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Q&A Tuesday: What do you do when you don’t feel like being frugal anymore?

Frugal fatigue hits me at least once a month. I get tired of making food from scratch and think about how much easier it would be to just go to the store and purchase it. If I have to go to the mall, it really hits me as I love fashion (until I get sticker shock from the prices that is!)

What do you do when you don’t feel like being frugal anymore? -Michelle

1) Focus on the Best Return On Your Investment Of Time

Don’t try to implement every money-saving idea you run across. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure and burn out.

It’s really and truly okay if you don’t make everything from scratch, or don’t plant a huge garden and preserve 200 pounds of vegetables or don’t save 85% off all your grocery bills. You can’t do it all.

Concentrate your efforts on where you’ll get the biggest savings and skip the smaller money-saving ideas if they don’t work for your family or aren’t something you enjoy.

2) Allow Some Breathing Room in Your Budget

This goes hand-in-hand with point number one. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not pinching every single penny you possibly can. The purpose of frugality is not to be a miser; it’s to be a wise steward.

If you can, include at least $10 to $20 in your budget each week for something fun: a treat at the coffee shop or ice cream shop, dinner out, pizza and a movie or whatever else you or your family especially enjoys. If it’s budgeted, you can guiltlessly enjoy it and look forward to it.

Want to make this budgeted money go farther? Sign up for the Groupon emails in your area and purchase a few deeply discounted vouchers to local restaurants or attractions.

3) Reward Yourself For Achieving Goals

I’m all about setting financial goals and working hard towards accomplishing them, but don’t forget to celebrate milestones along the way. Plan a party or go on a special family date every time you pay off a credit card. Put $5 in a special “Family Vacation” fund jar every time you save another $50 dollars in your savings account. Or, maybe make a commitment as a family that if you all stick to the budget for an entire month, everyone gets $10 in “blow money” to spend on whatever they want (be sure to budget this in, of course!).

Knowing there’s a reward at the finish line can give you much greater motivation to keep pressing forward.

Related: After I had written this post last week, my friend, Heather, sent me a link to her post on How To Combat Frugal Fatigue. She had quite a few other additional ideas.

How do you combat frugal fatigue? Tell us your strategies in the comments.

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119 Comments

  • Spendwisemom says:

    I would say to take a week off. By the end of the week, you will want to get back to your frugal ways and save money. It’s just the same with vacations!

  • Amanda says:

    I take breaks from frugality. Sometimes there is just something I want, whether it be a pair of jeans or an outing with my kids. As long as I try to “behave” the majority of the time, I don’t mind at all a lapse here and there. Life would be boring if you couldn’t “splurge” once in awhile; there is nothing wrong with that. So don’t feel guilty, and don’t feel like you have to live frugally 100% of the time. We are only here on Earth a short time; enjoy it AND be smart.

    • Ashli says:

      That is a fantastic response, we took a frugal break last week ourselves. Dinner out as a family AND a date night with the hubby. Did we spend more than we would have if I had cooked both nights? Yup. Do I feel guilty? Nope. I feel refreshed from having a night where I didn’t have to cook and clean up after my kiddos, and I got a wonderful evening to reconnect with my husband. This week we are back to watching every penny and saving what we can. As long as it isn’t a regular occurrence I don’t worry about it. After all, we still have to get some enjoyment out of life! (And me being the frugal person I am, we used restaurant.com gift certificates that I got for 80% off both night. LOL)

      • Jenna says:

        This is what we do too only with a twist we take coupons with us and we buy meals where we know we can bring some home. We try to eat less and bring home at least half. So this saves me the second meal that I reheat at home if we can’t save half we add a easy side dish at home makes it a second meal at home! So overall we haven’t spent more or not much more! I also shop at Aldi if I am sick of couponing etc…..

        • Brenda says:

          Yes! I shopped Aldi for December & January. It was a super break & i really didn’t spend too much more than couponing at Meijer.

          • Ashli says:

            Aldi is my favorite! I always start there, then go to a larger grocery store to fill in (with coupons) when necessary. It’s amazing to me that I can feed a family of 5 for well under $100 a week there. We’re not talking about junk food either, but fresh produce, dairy, meat, and whole grains for a fraction of the price!

          • birthrightrose says:

            I agree with Aldi’s. I shop there and forget the couponing. In our regular grocery the coupons never seems to ring up the way the plans do on the net and I am not going to stand and haggle. I shop Aldi for everything we need and buy grassfed meats and eggs locally. No more coupon time/stress for me.

          • Kristine says:

            I’ve recently started shopping at Aldi for most things. I find couponing and shopping at multiple stores too stressful and time-consuming, and I don’t buy most of the things that I see coupons for anyway. Shopping at Aldi works with our budget and our meal plans.

    • Heather says:

      My husband is much better at this than I am. In fact I need a new purse because mine broke the other day. I taped it til garage sale season. My husband went and got me a gift card to a store and told me if I come back with things for the kids they will go back. I have to be okay with splurging and I am learning.

      • Amanda says:

        Go use that gift card!!! I am picturing you with that taped purse strap, and it’s making me giggle (not in a mean way), the same way the guy in that movie (I forget which) did when he taped his glasses together in the center when they broke! You are cracking me up. No, seriously, I do understand what you mean… even though I don’t mind “splurging” on occasion, I too notice that I spend a whole lot more on the kids than I do on myself. That was really nice of your husband… bet it would make him happy that you used his gift as it was intended!

        • Heather says:

          I went and used the card. Love Love Love my new purse. First one I have had that was not owned before. I know weird?? My mom always put us kids first and I guess growing up that way it comes natural. I am learning that sometimes mommy needs a special too. Thanks for the encouragment.

          • Amanda says:

            I am so glad you did! I wish you could upload a picture of your new purse! I love purses.

            My mom also did “everything” for me, and for my brothers. It is hard letting go of the idea that you should do everything for your kids when that is what you grew up with… it makes me feel like I am a bad mother. But I am beginning to realize, the world does NOT revolve around our children. They need to learn to be productive, independent adults, and they cannot do that if we focus all of our energies on providing everything FOR them.

            So… I am glad you took that first step to doing something for YOU.

  • My husband and I allow ourselves to have an allowance every couple of months that we can spend however we like. It is such a big help. Most of the time I end up spending my money on treating us to go out to eat when I don’t feel like cooking, or indulging in an unnecessary clearanced bath item. Whatever it is, it doesn’t make me feel guilty, and it allows us both to have a little fun with our money. Also, sometimes spending my swagbucks can fix the itch too. Allow yourself to get a little break from your hard frugal work, and you will be so glad you did.

