(Note: This post was sponsored by Zondervan. Read our disclosure policy here.)
For a lot of people, the thought of living on a budget or trying to be more frugal can feel overwhelming. There’s a good chance you already feel stretched thin by the demands of your job and your kids and your commitments… and you want to figure out how to live on less and get a better handle on your finances, but you just wish someone would give you some easy tips and tricks to get started.
Well, you’re in the right place, because today I’m going to give you three simple ways to start living a more frugal life right away. These ideas don’t require any extra training or special skills to implement — and they probably won’t take you any additional time!
1. Drink More Water
You all know I’m a big fan of water. It is not only FREE, but it’s also so good for you.
Instead of ordering a drink when you’re out at a restaurant, order water. This simple switch will mean that you stay more hydrated and experience the benefits of drinking more water, but it also means you’ll save quite a bit of money.
And if you can get in the habit of drinking water instead of soda or fancy coffee or other beverages most of the time, this one tip could save you a few hundred dollars (or more!) per year!
2. Shop Markdowns & Clearance Racks
When you’re at the grocery store, take a few minutes to check for reduced produce, meat, bread, and dairy. (Not all grocery stores offer this, but many do and you can find some incredible deals on staple items this way!)
When you’re out shopping for clothes or other items, always check the clearance racks fi
rst. I’ve learned to scan the store when I first walk in to find the sale racks. In most cases, that’s all I ever look at!
By buying the bulk of our purchases on sale or clearance, we’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years!
3. Search for a Coupon Code
Before you make an online purchase, always search for a coupon code. You can Google the site you’re purchasing from + “coupon code” OR, you can just go to a site like RetailMeNot.com to search their massive coupon database.
While it might not seem like 10% here or 25% there will make a difference, it adds up big time. Best of all,
for the time it takes to search for a coupon code (usually a minute or less!), your return on investment can be quite substantial! (Where else can you easily save or make a few dollars for just a minute’s worth of your time?!)
See how simple and painless those were? (Okay, you might not think that giving up soda is painless, but I didn’t say you had to completely give it up!)
I was blessed to be raised by parents who were very financially savvy. We always lived beneath our means, they were very careful with every purchase, and they paid off their mortgage when I was young and then we saved up to pay cash to build a house in the country.
Because of their wise examples, living frugally isn’t something that’s difficult for me; it’s something that comes pretty natural to me. My friend, Erin Odom, is the same way.
But both of us know that frugality isn’t something that comes natural to most people and very few people were blessed to have the upbringing that we did.
That’s why I started MoneySavingMom.com — because I wanted to give practical tips and help you live on less than you make and be intentional with your money. It’s one of my passions to see families live in financial freedom and not carry around the constant stress of barely making ends meet (or of not having them meet at all!)
Erin has the same passion and that’s why she wrote the brand-new book, You Can Stay Home With Your Kids: 100 Tips, Tricks, and Ways to Make It Work on a Budget.
You Can Stay Home With Your Kids is a gorgeous, hardcover book that is also compact enough to fit inside your purse. It’s super easy to take with you on-the-go when you have spare time to read.
This book is like a money-saving manual, and you can read it all at once or in spurts whenever you feel like it. You can skip around or read it all the way through.
It’s divided up into 8 categories that every family faces when it comes to living a life with financial margin and freedom (pictured below in the table of contents).
This book isn’t like most other financial books that can get quickly overwhelming. You Can Stay Home With Your Kids is packed with tons of short but meaty money-saving tips that can be implemented right away. Each tip comes with an action step to help you immediately apply the tip and see a real impact on your family’s budget — potentially saving you thousands of dollars each year!
No matter the state of your bank account, this book will give you hope, encouragement, and real-life, practical tips to curb spending, create more income, and practice gratitude and contentment in every area of your life.
Special Offer: Get $50 Worth of Bonuses With Your Book Purchase!
Want to grab a copy of You Can Stay Home With Your Kids for yourself?
