Saturday, November 8, 2008

Frugal Living

In an attempt to stretch my husband's hard earned dollar as far as it will go, I have been doing a lot of "reading up" on frugality. I've run into a TON of information. It's a little overwhelming and mind-boggling.

This morning, I was over at The Coupon Game and I spent an untold amount of time trying to learn what I could and even went to this website and printed off some coupons. I am also really liking the lady over at Like Merchant Ships and her advice/examples. Jen at Conversion Diary had some links posted to Laine's Letters , especially this one about how they paid off their house in 17 years on a minimal income of less than $30K/year and also recommended The Two Income Trap for reading. Interestingly enough, in one of the first chapters of this book the main example she uses about the middle-class being forced into a two income home to keep their place was that of men who were police officers, as mine recently has become.

I've been thinking and reading up on all this stuff for a few weeks now, and I have some questions about this idea of frugality that I believe the Lord is drawing me to.

How much time is prudent to spend coupon clipping?
Does it "pay" to print coupons at home on my printer using my own ink and paper?
Should I start buying the Sunday paper?
What can we live without?
Can I convince my husband to cancel the cable?
Should we drop the car insurance to just liability?
Do we really need a cell phone (or two, as it is in our house)?
What about Christmas?
Can I give up my "name brand" staples, like Heinz Ketchup, Miracle Whip, Kraft Cheese and Prego, for the "store brand"?
How much organic and natural products can I continue to purchase now that I am trying to stay within a food budget?
What is a reasonable food budget for a family of 7?
How can I be a good steward of our earnings and still keep my family happy without seeming like the KillJoy of our family?

As I ponder these questions, I ask you, my dear readers, for some help and advice through these questions:

How much do you spend weekly/monthly on groceries?

What size family do you have?

Is eating out once month/week in your budget (right now, it's not in ours)?

Do you clip coupons?

How do you "bargain shop"?

What other things do you do that really help save money in your home?

Am I nuts to think that I can survive the year buying only used clothing?

How do I convince my extended family that my kids really (really, really, really) don't need toys for Christmas this year? (Because we already have way too much stuff in our house and I'd like to minimize what we already have, and teach them the value of Christmas, i.e. that Christ came to die for our sins.)

Please leave a comment and answer if you can. The more the merrier!


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