There are some advantages to being a Thrifty Diva and not all of them are financial achievements. Some of the advantages are a state of mind that allow us to be more level headed about the things we want and how to get them. Here are three such advantages frugal women have been known to attain.
Does Saving Money Define You?
When you are a spender your latest acquisition defines you. When you are a thrifty diva you build your self worth on the money you can save your family. Did you save fifty dollars on groceries? Have you found free entertainment or family experiences? Have you been able to furnish your home beautifully for less than a few hundred dollars? These are the experiences you take pride in. You aren’t looking for the latest and greatest. You keep a level head and work with what you have.
Money is Not Your Enemy
You do not view money in terms of having enough or not enough. Money is a tool that works for you. You use it as such. You determine what you will pay for an item and bend circumstance to meet your needs. For those few bills you can not bend to your will, you still take measures to lower your cost by lowering your usage or by picking a frugal package. You rule your money instead of the other way around.
You don’t NEED a certain item to be happy. For the most part a generic or more reasonable financial option is just fine for you. You can delay your gratification for an object if it is in your best interest. You can even go without an object if it doesn’t meet your financial criteria. In the end you control your financial destiny, not your money.
I have noticed lately that many stores have tried to make their school supplies more affordable. This is a good thing, particularly for those families that are a little larger than others. Still, no one wants to need to spend more than they have to, so here are a few ways to make schools supplies last, along with your money.
Keep Track of Writing Items
Nothing gets lost faster than pens and pencils when it comes to school supplies. We lose them, give them away, and let others borrow them. This is a shame because often we haven’t used the pencil to its fullest potential. I have noticed that most pens have about two thirds of the ink left in them before discarded or lost. Instead try using one pen or pencil at a time, keeping them stored in a pencil case or bag that fits into a binder. Use the pen until the ink is completely used up or the pencil until it’s down to a nub.
Use Both Sides of The Paper
Some schools have decided to issue their students with laptops for schoolwork, but not all have. Until then, many schools and school students need to both use and conserve loose leaf paper. I have often seen only one side of loose leaf paper used when school work is done. This is sometimes mandatory for types of work that need to be turned in. But when it comes to notes, both sides of the paper could be used. It can help save on paper. If you want to be more extreme, refrain from writing social notes, making paper airplanes, and doodling.
School Supply Advancements
Companies that make school supplies want to keep your business. For this purpose they try to improve their product, and some are pretty good improvements. The best I have seen recently is a binder that has flexible rings and lays flat. This would extend the life of school binders. Don’t buy into every school supply achievement, but keep a look out for improvements that will stretch your dollar more.
Back to school season is one of my favorite times to shop. It’s not because I’m sending children off to school. I’m not yet. It’s because the sales are great for things I can use around the house! Here are things to keep in mind before back to school sales come and go.
1. Office Supplies
You can score some great deals on pens, pencils, paper, adhesive tape, and so much more for your office, home office, or just your home.
2. Craft Supplies
Whether you have toddlers or preschoolers at home or you simply enjoy crafts on your own time, this is a good time to stock up on all sorts of craft supplies: colored paper, glue, popsicle sticks, among many other things.
Is it time for a new printer, computer, or calculator? Well, be sure to check on those back to school deals because there are some fantastic deals on electronics right now. I recently found myself suddenly in the market for a computer after our laptop was damaged while we were on vacation. Thankfully, I got a great deal on a laptop since my crisis happened to take place during back to school sale season! (Gotta look at the bright side, right?). You’ll also find flash drives and memory cards on sale right now. It’s a great time to get that memory card since you filled up the last one with all those pictures while on vacation this summer.
4. Athletic Shoes
Do you see all the shoe sales for children and college students? Some of them are pretty good deals. So, if you are like me and really need to replace your running shoes–or walking around shoes–this is the time to do it. For some reason, all sorts of athletic gear is on sale right now. So, since no one is checking for your student identification, you might as well take advantage of the deals.
5. Home/Office Furniture
I was skimming through all the weekly mailers today and was struck by the range of products for college students: bookcases, desks, organizers, waste baskets, and storage bins. You can use the same organizers for toys and the same “school” storage bins for holiday decorations.
Do you shop back to school sales as a non-student?
Different people save money in different ways. What may work for one person doesn’t always work for another. Here are a few ways to save money that have worked for some of the people in my life.
Pull a Twenty
When you are at the store or out getting fast food get twenty dollars cash back. Then put that twenty dollars into a savings account. Make this account difficult to access. There shouldn’t be a cash card for it. Arrange it so that you must go to the bank to withdraw the money. This is great as an emergency account. If twenty dollars is too much, pull an extra five or ten dollars instead.
I am a big fan of the way change adds up. If you use cash regularly, have a place to toss your change for a rainy day. Most of the time people don’t keep track of their change. It ends up in the couch, behind the dresser, or randomly in the laundry or on the floor. Rather than losing your profits to cleaning day, save your change in a jar or in a drawer. Keep track of it. You’ll be surprised how it adds up.
Have It Taken Out
Many banks will offer to make a deposit into your savings account from your checking account. You don’t handle the money. This means that you won’t be tempted to spend it on something else. If you don’t have an account yet, look for a bank that also offers a high interest rate for your account. You can even gain interest on the money that you are saving.
Savings In Savings
Some people enjoy to celebrate what they save in bargains, coupons, and discounts by actually saving it. Keep track of how much money you save from your money saving activities and set it aside in an account. Overtime you will see how much your efforts have added up.
