Category: Frugal Momster

No New Clothes for a Year

I’ve been avoiding buying clothes as much as possible lately because first, I hate how I look and I can’t find anything to fit my body right, and second I don’t want to spend much on clothes that I hopefully will no longer need in six months to a year (i.e. fat wardrobe). I did spend some here and there for two pairs of jeans, and other items to survive back to work at the beginning of November, but mostly everything I wear is too tight, short, or ugly. Thankfully, no one cares a whole lot about my work outfits fitting me pristinely!

I recently came across the idea to avoid buying clothes for an entire year. Say, wha?

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$40 to a new couch

When you sit home all day with a newborn, you start to notice things you didn’t pay much attention to before. One thing I noticed tremendously was our couch. We love our couch but it wasn’t looking too spunky as of late. It was getting a bit uncomfortable, too.

So, while a baby slept on me, I googled how to refurbish your couch and learned it was quite easier than I thought. This saved us thousands, because I was ready to go out and buy a new couch for a few weeks, but we couldn’t decide 100% on which style or what we liked… but we knew we liked our current couch. Don’t worry, though, I managed to spend that money elsewhere and it wasn’t on a sunny warm vacation to a beautiful tropical location.

A big box of Poly-Fil from Walmart and two bags of quilt batting later =

$40 and a comfier couch

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$25 per person Weekly Food Budget

A lot has been in the news lately about the budget for those on benefits from the government. I don’t plan to comment on all of that (here’s a great piece on it), but I thought it would be fun to share how we use our budget for food and write about things like I used to.

I’m always surprised to find out that our family food budget is below the “Thrifty Plan” under the USDA food cost guidelines. We spend about $75 or less per week, currently shooting for $50 a week to stockpile a few extra bucks, on food and household goods. This isn’t to say that we are able to always stick to that budget, sometimes we go over to around $80 per week, but I strive to see that number or below weekly when we hit the grocery store(s).

I budget about $25 per week per member of the household, planning to add another $25 per week when Baby #2 arrives (which might be tight with formula year one). I don’t have to budget for diapers, since we use cloth diapers which is a huge savings in our budget; especially this go around. And most people might not use their food budget for items other than edible goods, but I try to throw as much in that category as we can.

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Our Zero Dollar Cell Phone Bill

Buying an iPhone is quite tempting to throw photos, sharing, and my whole life into one device, but I just can’t beat the cost of our current setup no matter how much Chris begs. Oh wait, did I just share that with the world?

For less than $100 a year, or $500 over two years (including buying an iPod Touch), I’ve got everything an iPhone user has – minus the bill.

Extensive Costs
The main reason I don’t buy an iPhone is because of the cost. Not only is there a cost for the device, but the data plans that come along with them, plus contracts, fees, and taxes can add up to over $1,800 for the first year (that’s conservative). The company is making a huge chunk of change on your subsidized phone. T-Mobile is trying something different…

Taxes
Do you hate paying more for services, especially in the form of taxes? It’s amazing what they’ll add in the way of taxes to cell phone bills. Did you know you pay a 911 fee now?

Free or Cheaper Options
With so many options, it pays to shop around. We text and call family and friends for free through Google Voice, use our cell minutes for emergencies when out of wi-fi range, and literally have hundreds of units left over each year. Seriously, I had Santa call my relatives from my Google Voice last year, too! Continue reading…