Posts Tagged ‘frugality’

Articles about Finances

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013


Here are some interesting articles about finances, with personal stories from my own life on how we lived frugally for over a decade while living under a crushing load of debt. To hear my full finances story on audio, click here.

Saving Money
Top Ten Ways to Get Out of Debt
Saving Money on Groceries
Are Coupons Worth the Hassle?
Do Warehouse Clubs Save You Money?
Saving Money on Children’s Clothes
Don’t Fight Over Finances
Cutting My Family’s Hair
Selling my Hair
Pointless Coveting

Yard Sales
Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales
Throwing a Fabulous Yard Sale

Cheap Entertainment
Dollar Movies
Exploring Local Parks
8 Ways to Relax with Your Kids
Climbing Trees
Playing with Cheetos
Camping in the Backyard
Splashing in Puddles
Growing Indoor Grass
Mime Act for Kids
Making Sun Prints
Painting from a Water Bucket
Sidewalk Chalk
Vegetable Creatures
Boredom Busters for Kids

Cheap Food
Making Your Own Flavored Popcorn
Snowflake Funnel Cake
Ice Cream Floats

Giving to Others
Hoarding Money
Exposing the Harm of Ultra-Frugality

What other ideas do you have for cheap entertainment, either for date nights with your spouse or for fun as a family?

Exposing the Harm of Ultra Frugality

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

ultra-frugalityI don’t understand what it is about the poverty mentality among Christians. We use fewer squares of toilet paper and squeeze toothpaste until our fingers hurt. We borrow things from people to avoid having to buy them, and we buy just about everything used.

Don’t get me wrong. I lived this way my whole life until two years ago. Then I stepped back and saw what I was doing. I also saw unethical behavior in homeschool circles. I was a part of a group of hundreds of homeschool moms online, and they were copying copyrighted material to avoid buying the products of sweet homeschool businesses who they were harming. I left the group immediately, after a fellow homeschool mom blew the whistle on them and got thrown out of the group.

What is wrong with us? Don’t we think that God can provide for our needs? Do we think that stinginess is godly? Because frugality is NEVER mentioned in Scripture. The Proverbs 31 woman dresses her family in scarlet and gorgeous clothes. She is not scrimping and ripping people off. No, she’s industrious, and God provides for her abundantly.

Even through all the years of having no money, God provided lavishly for me. Sometimes He provided the money for me to buy new curriculum. God is God. He owns the universe. Every single penny you have belongs to God. God is able to do abundantly beyond all that you could ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20) Let’s not limit God.

Yes, we need to not spend more than we earn, and we should save money so that we can pay for car repairs and other things. I’m not talking about that. I’m astounded at the amount of Christians who have an enormous amount of money at the bank, but physically suffer because they have their thermostat set to extremely cold temperatures in the winter. They are frugal because they pride themselves in being frugal, as if God is glad that they are causing their families to suffer when they have the money to make their families warm.

It reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol, who didn’t realize until it was almost too late, what really mattered in life. You don’t know when your life will be required of you. Why die with a huge pile of money beside you?

Are Coupons Worth the Hassle?

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I’ve heard people say thare-coupons-worth-the-hassleat by clipping coupons, you can save up to $100 a month on your grocery bill. Back when I had no money at all and couldn’t use my time to earn any income, I learned how to do coupons just to survive. And what people say is true, but it is also tedious. Right now in my life, if I can spend an hour recording a workshop instead of clipping coupons, that hour will yield me money for the rest of my life instead of a few measly dollars for just one week.

When you’re desperate to feed your kids, you’re not as irritated by having to clip coupons. Ideally, you want the item to go on sale before you use the coupon. This way you can sometimes get the item for free. Strangely, sometimes I even came out ahead, with the grocery store paying me to get the item. I know it seems weird, but the manufacturer pays some of it, so the grocery store still gets money even when you didn’t pay a penny.

are-coupons-worth-the-hassle-2Coupons expire. And if you’re not a die-hard coupon person, if you’ve already spent money on gasoline to get to the store, you might as well use all your coupons on the spot and be done with it. To wait for every single thing to be on sale would take forever, and who wants to do that? Not me.

Instead of using coupons now, I just follow the major sales in grocery stores, called loss leaders. For example, a local grocery store has a cereal sale where Cheerios and other well-known cereals sell for $1.69 a box. I buy 70 boxes. Yes, you heard me right. If you find the rock bottom price, stock up. Your grocery bill will be lower for the next few months because you are buying no cereal. You’re saving a ton of money.

Despite the fact that I don’t do heavy couponing any more, I still use coupons to my advantage with virtually no work on my part:

1. I use Costco coupons. While my husband drives to Costco, I flip through the booklet of coupons we’re sent in the mail, and I tear them out. These are coupons for toilet paper and other things we buy all the time, and it’s always several dollars off, not just 25 cents. And since I’m sitting in the car doing nothing anyway, it doesn’t take up time.

2. Resale shop coupons are fun. There are five resale shops in my neighborhood that are quite good. (I realize that Goodwill-type stores in some towns are nasty, icky, and musty, but other cities have awesome, expensive name-brand stuff for a dollar or two.) Whenever I have a coupon for a resale store, I use it. The item I’m buying, like a new-looking jacket for my son for $4, ends up costing only $2 with a 50% off coupon. If a whole stack of clothes are 50% off, you can get a fresh wardrobe for your children for the new school year for just pennies to the dollar.

3. Coupons for going to an expensive place are also worth using. Places with roller coasters, for example, often have coupons for $10 off. Sometimes it’s buy one, get one free, and if the ticket to get in is $38, you’ve just had fun for a lot less money if you wanted to go there anyway.

These three types of coupons (Costco, resale shops, and expensive places) are the only coupons I do now. So to answer the initial question, “Are coupons worth the hassle?”, when I had babies and toddlers and was in a mental fog and had no money; yes, it was. But now that I’m not in that situation, my answer is no, they’re not worth the bother.