O’ Money Tree, O’ Money Tree, I Wish I Could Live Frugally

Wouldn’t it be great if money really did grow on trees? How much easier would life seem? I guess we would be more likely to take what we already have for granted if it did, but for those who live paycheck to paycheck, being able to go out in the yard and pick up a few more dollars when they need it would be a true blessing.

For those who are trying to live frugally and save up some money while barely scraping by, I’ve gathered a few tips to help put away money here and there in order to build up some savings:

  • Keep track of your spending: I know this seems like a weird way to save money, but if you keep a close eye on what you are spending and why, you may notice that the $5 you spend twice a week on coffee adds up to $520 per year. Just cutting down to one cup of coffee per week would save you $260 per year. All those little purchases you make throughout the week ($2 here, $5 there, $3.25 there) may seem small, but they really start to add up. Keeping track of these small purchases (or even cutting them out) will help you manage your money better. Instead of making those random small purchases, add what you would spend to your savings!
  • Cut back on the take out: Do you buy your lunch at work every day, or even a couple days per week? Stop eating out as much as you do and you’ll save tons of money. The same idea from the previous point applies here: if you work five days per week and spend $5 on lunch every day, then you’re spending $1,300 per year on lunch. Take your lunch to work a few times a week and save the cash you would usually spend and watch your savings increase! (And you may even drop a few pounds by taking a healthier lunch to work with you!)
  • save-your-loose-change
    Image used with CC license: text added

    Save your loose change: If you are anything like me, you probably don’t like to pay with change, let alone carry it around with you everywhere. I hate digging in my purse to find it (I have a change purse yet the change never seems to make it in there), and it just takes up more time than I find necessary at the register. I’ll find tons of change in my car, my purse, the bottom of the washing machine, and random other places. I’ve started putting all the change I find into a jar, and, at the end of a few months, I have quite a bit of money to add to my savings.

  • Do it yourself: Not only will you save money by doing things on your own, but you can build and learn new skills! Instead of going out for dinner, cook yourself a gourmet meal at home. Instead of going to a seamstress to have your clothes hemmed, learn to sew yourself. Instead of buying expensive wooden signs for your home or abstract pieces of art, buy some supplies on sale and try your hand at being creative. Not only will you have a truly one-of-a-kind piece for your space, but you can customize it to fit your décor perfectly.
  • Entertain yourself at home: Do you go to the movies every weekend? Do you like watching the game in person? Try cutting back on the out-on-the-town nights once in a while and entertain yourself at home. Try renting a movie and cuddling up on the couch with some popcorn and enjoy the glow of your own tv. Replacing a few nights out with a few nights in will boost your savings.
  • too-much-on-coffee
    Drink water and stop spending so much on coffee.

    Drink water: Get a water filter and drink tap water to save the most money possible. You can also buy large packs of bottled water at the store for under $3, and they will last you longer than that 12-pack of pop that costs $4.50. Not only will drinking water help you save some money, but it will allow you to drop a few pounds, too! There’s nothing like looking your best and saving money while doing so!

  • Don’t miss payments: Really, do NOT miss any payments on any of your bills. Pay up as soon as you have the money to do so instead of waiting until the last minute and realizing the payment won’t go through on time. Making payments on time will keep you from getting hit with late fees and save you from the credit card company raising your interest rate. As a bonus, pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards and loans to pay down your debt a little faster.

Hopefully you can put a few of these tips to use and bolster your savings. While the tips may not help you grow your own money tree, hopefully they will help you put a few extra bucks in your pocket. And, if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift, check out these money trees: Tall money tree, money topiary, and money tree with a star.

Image sources:

loose change CC image: Linus Bohman, flickr.com

coffee beans: Daniel Ruswick, unsplash.com

Made My Own Thanksgiving Meal

Hey y’all!

Sorry it has taken so long for this second post to roll around. I promise I’ll write more often after this week is over! I’ve only got a week left of my first semester of graduate school, and boy, is it a busy one!

Anyway, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I sure did.

candied-yamsMy boyfriend and I decided we would have our own Thanksgiving together and that I would cook. Nervous and excited, I made two desserts in advance before picking him up from the airport. In all honesty, I really made too many desserts… but really, how can you have too many desserts on Turkey Day?

I started off the day by making monkey bread using a quick and easy recipe I found on Pinterest. My boyfriend quite likes monkey bread and I thought I could compete with previous recipes he had in the past. Big mistake. The recipe I used called for Pillsbury Grands biscuits and it was just “too biscuit-y” for my boyfriend. I cried for twenty minutes.

turkey-legsI may also have cried because I had forgotten to marinate the turkey legs (we chose legs because we couldn’t eat a whole turkey by ourselves). I just wanted to prepare a fantastic dinner for my boyfriend, especially since it had taken me four years to actually prepare a whole meal for him by myself, and I felt overwhelmed and just wanted to make something that really impressed him, ya know?

deviled-eggsWell, it turns out, I didn’t do so bad on the other recipes I prepared. We both scarfed down the deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, candied yams, and other assorted sides. AND my boyfriend said the turkey legs and candied yams were the best he had ever had! So my earlier tears were all for nothing. Turns out I did just fine.

Have you prepared a Thanksgiving feast on your own? How did the first time turn out? Share your favorite, non-secret recipes in the comments!