4 Moms Share Some Favorite Frugal Tips

One morning last week Mark said, “Hey, let’s go camping…….today.”.

Five hours later we were packed and on our way

Sadie (8) and Isabella (1) stop to look at the creek

Yes, we’re last minute like that and, trust me, 5 hours is pretty good for all the laundry, packing, shopping and food prep we had to get done, not to mention the fact that our home had to be picked up, cleaned and ready for company while we were out of town.

Colby (5), Nicholas (4) and Savannah (6)

and although we had a wonderful time hiking, swimming, fishing, camping,

one thing that did not get done before we left was my 4 Moms post.

Colby (5) and Nick (4)

So here it is several days late and re-posted from a couple of months ago.

moms of many manageBuy used.

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.

Bella (1)

We do this mostly for food. We purchase from co-ops, restaurant suppliers and sometimes directly from the farmer.

Go paperless.

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.

Wouldn't you rather have a houseful of these?

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.

Pay cash.

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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.

What other money saving tips do you have?

Be sure to visit the other 3 Moms to see how they save money:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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13 Responses to 4 Moms Share Some Favorite Frugal Tips
  1. Anita Chamblee
    May 14, 2012 | 10:33 am


    This post contains some of the things our family does to save money.


  2. Annie
    May 14, 2012 | 11:00 am

    We employ many of the same frugal ideas as your family though we are smaller :0)
    We lived with one vehicle for a year and during the pregnancy of my second child. I would simply walk to my doctors appointments since we lived in town and the hospital was 3 miles away. We are also firm believers at if you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it! There have been times when we had a genuine need for say kids summer close but did not have the money to afford them. Thankfully and graciously, the Lord provided through friends and family who said, “hey! We just cleaned out the closets! Do you need summer clothes for the kids!” God is so good :0)
    On a side note- is that a swim dress that Sadie is wearing in the above picture? Can you tell me where I may find those for my daughter?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, that is a swim dress. I talk more about them here (including where we found them).


  3. Karyn
    May 14, 2012 | 12:19 pm

    Wonderful! I was thinking you might be in hospital – so glad it was this instead. Looks amazing ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Large family small world
    May 14, 2012 | 5:27 pm

    Our church does a swap every few months. We all bring the things we don’t need anymore and take what we do need. It is a great way to share what we have and make sure it gets to those we know who need it. Clothes, toys, books, baby gear and household items often get traded around since we bring things back when we are done with them. After the swap whatever is left gets dropped off at a charity.


  5. Heidi
    May 14, 2012 | 10:47 pm

    I love spontaneous trips! A couple nights ago we spontaneously “went camping”. Around 8pm I asked my hubby to set up the tent in the backyard. We had planned to go camping the weekend before, but we found rotten wood in our camper that we (still) have to replace. So, we all squeezed in a small tent (like sardines) and made some memories. ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. sarah
    May 15, 2012 | 9:01 am

    I’m interested in your family camping trips. Details? I feel like camping is a little overwhelming with three kids. My husband asked me if I wanted to try to go camping this summer, and being pregnant with #4 (I’m 28 weeks), I told him I didn’t think so.

    The only thing I disagree on as far as the frugal part of your post goes is used jeans for older kids (about age 5 and up). I bought my daughter 2 pairs of used jeans for $5 each. I bought her a pair of new jeans around the same time for $12. The new ones lasted twice as long as the used ones, and it was the knees that blew out in the used ones both times. I’ve noticed the same thing with my son. The jeans that wear out in the knees are the thrift store/hand-me-down jeans. The ones that last to be passed down are the ones I just buy new.


    Stephanie Reply:

    I hear you on the jeans- I buy most of the kids jeans used but for every pair I purchase I probably look at 15 or 20 because the knees are just a little too worn. Sometimes they have pants that look like they were never worn at all and those are the ones I try to get.


  7. Helen
    May 18, 2012 | 3:36 am

    I would love to hear about how you got to the point where you can go camping on five hours’ notice like that. I’m guessing that the ability to be spontaneous like that stems from a lot of preparedness and other acquired skills. Also, do you have any tips about frugal ways to make or buy camping equipment?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Lists, lists, lists. We have a master camping list on the computer. It includes clothes, equipment and food. So it’s only a matter of going down the list and getting everything packed and into the car.

    I hope to write more about camping tips and being frugal…..soon.


  8. Robin
    May 19, 2012 | 10:49 pm

    Do yall do cloth diapering as well?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We have in the past, but my husband really despises cloth diapers so we haven’t for our last few children. However, we could if we needed to. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Renee
    December 27, 2012 | 11:24 am

    My husband and I don’t own a dishwasher or a dryer, so it is definitely possible to live without. Of course, it is easier with only 2 people in the household.


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