Living frugally can be hard sometimes. It’s super easy to feel as if you’re the only one in the world who is living a frugal (Six Dollar Family) lifestyle. It can be easy to feel miserable while trying to live a frugal life. Whether you realize it or not, thoughts such as those can really hinder your finances. Just like I thought it would be fun to share our January 2019 budget and our 2019 financial goals, I thought it was a great idea to share how we are saving money each week! Who knows? It may give you new ideas or help you save money in your own home!
This week was a fairly light one for our family thankfully. While we did spend some money, what was spent was on bills and other necessary things. Living frugally doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take constant management if you’re trying to learn how to stop living paycheck to paycheck or if you’re trying to rebuild from an emergency or other crisis. In our case, we are working on rebuilding our emergency savings so I am in my budget spreadsheet multiple times per day updating. If I don’t, I will forget to do so and we will end off the rails by the end of the month.
Living Frugally in 2019 – Week 1
This week, we ate off our normal menu plan and almost entirely from the freezer and pantry. Leftovers did play a big part in our menu this week though to help save as much as possible. If you’re trying to live frugally but aren’t using leftovers to your advantage, you may want to consider starting. They are a HUGE help in saving money. Our menu included:
- Pork chops with baked potatoes and salad
- Chili and my Copycat Jiffy Cornbread recipe – We ate this for 2 days to stretch what was in our pantry.
- Cheese ravioli with mozzarella stuffed meatballs, garlic bread and salad
- Hot ham and cheese sandwiches with salad and macaroni and cheese
- Pancakes and Eggs leftover from breakfast. Yes, scrambled eggs reheat just fine.
- Grab & Growl Night
Yes, I ordered pizza. I had been fighting a craving for 2 weeks and even though I am currently working on losing weight, I gave up the fight. I would have made it myself, but honestly; I would have spent the same amount of money to buy the ingredients since we live so far from a regular grocery store. I had two options; buy the ingredients at a local Mom and Pop shop that is three times more expensive than my other stores or use the gas to drive into a larger city. Ultimately, I chose delivery from the one small place in town that delivers.
How We Saved Money This Week
We tend to have a “Grab and Growl” night once a week. These nights are the nights when I do not cook and we are all on our own to feed ourselves. My children are just about to turn 14 and quite capable of feeding themselves one night a week. I keep easy meals for them made up in the freezer that they can use or they are welcome to cook something small for themselves. I believe this week they opted to eat leftover pizza from the night before.
This week, we spent $71.41 on utilities, $78.75 on groceries, $100.68 on misc. expenses such as gasoline, my Kindle Unlimited Subscription and my medications, and $35 on the pizza with the tip. Of the $78.75 I spent on groceries, $25.56 of it was for a deal on Slimfast Ready to Drink shakes. I like to have them on hand for days when I don’t feel like eating much of a breakfast. Since I am diabetic, I must have something in the mornings and since I was able to get these for less than I can in the store, I picked up 2 packages.
I also took the time to hit that local Mom and Pop shop I mentioned earlier. While they’re not so great on pricing regular groceries, their clearance deals are amazing sometimes. I got all the produce in the photo below for just $12.65! Those bell peppers are normally $0.98 each here so we scored big!
Frugal Things We Did This Week to Save Money
The baking potatoes have provided for one meal already and we will get at least 2 more meals from them. The tomatoes were diced and used in the pot of chili I made. Since the mushrooms were the most likely to bad first, we used those in various meals like omelets for breakfast and the cheese ravioli meal. I froze the bell peppers after slicing and dicing them and I used the apples to make applesauce for my applesauce cake bars with buttercream frosting recipe as a treat.
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Any scraps we had left from slicing or cooking the veggies, went into our compost pile. We are working on learning how to become a zero waste home so I am kind of militant about not throwing vegetable scraps away.
This week, I also paid my water bill way earlier than I normally do. By doing this, I saved $1.25 on the processing fee. That may not seem like much, but that is $15 a year that I don’t need to spend. In my mind, saving that $15 is keeping that $15 from being wasted. Starting next month, I will actually be taking my water payment into City Hall so I can save the additional $1.25 I paid this month. That will jump my total savings for it to $30 a year. Since I frequently pass by there, there won’t be any additional costs to stopping and dropping it off. I just need to not be lazy about it which is the exact reason I didn’t do it this month.
We made $62.42 on Ebay this week which may not seem like it was a huge amount, but it was better than nothing. I recently had to start over with a new Ebay account due to my ex getting into my old one. Ebay accounts with no feedback don’t do well at first so we knew it would be slow going. With Swagbucks, we earned $50.00 this week through search and offers and on InstaGC, we earned $30 with offers and surveys.
If you’re not familiar with Swagbucks and InstaGC, they are fantastic ways to earn money from home. When you sign up for a Swagbucks account, you can earn points by searching, playing games, completing offers and more. When you sign up for an InstaGC account, you can earn points for completing surveys and offers, watching videos and more. Both have the option to cash your points out by Paypal or gift card. With InstaGC, your cash outs are instant once you complete your first one.
Living Frugally Week 1 Totals
- Expenses: $250.84
- Extra Income Earned: $142.42
Total taken from regular income: $108.42
How did you do on your mission to live frugal this week? Did you overspend or did you come in under what you were hoping?