With times becoming more tough on families more and more people are starting to live the Frugal way. I am going to start including more post and tips that I come across on this subject. My family as well has been hit by the economic issues. My husband had to down size on his job after we moved. Oddly enough though he is still making the same a week and is getting paid less an hour. Go figure that one. Guess that is just proof that his old boss was ripping him off.
My tip of the day is going to be this. Go to a dollar store and buy you a binder along with some loose leaf paper to go into your binder. I got mine from the Dollar Tree. $2 plus tax. Sit down and make you a budget. I have mine written out as such. Our bills consist of Home Insurance (every 3 months), Lights, Lot Rent, House Note and Auto Insurance. I write out the Month and jot down "Lights -" and leave it blank to be filled in when I recieve the bill. When the bill comes in I write out what the amount of the bill is and it's due date. I then look at my calendar see what date is free for the amount to come out on or at least set out so much each pay check to pay that bill so we don't cut ourselves short on other things we need for our home. For thing's I know the set amount a month on such as lot rent and house note I write in the amount and do the same as I do for a bill and mark when it will be paid. Always stick to this plan you make otherwise you end up behind on things.
We have had a bad habit of splurging on things such as movies, toys and games before paying bills and such then going out to eat and bills still going unpaid. Can't do that no more. I write out my budget for the first 3 months coming up. I then make another list of needs like if one of the vehicles need something done to it and prioritize the needs. Get as you can. These things also are more important to get (even if it is one thing at a time) than a movie and such. Maybe if you have kids like we do and you want to reward them for a good grade or such you can make of list of wants such as maybe going to see a movie, or out to dinner, a new toy or movie. After the bills that have to be paid that week are taken care of and you do your shopping for the week of house hold needs, food and such is taken care of sit down figure up an amount that will be ok to spend on one of the wants. Sit down as a family and talk it over of which of the wants on your list you can spare to spend on and let everyone pick which they would prefer to do. When you do it mark it off your list. This will also keep you from going out to eat a lot in one month. Maybe go to a resturant to eat once a month. We try to go to a different resturant when we do go out to eat so we aren't constantly going to the same place every time we go out. Like for us we may have written down for the month or even if we have a school event that next week I write it down for that weeks want, but I may write down Applebees and then have another like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (theater). List help out A LOT.
Another list will be what household items you use. This will be like an inventory list. Write down the things you use most often. Not like what brands but what items such as Laundry Soap, Spray Cleaner, Air Freshner, ect... This way if you can catch these items on sale you can buy the brand thats on sale instead of the usual everytime. When your sales papers come in don't toss them out. Save them back for when you go through and look at what you are low on and need to buy so you know what items are on sale in your local stores. Same with food. Make out a list of items you usually buy and how many like for example: "Cereal 3 boxes". If you let each of your kids pick out their own let them pick out one from the sales paper if it is cheaper than the usual they usually get or take them to the store and say you can choice from these flavors here and let them pick. That's what we do with our small ones. If my 4 yr old picks something like Fruit Loops and an off brand is less money and more product then we get it in place of the name brand.
People may turn their noses up at list, but believe me they help out a lot. I have even made jars with labels on them. We don't do the whole bank account deal. I have my jar for our house note money to go in and a jar to save back gas money for the week in. You can make up jars put them in a hiding place that only you and your spouse know about and save back money for lots of things. Remember this if you are scared someone will steal it. Banks get robbed too. If you are an avid google user like I am you can google "Frugal" and "Frugal Living" and find lots of articles to read on this that are always filled with great tips. Another thing too before I go. Clip Coupons and learn how to make them and sales work for you! There are articles online as well for this. I will look up some links on some of that to post up next time I post. I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!