Make it Do– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 17

Day 17- Make it Do

In the WWII era of Victory gardens, saving kitchen grease, and donating scrap metal for munitions, the frugal slogan "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without!" became a nationwide mantra.  Oh, how that has gone out the window today!  Instead of using things up, we buy multiples in every color, style, model, and flavor.  Instead of wearing things out, we throw them out (or they collect dust in our closets).  Instead of making do, we make a fuss about how rough we have it.  Instead of ... read more

Save Money on Gas– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 16

Day 16- Save Money on Gas

Since we don’t pay separately for the gas for each time we drive the car, it’s easy to keep ourselves blind to the actual cost of these trips.  Since all our trips run together in our mind, when it's time to fill up we can't usually name any one trip as the culprit that drained the gas tank.  We may wish we didn't have to fill up, but what can be done?  We can't stop driving the car.  And so, if we go over our gas budget but there's still a week left in the month, unless we suddenly decide to ... read more

Save Money on Utilities– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 15

Day 15- Save money on Utilities

Sometimes we chalk utility bills up as one of those monthly costs that we don't have control over.  We don't see the cost with every use.  When we're shopping, we can put something back if the total is too high or we can choose to return items later.  Once energy is used, on the other hand, there's no going back.  We'll be billed for the use. Do you know how much your utility bills are each month?  Do you pay attention?  Because utility bills feel like they're out of our hands, many people ... read more

Get Organized to Save Money– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 14

Day 14- Get Organized

  There’s no doubt that some people are just naturally more organized than others, but there’s also no reason we can’t each improve!  Organizing both your space and your time will have an impact on how smoothly your life runs.  When it comes down to it, being organized will save you money. Let's look at some areas in our lives where improved organization will save us money.  Be thinking about the changes you can implement to become a little more organized. Your Space Have you ever sat down ... read more

Look Ahead in Your Budget– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 13

Day 13- Look Ahead in Your Budget

  If your budget is tight and has always been that way, it might be hard to imagine thinking ahead about expenses before they arise.  You’re still drowning in what happened yesterday (or last month or last year).  Having the foresight to plan for known upcoming expenses, or the possibility of upcoming expenses is one of the keys to getting out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Hopefully, as you live within your budget by only spending money you actually have (like we talked about on Day 7), ... read more

Involve the Kids in Finances– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 12

Day 12- Involve Kids in Finances

You are much more likely to be successful at reaching your goal when you're not doing it alone.  That's why we talked about the importance of having a buddy or accountability partner.  Of course, getting your spouse on-board with your financial goal is a huge win!   Sometimes, however, we overlook the benefit of involving our kids in finances.  In fact, in many cases we do our children a disservice by not involving them more in finances. Sure, there are lots of arguments for not involving ... read more

Keep Budgeting Flexible– Frugal Fresh Start Day 11

Day 11- Keep Your Budget Flexible

One reason budgeting gets a bad rap is that traditional budgeting often makes people feel like failures.  When the month's spending doesn't match the amount you projected at the beginning of the month, it's easy to decide that budgeting just doesn't work. Traditional budgets set spending levels in each category at the beginning of the month.  This can be frustrating because those decisions feel rigid and unchangeable, at least for the month.  It feels like cheating to increase a category ... read more

Celebrate Your Progress!– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 10 **PLUS Facebook Group Announcement**

Day 10- Celebrate Your Progress

Congratulations --  You're halfway through! Today marks the halfway point in the Frugal Fresh Start Challenge month.  Let's look back and see what we can celebrate. Taking time to enjoy and celebrate your progress is an important part of staying motivated, especially for a goal that could require a change in habits and some renewed self-control.  Most of your goals require you to give something up.  That seems limiting and restrictive, maybe even punitive, until you remember that what ... read more

Lower Your Bills– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 9

Day 9- Lower Your Bills

What’s the first budget line you look at when you look for ways to lower your expenses?  Most people focus first on the variable expenses like food, entertainment, and gas.  That’s understandable since we call another group of expenses “fixed.” The truth is that some of those "fixed" expenses aren’t as fixed as we think.  With a little creativity, some research, and willingness to ask, you can lower your monthly bills. Do Your Research Competition is a great thing for the consumer.  If you ... read more

Pack Your Lunch– Frugal Fresh Start- Day 8

Day 8- Pack Your Lunch

After two days in the budgeting trenches, today’s topic is a little lighter.  We’re going to talk about food again, but about lunch this time.  If you have a habit of eating out for lunch, grabbing something to eat on the go, or sending your kids with lunch money, then you have lots of money-saving potential in packing your lunch. If you  have mastered the art of packing your lunch (and eating it), then we'd love hearing your experience and tips in the comments.  I know there are lots of ... read more