I have a couple of tips to share.
First, I have a dear friend that absolutely refuses to buy anything that is not in her set budget amount. When she goes shopping if the item is more than $10 she will not buy it! She says that their budget will not allow for it and so she prays about the things they need and waits for the Lord to provide the item for $10 or less! I find that wonderful. The Lord even provided her with cashmere sweaters one year for $7 dollars each!
Also, if your children have outgrown their toy boxes don't get rid of them. Use them for extra storage of long term food items. It's like having an extra pantry or emergency stash.
Of course one of the best courses of action when desiring to cut back is to simply stay out of the store! That said, when I do go, bringing just the cash needed for the trip keeps me from spending more. When the cash envelope is empty, that the end!
When my children were little a friend of mine and I would switch off watching the children and the other one would do the shopping. Of course, we both were more careful of our spending when shopping for someone else and the children were not along to be tempted with all the goodies their eyes could see!
I keep a year's supply of paper goods now so that I can wait for a genuine sale. Then I can simply restock. I have gone to using very inexpensive bar rags or cheap washcloths for our paper towels. I have a large supply so that I don't run out between washings. It has already saved quite a bit. I put out paper towels when company comes if I feel that the towels would make them feel uncomfortable.
I also love to use cloth napkins and I feel very feminine and close to my grandmother when I use a handkerchief instead of tissues. My little four year old daughter always asks for a "hankie"! lol They also make lovely little gifts to add to a thank you note or a "just because I'm thinking of you" card.
My favorite saving idea right now I call Once in a Lifetime Soup. Simply put, I use whatever leftovers I have to create a brand new soup that I call Once in a Lifetime Soup. Of course, it is just leftovers with broth and seasoning added, but it always feels like a treat when I call it that. My family enjoys it so much that often when we have a dish now they will ask if they can have it again or is this just "once in a lifetime". By experimenting with the spices in the drawer it has also shown me some unusual things that my family really enjoys! There always seem to be enough leftovers to make a big pot and sometimes that lasts for two meals! Its like dining for free!
All that said, I'd like to share a quote from Jill Cooper, author of Penny Pinchin' Mama.
I grabbed the phone and answered it. It was my daughter chuckling on the other end. “We got another one,” she said, “Another laundry detergent e-mail.” For years now we have one reoccurring question. How can I save on my laundry detergent?So, frugality, as does everything, still comes down to a heart issue. Of course, with the economic crisis that we are facing, the price of laundry detergent matters, but am I being a "good steward" of all that the Lord has provided for me. Am I content with what I have or am a really looking for a bargain so that I don't have to feel the guilt of shopping for things that are not necessary.
This may seem like an innocent enough question, but when we find out the writer’s story, laundry detergent is almost never really relevant to the problem. What we’ve found is that a person who asks about laundry detergent is usually on the brink of bankruptcy, divorce, or losing a job. It’s like some kind of code word or distress signal for “Help Me -- I’m drowning in debt”.
I have tried to understand why in a financial crisis so many people want to learn how to save money on laundry detergent when there are so many more obvious ways they could be saving. Here is what I have finally concluded:
First, by focusing on a trivial issue they don't have to look at the real, more serious problem. It's like putting a Band-Aid on a scratch on your finger while you are bleeding profusely from an artery on your leg. They don't want to acknowledge the real spending problem because then they would have to deal with it.If you are in this situation and you want to be free of it, YOU HAVE TO ADMIT THERE IS A PROBLEM. You are spending more money then you make. It is important to realize that spending impulsively beyond your means is almost as bad as doing drugs. You get instant gratification and pleasure but over the long haul, it will destroy you.
Second, saving on laundry detergent gets rid of that nagging guilt for a little while. As long as they keep trying to save pennies on unimportant things, they don't have to feel guilty about spending thousands on the fun things. The problem is that if they are spending beyond their means, it will catch up with them eventually, which will make the stress and damage all the worse.
Pray for me as I pray for you!