool/smart/awesome am I that I thought this up“? This was me, about 10 years ago. I made this large crockpot meal, had some leftover broth and decided to make soup. Well, since the first meal I had made was plenty for a few days, I decided to toss that soup into a freezer bag and freeze it for later. Then I thought, well, how efficient of me?! Two meals, both cheap and hardly any time spent. Plus now I have a healthy, cheap meal I can heat up later. GENIUS! Ok, so, turns out I wasn’t the ONLY one with the idea to make freezer meals (haha!) If you are wondering what are freezer meals, let me tell you all the benefits of freezer meals!
Wondering what are freezer meals?
Well, freezer meals are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Freezer meals are meals that you pre-make and then stick in the freezer for easy (and fast!) reheating at a later date. Yes, they are as awesome as they sound! A full meal all ready to go – without paying top dollar for junky store “freezer meals” (ya know, those not so awesome tv dinners?).
Now that we know the answer to what are freezer meals, how do we make them?
You can put freezer meals into freezer bags – I splurge and get these Freezer Bags with Zippers. I have tried the other bags that aren’t “freezer bags” and I have tried freezer bags without the zippers. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Quite frankly, the additional money is worth it to me to know that the bags are going to keep my food fresh until I am ready to eat it. If you want to store your freezer meals in containers that are re-useable, that is also totally do-able. We love these Pyrex dishes for storing our freezer meals.
You can take pretty much any meal you’ve made and stick it in the freezer for later. Casseroles, quiche, soups, roasts the list could go on and on.
We have covered what are freezer meals, how to make them. Now why do you want to make freezer meals?
The benefits of freezer meals are pretty darn awesome!
Freezer meals are pretty super duper! Freezer meals can be made super cheap. Of course you could get some expensive steak and cook it up and freeze it and that wouldn’t be so cheap. But, in general, freezer meals can be made very cheaply. Think about this, you go to the store and they have fresh broccoli on sale because it’s in season and it’s DIRT cheap. Well, normally, you’d buy whatever you could use before it goes bad right? Not if you are making freezer meals!
BUY ALL THE BROCCOLI!
Ok, ok maybe not buy ALL the broccoli. But do buy a lot of it. Cook it up and make freezer meals with it. This way you can buy perishable things on sale in bulk. Also, if you LOVE something seasonal, buy a bunch and don’t pay outrageous prices when it is not in season.
Another benefit of freezer meals is time. Freezer meals save SO MUCH TIME! Think about this, if you are cooking a casserole it doesn’t really take THAT much extra time to make two. So, you can make two and freeze one for later. Basically, you can make freezer meals in bulk which will save you so much time.
Last, but not least, another benefit of freezer meals is convenience. Now, let’s be honest, how many times have we run and gotten takeout because it was easier or faster and we were short on time? Takeout (generally) is NOT cheap and isn’t that healthy. But, if you are short on time and you have freezer meals, just take them out heat them up and you’re ready to go!
Now that you are convinced you must make freezer meals, what will you try first?
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When I turned 25 my dad bought me a crockpot (or slow cooker) for my birthday. I immediately thought, does this make me officially old? I am getting cookware as a birthday present. I had never used a slowcooker or crockpot before and I couldn’t figure out why he would think of this for me. Afterall, I will admit, cooking in general is not my forte. Well, my daddy is much wiser than I will ever be (he also loves – like I do – things that have a purpose). Since I wouldn’t want anything to go to waste (not using something like this is like throwing someone else’s money right in the trash), I set out to learn about crockpot meals and why I should be making them. I quickly discovered that there are many reasons you should be making crockpot meals and couldn’t believe I hadn’t been making them sooner!
Since that fateful birthday (where I now feel empowered with knowledge instead of just plain ‘ol old), I use my crockpot at least once a week. Seriously, I do!…