    Alison
    thegreengoddessblog.blogspot.com

  • These are some really good tips! I like the Groupon (& other like sites) because you can reward yourself without breaking the bank! Last month, my favorite luxury chocolate place had 50% off certificates, so I bought two of them and plan on spending them around Mother’s Day and my birthday! 🙂

  • Holly says:

    We try to be frugal in most of the things we do and purchase as well, but there are times when a break or as I like to think of it as a reward is in order. This could be a few days of eating out, buying a few microwave dinners from the store, a vacation, or whatnot.

    I agree that as much as we would like to, we cannot be frugal 24/7. Having an allowance set for every family member and for different situations helps to keep room in the budget for these kinds of things. Great post!!!

  • Suzie says:

    I commend that you make food from scratch and do all that, I wish I was good at cooking but I am just not at all, I try and try and I wish I was better at it! I love to get clothes and shoes for cheap cheap, for instance there is this site called amiclubwear.com (yeah I know it sounds like a site a stripper would buy from) but really they have the cutest heals between 5.99 and 15.99 on clearance if you spend 50 you get free shipping I got 5 pairs for 50 bucks!

  • Thanks, Crystal. I get a bit of burn out sometimes, and take a little break. Fortunately, we have a well stocked pantry, so if I take a week off and just buy a little fresh for that week, it doesn’t really cost us a whole lot differently.

    Last autumn when I’d been canning, freezing and dehydrating like a fool, I was so, soooooo done. Now, I can hardly wait to get back to gardening! So I think we have to take it all in stride, honor those feelings when we can and just do our best, yes?

    -Laura at TenThingsFarm

  • Courtney says:

    We roll our “left over” grocery money each week into our miscellaneous money for the month. Our misc covers everything from movies to lawn care, and more. So, if I have $15 left over after the grocery shopping one week, then I add that to the misc envelope. It gives us a little more wiggle room to spend on something a little less “needed”. So, maybe we can go to a full price movie instead of hitting the Red Box, etc.

  • Rae says:

    Well we do go out to eat at least once a month. We plan ahead for it though… not the date that we will go but I will watch for really good deals. Like when there was $25 Genghis Grill certificates for $10 on Groupon, I bought a couple. I don’t like clutter (still have it though :/ ) so my parents usually get us giftcards and that year they gave us a Genghis Grill giftcard for our anniversary. We still did money saving things when we did go like going during lunch (we got the bottomless bowls and they were several dollars cheaper during lunch) and ordered water with a lemon. Or when I get free $25 restaurant.com certificates I don’t use them right away I wait until I feel like you explained. Then we still get cheaper items and the $35 you have to spend gets our family of 4 enough food for a full dinner and a take home meal. We end up spending around $10 (I’m good at getting right at the $35 minimum) plus tax and tip. It ends up being around $20 for 2 meals worth for the whole family.

    Another thing I do is when I AM deal shopping and find great deals on tv dinner type things, I buy them and save them for those nights that I really don’t feel like cooking. I know some may not agree with this for health reasons but it’s not every night so I am ok with it 🙂

  • Megan says:

    I agree with the “starting small” goal for a family vacation/fun activity. we “keep it small” by just saving all of our change in a jar. we’re almost exclusively all-cash, so we cash in around $200 every 3-4 months. we tend to forget about what’s in the jar, so the unexpected boost when we cash it in is great!
    (not to mention, spending it on clearance sales for the kids’ clothing – or several weeks worth of dollar bowling Wednesdays!)

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for posting this! I know some days I definitely feel this way. But when I save so much in lots of other ways, it ought to be OK to spend something in a non-frugal way once in awhile.

    Just tonight I went to Kroger. I normally save about 69% consistently when I plan my shopping trips and use my coupons. This week has been crazy, so I didn’t have time to plan a whiz-bang trip. Thanks to pre-loaded e-coupons, I still saved 31%. And that’s OK!

  • Amanda says:

    If you are feeling burnt out on being frugal, try to pinpoint which part of being frugal is tiresome to you. I get tired of making breakfast from scratch. It’s not hard, but it gets old. So, sometimes I buy a box of cereal, even without a coupon (I still stick with the buy one get one free items). For me, the ease of having breakfast taken care of is a nice break whereas treating myself in other ways (like a manicure or whatever) doesn’t give me the same sort of break. Being burnt out on saving money is a very personal thing, so try to evaluate what is bothering you so much and how you could reverse those feelings.

    • WilliamB says:

      Amanda has a good point – start with what gives you the biggest dread or the biggest “I don’ wanna!” factor and try to get a break from that.

      I did this just recently, when I got fed up with clutter and small, labor-intensive chores. For the nonce I am not:
      – saving the water that runs while I wait for it to get hot;
      – composting my food scraps;
      – using a water filter pitcher.
      None of these changes have to be permanent but I am enjoying the break from the small-chores-that-build-up.

      The other thing I find helps is to think of being frugal as a JOB. We take vacations but we don’t stop going to work just because we don’t feel like it, right?

    • Lise says:

      This is so insightful, Amanda. I really love this idea and appreciate you sharing. We are currently saving for some pretty big goals and sometimes I think…gosh, I’d just really like to eat out but the reality is I just really don’t want to cook! The other day I thought it has been FOREVER since I went shopping for anything other than food and toilet paper. I realized I was just really bored and tired of being inside.

      Again, thank you – love this!

    • Angie W. says:

      I’m not sure I’d have thought to say what you did, Amanda, but that is so very true. I’m not a huge shopper so it doesn’t bother me to be frugal on many things but coupon shopping for groceries with two small boys and being pregnant just wears me out! I do much better right now meal planning and shopping at Winco than trying for the absolute lowest food budget I can get. As with any frugal tips, personalizing them to your situation and family is so important!

  • Perfect question with a well articulated answer. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Being frugal can get tiresome. But in the end it’s a mindset and attitude. Practice makes perfect!

  • Anna says:

    When I don’t feel like being frugal, I take the kids to the dollar store and we buy whatever we want. The kids love to buy whatever they want.

    To be honest, I can be tired of being frugal but I cannot stop being frugal otherwise I would not be able to make ends meet. I guess being frugal allows me to have extras like to have gifts under the tree, buy birthday gifts, have Easter baskets, go to movies on occasion, rent videos.

    I would love to let go of “being frugal” but that is not a luxury I can afford right now. Instead I try to focus on the blessing that being frugal provides me and bring to me.

