Now that I'm married, we have been blessed with everything we need. However there are still times where the budget is tight and that is when my frugal instincts kick in! A lot of the lessons I learned growing up are very helpful to apply now that I truly need to live more practically than ever. It's tricky learning to adapt and adjust to a lifestyle that lives on the bare necessities together, but we've been making it work. I wanted to share some of the tips we follow that help us in hopes that it will provide some wise advise for those who are in similar boats! I also hope it provides wise advise and insights to those who have yet to cross this bridge!
Here they are...
15 Basic Tips To Practical Living
15. Plan Meals
|Plan meals for the week|
A website that we have found very helpful is www.myfridgefood.com. My Fridge Food is a website that allows you to check off a list of everything you have in your kitchen. After you check off that list, the website will find hundreds of easy recipes you can make with whatever you have. It's been very helpful. Try to plan at least two weeks in advance for how much you'll be making for you and/or your family.
14. Places and Times To Shop
Seriously stick to your grocery list! We all know that we mean to go into the store with a list of 5 things.. and come out with 50... I've done it too! Soooo many times! No shame. But it is a problem. Something I've adapted to (while still hard, it's possible) is writing down or memorizing which isles you will find each grocery. Go in and make bee lines for these isles to get exactly what you need - don't look around. You can do it!
13. How Big Is Your Meal?
Don't plan meals according to how much you want to eat, but how much you need to eat to survive. Key tip: if your entire meal is bigger than your fist, it's too big. You only need enough food to fill up your stomach. If you practice only having portion sized meals, you save a lot by not having to buy as much food and not having to buy food so often.
12. Eating Out
I don't put down the idea of eating out on occasion. I do not agree with eating fast food when 'you don't have any food' or when you want to eat it because 'it's cheap" - worst excuses ever, don't even try. If you have enough money to eat out regularly, you shouldn't complain about not having food in your house. However, I do think it's important to get out of the house a time or two each month, especially if you are married. There is nothing wrong with putting aside a few dollars to go on a nice dinner date. The cool thing is: you can still save money while you're eating out at a restaurant! By this, I don't mean that you can get a salad and a soup and starve the rest of the night (you can, that's fine!) When you order your meal, ask your waiter/waitress to give you half of what you would normally receive on a plate and the other half in a to-go box. They may or may not be a little confused... but the customer is always right and they will do so for you :) I know by experience! This way you are paying for two meals instead of just one, and besides - the size of each meal you have is the appropriate size for you stomach like I talked about before ;)
|Ask for half your meal to be|
put in a to go box
11. Gas Station
One of the things I recommend doing for gas is purchasing a Wal Mart Gas Card and use Wal Mart's gas station, Murphy USA. Why, you ask? When you purchase a Wal Mart gas card, you get 10 (ten) cents off each gallon! On top of that, Murphy USA is typically cheaper gas than most gas stations. Let's say the average gas station right off the highway right now has gas at $3.50. Murphy's will usually be about 4 cents cheaper than that ($3.46) plus a gas card from Wal Mart and you pay $3.36 per gallon - on average, 16 cents cheaper than the average highway gas station! The argument may be something like: "well that makes you travel farther, you're still spending the same amount of money..." Well... true.. unless you're not only going out for gas ;) The convenient thing about Murphy's gas station is that it's right in front of or right beside Wal Mart. This brings me to my next tip...
10. Gas When You Shop
10. Gas When You Shop
|Get gas when you shop|
9. Save 'Em!
|Save your receipts, or just the|
amount on them
Well this wraps up the first seven tips of my practical living blog posts! Keep a look out next week for my second part of practical living, numbers 1-8! I hope this helps! Also, let me know in the comments section if there are any tips you want to share with the rest of us, I know we have some pretty clever and creative people out there ;)