I thought I was fairly frugal. In my early years of being a wife, I had heard about the Frugal Zealot, author of the Tightwad Gazette. I checked her books out of the library a long time ago when my oldest two were little and studied her ways. I wasn’t willing to recycle my vacuum cleaner bags, go to yard sales every Saturday morning, or go dumpster diving. The main method that I learned from Amy Dacyzyn, The Frugal Zealot, that I was also willing to do was to buy things used.
As the Duggars say, “Buy used, and save the difference.” I’ve been doing that for years. So here are some of my prized trophies: a used piano for $100 that I am still using today and teaching piano lessons on, bunk beds for free, a treadmill for free, a jogging stroller for free, the Glen Doman Encyclopedic Knowledge on CD-ROMs for babies and preschoolers for $10 each, lots of kids clothing for free, including lots of Gymboree clothes, my favorites, a lovely, looked like new, four piece furniture set for $500 (couch, loveseat, wing-back armchair and ottoman) and my ultimate catch, a used Toyota minivan for only $2000! It ran great, we used it for years, until we outgrew it as a family and traded it with my brother-in-law for his Ford van. As one of my dear girlfriends says, about herself and me, I seem to have a blinking sign on me that says, “Hand it over, for free or a bargain, and nobody will get hurt!”
I’ve also grown a garden, and avoided buying convenience and fast food. We rarely eat out, maybe once a year, and I regularly shop at the thrift store, even for birthday presents. But I haven’t been quite as frugal as some of my girlfriends. One of them, who shall remain nameless, has been known to go to the cemetery after Memorial Day and snag leftover potted flowers before they were thrown away by the cemetery keepers, which she then planted in her flower beds. It’s funny, as she and I were talking about frugal ways during one of the last times we were together, at an event, people were cleaning up after a dinner. They came over and asked us if we wanted leftovers. Free food! Speaking of being frugal! I scored several bags of prewashed salad, and it was even dark green romaine, not just the gross limp iceberg lettuce kind, and 3 huge ziploc bags full of precut watermelon chunks. My little boy acted like he’d won the Olympic gold when he held up a bag of chocolate chip cookies and brownies in each hand, proudly noting that we could have them for Family Home Evening treats.
I heard another frugal story from one of my girlfriends in the car on the way home from an outing that totally inspired me. I found out that her frugal years of her early marriage put my frugality to shame. She said that she went for two years with her husband of only spending $7000 for all of their bills. They lived on $7000 a year! He was going to graduate school so money was really tight. They had a garden, got their meat from home because the husband grew up on a farm, and just spent very little.
In my quest to be more frugal I have learned about this great web site called Fabulessly Frugal. This site is soooo wonderful! It is taking me to higher levels of frugality.
It is all about how to save money by learning how to coupon, how to stockpile, how to find great deals online, and how to save money by making things from scratch, such as meals, of course, and homemade cleaners. I tried out the homemade stain remover on a white T-shirt and it got the stains right out. Love it!
You probably think you don’t have time to coupon. That’s why you need Fabulessly Frugal. They do all the research for you! And it’s free! You will want to check out their web site and sign up for their daily email! You will be alerted every day of any great deals going on at chain stores, like Target and Walmart, as well as Amazon. By signing up, you will get their “Price Point Guide.” This is a critical item of frugal living that I was never willing to do, but after 21 years of marriage I am finally willing to have one, since the gals at Fabulessly Frugal have made it so easy by doing all the work! This is another thing the Frugal Zealot wrote about that I resisted. Then Janine Bolon came along and told me to do the same thing, in her book, and I resisted her. Basically, you keep a notebook with a list of everything you buy, anytime you buy it, so you can keep track of what the lowest price is. That just seemed way too hard for me. But now, with Fabulessly Frugal’s Price Guide, I don’t have to do research. Easy peasy! So now, whenever I peruse the weekly ads for grocery stores, and I see avocados for 50 cents each, or butter for 1.99 a pound, I can check the Price Guide to see if those prices are simply “good buys,” or even better “stock up prices.” Those are prices low enough to buy in bulk to put in my food storage and then rotate into my menus.
I got the Fabulessly Frugal Coupon Class on DVD and I am so glad I did. I highly recommend you get it. With my whole foods mindset, I have always resisted using coupons, thinking, coupons are for processed things I don’t usually get, like mac and cheese, cold cereal, or commercially-made salad dressing. I have never seen a coupon for broccoli or whole wheat flour. But then I realized I could use coupons for nonfood consumables I always use, like hand soap and toilet paper. So I got this DVD. This DVD teaches you “Seven Secrets of Successful Couponing.” You will learn how to shop and get the lowest price, using store ads, coupons, and the Price Point Guide. Then you build up a stockpile of food items. Then you plan your meals based on what you have on in your stockpile. The Frugal Zealot would approve! You can even join the Fabulessly Frugal Grocery Budget Challenge over at the web site and use their budget tracking tool and get lots of encouragement to meet whatever your grocery budget goal is.
I am giving away a copy of the DVD for free. Comment below to enter for a chance to win. Drawing will take place on Thursday November 1 around 8 PM.