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There are few things in life that we truly need to survive. Food happens to be one of those things.
When times are hard, we might soon learn they can get harder. Where a family might have been barely making ends meet, they could find that even that’s a stretch now.
The problem is that a lot of families spend way too much money on food as it is, instead of shopping frugally to stretch the food budget money further. When you shop with a frugal mindset, you can get a lot more food for your dollar. That means the food will last longer, simply because there’s more of it.Frugal Eating on the Cheap – Stretching the Food Dollar Click To Tweet
I’m going to list some food items that you can buy cheap. Obviously there will be a lot more foods that you can probably think of that you can buy to help stretch your food supply. These foods are for the average person. If you need gluten-free, some of these will cost a little more, and some won’t.
The starter list can include such foods as: ramen noodles, dry peas and/or beans, vienna sausages, canned or fresh carrots, cabbage, potatoes, rice, wieners, pasta, bananas, apples, frozen biscuits (or better yet, make your own), flour wraps, ground chuck, eggs, oatmeal, cornbread mix (or make your own), pancake mix, lettuce, fresh spinach, bulk chicken packs, peanut butter.
To this list, if you have available funds, you can also get food items such as: tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheese, bread (or make your own), sausage, etc.
A lot of foods can be divided up into small portions and frozen, such as chicken, beef, sausage, grated cheese, some veggies, etc.
For the frozen items, you can save money by using reusable plastic containers to freeze food in, instead of zipper bags.
Of course, the easiest way to not have to worry about running out of food is to have some extra emergency money put back in case you don’t get paid when you expect to. And yes, that’s easier said than done. But if you find yourself running out of food and you don’t have any money to get more and your paycheck is days away, there are a few things you can try to get enough food to make do until you do get paid – ask for help from family or friends, pawn something that you don’t really need and can live without, try selling something on Craigslist or eBay, or ask for help from your church. You can also go to your county health department and ask for emergency food stamps, although if you make too much, regardless of your financial situation at the time, they won’t accept you.
Remember that the idea here is to have enough food to make do with until you get paid again, so you want to shop frugal with any money you might have, to stretch the food money as far as you can. You can’t do that if you buy high priced items such as premade items. Yes, they are much more convenient as far as preparing the food, but that convenience comes with a price. So stick with the cheap stuff that you have to prepare yourself usually and make your food go further.
One of the hardest things to do (or so it seems) is to eat healthy while on a tight budget. With the cost of food constantly increasing, it gets more and more difficult to be able to buy healthy food and still live a frugal life.
Depending on your particular finances, it might be fairly easy to start easy more healthy. You just need to buy healthy food instead of junk food. For others, you might have to let this or that go in order to be able to afford buying healthier food.
The easiest way to start eating healthy and get accustomed to eating healthy meals is to ask yourself – Was this grown? Is it natural? Is it fresh? Is it filled with ingredients that I can’t even pronounce?Healthy Eating on a Frugal Budget Click To Tweet
I’m sure you’re thinking that’s going to do away with about 80% of groceries. Yes, it is. The fact is that the majority of food items that are for sale in grocery stores today are far from healthy, often loaded with stuff that makes us unhealthy. And the fact is that a lot of the food items that we buy are bought because it’s convenient.
That’s where the change has to be made – stop buying for convenience and start buying for health. No, there’s nothing wrong in having something you really want sometimes. But notice that word – *sometimes*. That doesn’t mean we should eat junk all the time, every day, all day, etc. It should be something of a treat, not a daily thing.
So what can you buy that’s healthy and won’t kill your budget? Lots of things! But because you will be buying more fresh foods instead of a lot of pre-made stuff, you might have to shop more often (if you’re in the habit of just shopping once or twice a month). And remember you can freeze a lot of fresh foods!
Here’s just a few foods you can buy that are healthy: Tomatoes (yummy alone or used as an ingredient in a dish), potatoes (so many ways to use them), carrots (yummy alone, in salad, etc.), spaghetti squash (so much healthier than pasta and tastes so good), yellow squash (alone, or with cheese, etc.), lettuce, fresh spinach, frozen spinach, peas and beans, bananas, apples, celery (used in food or alone), peppers (alone or used in dishes), broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, rice (it’s grown so it’s natural), eggs, chicken, beef, pork.
I’m sure you’ll think of and see other food items that would fall into this way of frugal food buying as you shop.
This is not to say don’t buy things like salad dressings, cheese. Bread, etc. (even though you can make your own bread and dressing). It simply means choose healthy foods over unhealthy ones. For some, it will be easy to know what to buy or what not to buy, while others will need some guidance.