    • Anna says:

      Last year, 2010, I save all my Target gift cards, my rebates, extra money I earned ($5 here and $10 there), Swag bucks, any other gift card I could save, and saved “freebies” (Bath & Body)–all for Xmas. I saved over $400 in gift cards, $500 cash, $75 Swag bucks, and lots of freebies. In the end I spent it on Xmas. I got the kids “nice gifts” and got us some nice family gifts. That was the first Xmas I have ever saved for and the most money I have ever had. Frugality is where it came from and I enjoyed spending every bit of it on Xmas. I guess sometimes you have to remember why you are being frugal–save for Xmas, work on being debt free, making good meals for your family–then being frugal becomes worth it.

      • Anna says:

        I believe this was posted somewhere on this blog recently.
        http://moneyning.com/frugality/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people/? This is a good article and a quote on the last habit, sharpen the saw. relates to this blog topic.

        “Frugality does not mean having to give up all the luxuries and things which make you happy because if you go through developing habits 1 to 6 without spending the time to renew yourself this is how you burn out, and frugality is something you want to develop and maintain for the long-term and with these seven habits you can be a highly frugal person.”

    • Rachael says:

      I do the same at yard sales. I budget something like $10 and buy things just for fun with absolutely no guilt.

  • Liz says:

    These are great tips – thanks! I’ve recently been tired of living so frugally – until yesterday when I realized I was so much UNDER budget for groceries last month, I had enough money leftover to buy a plane ticket to see my sisters whom I haven’t seen in months. I’m so excited now and it reminded me why it’s so important for us to live this way!!

  • Sabrina says:

    I cash in my surveys and mystery shops and that is money that currently is not saved for anything in particluar. It’s free spending cash for date night, or a new pair of boots…whatever! I am still cautious on my purchases, and I make sure I’m not totally wasting the money. My husband and I went out ot dinner last night and used a gift card that we got for Christmas, and for the tip we left some of the cash from a survey I recently took.

  • So often I hear people say that the answer is to stop being so frugal for a little while–or to go buy something for yourself.

    But for many of us, there isn’t a choice to stop, or to buy something. Being frugal allows us to get by. It means we have food. The rebate checks aren’t saved; they are part of what we have to purchase food. For some of us, the freebies that you mention on here are huge blessings for us, because it’s the only shopping we can do (the things that are truly free, as in $0 out of pocket, not things like the only pay shipping deals, which are way too much for us to afford). Even the freebies have to be done carefully (combined trips or enough to make it worth the gas), because gas costs money, too.

    I know that Dave Ramsey talks about having “blow” money, but sometimes that isn’t possible, if your income doesn’t cover your expenses. We don’t have blow money; we usually don’t have grocery money any more (thankfully, we have a well-stocked pantry, and our garden is starting to provide a few things now).

    Every year our income has decreased (for the last 4 years). I live in the city of highest unemployment in the nation, and 90% of the homes here are 65% or more underwater. For us, this means a 65% decrease in income.

    We were always frugal, but now we are learning to become extremely frugal. Just when we think we can’t cut anything else, we find something else to cut, or to do for less, or to make for ourselves (I love the cotton-ball substitute that you posted recently!)

    Sometimes it does get tiring. Sometimes you don’t get everything done that you want to. A child’s birthday comes and you may find that you can’t get presents made in time–or perhaps just one or two, as I did today. Thankfully, I was barely able to finish making a dress for a daughter, who needed one. I had just enough fabric leftover from fabric I had bought as a teenager! It wasn’t easy in the time I had, but she loved it.

    I find that sleep helps. The next morning, a good plan of action is important. (Get up early!) Plan meals, plan projects (gardening, sewing, canning, etc.) and see all that you are accomplishing. Make meals that have enough leftovers so that you don’t have to cook and do dishes as often. A big pot of leftover potato soup was enough for lunch for a couple of days, giving me a chance to sew yesterday. Simple meals and leftovers make it easier when I have lots of sewing or canning to do.

    Having fun together at home is important. My husband and I play games for dates. In January and February we took time off from projects to just spend some time playing cards together at night after the children were in bed. We played several nights in a row. I did less sewing, but the time with my husband was well spent.

    Presentation is important. It may be frustrating to always be cooking everything from scratch, but if you can make it beautiful, it helps you to enjoy it more. At my house, we fill up the plates for the children and ourselves in the kitchen and then bring them to the table, so that we can eat more formally at the table (and avoid having to cut up, or dish up soup, or butter bread for 6 small children at the table!) If I have any flowers growing in the garden, I’ll bring them in and put them in a vase on the table.

    I find that when I can’t afford to go shopping, it’s best to not read the grocery ads. They just go straight in the trash. Reading great deals that I can’t afford to buy just breeds discontent.

    Good fiction helps as well. I like to request books from the library for myself. Going to pick something up for ME to read (instead of just for my children) makes me feel rich.

    Making something different for dinner from what I already have in my pantry makes the inability to go shopping more fun. Today I made candy for my daughter’s birthday. I couldn’t buy a gift for her, but I had the ingredients in my pantry already (and the fabric in my closet!), and I used what I had. I put a tablecloth on the table and I printed up paper butterflies that we cut up and hung for decorations. I didn’t go shopping but we had presents and a cake, and decorations, and grandparents over for dinner. It was fun, and it was nice to do something different!

    Learn a new skill. Mend something and make it last. Plant a seed and watch it grow (you can sprout lentils for a fun and fast way to add vegetables to your meals, and your children will love seeing them go so fast!) Teach something to your children. Find little ways to make the everyday more fun, using what you already have.

    • Cate says:

      What a lovely response, and way of looking at things.

    • Zena says:

      What a perfect response. You’ve motivated me!

    • Nancy says:

      Your post was a great inspiration! I admire the way you articulated ideas for families who have less wiggle room in their budget. Your daughter is blessed to have a creative thoughtful and hardworking mom! Thanks for writing!

    • Jodi says:

      Thank you so much for the inspiration! I really needed a new way of looking at things!

    • christine says:

      I love the description of your daughters birthday. You sound like an amazing mother! 🙂

      • michellethecouponengineer says:

        What an awesome reply, spoke from the heart. A gentle reminder that “contentment” is one of lifes riches blessings. I said a prayer that God would send a blessing your way today!

      • Anna says:

        I appreciate your thoughts and wisdom. I grew up “poor” and my mother’s idea of “blowing money” was taking our dinner and going to the park for a picnic or going to the cemetary and tracing the monuments or going to the river and finding rocks to paint.

