Frugal Living

Photo found here

Since our self made "hard times " fell upon us, we have been trying to live a more frugal lifestyle to get back on track.  And while it has been tough at times to make certain sacrifices we have learned to actually over time enjoy our changes.  some of the changes that we have made include:

Getting rid of cable- this was a very hard one to do.  We are such movie buffs and we watched most if not all those wonderful channels.  Unfortunately we were paying $150 a month for cable, phone, and Internet at the time.  Once we got our new TV it came with all those extra HD channels for FREE!!!!   Also we got the cheapest membership to Netflix so that we could watch all those movies we love. All these changes made it  much easier to forget about our old cable box.  We are now going on four years without cable TV, and honestly even if we had the money I don't think we will ever go back, we have gotten so use to it.  And we only pay around $10 a month total for movie watching.

One vehicle- this was more of an accident and we did not intend on this happening, my husbands truck gave out on us leaving us with only my car, now we only have the one.  But we have lived this way for two years and have found it a lot cheaper for us.  For one we only have to pay repairs on one car, also the insurance cost us only $100 a month for full coverage, and the gas for one car is sooooo much better to pay for than the Gas on two cars.  This may be the hardest change for most people, but since I don't work at the moment, and since my husbands work schedule is so easy to work around, having one car just works well for us.

One cell phone for our home- this maybe another hard one for most  people but again since I'm home most of the day and Ryan only works every third day we just have the one phone.  Also ever since Apple has come up with face time, we can call and message anyone with an iPad, iPhone, or iPod.  When I had a cell phone we were paying $99 a month for service through Metro PCS, I still think once I start working then I will probably need my own phone, but till then I don't.

Eating out, not so much- I am so ashamed to admit this but we would eat out twice a day almost everyday .  Ryan and I never stayed home we were always out and about, this caused us to eat out A LOT.  And not just places like McDonald's but more like places like Red Lobster, and Chuck E Cheese.  These places would cost us around $70 or more each day.   One day, I decided to look at a bank statement for a month that we ate out like this just to get an idea of how much we were spending on eating out, and it was over $1,000 just on  food.  After that we stopped.  We still eat out just not nearly like that.  Now we eat out for a treat and we eat at home the rest of the time. 

Changing grocery stores-  We always shopped at Walmart, and we still do sometimes for certain things.  But most of our grocery's are bought at a store called Aldi's.  We save probably half of what we would from Walmart. 

Clipping coupons-  I'm still new to coupons but I have gotten a lot of great deals from using coupons.  Especially from stores like Walgreen's and CVS Pharmacy.  LOVE those stores.

Thrift stores-  I have always loved shopping at thrift stores and yard sells but now I love them even more. Last year for Heavenly's winter clothes I purchased five Abercrombie and Gap sweaters for $3 a piece.  All were in great shape.  And I was able to find her jeans for under five dollars.   I LOVE shopping at thrift stores. 

So there is our small but very effective list of things that we are doing to save on money around our house.  I would love to add to this list if anyone has any suggestions.  We're always looking for ways to save money.  And I can't wait until we buy a home and can do even more to save,  like plant a veggie garden :)   

All of these solutions are very obviously obvious I know, and I'm sure these are things people have said before,  but honestly we really have saved a ton of money, and while its been hard at times we have learned so much from this experience, and I know we will never go back to spending money the way we once did.

Family Favorite Fun Activities
*Warning*   this is a super long post

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband and I had to learn different ways to have fun with our family while not depriving our children of the things that they were so use to doing. Here is a list of things our kids (and our selves) enjoy.

Six flags.
This is the most expensive up front family fun that we enjoy.  One ticket for one day admission is $56.99 for anyone over 48 inches tall.  And as you may already know (if you know my family) we go a lot during the year. They have so many fun things to enjoy, like freight fest, and holiday in the park.  So that price was killing us before.  For a few years now we have been buying the season passes.  They cost $59.00 each when you by four.
  Um. hello that's only a couple dollars more than one general admission plus you get free parking all year long.  And a coupon book full of free admission tickets for friends, and coupons on food and drinks. Also we buy two six flags cups that can be refilled all year for free with water, or .99 for everything else.  So while it does cost a lot up front, after just two times of going we have already paid for an entire year of fun.  Also Six Flags has recently started a layaway plan for people who want to pay a little at a time, but your still able to enjoy the park as long as your payments are up to date. 
Six Flags

The zoo.
We use to do this a lot more than we do now, but really how many times can you see the same animals over and over again.  For us twice a year. That's about all we need, and it cost $66 for all of us to get in. Still pricy but so long as we eat before we go, and Wait to eat afterwards it's not too bad for twice a year. And because we rarely do go its a treat for the kids when we do.

Chuck E Cheese.
Honestly I will be so happy when all the kids out grow this place.  Unfortunately my husband still loves going so I have a long wait ahead of me. But fortunately for us it's only $20 to enjoy a few hours of fun.  We no longer eat at Chuck E. Cheese; we eat first then spend $20 on 100 tokens.  This gives the three kids and Mr. Fireman about two hours of playtime.  But like the zoo we only do this when we have a little extra money, and want to give the kids a nice little treat.

Drive in movie theatre
This by far is one of my most fav things to do.  Do you know it cost a whopping $50 just for the tickets more if it's in 3D at any regular movie theater, and even more once we buy drinks and popcorn. (Because you have to have drinks and popcorn) The drive in movie here where we live only cost us about $15 for admission and probably a total of $40 when we buy food with the tickets.  A HUGE savings.  Also how fun is it to bring big comfy blankets, pillows, and pj's to the movies. Best summer activity EVER!!!
Picture found here

The park
This is always fun, and always free!  Just pack a basket full of food let the kids play, and take a nice stroll on the park trail, maybe let the little ones feed the ducks.  This family fun is something we always enjoy, especially when we're broke but want to get out of the house for the day :) 

So this is a small list of family fun activities that we enjoy, and have been able to do on a budget.  What are some activities you enjoy doing with your family that is on the cheaper side?