I’m answering another question from Facebook today.
Amanda wanted to know some of my frugal tips.
Furniture, clothing, dishes, towels, sheets, home decor, etc. can all be found used. We shop mostly yard sales, but second hand shops can be useful for harder to find items (like boys blue jeans sans holes in the knees).
Buy in bulk.
We do this mostly for food. We purchase from co-ops, restaurant suppliers and sometimes directly from the farmer.
We generally do not purchase paper napkins, paper towels, etc. We’ve chosen to use all cloth, except for toilet paper. Check out our cloth napkin solution.
Make your own cleaning products.
We make all of our own cleaning supplies except for the detergent for the dishwasher. We mostly clean with baking soda, white vinegar and Castile soap. We also make generous use of microfiber cloths and water.
Here is our recipe for laundry soap.
Don’t buy what you don’t need.
Most people have too many clothes, too many toys, too many computer games, too many housewares, too much stuff! If we would simply purchase what we need, we would all have plenty to share with those who have need.
When we have too much stuff, we need more space to store it and require more time to manage it. Simplifying is an easy way to save money.
If you can’t afford to pay cash, you can’t afford it.
And because I know that people will ask, we personally believe that a home is the one legitimate reason to go into a reasonable amount of debt. However, it would be ideal to purchase a home with no debt.
Recognize the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’.
Cell phones: Until two years ago we had no cell phones. When our children got old enough to stay home alone, we decided to move into the cell phone world. We spend less than $10 a month for a simple pre-paid phone that we only use for emergencies. Even this is a luxury and certainly not a necessity.
Hair appointments: We do all of our own hair cutting in house. (I actually made a how-to video for boy’s hair cuts that I intend to post. Someday. )
Classes and sports: Need I say more?
Restaurant eating/Fast food: Even if you are super busy, eating out is not a necessity. It requires some planning and forethought, but people survived for centuries without fast food joints. When you chose to take the family out to eat, recognize the privilege that it is and enjoy the blessing of it.
Clothes dryers: Our family of 12 recently lived for 3 months without a clothes dryer. We live in a rainy, humid climate in North East Tennessee and this was during our cold season. We’re very happy to have a dryer again, but we know that running it is certainly a luxury and not a necessity.
Cable TV/Netflix/Video rentals: There is a library full of ‘free’ books, Cd’s and often even videos and even that is providing a ‘want’, not a ‘need’.
A second car: Our family survived with one car for many years and for many/most people having one car is a viable option.