        Living frugally can be a continuum–some families have to live very frugally to have food and others need to stay in budget to afford extras and some don’t have to worry about living costs at all. Personally, on paper I should have enough money to provide for my family without worrying too much. However, 2 years ago my spouse left me when I was pregnant with my 4th child including a child with disabilities and a HUGE mountain of medical bills plus all our other bills. Then an intruder broke in and hurt my oldest daughter and then I had court costs, PTDS issues to deal with while I was pregnant too. For months, we came home and there was no food in the house and never any money for birthdays, Xmas, Easter. I would put $5 in gas from one credit card in my car and then use another card to put in another $5 of gas so I could get to work. I often wondered why I was paying the babysitter to take care of my kids and resented paying the sitter a huge chunk of my pay check each week. I did not qualify for any kind of public assistance.
        Fast track 2 years to now, I learned about budgeting, time management, couponing, balance, managing health care costs. I learned to live frugally. I still have a long way to go but I decided to learn from my mother’s frugality and apply those principles and luckily there are mom blogs that share ideas about those same principles. My kids and I are doing fine. I changed my attitude and instead of resenting my babysitter I became grateful to have someone who loved my kids and I learned to appreciate my job in a new way.

        Living frugally is difficult for any family but I think it is OK for a family to take a break from being frugal in their own way whether it be by blowing money or going out to pick flowers or going to the park for a picnic :).

        • Katie says:

          Hope you daughter is okay now. How absolutely awful for you. Amazing that you are so positive.

          • Anna says:

            My daughter is Katy. 🙂 She is fine. Hard work for her to work through the fear but she is a child of strong faith and very resilient. The guy went to jail. That episode in our lives kicked started me to take control of my life and my children’s lives so we could be grateful and live life as God guided us. Being frugal is easy to do compared to dealing with that life experience. I happy I have my daughter (and other kids), have a job to pay bills and support us, and happy that I can blog!

          • Katie says:

            My worst fear is someone hurting my children (I think it is every mothers’). Well done you for taking such a strong and positive outlook, picking yourself up and continuing to fight. I’m constantly amazed by the courage of others.

            I’m so glad that she is much better now – Katy’s are usually pretty strong people.

            God bless you and your family.

          • Anna says:

            @ Katie. My Katy is the bravest girl I know.

    • anonymous says:

      I think also it’s very important to focus on what we do have rather than what we don’t. I feel so much more blessed when I do that.

      One thing I like to do is this—I do a great majority of our gift shopping on Amazon, as they normally have books and video games, dvds etc. cheaper than what one finds in the store. I save up my swagbucks but also collect all my spare change and every so often take it to one of those coinstar machines—you can get an amazon e-gift card rather than cash. I keep a gift card balance on amazon and whenever a great deal comes up, I can get it and save it for Christmas or birthdays.

    • Leighann says:

      Good job!

      I was going to suggest that when you can’t afford to eat out at all, try making up something different for dinner. Take familiar or commonly used recipes and turn them into something different. One great thing about the internet is that there are TONS of FREE recipes on here. Even shaking things up like that a little bit can be a relief.

    • Amanda says:

      I am a bit clueless about gardening, but I would like to try to learn more… where do you buy lentil seeds? Do you plant them in a little plastic cup, or outside? You just pick off the lentils? Thanks for the info…

      • You can sprout lentils that you buy at the grocery store (they’re with the dry beans). Just put them in a jar or a glass and soak them with water overnight (about 1/4 cup or less). The next day, dump out the water. Rinse the lentils three times a day (I do it around meal times), and in a couple of days, you will have sprouted lentils to cook in stir fry (how we eat them), or to eat fresh or in a salad (my children like them this way as well). I’ve only sprouted brown lentils that aren’t split (red lentils are usually slit but brown lentils are whole, and the only kind I have seen at the stores near me).

        To keep the lentils from going down the drain when you rinse them, you can cover the top of the jar with a piece of clean nylon (I have used pantyhose where one leg got a run; just a cut a piece of it off) and a rubber band to keep the top of it on. It only takes a few days for 1/4 cup of lentils to be a full quart jar of sprouts.

        There is a lot of information online about gardening. I happen to live in the desert (we get about 2 inches of rain a year here, and the ground is the same color and hardness as concrete; it has to be jackhammered to plant trees). I did not grow up knowing about gardening. I took lots of free classes and then went to work. It’s been many years, and now I host garden tours/classes at my home, showing our edible landscape.

        My suggestion is to get started with lettuce. If only one seed grew in your packet, you’d break even with the cost of lettuce. I bought some packets that have even more seeds (750 seeds for $2.95). Right now I have lettuce growing all over my garden and I’m excited to eat it soon.

        • Rae says:

          Thanks for this great info! I never knew that it was so easy to do bean sprouts. I looked on youtube and saw some videos and am excited to try it with my kids. I have a question for you… do you know what kind of beans they use for the regular bean sprouts that you can buy in the produce section of the store? They just say “bean sprouts” and are big white sprouts. I want to try a few different types of beans but we really like that kind you can get in the store. Thanks 🙂

          • Those are mung bean sprouts, and I do those to put in stir fry as well. They are usually sprouted in the dark (that’s why they’re yellow-leafed instead of green), which gives them a milder flavor than if you sprout them in the light (you can put them in your pantry for the dark or on your counter for the light). I have never seen those at a local store, but I have bought them in bulk.

            Just make sure that whatever you sprout is intended for consumption (don’t sprout seeds meant for planting in the garden).

        • Rae says:

          oh thanks for telling me to do those in the dark. I was just going to do them the same way (ooops 🙂 ). I can’t wait 😀

    • Tammy L says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Brandy! I love what you wrote. 🙂

      One thing that helps me (like if I’m tired of all the WORK!) is to set the timer, work hard for a bit, and then relax. 🙂 A cup of tea, a book, or just coloring pictures with the kids. 🙂

    • Mary S. says:

      I love the idea of using the library! So many people forget about the library but from ours you can borrow books, CDs, movies and sometimes even passes to local museums for free! It may not seem like much but it is an awesome resource to get something new and exciting for free.

  • Sehra says:

    I know exactly how you feel about the fashion and getting the sticker shock. That’s why I shop at Goodwill. I go once a week on Monday because they have a color of the week price tag for 99 cents that changes every Monday. I have my route of four Goodwills and usually only spend $10-$20 total but get 10-20 items! Since I go frequently enough I get Victoria Secret bras, Wilson leather coats, Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie, Banana Republic, Loft, ect. It doesn’t break my budget and get me my fashion buzz. I even found one thrift store that discounts their shoes to $1 after they’ve been there two weeks. It’s heaven for me and with all I save being frugal, it’s my treat to myself.

