It seems like no matter where you go, people are talking about rising prices and how hard it is to make ends meet. I am a stay-at-home mom and I love it and over the years we have gotten by on very little and very comfortable depending on circumstances.
One thing I do try to do is get the most for our money no matter the income. Now that is not to say the things I do are the same things you should, or that what works for anyone else will work for you. It is largely a matter of trial and error and setting your own priorities.
My priority is my family, period. So I will go without some things to get things that make them happy. You might be able to get by without paying for TV or on dial-up for your computer, but that just doesn't work for our family as my husband works long hard hours on second shift and likes to come home and watch tv when most of the rest of the world is not quite awake yet. My girls, especially the oldest, are gamers and I enter contests and sweepstakes and sign up for freebies and we just cannot have an unreliable, slow connection. We have a Wii and PlayStation and handhelds and Ipods, those are things we get a lot of entertainment value out of.
I'll read how you can save so much by hanging your laundry to dry and I am thinking not only no, but hell no as our car will be coated with pollen within a couple of hours sitting in the driveway. I would literally get nothing done if I kept my thermostat in the 80's like I know some do, I don't tolerate the heat well at all.
We are coffee aficionados around here and aren't willing to give up our Starbucks. That being said when we go out to drink it, we count that as entertainment. Other times we purchase from Starbucks online, and especially love the Tazo Teas and Seasonal Coffee Blends and some of the Syrups and make it at home. The girls also absolutely love the chocolate covered espresso beans. Some things are just not worth sacrificing quality for and a good cup of coffee is one of them. Especially since Starbucks does have sales and free shipping. Granted, we don't NEED the cups and whatnot with the Starbucks logo, but it does seem to taste better drinking from them.
We live with one car and not many can do that. And there is nothing wrong with either of us. None are better choices than any other, only what works for you and your family and what doesn't.
That being said, I LOVE getting the best prices on those things we do want, sometimes even free or money back.
I will blog at another time some of my favorite frugal tips, but for now I will post links to some of the sites I go to when I am looking for the deals or trying to make the most of what we have. One thing I do is sign up at the sites of products I regularly use and lots of times I will get coupons for free or money off my next purchase. Some people call this spam, I call it getting the most out of my online time.
From freebies to deals to frugal families, find them here. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I will be adding to this list as this is only part of my bookmarks. If you would like your site reviewed and added, please email or leave a comment with your url and I will get to it as soon as I can.
Freecycle I think everyone pretty much knows about this, but I am putting it here anyways in case you don't or forgot. Want to get rid of something, list on Freecycle. Need something, check freecycle first to see if anyone is giving it away for free. Save the landfills, get rid of unwanted clutter and help someone else, what's not to love? There are tons of groups worldwide, click here to find one near you.
Craigslist If you can't find what you are looking for on freecycle, check out craigslist- search their classifieds for everything from jobs to pets to used furniture or anything else you can think of.
Start Sampling If you sign up to the site and for the e-newsletter, you find out about the new samples and offers regularly.
House Party Share free products and previews with family and friends.
Wal Mart Order free samples online and see what events will be coming to your local Wal Mart.
The Coupon Mom I go here to find free samples. The virtual coupon organizer and best deals lists are particularly helpful to make sure you don't miss out on the bargains.
Hot Coupon World If you're all about getting the deals, this is a great place to find them.
Wow Coupons Find printable coupons and freebies here. Also has online deals
A Full Cup Here you will find the deals, coupons and refunds- even your local stores deals are listed. Also have online codes for discounts, free shipping, etc.
Coupon Loop Printable coupons and links to other coupon sites
Deal of Day Freebies and good deals and exactly how to get them.
My Good Cents Freebies, good deals, coupons, giveaways, articles and more.
Family Corner Great all around family site with message boards where people share knowledge and information. Lots of kids crafts, recipes, coupon exchange and more. I really get a lot out of the forums, especially what did you do frugal today?
The Dollar Stretcher Both the website and the newsletter have a wealth of information. Fairly new is the addition of message boards. What can I say except that I can't think of any area that hasn't been covered here. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.
Living On A Dime Several informative articles and frugal recipes from Not Just Beans and Dining on a Dime
Budget101.com Articles, contests, message boards, freebies, make your own mixes and clone recipes. A lot of info on saving money and getting out of debt.
Laine's Letters Christian woman shares her family, faith, inexpensive recipes, budgeting and money saving hints and tips. It feels like she is talking to a friend.
Hillbilly Housewife A lot more than just a low cost home cooking site. I find myself coming back often. The homemade convenience food page is one that gets a lot of use- I am all for fast and easy especially if you can have it without all the artificial ingredients and high cost.
Sage Mommy Freebies, frugality, cottage industries and more.
Mom Advice There are a lot of in-depth articles here, and the forums are great with a deal of the day and freebies as well as a bunch of other aspects of family life.
Totally Frugal A fairly wide range of topics including budgeting, frugal living, cooking, crafts, shopping, homesteading and lots more with helpful forums.
The Simple Dollar A lot of info, from what I have read so far it is in easy to understand terminology and it makes a lot of sense. There are extensive archives on all sorts of things related to your finances and I liked the reviews I read. If you want to change your finances for the better, this is an excellent starting point.
Just Frugal Make the most of your money from freebies to frugal everything, find it on the boards here.
Frugal Mom Find useful advice on all things frugal.
Frugal Village Cooking, homemaking, simple living and more.
Creative Frugality There are a lot of links to various frugal sites and ideas- too many to list but it is definitely one of my well used bookmarks. Be sure to check out the links for the Counting the Cost ezine and website.
All Things Frugal Good general frugal site- make sure to check out the library index if you are in the mood to browse.
Cooking By Numbers This is a fun site, you check off what you have in your pantry and fridge and they find you recipes.
Creative Homemaking Running your household well with articles and tips on budgeting, cooking, gardening, crafts and more. Also check out the forums.
Heart4Home Budgeting and organizing ideas, menu planning and more.
Frugal Upstate Interesting blog from a sahm in upstate NY who focuses primarily on living a frugal lifestyle.
Better Budgeting Tons of free tips on budgeting, savings, getting out of debt, etc. Get your free subscription to Living a Better Life ezine for money saving tips.
Mom's Budget Advice on budgeting and personal finances geared towards women but useful for anyone. Quite a bit of info on everything from pregnancy to recipes and more. I have especially been perusing the container gardening section lately although I think I am going to go for the Aerogarden.
CheapCooking.com We all need to eat, this site is dedicated to helping you get the most from your grocery budget.
Chef Michelle's Adventures Recipes and tips for eating well on a budget.
Pioneer Thinking From natural remedies to home repairs to managing money you can find it here. Be sure to check out the forums.
Pennypinching-grandma Quite a few tips on frugal living. I was disappointed with the freebie section- it was a bunch of ads wanting me to buy stuff and recipes for homemade cleaners that called for commercial products... I have found cheaper, effective solutions elsewhere. That being said overall I like the site.
Organized Home From articles to printable planner pages to download for free, you can find it all here.