Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lovin' Livin' on Less

Don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found.
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it,
I'll tell you something true -
The bare necessities of life will come to you.
- Disney’s Jungle Book (1967)

That’s right – I just pulled this profound quote from a cartoon. But ya know what? That Balbo is one smart dude... er... bear. Aaaaa the good ol' days when Disney movies were full of moral character and virtue...

Moving on.

Devin and I are finishing our final month of living radically frugal and now that I’ve “found out [I] can live without it” - I really don’t worry thinkin’ about it. And I really doubt much will change after I check this baby off the list. I don't want to go back to spending - I want to continue to save and continue to give. In fact, I want to give more than what we have been giving. So, I guess we'll be living off of even less. (Don't worry, my husband is in full support/leading the change on this venture.)

Here are a few more living frugal tips that have really helped me: 

Stop Impulse Buying: Make a "30-day Wait List" of things you want. By the time a month has passed it will probably be clear whether those purchases are wants or needs. And shoot! If you can live without it for a month, you can probably do without it period. For me, a helpful tip was to make my "wait list" my birthday list - it gave me ideas when my family and friends asked what I wanted and I didn't have to spend money on those items. Even when my birthday rolled around, I had removed a lot of the items on the list as I realized I didn't really need or even want them anymore.  

Fun-n-Free Events: Most cities have some free events every once in a while. In the last few months we've been able to go to an art museum, a concert, a science museum and a play for F-R-E-E. Over $120.00 worth of fun nights out for nada'penny. Other ideas include: parades, festivals, art fairs, local symphonies (they often have free preview nights) and league sporting events. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears open for free events in your area. You might be surprised how much is out there. 

Be Socially Frugal (no I don't mean be stingy with the time you spend with other people): Personally, I really love to eat food with people - whether it is inviting people over to our apartment or going out to eat with them, there is just something about good friends and good fun that I can't get enough of. However, going out to eat is pricey and even having people over for dinner can add up if things are really tight. So, instead, why not go out for a coffee rather than dinner, or invite people over for dessert instead of a full meal? I've also found that most people are more than willing to bring something to contribute to the meal. My girl friends and I have started hosting themed "potluck" style dinners (Italian night, Mexican night, etc.) and it has been so fun to see what everyone comes up with. Plus we get to swap recipes which is always great!

Generosity: I'm not kidding. There is something very satisfying and intoxicating about giving to people in need that causes you to want to live more frugally. Like I mentioned above, the more you give, the more you want to give. There are frugal results too. Firstly, generosity makes you more grateful and content for what you have. Secondly, it makes you realize how much less you can live on. Thirdly, you get to bless someone else which is so much better than the temporary satisfaction of a new purchase. (Plus, generosity is one of the only areas where God challenges us to test Him.)

For even more tips check out this (slightly Zen, I apologize) article: The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living
Q4U - What is your favorite tip for living frugal?


  1. My favorite frugal tip? Using coupons on things already on sale at the grocery store. Thank you for allowing me to buy so much yummy food and other items at least 50% off! (And thanks mom for giving me all your sunday newspaper coupons!) And sometimes things can be free - and so the lady who runs the site encourages you to donate any items that would be free.

  2. Let's see...
    Tip#1: Log your spending (every single penny)

    Tip#2: Don't go to Target or shop online--you won't see what you're missing

    Tip#3: Stock up on easy-to-make meals where you always have ingredients in your pantry or freezer (so they won't go bad) for those days you don't feel like cooking and want to go out to eat

    Tip#4: Before purchasing something you REALLY want, ask yourself if you can make it yourself for way less(examples: new throw pillows, curtains, comforter, wall art, wall decals, jewelry, skinny scarves, etc.) or if your husband could make it (bookshelves, picnic table, bunk beds, etc.)

    Tip#5: Learn how to sew--you can make new things for yourself or to sell, you can alter things you already have to make them look different and feel new again, you can fix things that otherwise might have been thrown out

    I liked all your tips, Jen! Our family has gone to the (free) Air Force Museum a couple times in the last month or so and it's been a lot of fun--we got to walk inside all these old presidential airplanes!

    One thing about having people over for dinner, though, is I would put that in the giving category! If you are tight on money, then I understand the dessert thing (or trying to live radically frugally), but if you have the money and just want to be more generous (and hospitable) I say invite people over for dinner once a week! I talked to Stew about wanting to give more and he suggested that instead of just writing a bigger check on Sundays, to start looking for ways you can give everyday or if someone asks you to do something for them, don't let them pay you back. For me food is a way that I give. Bringing a meal to a new mom, baking cookies for the neighbors, inviting people over for dinner, baking cupcakes for someone's birthday, paying for a friend's coffee when you go out--stuff like that.


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