If you have family members who are reluctant to change their way of eating, you could start by introducing a healthier way of eating slowly, rather than all at once. But then, cold turkey works also – if that’s all there is to eat, it’s eat or be hungry. Hunger is usually all it takes to want to eat and not care that it’s healthy food. (That would be real hunger, not the oh I haven’t eaten in a couple of hours thing.)
It would be a good idea to already have or buy some plastic freezer containers (they’re reusable so it’s a better deal) or some freezer zipper bags to divide and store some of the food in so that it doesn’t go bad before it’s used.
One of the best investments you can make for healthy food and food storage is a food dehydrator. If you have a garden or buy fresh food in bulk (a good deal when there’s a sale!), you can use the food dehydrator to dehydrate the various foods to either put up or eat when done. These make yummy and healthy snacks – like banana chips and apple chips – plus you can have dried tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, etc.
So I’ve given you some ideas for healthy eating on a frugal budget to help you get started eating better, along with the food preservation tip. Be sure to check that out! There are several kinds to choose from, so see what works best for you and your budget. The link again for it is here. Just click it to see the details.
When it comes to frugal living, I’m often a mixture of a tightwad and a frugal living person. I’ll scrimp on some things to have more money to spend on other things. Usually if it’s something that needs to last or be of a better quality, I’ll spend more, while scrimping on things where quality isn’t as important. It helps me to get things we need and some of what we want, without breaking the piggy bank to do it.
This year, finally, we are starting to get out of debt. Over the past three months, we’ve paid off quite a lot of bills and are about to pay off four more. So far, we’re saving $440 a month. Well, not really saving – because we’re putting the money we’re saving from paying off bills towards paying off more bills. Once these next three bills are paid off, that will bring us to a total of saving $675 a month (to put towards paying off more bills).
In the long run, it saves even more money because we don’t have the interest fees if we would have if we kept paying the minimum due each month on each bill.My Frugal Living Tips – Getting out of Debt Click To Tweet
It’s been a long road to financial recovery after Hurricane Rita made our paid for home unlivable back in September of 2005. Our home was pretty much destroyed. The roof was off on parts of the house and the rain had ruined the walls, the floors, the furniture, the washer and dryer, etc. The house was paid for so we didn’t have a mortgage note. We had taken our computers when we evacuated because that was my way to make income.
I knew when I walked out of the door that we’d never live there again – it was a bittersweet feeling as I walked out the door and turned back to look at the place we called home one last time, while it was still home.
The silly FEMA man that came out to look at the place decided that the house was livable as it was, which was about the most stupid thing we’d ever heard of. I would have liked to see the FEMA man live in in like that. But, of course, it wasn’t his home and he didn’t have to worry about it, so it didn’t matter to him that he just put us in a big financial mess by making that stupid decision.
And then we had a mortgage note again. We went from a $0 mortgage note to over $600 a month, not to mention the insurance note. For some people, that’s a small sum for a mortgage note. For us, it was huge. Some of our furniture and appliances were ruined, so we had to replace those also – more debt and more bills.
Add to that our vehicle (also paid for) finally giving up the ghost on us, so we ended up with a vehicle note of about $330 a month. The one we got, it turns out, had been in a wreck, unknown to us since it wasn’t on the vehicle records (figures). When we took it in to have it worked on, it was going to cost at least $2500 to fix it, and that was just for starters.
Needless to say, we didn’t have that kind of money. Oh, but we could trade it in for another one. Fine – great – lovely. So we get another vehicle, which by the way I really like, but the note jumped up to over $450 a month because it added what we still owed on the other one.
When it rains, it pours. There didn’t seem an end to the bills and the debt.
It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re getting bills paid off and we’re on the road to getting out of debt. We do without a lot to get out of debt.
We’ve been in this house now for more than eleven years. If all keeps going according to plan, and so far it has, we’ll have everything paid off by in less than six years, the house included. That will have us saving over $2000 a month.
Sometimes we have people ask how we’ve managed to do this and get out from under so much debt with no more income than we have coming in. It’s simple really but it does require commitment.
Here’s just some of the things we do to save money and live on less:
2. If we don’t need it, I don’t buy it – unless it’s on sale and/or I have a coupon or a coupon code (when shopping online).
3. I use Amazon Prime so that I get free shipping when I order from Amazon. If you shop on Amazon a lot, this can pay for itself in a short time. I use Amazon a lot because they pretty much always have what I need or want, whereas my local Walmart store rarely has in things in stock anymore that I want or need. Plus if you search you can usually find a good price.
