Being Thrifty!

11 Mar

If there is something that I love – it’s being thrifty. To me, being thrifty means that I’m making the best out of what I have, turning something old into something new, and if I am spending money – doing it in a smart way so that I’m spending as little as possible.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been like this. Sometimes more so than others, for example, I do remember a few times in college ignoring my thriftiness and living it up at Walmart late at night blowing through my spending money.

Part of it is the way I was raised. My mother grew up in a large family with a little bit of money and it was the same with my dad. As my sister and I were growing up we were reminded that we had enough money to make ends meet and a little extra but that didn’t mean that we went out and blew money on things that weren’t worth keeping. Sure we had special occasions, nights out, and the occasional fancy dinner at a restaurant, but when it came to spending money on things for “fun” – we did it in moderation.

The memories I love the most about being thrifty are going out with my sister.  She was in high school and I thought she ruled the world! She spent most of her time hanging out with her friends or her boyfriend but on Saturday mornings she would take me out to the thrift stores so we could hunt down some great things with our allowance money. I’d have to say that I learned most of what I know about thrift store shopping from her and it’s been something that I have enjoyed doing since then!

That part of me is another reason I wanted to start a blog in the beginning. I wanted to share my love of making things, finding great deals, and restoring old items with others like my family did with me. When I quit my job to become a stay at home mom, being thrifty got even more real for me! I was figuring out how to live off of one income in a place where most people live of two HUGE incomes. I tried so many ways of  pinching pennies and found a few that came in handy.

In order to save money on food, my husband and I decided we were going to eat out less and he was going to pack lunches for work. What we didn’t think about was how much we’d then be spending on groceries! We got to the point where we realized we were spending more than we were going out to eat and were seriously confused on how this was supposed to save us money! It was the perishable items that were killing us the most. We’d buy a whole head of lettuce and eat less than half and it would go bad.

I then decided to start couponing. This was BIG! I got so excited about it and clipped as many coupons as I could find. Then I realized I was still not saving anything because I was spending money to use the coupons on food that we didn’t eat. I sat down and made a list of the foods we liked to eat on a bi-weekly basis. I came up with 7 breakfast ideas, 10 lunch ideas, and 13 dinner ideas. I only cut coupons that fit those bi-weekly meals. I cut my grocery spending in half, I save about 15-20 dollars every trip to the grocery store, and the food isn’t going bad before we eat it anymore. When we get sick of a meal – I switch it out for a new one, stop buying the old meal items and start buying the ones.

I had never felt so successful before that I decided to apply this method of madness to other parts of our lives. In order to save money on clothes I would go through what we already had, take it to a consignment shop and then credit it to my account or get cash back for it. Then I would go shopping for new things for Brian, Emma, and I so that we were hardly spending anything. This way we got “new” clothes for nothing and decluttering our closets at the same time.

My in-laws gave Brian and I a set of side tables for our bed but they weren’t my favorite color. I grabbed some sand paper and some house paint laying around and made it brand new to me. There is a completely free project and now these side tables are a part of our bedroom set that I don’t plan on ever getting rid of!!

Being thrifty has given me a new perspective on money. In this economy we have to make it work on what little we have and I can’t even start to explain to you on what a difference it’s made in my life. So I’m hoping in the next few weeks to show you what being thrifty is all about to me!

I’d love to hear if you have any thrifty tips!!

Love Always,

Jennifer

6 Responses to “Being Thrifty!”

  1. March 11, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    I have similar memories of taking my sister to thrift stores and garage sales on Saturdays. Lately I have been really thinking about and trying to stick to the make do and mend philosophy. I’ve never been one to buy much of anything brand new, but this has been something a revelation to me as I look around at the things I already have or the things that didn’t before seem like they could have a purpose. The biggest thing I have discovered lately is that unused, unwanted, or otherwise discarded tshirts can be made into literally anything.

    • March 11, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      That is awesome!! I’m hoping to pass down the same memories with my little girl :) So true! I’ve been collecting our old t-shirts and I’m hoping to make a rag rug out of them! <3

  2. March 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    Great post! I like making different recipes for dinner a lot, but I don’t want to have to think about breakfasts and lunches. Like you, I just have a basic rotation. It’s a good system, especially for reducing waste.

    • March 13, 2013 at 7:37 am #

      Oh me too. I don’t know what it is about dinner but eating the same thing all the time gets boring but for breakfast I could eat the same thing almost every day!

      Reducing waste was something I had never really noticed before but I am so glad we are not only doing it but saving money in the process!

  3. March 13, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Love the post! I was raised to be a major thrift shopper, too. We have attempted using coupons, but we buy very little packaged food (rice, pasta, and chick peas is about the extent of it), so it has not really worked for us.

    However, one way that I make sure we save money is that we always check our grocery and CVS receipts for the “amount you saved today” and I take that amount of cash out of my wallet (or, more likely, my husband’s) and put it into our savings or retirement accounts. I firmly believe that if you leave that money in your regular account, then it isn’t “savings” — it’s just money you haven’t spent yet. It only becomes savings when you actually remove it from the possibility of being spent and put it in a savings account.

    • March 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      What a great idea! I’ll have to add that to our daily routine!

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