In mainstream America being frugal is not really considered a positive thing. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with media telling us to " buy buy buy" and convincing us that things we simply want are actually things that we desperately need. Before we were married and a few times since, Matt and I have talked about how we want to live simply and frugally and what that looks like for us. Frugality is not an easy trait to possess when you've lived much of your life with the conventional world telling you that you can never have enough and that there is always something better that you need to buy. But we are slowly learning the art of it.
A big reason I choose to live simply is that I believe that we are to be good stewards of God's creation. God's creation, to me, means ourselves, our surroundings, and all living things. He made it all. He entrusted it to us to care for. I want to help take care of it. Another big reason is that for us, being frugal is necessary for our lifestyle. I work very part time, a couple days a week with photography bringing in some money here and there, but for the majorly most part Matt brings in all the money. We are by no means rich and when we don't guard ourselves against materialism, our finances can get puh-retty tight. Our finances can even get a little tight when we DO guard against materialism. Why don't I just get a full time job, you ask? Because wives are called to support and help their husbands, and for ME, that means literally working at home to make sure that it is clean, cozy and peaceful when my hubby comes home from his 50+ hour work week. In our family, me staying home is more helpful to Matt than if I had a full time job. I am honoring God AND Matt by staying home. I will continue to stay home and raise our family when we have kids. We have committed to this lifestyle. I am passionate about it and will guard it the best I can until I am called out of it.
I am always looking for new ways to live simply and spend less, and wanted to share some small ways to make it happen. If you are interested in living frugally or are already doing so, these are EASY ways to make it a habit and then a lifestyle. These are all things that I do, have done, or plan to start doing.
~1st, choose the 1 or 2 things that you are willing to spend more money on. For me, it's our food. I am absolutely willing to spend more money on better quality food. Yes it's more expensive.No I will not ever be one of those coupon queens who get hundreds of dollars of processed crap for $25.00, but this is what I'm willing to spend more on. Knowing what I'm willing to spend more on helps me to cut out spending in other areas.
~shop at thrift stores. I'd say at least 80% of the clothes and material things I buy come from the thrift store. And I like pretty things, so know that frugal does NOT equal ugly. Shopping at the thrift store has helped teach me patience if there's something in particular I want and helps me keep in mind the difference between what I NEED and what I WANT. The hard part for me is not going to town and buying tons and tons of clothes just because they're cheap, because then I've defeated my purpose. But I'm getting there : ) Thrifting also ensures that your money is not going to sweat shop labor, which is something else I'm passionate about.
~make your own laundry detergent. WAY cheaper and I've heard great things about it. I'm going to start doing this when our detergent is out. Plus, homemade detergent keeps a lot of those nasty chemicals out of your clothes.
~make your own shampoo & conditioner. I've done this, I like it, and I'm going to keep doing this. I have a friend who doesn't use the no poo method but does use castille soap, which can double as cleaner for other things, which brings me to...
~make your own household cleaners. You can use soap and water, vinegar and water, or research other methods. I love making my own cleaners because it's insanely cheap and the cleaner cleans everything from counters to windows. So I don't need multiple cleaners filling up space.
~ eat at home. This is something Matt and I are still working to get better at. I love to cook, but we like to eat out. It's not as healthy for us AND it's money that would be better spent somewhere else. I don't think you should completely cut out restaurant eating, but I would like to cut ours back to maybe a couple times a month. Don't know how to cook? There are a plethora of recourses online for you. My favorite places for recipes are simple bites, pioneer woman, real girls kitchen, shutterbean and pinterest.
~get rid of cable tv. We got rid of ours long ago and went with netflix. Then we downgraded from the streaming and movie delivery to just streaming. We now pay only $8 a month for tv, we haven't run out of things to watch yet, and we're also avoiding the massive amount of media that was being shoved down our throats when we had cable.
These are just a few, small steps we have/are taking toward more frugal living. What do you do to live simply?