    • Amanda says:

      Your way is quite a bit cheaper than mine, but also, if you have the time and gas money, you can stop by your favorite stores each week (Dillard’s, Macy’s, etc.), and catch the clearance racks for steep discounts on new clothes. Some of it is junk, but I usually find things like Guess shorts for my daughters for $5, Guess/Roxy jeans for $10, etc. The girls’ wardrobes are nearly 100% brand name, and I generally spend $10 or less on each item. Not that brand names are what is important; it’s just that I find these brand names for less than I would spend at Wal-Mart. Even Wal-Mart jeans for girls are closer to $20 these days…

  • We hit the park when we’re “over it.” We live right across the street from a national park and a local park. I find that taking advantage of things like the free concerts and movies is a great way to not feel frugal. I firmly believe in keeping up with the free events around town. Just because they are free doesn’t mean they aren’t fun!

  • Mary says:

    It’s good to take a break–even a mini one sometimes. I don’t have the energy to do a full day of marathon cooking, but what I do is double soup recipes and pasta dishes and other foods that are easy to increase. I then freeze the extra servings. I can then turn to that “instant” food when I just don’t have the time or energy to do what I normally do. I think it’s also good to keep in mind that you can’t do everything to save money–especially all at once–so it might help to focus on what is easier for you to do, or just more manageable. I don’t do everything that some people do to save money, but I focus on what works for me and gives me the most savings and satisfaction.

  • Susan says:

    This post is great timing. I am working full-time and going to school part-time. I haven’t had as much time to coupon/strategic shop and we’ve also been getting take-out food more often. We’ve adjusted our budget accordingly but I’ve been really down on myself for it. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes we can’t do EVERYTHING. =)

  • Sarah says:

    I find I’m much more content with what I have when I limit my exposure to things that would make me want more. Like the mall (I avoid it like the plague!), magazines with all kinds of beautifully decorated rooms or fun toys (unsubscribe and read a good book instead), TV shows which make you think you need more than you have, too much time online or with other people who don’t share your values.

    If I remind myself that I’m most fulfilled and refreshed when I’m playing with my kids or baking something or reading a great book, I’m pretty happy 🙂 Plus, “stuff” can never really satisfy; only a relationship with the Lord Jesus can truly fill us up.

    • Heather says:

      Amen on the magazines. They really are designed to breed discontent and overspending. I’ve felt it myself when I’ve read them (and I care less than the average person about a “decorated” home), and I’ve seen it in family members’ lives.

      • Leighann says:

        The only magazines I get are All You and the parenting magazines that have the great amazon codes in them. I enjoy going through those parenting magazines and making fun of them (You’re recommending a stroller that costs $200? Are you insane? Hey honey, look what they’re doing…) It’s kind of a relief to look at some of those insane prices and go “Hey, they are advertising this crib for $300, but I paid $35 brand new for mine and mine looks nicer!” You kind of justify the frugality that way.

        • Sarah says:

          Absolutely! Dh and I were looking through a Babies R Us flyer and just laughing at the things they are now selling for babies. The exersaucers are over the top and the prices of some strollers are unbelievable. We’re so happy with our Craigslist crib, high chair and pack and play. I feel bad for new parents who think you need all that expensive, fancy stuff for baby.

      • Koree says:

        Even the 10 things under “100 dollars” articles in fashion mags, is such a trip. Where 9 of the things cost 99.50! Wow. I don’t get any magazine subscriptions and if I need a shopping “fix” I can easily walk to Goodwill from my apartment.

  • Bonnie says:

    When I’m feeling frugal fatigue I listen to Dave Ramsey podcasts for the day as I go about my housecleaning, meal prep, etc. When I hear all those folks yelling that they’re DEBT-FREE I get energized!!!

    • Ana says:

      I do this too! We’re not really even following the DR plan (just the principles of getting out of debt), but when I hear everyone calling in, I want to have that, too, and I get revamped for saving money.

  • I agree that sometimes you need to take a little break, but also for some people taking a break just isn’t possible.

    I like to do “special” things at home as I can – make cookies, spend down time relaxing, reading a book, talking with my hubby. If I give in to the urge to shop, I often find that it really doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s taking time to do things that I really enjoy that provides the break that I need.

    Also, there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap. I have a great guest post on my blog today about this:
    http://www.liverenewed.com/2011/03/being-frugal-vs-being-cheap.html

    You have to find the balance and figure out what works for you and for your family!

  • Megan says:

    Whenever I hit a bout of frugal fatigue I remember how wealthy I am compared to the majority of the world’s population. I lived in Kenya for a year and all I have to do is recall the ingenuity of the people who live in some of the large slums there to find inspiration. Maybe I’ll write a letter to the little girl I sponsor who lives on a drought-hit, small farm in eastern Kenya. Thinking about these things (almost always) humbles me automatically and helps put things in perspective. Once my perspective is aligned it’s easier to go back to frugal living with vigor 🙂

  • As someone who is married to a man who is not that frugal (hello brand new ipad) I often get frugal-ed out. I am the one who keeps it all together and who goes to the store and puts things back that I want so I can buy things for the family. When I feel like this sometimes I will buy myself something that I want but I always make sure I get a great deal on it. Some weeks when I grocery shop it feels nice to just buy what we need without gathering my coupons and stressing about getting awesome deals. I do have to say though, even on my non-frugal days I am sure I am way more frugal than many people I know.
    My husband is the love of my life and we have known eachother since high school so I knew how he was before we were married. He is getting better and I have learned over the many years we have been together that in order to keep his “splurges” under control I need to give in once in awhile and let him buy something he wants (hence the silly ipad); especially since we came to an agreement that he would have to give up half of his weekly Starbucks budget and sell some stuff he has laying around on Ebay.

  • Angela says:

    I sell our used items on ebay then keep the profit in my paypal account to purchase splurge items online. Even if its just a few bucks it adds up and I don’t feel deprived!

    • Cindi says:

      I have just done this over the past two weeks! What a wonderful feeling of freedom from some things I didn’t just care to give away, plus now I’ve gotten some fun money to use every once in awhile.

  • Wani says:

    Its comforting to me to know that even money saving gurus get burnt out on being frugal too!

  • Marsha says:

    I wrestle with this all the time. Because my husband and I both work for pay full-time, we can afford (in theory, that is) NOT to do some of the things that we do – canning, sewing, scratch cooking, and so on. Add in two elementary age kids and we’re pretty busy. Happily so, usually, but sometimes it all gets to be too much and, for me, it’s not so much frugal-fatigue that gets me as much as just being plain old tired of so much activity. How much easier it is to stop for a snack after baseball practice rather than to remember at 6a.m. to pack one so that I can take it to work and then take it to the field some 12 hours later!

