I save money using many frugal skills, my favorite is probably paying cash and following Dave Ramsey’s money system. Other than that, I save money many ways in my house by using these skills:
Whether it’s cooking Mac N’ Cheese for supper instead of getting fast food, or making your own homemade bread. Cooking for yourself saves you a ton of money. The thing I discovered is that the more I learn to cook, the more I want to learn. I have ventured into cheese making with Ricotta, next month I want to start making my own pasta.
I don’t know how to do much more than patch holes in knees and elbows of clothes. (Which makes a cheap pair of kid’s jeans last FOREVER!) This fall I have been learning how to sew clothes, and love the one-of-a-kind items I make out of clothes that people have given me and my kids. I have also had people approach me about doing simple repairs or alterations for them. Not only am I saving us money by helping our clothes to last longer, but I am making extra with this handy skill.
It doesn’t matter if you rip out your whole yard to grow your own produce, or have a few pots on the porch. Growing your own food is a rewarding hobby to take up (I find it very relaxing). This winter I am doubling my garden size after enjoying the carrots and tomatoes I grew this summer. It is a huge load off the budget when you can grow your own groceries.
Being frugal is a choice, no one wakes up one day and thinks, “I am going to become broke by my own choice”. Well, at least not normally. Being frugal is choosing to think of yourself as broke. Stretching that dollar until it squeaks is not normal in this day and age. I have found that once I experience saving money by doing something in my own power, I get a feeling of accomplishment and I am addicted to feeling that again.
This is the biggest skill I would say every frugal person needs. It could be planning a menu for the month or planning what bills need to be paid in what order. Not knowing what is going on, is the biggest pitfall I fell into. When I started planning my time, money, and priorities, life became much more manageable and I now have a clear picture at all times. Get a cheap day planner and write down bill due dates, a cleaning schedule, and any reminders. You will find your life much less stressful and you won’t be late on bill payments then.
There are some days when I look around my house, my yard, at my car and feel like it’s not enough, that I want something better, something more. This is when I switch gears. Instead of dashing to the store, I will go and take an inventory of my stockpile, weed the garden, or clean something. When I choose to be content and maintain what I already have, I realize how much I love my little house, my mismatched and well broken in furniture, and my older model car that runs perfectly.
RETHINK THE TRASH
I am amazed when I start thinking about what I used to throw out. Between composting and re-purposing I have cut down what I throw away to 1 bag a week. Old clothes are made into rags, cloth for projects, or donated to the women’s shelter. Cardboard boxes are storage, crafted into castles, or become pirate swords. Even old scrap paper becomes a wonderful canvas for finger paints and watercolors for the kids. Paper trash is burned in our evening backyard fires and I have been teaching my kids about recycling. There is so much that you can do using frugal skills to bring down the amount of trash you throw out, just be creative.
If you are like me and love to do things yourself, it is important to learn your way around power tools. I grew up learning at my dad’s knee, things like animal husbandry, rebuilding tractors, and building outbuildings on the ranch. When it came to building my own chicken coop this summer, I whipped up some plans, bought the materials, and got to work. My coop may not be pretty, but it works and was far cheaper, bigger, and more sturdy than the $300 coops from the feed store.
I grew up watching my grandmother and mother can their own pickles, jams, and meat. It’s no wonder then when I started looking for ways to be thrifty that I started canning as well. When one of my coworkers found a dehydrator at a garage sale, they knew I would use it and picked it up for me. Now I make everything myself from onion powder and tomato paste in my dehydrator; to apple pie filling and stew meat in canning jars. Being able to use the produce I grew in my garden in different ways and not have to run to the store stretches my money a lot further.
That first time you ask someone to trade you a bag of butternut squash for a basket of pears or a bag of tomatoes is rather daunting. I’ve found though that as long as you are fair, most people are overjoyed to trade with you rather than sell outright. Just make sure you think logically about the trade, someone who spent hours making that hand crafted basket is probably not going to trade it for a dozen eggs. When done right bartering can take a huge load off the budget and save you a ton of money.
What skills do you use to save money?