My number one tip for keeping things simple and saving money is to stay home more. Staying home is one of the simplest ways to have more time, spend less money, accumulate less clutter, and well, to plain just live a less frantic lifestyle.
A lot of times I’m asked how I get so much done. Let me tell you, I’m no wonder woman, but I do know that one of my "secrets" to efficiency is that I am home almost all day, every day.
I’ve purposely said "no" to a multitude of outside activities and opportunities because I know that running around with two little children for most of the day not only wears me out, it is a surefire way for me to spend more money (i.e. trips through the fast-food lane while we’re out, swinging by to check out a sale I see signs for when I don’t really need anything, or ordering carry out for dinner because I’m exhausted and didn’t have time to make anything for dinner) and get less done. It’s just not worth it, folks.
Now, am I saying you need to cut out every outside activity and commitment and never step foot outside your doorstep? No. What I am encouraging you to do is to carefully evaluate all outside commitments and see if there are some that are really necessities or if they are just cluttering up your life for no good reason.
In the area of grocery shopping, one thing which has helped me tremendously is to limit myself to one grocery shopping trip a week. Outside of my once-a-week grocery shopping trip, unless there is some incredibly knock-down-drag-out good deal on something we need and use and we’re going to be right in the vicinity of that store or it is right down the block from us, I just pass the deal over.
Knowing that I’ve only got one shot at grocery shopping each week motivates me to do the best I can do in that one shopping trip. It also forces me to make sure and write a thorough menu and grocery list and to have determined the sales and matched them with my coupons ahead of time. If I forget to write an ingredient down, I have to do without.
You want to know a secret? While post a lot of deals on this blog–often multiple deals everyday–I only actually go out and do small percentage of the deals I post here. Shocking, eh?
I’ve learned over time the freedom which comes from being able to say "no." And I’ve been bargain shopping long enough to know that most deals will come around again. If I miss a deal, I can always catch it next time.
Instead of feeling a sense of urgency to hit every deal possible, I pick and choose which deals are best suited for the time I have, the products we need, and which will work into my weekly shopping trip.
(And just for the record, while I try to have it look like this at least once a day, it also often looks like this!)
Besides grocery shopping, we do very little other shopping. I hit the second-hand stores, some clearance sales, and a few community-wide garage sales or consignment sales a few times per year to buy clothes for myself and the girls. And we make an occasional stop every few months into a hardware store, fabric store, or office supply store. However, other than that, shopping trips are a rarity at our home. I make it my goal to learn to make do with what we have or to learn to live without as much as possible.
One of the nice side effects of shopping so rarely is that we don’t have a lot of clutter. In fact, some would probably think our home looks really bare, but I’d much rather have only things we need, use, and love taking up residence in our home, than to have our rooms bulging with stuff we don’t need, haven’t used in a long time, and don’t like in the first place.
It’s so simple but it really works: just stay home!