    Knowing just how imperfect we are, we try to plan for the inevitable backlashes that follow. We keep gift cards on hand for restaurants or movies, a 12-pack of post-practice sports drink bought with a coupon, a pack of paper napkins tucked waaaaaay into the back of the cupboard. When I get the urge to throw caution – and money – to the wind, we break out these “in case of emergency” supplies and that usually does the trick. The first restaurant meal is a pleasure, the second reminds me how much hassle it can really be to drag everyone out. The first bottle of sports drink makes my son happy, after that he’s reminded of how much nicer it is to have the (much cheaper) powder available in more flavors, for just the time it takes to mix. It honestly doesn’t take much deviation from the plan to remind us why we do what we do or, as sometimes happens, point out why the plan might need revision.

    Calling this a “first world problem” – as I have heard – doesn’t do anyone any favors. Keeping a healthy perspective is good. but feeling overwhelmed, deficient, or alone are universal feelings, however differently expressed by different people. Additionally, it reinforces the notion that there *is* a “third world” which is something of a outmoded idea. Own your issues; solve your issues, is my motto. Good luck to everyone following this path!

  • Prof. Kitty says:

    When I get frugal fatigue I like to go on a huge shopping splurge. I shop for tons of shoes and pick out all kinds of nice clothes. But notice I say “shop” and not “buy.” For shoes, for example, I pick a bunch of “favorites” on Zappos, then go and admire my list. Or for clothes I’ll load up my virtual shopping cart at a favorite retailer’s site, really have fun choosing styles I like, cool colors, looking for deals and so forth. But then I leave it at that–I don’t complete the transaction. As an ex-smoker I find it’s a little like riding out a cigarette craving, it goes away whether or not you actually have one. I do my virtual shopping, and then I feel like I’ve done a lot when in fact I spent $0. Maybe my splurges are a little silly, but it helps scratch that itch and it’s free.

    • Leighann says:

      This helps me, too! I like especially shopping on the internet, and spending a while picking out all this stuff and that stuff, and then looking at the price tags and going “Yep, it’s nice, don’t need it!”

    • ann k says:

      I do this too and it helps. No money spent. I’ve noticed that all these desires pass off in a few hours/days. So, i try postponing purchases till i am over it. lol And then I don’t feel like purchasing it anymore. Its history and I laugh at it.

  • Colleen says:

    Oh! This was such a wonderful post, and very timely as well.

  • I could not agree more with the points in this post. Setting financial goals, managing the monthly budget and achieving your financial goals is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Don’t forget to reward yourself for taking on such a major role in your family. I posted an entire 4 week series about organizing a monthly budget and at the end I made sure to remind everyone that proactive planning should be rewarded. Taking a break from frugality as a reward to yourself for all the frugal endeavors taken on prior is money and time well spent!!

  • Joy Y. says:

    Well, they say a change is as good as a holiday. So, instead of totally stopping your “frugal” ways, you can change things up a bit.

    -Shop at different stores than you normally do.
    -Shop on a different day, or in a new town nearby to discover new “deals”.
    -shop online, or find a buyer’s club in your area–ask friends, they may know of ladies in on one.
    -Have older kids? Have them cook dinner once per week, or more.
    -Have a night where you frugally try to copy a favorite dinner at a restaurant. Have a mexican theme night, or chinese night where you all eat with chopsticks!
    -Challenge your family: Can you eat only from the pantry for two weeks? Then reward yourselves for doing so!
    -Make things fun without adding a penny to the budget: Eat outdoors picnic style–you can even take an early spring hike and eat in the woods on fallen trees. We did this with our 5, and had a blast!
    -Ask the Lord to give you a positive attitude toward something that seems difficult–He will help you!
    -Talk to a friend for encouragement in your frugal ways….what does she do that is different from what you’re doing? Challenge each other, to keep it up!

    Blessings,

    Joy
    http://www.vimandvigor.typepad.com

    • Koree says:

      May God bless all you ladies with a positive attitude toward frugality! I often find myself getting jealous of others who “have” more…like my friends who already own homes or who are planning a fancy wedding. I
      need to remind myself that we are rich in that we Christ.

  • Wow, Crystal I appreciate you linking back to my article. I know you did it on Facebook as well and I so appreciate the support!

    Love reading the comments here. Sometimes I think there is the feeling that just because we know how, means that we should every single time. It’s totally okay to go to the supermarket and not save as much as you know you can. It’s hard to fight the feeling of wastefulness though! I think giving ourselves grace and praying for encouragement are the best things we can do when we find ourselves overwhelmed or fatigued by frugality.

    Once again Crystal, I thank you for your support of other bloggers/writers out there. You have no idea how much you are appreciated by your readers and your fellow bloggers.

  • When the feeling of being not so frugal hit, I usually stay away from the store!! I love everyone’s feedback. I too think a night out w/my husband is a good “date” every once in awhile. It’s nice to take a break from the cooking and care of the kids. I do, however, at these FRUGAL BREAKDOWN times find it’s very helpful to look back at , for instance, how much I saved using coupons last year. It’s an incentive for me…it reminds me how it really “pays” to be frugal. Another thing that gets me back in frugal form is to read how others are saving too…we are in this together..it’s great when we can encourage one another to be good stewards!

  • We keep our goals written down and visible and we have long term goals as well as short term. When I feel the urge to buy something or stop waiting for the deals I just look back at our goals and it’s a reminder that were working toward bigger things. We also have “blow accounts” for myself and my husband and we have a set amount that is deposited monthly, if either of us really want something that isnt budgeted we can use our blow money. It gives us enough flexibility to not feel trapped but still allows us to be frugal as well. Also I don’t think being frugal is necessarily being cheap, we still buy nice and good quality products but we get a great deal on them!

  • Kelly says:

    I agree sometimes you just get tired of it, but we put a couple of splurge items in our budget, one is a cleaning lady once a month. I pinch pennies on every grocery store trip, but I am more then willing to have someone clean my house once a month!

  • Jeana says:

    One simple thing is just to expect that you will have these moments–and that they will pass. Then when it’s happening don’t waste your time arguing with yourself, just know that in a day or two these feelings will pass and you’ll be back in the swing of things.

  • Karen says:

    “Frugality without creativity is deprivation.”–Amy Dacyzyn.

    The above quote is from The Tightwad Gazette. Sometimes frugal habits can be boring or tiresome or a combination of the two. And if you can afford to take a “frugal break”, go for it. But if not, try to get creative on ways that you can “indulge” without really spending or forsaking your habits. Previous posts from Crystal about their law school days have highlighted some of these things. Other posters have given some ideas. as well. My personal favorite is to make a homemade “Starbucks”-style drink. Or to just go browse a bookstore or kitchen store.