Through April 22nd, Erin and her publisher are offering $50 worth of bonuses when you purchase her book! This was a pre-order promotion, but they’re opening it back up just for MoneySavingMom.com readers!
Here’s what you’ll get with your book purchase:
- The Woven Heart eBook in Kindle, Nook, and PDF formats — a book of essays Erin wrote during her first 6 years of motherhood and the perfect companion for her new book!
- Printable 2-Week ALDI Meal Plan (PDF format)
- Motherhood Art Print (shipped for FREE to your house!)
- Two bath bombs and gift certificate for half-pound of fudge from Free Reign Farm. (Shipping not included.)
What are some of YOUR favorite simple ways to save money — that don’t take extra time or know-how to implement? Share them in the comments!
Note: I know that some of you are not in a financial position to be able to purchase this book, but I don’t want that to keep you from being able to get your hands on a copy. So, if you truly cannot afford it and you are unable to get it from your library, I would like to buy a copy for you. Just shoot me an email (moneysavingmom @ gmail.com) with your address and I will order it for you.
Jamerrill has a great post up sharing about her Large Family Freezer Cooking Session.
If you have a large family, I think you’ll be inspired by this post! She made 57 meals in 20 hours of freezer cooking!
Are you feeling discouraged about your finances? Do you feel like you’ll never get in a better financial place as a family? Does the future seem hopeless because of how difficult things are financially right now?
If that’s how you’re feeling today, I just want to encourage you today with 3 simple things you can do…
1. Remember you’re not alone.
There are millions of other people out there who are struggling financially and find themselves in a difficult place. Even if it feels like you’re the only one in your friend group who is struggling, you are not alone.
I encourage you to find other people you can connect with and identify with. Seek out community locally or find some spaces online — maybe Facebook groups or blogs — where you can connect with other people who are struggling financially.
Doing this will help remind you that you’re not alone, plus you’ll get encouragement and practical tips along the way!
2. Do the best you can do.
It’s so easy to look at someone else and let comparison take root.
I recently shared how we paid cash for our house. It was 15 years in the making of struggling and saving and working hard, but maybe you’ve been struggling for all of those 15 years and still feel just as stuck as ever.
It’s so important to do the best that you can do. Not the best someone else can do. Or the best you could have done 10 years ago. It’s the best you can do right now, in the season of life you’re in.
And then figure out what that looks like for you — this week, today, this hour.
3. Change your perspective.
Instead of thinking about how much you’re struggling, try thinking about what you can do with what you have. Get creative!
We spent lots of time at the library or park, because it was free. We checked out books and movies. We didn’t even have the money to go to the thrift store, but the library made me feel like I got a chance to shop a little — even though I really wasn’t!
We also worked so hard to stretch our grocery budget as far as we possibly could. Some weeks, we only had $17 to cover groceries for our family. I tried to find anything for free that could help us make a meal.
I turned it into a game and got really, really creative. We found free ways to do things that made us feel like we had breathing room, even when we didn’t.
(I still remember eating PB&J Sandwiches from ingredients we bought at the Dollar Store while we were on our honeymoon! We couldn’t afford to go out to eat, but we still remember our time together and how creative we had to be to make it work — even on our honeymoon!)
I say this to encourage you to find ways to enjoy what you do have during this season!
I can tell you 15 years later that all of the struggle was worth it. And that perspective has given me so much perspective today. I always think, “What can I do where I’m at right now?” I use this perspective to run my business, teach my kids, and live my life.
Changing your perspective can change your entire outlook on life.
Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!
What is your best advice for someone who is discouraged about their finances?
Trying to reign in the grocery budget?
If so, be sure to sign up for this FREE Grocery Savings Made Simple Video Series!
This 3-part training series will teach you:
- 16 Things You Should NEVER Buy at the Grocery Store (and where you should buy them instead)
- 13 Grocery Store Sales You Should IGNORE (and which ones you should ALWAYS take advantage of)
- 13 Strategies to be a Savvy Shopper (so you can OUTSMART the grocery store, every week!)