4. When I shop online, I always look for a coupon code for the site I’m using. Lots of sites have free shipping deals at various times and that can save a load of money. You can use coupons on Amazon also. Look for the available coupons on Amazon that you can apply to your order.
5. We don’t have any sort of cable TV or satellite TV. We do have NetFlix. It’s less than $16 for four people to watch it at the same time. It’s less than $11 if you just want the basic plan for two people to watch at the same time.
6. We don’t go out a lot. Yes, I like going out as much as the next person, but I dearly hate the cost of going out. You can spend a load of money in a very short time. There’s plenty of things to do that don’t cost or don’t cost much.
7. I reuse a lot of things. The old saying of “waste not, want not” still holds true today. I often keep TOO much stuff, thinking that surely there’s got to be a use for this or that, sooner or later. If you think you might have a use for something, keep it. Think of the money you’ll save by using what you already have instead of going out and spending money.
8. We seldom use our central air to cool our house. It stays on 85 to 90 – topped out. It runs on a 220 and that costs more. We used to have portable air conditioner units in our bedrooms and in my office. We now have regular window air units in our bedroom, my office, and in my son’s bedroom. Since they run on a 100, it costs less to cool the rooms with them. And our home stays nice an cool. Our summer power bills went from $350, $400, (and more!) to $158 for the highest one in the heat of the summer. That’s a savings of at least $200 a month (and more!) by not trying to cool the house with the central air. The same applys for the winter – we use little plugin heaters and they warm the house just fine without running the big central heat unit… again the highest power bill has been $158.
9. We use Straight Talk for our cell phone service and for our home phone. This saves a load of money! The Straight Talk Home Phone service is only $15 a month plus tax. It works great, uses your regular phones, has caller ID, etc. You can pay by the month or longer, your choice. The Straight Talk cell phone runs off Verizon towers and is only $45 a month for the unlimited calls and text and data.
This is just one example of my frugal living tips. My point in sharing this is that you can do this, and probably even better than me, if you commit to saving money and living on less. To get out of debt, you just have to make your mind up to commit to making a get out of debt plan and sticking to it. It doesn’t matter what you income is (ours is not a lot!), you can do this.
As you know planning a wedding involves a lot of time and energy. Plus with rising prices in almost every area, paying for a wedding is definitely not cheap anymore. Use the tips in this short guide to save you money on your wedding plans, while still having a memorable wedding day that you will treasure forever.Frugal Weddings - 25 Ways to Save Money But Still Have a Memorable Wedding Day Click To Tweet
1. Shop around and compare prices for locations and hall rentals.
2. Consider using a local park to get married in, this is often much cheaper than renting a banquet room.
3. Holding your ceremony and reception at the same location often lowers the cost considerably.
4. Does a family member have a large or scenic property that you could use?
5. Have a backyard BBQ instead of a formal wedding rehearsal dinner.
6. Book your reception hall for a shorter time period.
7. You may want to think about travelling to a destination for your wedding – this would involve lower costs but some guests may also not attend.
8. Hold a small, private wedding with family and your closest friends.
9. Don’t opt for a full bar, just select to offer beer and red and white wine.
10. Remember to offer non-alcoholic drinks as well.
11. Look to your local college for a band when it comes to finding live entertainment for your wedding.
12. Choose an up and coming cake decorator to make your cake. Offer to recommend them to your friends and business connections in return. They get exposure and you get a good deal on a cake.
13. You may want to choose cupcakes over a larger tiered wedding cake.
14. Serving cheesecake is becoming a popular trend and is much cheaper.
15. Display your menu items in attractive bowls, this can help hide the fact that the menu items are plainer.
16. Consider serving an afternoon tea reception instead of a full dinner evening one.
17. You don’t need to order champagne for the wedding toast, guests can just use whatever drink they have at the time.
18. Cater for any children who may be present, kids meals are often much cheaper than ordering an adult size. Plus there will be fewer leftovers.
19. When renting a car for your wedding ask if the dealer offers a wedding special.
20. Opt for a van instead of a limo, this way more people can ride with you and this saves money for everyone involved.
21. Choose black ink for your wedding stationary and print out your own invitations.
22. Use potted plants for your table decorations.
23. Use flowers in season and add ribbons to brighten up any arrangements.
24. Bowls of fruits make affordable center pieces which can then be used for dessert.
25. Shopping for wedding attire during sales to find great deals on brand names.
After saving money in all these different areas you can then splurge on your wedding photos, or another area if you wish. Wedding photos offer you a permanent reminder of your special day. So this is an area where you may not want to cut corners or costs.