Saturday, November 19, 2011

Living life in the frugal lane.


I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "your life is like a fairytale" or "gosh, it would be nice to have your life" and so on and so on. Very sweet and yes, I will be the first one to say that life is good BUT I think y'all would be amazed if you knew the budget that we live on. Chris and I have always been savers, we were raised that way. We are {almost} a family of 4, living off of one income in Orange County, California where the cost of living seems to be rising daily! The majority of our income goes towards our mortgage, homeowners association, utilities, groceries, gas, insurance, a car payment and home remodel type things. The rest gets put into savings in hopes of a bigger house in the near future. The only debt we have is our home and one car which will be paid off soon. Chris and I live by the saying, "if we can't pay cash for it, we won't buy it." We both like nice things but aren't willing to put ourselves into debt over having a fancy lifestyle. 
I have become a completely different person in the way I spend money since having kids. It used to be all about "me! me! me", I can't tell you the amount of cash I would drop at Nordstrom without thinking twice when I was working and before I had Kate. Now, I'm all about the sale racks and there isn't a single item that I've paid full price for in Kate's wardrobe. Not kidding. I shop mainly at Baby Gap, Old Navy and Nordstrom for her and Will and every single thing I buy is either on sale or I have a coupon. I splurge on their wardrobes way more than mine but it brings me joy.
I do most of my shopping online which also saves me a ton. (also saves on gas and I don't end up buying extra things I don't need) I shop through Ebates.com which basically pays me to shop at my favorite stores and I always google a promo code for the site I am shopping on before I check out. There hasn't been a time that I haven't used a promo code whether it be for a percentage off or free shipping or both!
As far as groceries go, I'm a coupon clipper. My jaw hits the floor when I hear what my friends are spending each month on groceries. $600-$800!! I mainly do my grocery shopping at Target and Trader Joes and get all my paper goods and such from Costco. It is a rare occasion to spot me in a grocery store. We are spending $300-$400 on average a month on groceries and such. That includes cleaning supplies and paper goods. 
I am also subscribed to a couple of awesome websites such as living social and groupon which offer fabulous deals around town. In fact, I booked our babymoon through Living Social and saved 50%! I do love to spoil those I love and pamper myself and I've been able to do a lot of extra things thanks to the specials found on Travelzoo. I just had an awesome spa day at a gorgeous resort at Disneyland thanks to a deal I found on there. $99 for a prenatal massage and hair and scalp massage which is normally $230. 
Lastly, Chris and I don't eat out much. We're homebodies. We eat out maybe once a month and have fast food maybe a couple times a month for lunch. Start adding up how much you spend each time to find yourself at a drive through or a sit down meal. (Starbucks included!) You will be amazed. Not only is it healthier to eat in, you save a ton. 
So, there you have it. A few of my tips and tricks of frugal living. Sure we splurge here and there but for the most part I'm a tight wad. I'm a stay at home mommy. My job is to take care of my family and save us money and I take my role seriously. I know I need to loosen up on some things (like when we're on vacation to chill out and splurge a little) but I can't help it. Life is pretty sweet. It's comfortable and I am incredibly thankful for it all. On paper, our budget seems impossible but somehow by the grace of God it all works out and then some. 
It's all about the choices we make people. Life throws curve balls and there are hard times and sacrifices to be made BUT there is always a way to save money and enjoy life no matter what comes your way.

 

What are some things that you can be doing differently to save more?
Something to think about as this year comes to an end & a new one is right around the corner..

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