A large part of the economy crisis in our country is due to the fact that society teaches and trains us that it’s important to have things now. Don’t wait, go and get that brand new flat screen or new car. Why save up and pay for something when you can put it on a credit card? Trust me when I say that I have been caught up in this mentality just as much as the next person and I’m tired of living life in debt. My husband and I have started making choices that are helping us save money to pay down our debt more quickly. Here are some of the choices that we have made and I hope they help you as well. 🙂
Library vs. Bookstores:
I love to read and could spend an entire day in a bookstore just browsing. When we started trying to be more frugal with our money I switched from regular bookstores to going to Half Price Books, which I love. I would find all the books I needed, and more, for myself and my kids. They have a clearance section where you can frequently find books for a $1.00 and they have sales as well. I still shop this store when I am looking for gifts and things, but I found another great way to enjoy reading. The library! Not only do they have everything that I am looking for, but libraries have a “hold system”, so you can go onto your account and type in all of the books that you are looking for, they notify you when they are available to pick up, and you can read to your hearts content. They have free programs for children, such as story times, craft programs, special events, etc. One other discovery that I made is that they have movies to check out as well. You might have to wait for a little while for the one you want to become available, but patience is something that we can all use more of. Go to your local library today and check out what they have for you and your family.
Netflix vs. Cable:
Up until recently, our family still had cable. You can get deals through most cable companies where you get a package of cable/internet/phone for a certain discounted amount per month. We have also had Netflix since they first started. For the past several months I had noticed that because Netflix had put so many kids shows, tv shows and movies on their instant streaming we were watching more of that than we were of our cable. I also noticed a trend that we were receiving more calls on our cell phones than our home phone. I looked on the internet and found that most of the shows that my husband and I watch were also on there, so I made the switch. Doing this is actually saving us almost $100 per month and I haven’t been disappointed in any way since we did it. My husband who is a big sports fan, is still able to catch most of the games on his computer or the radio, so it’s no loss for us.
Thrift Stores vs. Retail:
Most people when they hear thrift stores mentioned they might think of dirty leftovers that other people don’t want. With today’s struggling economy, thrift stores are actually thriving. Not only are they doing well, but most of them have nicer things than people realize. I like to support my local thrift stores and my favorite is Thrift Town. They have 7 locations in California and are also in Texas, Utah and New Mexico. There are also nationwide chains such as, Savers/Value Village, Salvation Army, and Goodwill. All of these stores will offer great sales too. Just check their websites for upcoming sales and promotions. For myself, I can’t see paying $70-$100 on a brand name pair of jeans, when I can find the same brand name pair (slightly used) for around $5-$10. There are some retail stores that offer great clearance prices on clothes and shoes that I will occasionally shop, like Kohls, Target, and Walmart.
Eating in vs. Eating out:
This is an area that my husband and I are still working on. There is definitely convenience, when you have a busy and hectic life, to eating out. It is certainly not cost-effective or healthy in most cases. Most of my dinners that I make for my family are $5 per meal or less. For breakfast and lunch it’s usually even less than that. It’s almost $20 for our family to eat at a fast food restaurant. There are health benefits to cooking our own meals too. Our biggest issue is the convenience of fast food, when I don’t have time to cook. I am working on ways in our home to pre-make many of our meals so that they become on-the-go meals. As I make these meals I will begin sharing them with you all. I know that in the end our bank accounts and waistlines will thank me. 🙂