  • dee says:

    My UPromise money is my mad money. This year, I signed up for a $100 bonus, so I did all of my Christmas shopping via my UPromise acct. Plus, I got a $75 bonus for signing up with an alternative energy company. I have $338 in my account right now! Free money.
    I do wait until I get the check in the mail until I spend it. I bought myself a Nook e-reader on CyberMonday for half-price with my UPromise money. Still a splurge, but I didn’t feel guilty because it was really free.
    I have big check coming at the end of the month. I haven’t decided what to get myself. I might just hang on to it until something strikes my fancy, or save it for something really big later.
    I do sell my old electronics on Ebay, too. I don’t get something new unless I can sell the old item. I love my electronic toys, but appease my guilt by getting deals and off-setting the cost with selling the old item.

    • Andrea Q says:

      I thought UPromise was for college expenses?

      • dee says:

        It can be or you can request a check once a quarter for your cleared balance. It can take a couple of months for balances to clear. So, you can’t be in a hurry to get your money.
        I’m trying eBates to see if it is easier to get the cash out.

        • Andrea Q says:

          I just checked it out. Thanks!

        • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

          How do you request a check…I’ve been saving on their since 2000 (my first child was not born until 2008!). I used to have the money moved to a 529, but I moved the 529 to another account bc I get it for free due to my job and I couldn’t do the $50/month deposit they required. I would LOVE to be able to pull my cash out and send it to the new 529 plan compnay instead!!

          • Dee says:

            Log-in to your UPromise account. Click on the “Use Your Earnings” tab (second from the left). The option on the far right is “Collect a Check.” When you click on that link, a PDF document will pop-up. Fill that out and fax or mail it back in.

            The quarter ends this month. If you get the form in during the next week or two, you should get your check in early April.

            Good for you saving since 2000! That should be a hefty check.

          • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

            Awesome, Dee! Thanks!

            Since I started I’ve earned over $600. However, most of that was moved into the 529 (which has grown more!) There’s about $40 in there that I can’t do anything with, so now I can take it and add to the other 529! I’m so glad that I did not know this before! I would have thrown that money away before my newfound mission to get out of debt and reach our savings goals!

  • Koree says:

    I allow myself some wiggle room for things that bring me a lot of joy. For example, I brew my own coffee but I buy the Starbucks brand! Or I treat myself to a meal out with friends or family. I know that I worked hard by packing lunch, clipping coupons, etc. Also, if I feel like “blowing” money I remind myself that I am saving for Grad School and a house. This is a great reality check and is way more important than a top I will forget about once I leave the store.

  • Rachael says:

    We like to keep some frozen pizzas and Bertoli frozen pasta dinners on hand. I usually get them for $3-4 on sale, and often coupons are available. I’ve even gotten them for $1 at Target with special deals. They are great to have on hand when you don’t feel like cooking from scratch and still much cheaper than eating out. Even though I cook mostly from scratch, frozen pizza is my husband’s favorite meal. He loves frozen pizza so much he requested it for his birthday 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I’ve been feeling the burnout too. Great timing on this article. I keep reminding myself it’s almost garage sale season. I’m already dreaming of the great deals I will find. I buy most of my kids clothes this way and it’s something I really enjoy too.

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    Part of our monthly budget consists of blow money for my husband and I. How much depends on the month and what kind of bonuses we receive. What we get is all our own to do whatever we want with, without any explanation to the other. For example, I always apply a part of mine to my Starbucks gift card for my daily coffee and I am saving most of the rest for a laptop. If I want to get a pedicure then I do. If I want to buy a piece of clothing outside of what is budgeted for each family member, I use that money. This allows us to let go of the frugal every once in awhile, be accountable to the rest of our budget, yet have some independence and freedom (and fun!). I think if EVERY dime was going to just just the boring old bills and goals, we would quickly fall off the wagon!

  • Andrea Q says:

    I bring my own shopping bags to CVS. For every four trips, I earn 1 ECB. I use the “bonus” ECBs to buy chocolate. I look for the free nail polish deals, too…even though I don’t really need it, new nail polish feels like a major splurge.

  • Cindi says:

    In addition to selling outgrown kids’ clothes on Ebay and using the PayPal money for some fun things; I also treated myself out to a few hours shopping with my SIL (who is not frugal in the least) after a couple of very good months of coupon clipping and a good week of pantry/freezer eating. We just went to a couple of children’s outlet stores and I mostly bought things off the sale and clearance racks. But, it was still fun to just go and pick out a few things for my kids without making sure I had a coupon or gift card in the mix. I only spent about $70, but the happiness of getting some fun summer clothes without the forethought of bargain shopping was very much worth it!

  • Michelle says:

    I can relate to the burn out with being frugal and I figured out what was causing it for me. We are a family of only 3, my husband, myself, and our 8 yr old son. Last summer we had a lady who was very knowledgeable about saving money with coupons that came to our mom’s group and shared a lot of information with us. I got very excited about the possibility of saving a ton of money and the challenge to do it. I dove in head first and was buying tons and using tons of coupons. I had a really big stock pile. I would spend several hours at the grocery store, several days a week to get the good deals. I kept at it and did this for months. We had so much food it was crazy.

    My husband is in the military so we moved before the end of this last year. I ended up giving away a ton of food before we moved tons of miles away. I started back up on the stockpiling after moving, but realized where I could make changes. I realized I didn’t have to take advantage of every good deal out there and I don’t have to make use of every coupon that is available for every possible thing we could use. I also cut back on how many coupons I printed off of the internet. I really like Target and I was very excited about all of their printable coupons that can be stacked with manufacture coupons in the beginning. I now have learned to only look at the Target coupons about once every couple of months. I don’t need to go to Target every week like I had been.

    Now I shop a lot less and I am home so much more. We still have plenty of food to eat and I do believe that I am still being frugal, maybe even more so than I was before when I first started using coupons. Now when I go shopping for groceries and other items we need, I do still buy ahead somewhat, a little bit at a time to add to what we already have and to keep enough of a stock pile that I can skip grocery shopping mostly for several weeks, but I am not going coupon crazy anymore and I am not out to get every single deal like I used to. I feel a lot less stressed and we are saving more than the other way. I am buying less at a time for sure and it makes for less time dealing with coupons, less time making a list, less time in the store, and less stuff on the shelves that I have to worry about it expiring before we can use it up.

