14 ways I have (and haven't ) been frugal enough lately

14 ways I have (and haven’t ) been frugal enough lately

So, I’m feeling uninspired and perhaps just a little bit cheeky this morning as I sit at the computer, thinking of what to post about. I am usually just full of various post ideas, so many that they never all get used, but today is a big ol’ exception.

In honor of Frugal Friday and the fact that I need to entertain myself somewhat, I thought that rather than only share with you all of the fantabulous ways that I have been saving oodles of money lately, I thought I would share with you some of the ways that I’ve been a bit off of my game lately, and so inspire you to do better than me (or join in and keep it real with me)!

Let’s face it– we all have seasons of busyness, dryness, preoccupation, exhaustion, etc. (by the way, I’m not saying that my season includes all of these things, I’m just giving examples). When they arise, we can fall into the trap of finding it easier to simply spend the money, rather than doing it ourselves, looking for the right deal, waiting on it, borrowing an item, etc.

For your reading pleasure, I present to you the list of my most recent frugal flubs:

1) Driving too much— Although in many ways we have tempered our driving and evaluate trips out as we consider the gas they will take and whether the trip is worth it, I haven’t been careful enough to really thoughtfully plan out my errands and shopping on the rare days when I get a car. Especially when I buy my food from a variety of different sources, it works much better when I really plan out each trip and purposefully find ways to avoid extra one.

For instance, my raw milk comes to a store about 15-20 minutes from here, which is fine, but it is the only thing we get at that store (it is a very, very expensive natural foods store). Driving out there once a week, for the sole purpose of getting milk, is a costly trip indeed. I should be calling my SIL to find out if we can take turns picking the milk up, see if my husband can ever pick it up on his way home, or try to grab it when we go out on the weekends and will be taking the highway anyways, etc.

2) Buying my bread— Baking bread has lately just felt like one more thing to do, so I have often been cheating and purchasing our favorite, healthy bread from the store (naturally, it’s somewhat expensive, though I do try to find it marked down). But really, baking bread is pretty easy, and the mixing and kneading time allows me to listen to a sermon or audiobook, which I really enjoy.

3) Not making dessert— But wait, shouldn’t that be a good thing? Except when it’s for guests coming over, and we realize last minute that we want to have something to serve after dinner, so my husband goes out to buy (what else?) ice cream. Oh, did I ever mention ice cream is our unhealthy downfall? Because it is the most scrumptious, delicious, creamy downfall ever!

4) Goofing on our cash system— We were not careful to keep our system running well last month, and it showed. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- the cash system is your best friend! Use it! We’ll be back on track for June.

5) Buying books/materials too freely at the homeschool conference— Places like that are dangerous for book lovers like us!

6) Decorating all at once— To celebrate my husband’s recent promotion, we decided to take some of our savings and purchase some new furniture and home decor. It actually wasn’t all that elaborate, but it added up quickly, and though we tried to get some deals and be satisfied with something more simple, it’s just easy to go overboard or to not wait for the best deal when you just want to do it all at once and allow yourself to feel that the money is burning a hole if your pocket.

7) Buying items I was unsure of saying “I’ll bring back what I don’t like”— This works occasionally, but often we end up deciding we just like the item and keep it, or keep more than we would have otherwise (ie. I bought more decorating items than I would have because I thought surely I wouldn’t like some of them and would want to return them), and it costs more gas and time in returning the items. This isn’t a usual way that I do things, but I should have thought it through more, silly me.

8) Buying drinks when we’re out— There’s nothing that eats up the budget faster than multiple small expenses. For us lately, that’s been grabbing a nice drink (ie. Starbucks or a Booster Juice smoothie) when we’re out. Big money drain. Huge. That’s why I have travel mugs, so we don’t have to buy drinks!

And the few things I’ve done right:

9) Plant my garden— As the little plants start to shoot up, I can already see what an abundant harvest we could have this year and how little I will have to buy in the way of produce once it really gets going (and hopefully, how much I will have preserved for winter)

10) Garage Saling— I’ve been getting free or practically-free canning jars since spring began (in preparation for my garden harvest), and we just picked up a great weed-eater we desperately needed for $10.

