Welcome to the 1st installment of FRUGAL FRIDAY everyone. I think I've found my little niche in this blogging world and am going to be thoroughly enjoying it. I hope you do as well.
I found myself a few weeks ago in need of trying to make the almighty dollar stretch even that much further. With the economy like it is and looking like it's not going to be changing for anyone anytime soon, let's be honest, everyone could do with a little penny pinching and dollar scrimping. It's not going to be the easiest thing you ever done, nor is it going to be the hardest, but after you get in the swing of things you'll find yourself wondering why you didn't do some of these things before. And if like me, you will find yourself making this your job. A competition if you will, with yourself. How much more can I save this week?
There are many many ways in which you can stretch your dollar further. Today though since this is the first installment, I'm going to focus more on actually how to get started doing this.
I hear the groans from everyone now. Everyone uses a budget, whether it's a down on paper and stick to it kind, or the fly by the seat of your pants it's all in my head type. You do BUDGET. But what I want you to do is simple. It is somewhat a little time consuming, but in the end it's totally worth. Haven't you ever wondered at the end of the week (month) where all of your money went? I know I have, more than once. By doing the method I am about to explain to you, you will see where the money is going. You'll see how to cut back almost immediately. You'll find out where all that little extra money is being spent instead of saved for a not so sun shiny day.
This also leads me to my first ever GIVEAWAY here on Mid Life Truckers Wife. I am about as excited about this as when.............well, I'm just excited about it! To take part in the giveaway the rules are simple, simple, simple. All you have to do is comment on today's post or any of them between now and next Thursday night, and you get one ticket in the drawing. If you follow become a stalker to my blog you get another ticket in the drawing. If you post the Frugal Friday button at the top of this post onto your blog and link back to me, you get two tickets in the drawing. ( Just be sure and let me know you have blogged about it and posted the button. With my brain I'll forget or not have time to look. ) If you post my Frugal Friday button on your sidebar of your blog with a link to lil ole me you get another two tickets in the drawing. Whew.................I think that's about it. The drawing will take place on Thursday, Jan. 22nd, at around 7:00 pm or so. So nothing counts after that. Winner will be announced the following day on the next installment.
Are you ready to see what you will win? Ready............................................... Now it's nothing to fancy because I'm Frugal and all.................
Oh my goodness how could I have forgotten it's actually two prizes in the giveaway. Told you I was forgetful. So here's what I'm doing, all the rules and tickets stay the same, if I draw your name twice, then only the first one counts. I'll draw again till I get a second winner who's a complete different name.
Now what I want you to do with your prize ain't I something giving two prizes away and then telling what to use them for is this: The basket is for you to take your receipts every single day and place them in it. Not only your receipts but everyone in the households as well. Then at the end of each day or week if you prefer you then take your journal and write them down in it. One the left page make the header: Needed, the right page make the header: Wanted. See now how simple is that? The calendar is just because I love you and it was so darn cute. It has bird houses after all. It's a photo album calendar in which you can place your own pictures to see each month. I couldn't resist it. OK, back to where I was, save your receipts, keep up with your journal and then at the end of your first month you'll easily be able to tell where your money is going. If you decide to share in a comment with us about this, by all means do so.
Chances are if your like me in the column heading WANTED you'll find lots of things there that honestly you really could have done without. After seeing my own column this way I now ask myself each time I make a purchase "Do I need this? or want this?" and it works. Most of the time I actually only want it. So when your faced with this dilemma put the object back. Wait a few weeks and see if you still want it or not. Often you'll find that by that time you will have forgotten about it and decide you really don't want it. Thus saving you money.
I also found out by doing this that I spent quite a bit of money on simple things that one wouldn't think would add up to much. Things like, each time I bought gas I went into the store to pay and bought a soda, chips or some sort of candy. You might not think it's much but most of us get gas about once a week. Add to that what else you purchased at the time and it ends up being about $5 extra dollars above the cost of your gas. That's $260 a year on needless things. So I just saved you and your family $260 a year. Now that's a little more than pennies here. Instead of going into the store, use your debit card. That way your not enticed into buying those little added extras. Plus using a debit card instead of your credit card will save you lots more money. Also by using a debit card, try to get one with reward points, your rewards will start adding up as well. Then you can cash those reward points in for things you would like. Maybe a special dinner out, some kind of new appliance, or even plane tickets for a saved up vacation. The choices are endless.
Another thing I found out by keeping a journal was the fact that we spent way to much money on movies for the family. In my opinion it was to much anyway. We have always, since getting married had a family movie night each week. We still have movie night now, but it's somewhat different. Instead of buying or renting movies (which are expensive to rent, unless you are in a club) is to go to your local library. Almost every library has movies for rent. Plus you get the advantage of having them longer than most other movie rental stores. As well as it's a nice little outing for your family, by all of you going and choosing the movies together. It's also another way to get your kids to start reading more. Plus as you all know the library would be saving you money by simply checking out books to enjoy instead of purchasing them from a bookstore or another store. I lived here for two years in this little town and never realized that our library had such an extensive amount of books to choose from. Not only what they had in stock, but most libraries will have books sent from other libraries upon request. If they don't have it readily available for you to check out ask the librarian about having it mailed from their main library. Think about this, you just saved yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing this. I love to read, and found myself purchasing at least two books a month if not more. The average cost of a book nowadays is around $15.00 for a hardback and about $5 for a paperback. Add that up: 2 books a month (hardback) is $30 x 12 (months a year) = $360.00 in a years time. Now that's a lot of pennies you just saved. So take advantage of your town's (or neighboring towns) resources.
Whether you won the prizes or not keep yourself a journal and your receipts as well. Take stock in where your money is going. Consider this a new job for yourself. After all it is your money and your families, no one can tell you what to do with it but YOU. You and your family work to hard for it to be spent needlessly.
Pat yourself on the back everyone, you just took your first steps in being FRUGAL.
Happy Savings Everyone. Till next time on FRUGAL FRIDAY.......................................
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