Most smokers I have met reach a point where they wish they could quit smoking. At the very least they wish they could find an alterative that is cost effective and a likely solution. The gum tastes nasty and the patch can be misapplied. Quitting cold turkey would be ideal, but not realistic. With these thoughts in mind it’s time to consider the e-cigarette. The e-cigarette is more cost effective, replacing a pricey carton of cigarettes with a $5 pack of cartridges or $15 of vape juice for a lesser price and higher yield. It tastes better, is healthier for those around you and, in the words of one friend, “Doesn’t make you want to hate your life.”
Vaping, or the use of an e-cigarette, is a newer option for the retiring smoker. You can choose either a small e-stick that looks like a cigarette or a liquid to vapor device. The upside to the smaller version of the e-cigarette is that it can be bought cheaply as a disposable device. A more permanent device may cost more but can be reloaded. The downside is these smaller e-cigs are easier to lose. People are so used to flicking a dead cigarette out the window or stomping on it to snuff it out they will do so without thinking. On top of this, they are small and easy to misplace. They can range in price from a two or three dollar disposable to a sixty dollar starter kit. I don’t recommend this item to those who easily lose items. You will pay almost as much as you did in cigarettes if you can’t keep track of the cartridges, e-cig, or charger.
The larger liquid vapor device is more child friendly and usually needs to be unlocked before use. Just remember to store the liquid out of a child’s reach. The liquids that can be used in them come in a very wide variety of flavors. They can also have varying levels of nicotine including none at all. The cost comes with replacing the liquid and heating coil in this device. It is, however, less likely to misplace this item compared to its smaller cousin.
Have you or a friend tried to quit smoking? What worked for you or them?
Going to a one size fits all store I will admit is a convenience, but it is a convenience that you end up paying for. This is especially true when there is a discount type store right next door.
What’s In a Name
Just because it has dollar in the name, does not mean that the store has the best price. Having dollar in the name doesn’t mean that all items will be under a dollar in price. This particularly rings true when it comes to frugal cleaning supplies. You may be able to find sponges at a grocery store for less than you would find them at a dollar or discount store. For this reason it’s still important to shop around when you know every penny counts.
Even a discount store has a sale sometimes. This is a good way to get things like cleaning items, cosmetics, or hygiene supplies in bulk for a really low price. This is also a good way to build an emergency supply kit or first aid kit. You could get things like candles, toilet cleaner, or laundry detergent at a low cost. These are the type of supplies that come in handy in a tight pinch, that you otherwise wouldn’t buy because your wallet in just as pinched. A sale on top of a discount price is usually a very good bargain.
What Are You Getting?
Did you forget the baby bottle but you have three dollars worth of quarters? Do you need a quick toddler distraction? Are you just looking for a book you might like? Dollar and discount stores are right up your alley. If you have the option, run into one of these stores rather than the all in one stores. It may not be the best quality item, but it will do what you need it to for right now. Who knows. You may find it was better than the name brand bottles you had bought in the past.
Insurance is one of the most frustrating purchases to make. On one hand, we are spending money on something that may never happen. On the other hand, we would be very sorry not to have it should the necessity for it arise. Sometimes it’s against the law to be without insurance. Other times it just costs more than we would like to spend. For whatever reason you choose to hold an insurance policy, here are a few ways to keep your insurance from being more of a burden than it’s worth.
The first thing you will want to do when searching for insurance is shop around. Don’t just go with the company that your family has always been insured with, or what was recommended by a friend. Don’t only get one quote. Compare and price as many companies as you can find. Take notes on what you discover about each one. Know what insurances they offer and at what price. Then make the best decision for both your family and your finances.
Many companies offer a number of different types of insurances. We need car insurance, home owner’s or renter’s insurance, and life insurance. We need medical insurance. In some places we need special insurance based on flooding or earthquake possibilities. When we get most or all of our different types of insurance coverage from one company, our company often offers a discount to reward our customer loyalty.
Very Basic Coverage
Along with offering different types of insurance, insurance companies also offer a variety of insurance packages. Some have all the bells and whistles while others only cover the very basic needs of an individual being insured. If you are trying to follow the law by having a certain type of insurance, but have a tight budget, I suggest getting these basic packages. As your needs and financial situation changes, so should your insurance policies.
Eating out for whatever reason can be expensive and yet we do so anyway. We do it for work, on the go, or for celebrations. Luckily there are a few ways to lower the cost.
Lately my husband and I have been sharing a meal when we go out to eat. We have found that the meals at restaurants are big enough for two both in portion and nutritional value. This reduces the need for a take home box or food waste. It also is likely to be a more healthy meal than fast food, but at a smaller price. Eat where a family member is working and you may get a discount as well.
When sharing a meal isn’t an option, the other option I choose is to go big. I pick the biggest appetizer the restaurant has. This is usually the sample platter. I have found that most appetizers are less expensive than the main dishes. Most appetizers are also often the size of a meal I would normally eat. In many places there is enough variety to enjoy the same restaurant a few times.
If you have children it is far more likely that you will get more bang for your buck if you eat outside. While most restaurants offer a children’s menu that features food more child friendly and less expensive, most children still don’t enjoy sitting down for an extended period of time to eat it. Instead when it comes to eating with children it is better to have a picnic or BBQ. These foods can be fruits and vegetables or sandwich supplies. Not only are these items usually a more healthy choice, the often cost less. Purchases, such as peanut butter or jelly, also last longer and can be used in other meals.