11) Taking stock of summer clothes— Before I rushed out to the Swap Meet to  buy kids summer clothing, I was wise enough to take a really solid inventory of what they already have, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m not sure that they really need anything! My son needs summer shoes, and they both need a good hat, and quite honestly, I think that’s it! I’m so glad I checked first!

12) Using what I have— After stocking the fridge for a large family get together, I haven’t gone shopping barely for the last couple weeks (except to stock my freezer) as I’ve tried to really use up every last thing in the fridge so nothing goes to waste.

13) Re-decorating with what I have— A couple of days after being inspired by a decorating night for the ladies at my church, I had two women come over to my house (who are known for their decorating ability) to help me bring some new life to the decorations I have and make our house feel homier. Their ability to see my things with new eyes and rearrange was so helpful, and has helped me to break out of the mold I was stuck in with regards to how I decorate our home and it looks so much nicer with very little that has been purchased.

14)  Finding free garden mulch— I searched around on Craigslist and was thrilled to find exactly what I was looking for. Free hay to use as mulch for my garden, to help keep the weeds down, and thus minimize the time I have to spend on it. It’s not the prettiest thing ever, but if it works, it is well worth it!

So what about you? Where have been your frugal flubs? What about your successes?

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  1. I have been feeling like I needed to hit my ‘re-set’ button of a few things too and have been deep in thought (and not deep enough in prayer) to try and see what I need to work on.
    Thank you for reminding me and everyone else to look at what we’ve done right, too. Also, for putting it in terms of ‘seasons’ rather than being off track in life. I needed this post today 🙂

  2. I understand about the bread thing sometimes it’s just hard to fit everything in or in my mind it is but then when I start to do things they get done quicker than I think. I also have been doing really bad with our money. We have had medical expenses and other gifts come up but really we haven’t done very good all year.

    I have managed to plant a small garden and some herbs that I’m hoping will turn out well, and tomorrow we are planning on going to the farmers market and do some yard selling. Also I have been trying to use cloth pads and it is going pretty well. I’ll have to make some more but I’m pretty happy with them.

  3. Hey, I’m glad you’re admitting some of your ‘downfalls’. I was thinking you were pretty near perfect, and now I know you aren’t :-). Sometimes you just need a bit of a break and then get back on it the next month. Have fun with your garden! I am looking forward to preserving this fall as well, as last year I had a newborn and didn’t get nearly as much done as I could.

  4. Lately I have also been having trouble, due to pregnancy symptoms not allowing me to do what I normally do. Here are some examples: driving a bit more as I don’t have the energy to walk as much (I get too dizzy and can’t get home). Also making extra trips to the grocery store just to find something I can eat. (Changes all the time). The other problem is that I normally do a lot of “from scratch” like bread and spaghetti sauce etc. that I am unable to do right now so we have to buy it. Getting those things as natural as possible is costly without doing it myself. I’ve also been letting a few deals slip out from under me since I can’t handle buying bulk stuff on discount and using it before it spoils etc.

    I know I have a reason to be doing this right now but I feel sooo badly about it. I tell myself to just do my best and this too shall pass. We all have seasons like this for whatever reason I think we need to give ourselves some slack.

    Here are my good things:

    One amazing thing I did though is that even though its a long time away I got thinking about what we would need for the baby. I went through all the clothes from my first and found what is too girly to use if we have a boy and found that we need less than I thought as a lot is neutral and I also have some boy stuff that I had gotten almost free before. So I was pleased to know this as money is tight and so now I can spend the lucrative yard sale season getting some super, super deals (I pass many only “okay” deals up since I have time! I wouldn’t if I waited till later)on newborn boy stuff in case we have a boy and only spend very little. (For me its worth it to spend the little ahead of time just in case than to be frantic later when I don’t have the time, or energy to find deals, nor do I ever seem to find them when I need them, and therefore I would spend a lot more…I can later sell the stuff if I never use it.

    My garden is also popping up…hopefully that will turn out well.

    I also found some (free!) baby towels a few weeks ago at a yard sale that I turned into baby wipes. My old washcloth ones are really needing replacements. Very badly. With these, I didn’t hem them so they fray a tiny, tiny bit in places but they stop there. I found out about this online somewhere and for free, I was more than happy. I do really want nice, perfect cloth baby wipes…but I don’t have the time/money/energy to buy/make and this was the cheapest. still good option I could find.

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