Category: Food

Do You Need to Use Coupons to Be Frugal?

Clipped Coupons With Scissors 1

Photo via StockMonkeys.

Being frugal isn’t about extreme couponing or getting great sales, in my opinion. The foundation of our being frugal is rooted in living below our means.

Personally, we use coupons on occasion when they coincide with something we were already planning to buy. Each week, when I make our food shopping list, I look through the app Ibotta (use referral code: koexrvp for a free $10 when you sign-up) and find coupons that correspond to what is already on my list.

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It’ll Cost You Time or Money

When it comes down to it, every choice you make will cost you time or money. You can pay someone to do something for you or you can invest the time and learn to do it for yourself. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, some costly, some not so, but each step builds upon the next to open new doors.

When Chris and I first started out, we bought our first home with only limited knowledge of changing light bulbs or decor. Chris’ first lock changing experience was the day we moved in. That took quite a long time to do (see below with the tools all over the place)! He also never changed a toilet seat, shower head, or light fixture. Said toilet seat sitting by the front door.

We didn’t have the money to pay for even the smallest service, so we had to use our time to learn how to do it ourselves. Our parents taught us when we asked for help, but mostly we stumbled along to learn ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes, but we learned more each time and built our DIY skills and confidence in the process.

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Child’s Birthday Party for Under $110

We recently had a birthday party for our oldest, Monkey, with family. We’re invited to a lot of kid parties these days now that he’s in school, so we’ve been to every bounce place and kid gym in the local area. A few times while out, I asked the costs for such a party in case we had wanted to go to place instead of have it at home. I’m not sure we spent this much on his first, second, or third birthday parties. With prices ranging from $200-500 for a party smaller than what we could fit at our house, minus any food costs, we chose to keep it simple with birthday parties at home for the foreseeable future.

This party was for 26 total, though 2 of them were under the age of 7 months! We fed around 17 adults and 7 children. For appetizers, we did chips and dip. For dinner, we made homemade pizzas. The kids were able to decorate/top their own pizzas before cooking.

And then Chris made amazing s’mores cupcakes for dessert.

Here’s the breakdown of what we spent: Continue reading…

Hitting Rock Bottom and Getting Back Up

It was March 2010. We found out in a few months we’d both be unemployed. We sat in the living room in silence watching the sun set behind the trees; wondering how we were going to pay the mortgage in a few months. Maybe even wondering how we were going to eat. What jobs could we even get? Our current careers were being decimated.

This wasn’t our absolute worst bottom yet, but it was what became our first rock bottom and what sparked the first glimmer of our frugal lifestyle.

For years prior, I had been saving my income to pay off my student loans and Chris was paying the minimums on his. We didn’t have a plan, but I wanted to be debt-free, even if it was just debt-freedom personally, but not as a married couple. The reimbursement I’d get in six months would be able to pay the last of my loans off (I was currently taking 3 post-masters courses and luckily the 1 year in my current position allowed me to get reimbursed for about 1/2 of it). Though, without a steady income that reimbursement would be important to just survive.

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