    • Jen says:

      I am with you. I like to shop for deals, but my family can’t get through a huge stockpile very easily and every time I buy more than 2 or 3 of something, it goes bad or my kids decide they don’t like the item anymore (arrgh!). I just try to get the best deals when I can, keep a small stockpile, use a lot simple foods (potatoes, cabbage, carrots..) and look through my pantry before I go shopping to see what I can use up. I also go a little crazy making the huge shopping trips with all the coupons, it takes a lot of time and I start to get stressed when I am approaching the checkout line with all my coupons, wondering if the cashier will freak out or if my coupons will go through…

      I am not knocking it though, I have friends that do this and they love it. For me personally it’s just not a good approach. I guess we all have to do what works best for us!

  • Jen says:

    With kids, I am always trying to strike a balance. I try to protect them from being exposed to too much commercialism and I also try to teach them they can’t have everything. They don’t ask for much either. I also don’t want their childhoods to be miserable though, so I am always looking out for fun things to do. We go to the library of course, and the nature center near me has fun things like night hikes and earth day events we attend. We go to places like Michael’s when there is an event to make a craft, or the mall to play around on the kids playground when the weather is bad. We go to Costco and eat samples, it’s a fun way to try new foods if you are a member anyway. My seven year old will eat things there he wouldn’t eat at home in a million years! Basically, I just try to be creative and open to trying new stuff, I look for free events in the newspaper and sometimes they are incredible and occasionally they are a bust!

    Also, I take them out for treats but they are little treats, like soft serve Baskin & Robbins for $.59 cones, a few donut holes each from Dunkin or $1 burgers from McDonald’s eaten at the park (My kids do like this stuff, unfortunately). So they aren’t disappointed, I tell them ahead of time what we are getting so there aren’t any requests for $5 sundaes! We also only do this kind of thing a couple of times a month so it is still a “treat” and not an expectation. I have noticed with kids if you treat them too much it backfires.

  • Michelle says:

    Thanks Crystal, for answering my question. These comments have been very imformative, too. We have been “gazelle intense” since October knocking out out credit card debt ($12,ooo down to $4000 now). Sometimes the urge to go back to those spendthrift ways comes back around but I keep reminding myself of how far we’ve come. I recently visited Clothes Mentor and came out with two shirts (one still with tags on) and a pair of shoes for $20, and that helped with the frugal fatigue alot!

  • Jessica says:

    Many of you ladies above have mentioned ideas that I try and do also. The library has been my saving grace. The last few times I went I looked for Christan books that focused on women overcoming challenges. Its been fun to be pulled into another persons struggles.

    I journal on and off. Mostly off but when I am in a sticky situation or stressed out I write. When I get burned out on pinchin pennies and living simply I go back to my journal and read the entries from before I set my budget and took control of my finances. Re-reading those entries reminds me how stressed, worried, and slightly depressed I was. Then I remind myself that because I pinch pennies I’m not like that anymore. I am reducing debt and paying cash for a trip to New Orleans this summer for a professional conference.

    Thank you for all the suggestions ladies.

  • I call it an Aldi Break…We allow a certain amount of wiggle room for date nights and spending cash, like Dave Ramsey says. When it comes to using coupons, we take Aldi breaks every once in a while. I am 36 weeks pregnant, 2 kids, running my own blog, housework, etc… Aldi’s sounds pretty good to me these days 🙂

  • Victoria says:

    I’m really inspired by all of the responses to this post. I know how tiring and downright boring it is to always be frugal, stick to your budget and just do everything you can to save money.

    One way I would suggest beating frugal fatigue is to make a little time each month to volunteer-there are always other people that are facing real serious problems and helping just one person in need always makes you feel better about your own situation. Each of us has so much to offer the world regardless of how much money we have in our bank account!

  • Autumn says:

    I felt like giving up a couple weeks ago when I had my car repair bill almost paid off from last year and then had to basically incur almost the same charges on new repairs all over again. Ugh Sigh 🙁 I’m grateful to have no car payment but the second I start to feel like I’m making some head way I get knocked down again but I’m realizing if it werent for couponing and being frugal my situation could be a lot worse. Trying to find gratitude for having a vehicle and other things in my life is what I need to keep focusing on instead of what’s wrong. I love reading all the positive comments from everyone here. Although my debt is taking time to reduce I’m not charging anything else and I have learned to live “below” my means. I’m very grateful for all the valuable info of MSM. Thank you! 🙂

  • Veronica says:

    When I get tired of being frugal I look at the goals we have written down. Usually that helps. But sometimes not doing anything at all helps save money, too. Staying at home (or just going to work), can save quite a bit of money. And if I really need a splurge, I look on Craigslist first. Last week, dh and I had 3 places to go to pick up our Craiglist items – and the kids were off doing other things – so it was like a date – lol! I got a Vitamix and Pressure canner off of Craiglist (at wonderful prices), and dh found wood to complete a project he was doing. As all of these things were on our want list, we were able to get the items at a great price, and were able to have fun at the same time.

  • Maggie says:

    Very often I double and freeze recipies for lazy days. Other times I buy a preroasted chicken for about $5 and make a hot chicken salad . Cook the scraps and bones, for broth for later use.The flavor is wonderful!
    Sometimes we use coupons and go out for dinner .You just have to take a break once in awhile.
    I always clean and chop my fresh salad vegetables,put them in separate green containers. They stay fresh and it takes minutes to make a salad.
    Do not forget the crockpot,I love the person who invented it!

  • Jo says:

    These are great ideas, but we literally have ZERO extra money. Everything hubby brings home we need. I constantly try to remain thankful that our needs are met and God has always provided for us, but I am worn out. What a luxury it would be to simply go to the grocery store and buy what I want to cook and eat for the week instead of what we can afford. Ya know? Okay. Little gripe over now. Thanks for letting me get that out there. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      {Hugs, Jo!} After I wrote this, I realized I should have addressed what to do when you don’t have any wiggle room. We’ve been there before and it’s really easy to burn out quickly.

      If you have a chance, I’d encourage you to check out this post: https://moneysavingmom.com/2010/10/qa-tuesday-is-it-possible-to-save-money-when-were-barely-keeping-our-head-above-water.html

      Also, if you have any extra time to put into Swagbucks, it’s a very simple way to earn free gift cards which you can use towards necessities or the occasional “splurge”. I’ll be sharing a post in the next few weeks on how to earn 100 Swagbucks every day (without referrals or spending any money) — this would be equal to an extra $25+ Amazon gift cards each month.

      Finally, can you email me? I want to bless your family with a little something to maybe encourage you during this difficult time.

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