We have never been rich or even comfortable. We never will be. In recent years we have been committed to reducing our debt and keeping our older children in St. Augustine's homeschool enrichment program. Lets just say it is not the most inexpensive way to homeschool. For us, it is worth the sacrifices to have our children there.
I have learned a thing or three about frugal living over the years and was raised by a frugal expert. This week the move by the feds probably means our money will buy less. It certainly looks as if it means gas prices will keep rising. We live in the boonies, nearly everything we do is a drive. Thankfully we can usually carpool with a wonderful family near by. And most of our friends are in the same boat which means that the children's social activities tend to be frugal as well. Thank goodness. However I have been looking at every area to see where I can cut back even more.
We cancelled Netflix. It's only $10 a month, but that's 120.00 a year. Those penny pinching moves add up. By hanging at least one load of laundry to dry each day and washing more clothes in cold water, our electric usage is down. (electric dryer and water heater) I am looking into buying grains and dry beans in bulk. That could add up to savings. We didn't nearly utilize our garden as well as we could this year but what we did grow was quite successful. Next year we'll do more. We already shop mostly second hand for clothes, though it is tough to find those tall sizes. Alex gets more new clothes than anyone else. :)
Naturally the most flexible area to cut back is food. We are lucky that our children will eat good, cheap protein like egg and bean meals. We are baking all our bread and bakery items and we all prefer homemade. Muffins are a good way to get a little extra fruit in the children and a good lunch staple for bag lunches. This article Download More Month than Money PDF(2) is an excellent tutorial in reducing your food budget without sacrificing nutrition. There is always more I could learn and do to feed us better and cheaper and I enjoy the challenge.
I did research couponing, those stories of feeding your family for pennies with coupons sound great. With some exceptions, most coupons are for processed food and other useless non-food items. Processed food is of little nutritional value, no matter how they market it. So I am not sure how much couponing we will do, but I'll keep my eyes open for the occasional coupon deals on real food.
If anyone has favorite resources for frugal living or even little tips, I would love to know about them!