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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Art of Being Frugal

You want a new car? Sure!

Due to my credit card debts, I am on a mission to "save money."  I've never been the frugal type.  Okay, I guess I am the other extreme "stupid with money!" It's great to be a big tipper and spent a lot if you can afford it but not if you are in debt. I realize now that I have to stop spending.  I don't even let myself ENTER Yankee Candle anymore where I used to spend hundreds.  Even if I have that coupon, I don't glance in the window.  I buy my candles at TJ Max for $9.99.

My first step of being frugal is:
1. Don't buy anything that I don't need.  I don't need any purses, shoes, jewelry, clothes, or kitchen stuff (except for a cupcake holder because mine broke.)  My real weakness is craft items like scrapbook paper and now fabric.  I really don't need anything so I QUIT going to Michaels and Joanne's. I am USING WHAT I ALREADY HAVE.

2. Stop buying random things. I was in a clothing store where my mom was trying on clothes. They had a pink scarf that was on clearance for $5. I liked it and was about to buy it when I thought, "I have more scarves then anyone I know. I don't even wear them that much. Why buy this?" So I put the scarf back.  The salesgirl tried to convince me to also buy this shirt that I didn't want. I told her, "I have enough clothes." So then went on, "Oh, you can never have enough..." Not true! That attitude is what got me into trouble in the first place. Clothes are so expensive.  The way I lose and gain weight, it doesn't even make sense for me to buy clothes.

3. Caution in the grocery store:  Another place I spend way too much money is the grocery store.  I once spent over a hundred on non-food items. Now discovering DIY on Pinterest I realized that I didn't have to do that anymore.  I now can make:
*laundry detergent
*dishwashing detergent
*glass cleaner
*wood cleaner
*all-purpose cleaner
I did have to invest in the base products but on many other blogs, the cost breakdown is HUGE.
I also am starting to realize that I need to cut down on convenience foods like wings, cheese sticks, etc. They are expensive and unhealthy.  Getting off of Atkins has helped me save a lot because I am not buying those pricey Atkins products anymore.

4. Keurig. I have two Keurig coffee machines-one for home and one for school.  I used at least two k-cups in the morning and more at school.  I read somewhere that they are .60 a piece!  Ironically, in my cupboard, I had the refill thing where you add your own coffee just sitting there. I bought it for $15 and never used it. Well, today I used it for the first time.  My coffee was great and I can add the grinds to my garden like I used to. I also can re-purpose those plastic Folger's coffee cans.  This should be a big savings because even before my Keurig I always made more coffee than I drank.

5. Stop buying junk for my nephew/niece: When my sweet prince was born, I went nuts. I spent hundreds of dollars at Gymboree and Crazy 8 and Macy's.  Sure, he looked absolutely adorable in those clothes.  I also bought him toys ordered from Amazon and Toys R Us.  Rip off! My sister has found stuff he likes better at Good Will and yard sales.  I'm done with the $100 matching outfits.  He has a lot of clothes for the future and a ton of toys he doesn't really like. Give him a truck and a ball and he's happy.  Huge saving of time and space.  Live and learn!

6. Upcycle/recycle/conserve:  I am trying to reuse spray bottles and containers instead of buying new things. I use cloth napkins instead of papers.  I am re-purposing all the fabric I can and fixing things on my sewing machine instead of buying new things.

This is just a starting point. I have a long way to go to being frugal.  I think it's more of an attitude of stopping and thinking rather than just buying.  It feels good...I want to be one of those people who can hold back. I can't wait to call my credit card company and cancel my card when it is paid off.   This list is just a starting point. 

Next steps: make a budget, cut more costs, pay off more debts, buy only essentials, hand-made gifts, etc.
Well, the frugal living isn't going well. I spent over $200 at Pat Catans. My friend G$ took me when I was visiting her.  Everything was so cheap.  I found the Martha Steward glitter for my magnets (will post this soon) for ONLY $7.

So did I actually save money?  In my warped mind, I did.  Ordering these products online would have cost at least three times at much. 
I finally got some washi tape for $2 a roll. I got a bunch of stuff for my K & Company Smash books. I also got some melt and pour soap.  I don't really want to invest in the lye and expensive oils but I have to make some form of soap so this should do.  I also spent $50 at another shop on my favorite incense: Nag Champa.  I guess the truth is that in the past, I might have spent even more!  Small steps.