Frugal homemaking tips to help you save money in your home every day. By changing your state of mind, you can be more intentional with what you do and how you spend your money.
Frugal homemaking really is a state of mind, an intentional way of living where you don’t necessarily deprive yourself or go without. It’s just a realigning of priorities. I don’t know about you, but most people don’t really like to sacrifice, we like comfort and luxury. However, if you can shift your thinking, you may find being frugal can be a peaceful and fulfilling way to live.
Identify Your Why
This is where I start with most everything. Why am I doing this? Why do I want to save money? Here are a few reasons why people find themselves in a place where they need or want to live more frugally.
- You are struggling to make ends meet
- Your spouse thinks you waste too much money on things that are unnecessary
- You are saving for something big, a home addition, a move, a vacation
- Money isn’t the actual issue, it’s too much clutter in your life
- You want to be more intentional with your money and give to those in need
- You have medical bills or debt that you really want to get paid off
- You want to start saving for the future, perhaps college or weddings
After you have identified why you want to make a change it is much easier to make those little sacrifices or to deny yourself along the way. If you have a big goal in mind, it gives you something tangible to work for. If you also shift your thinking to adopting this as a way of life rather than a short-term experiment you can make changes that are sustainable rather than impulsive and easy to drop.
Look at Where you Spend Money
I remember when I was a young mom and I would read things about how to save money. Often it would be so frustrating because the article would give tips like, don’t buy coffee on your way to work or cook more meals at home. Yes, those are definitely ways to cut out some fat, but what if you don’t buy coffee and you already cook nearly all of your meals at home? Those tips don’t really help the average homemaker.
What you need is a personal audit of your spending. Look at your monthly debit card statement and make note of your expenses. This can get tricky because maybe you do your grocery shopping at a Walmart or Target Supercenter and while it looks like you spent $500 on groceries, you really bought $400 worth of groceries and $100 worth of random impulse buys. Things like throw pillows, home decor, and a few clothing items.
So this part of it may take some digging and some honesty on your part. Where are you actually spending your money? If you have a problem with spending, avoid the places where you tend to overdo it. This includes online places. By really looking at how your money is spent, you can start to make decisions that will best impact your monthly budget.
So, now that we know why and where we can more easily implement a few things to live more frugally and to save a bit of money every single day.
Set the Budget
This will look different for everyone. I used to cringe at the idea of setting a budget. It felt restrictive and I thought there would be no fun at all. The truth is you can budget fun, home decor, and eating out into your budget. This can be a fun challenge. Perhaps your budget only allows for $10 a month for home decor. This provides the opportunity to get creative. You will be more intentional with what you buy. If you have saved your home decor budget for two months and you now have $20 to spend on anything you want for your home, you might be more likely to hit the thrift store and repurpose something or maybe you learn to buy materials and make something from scratch. Look at it as boundaries that help you to grow as a person.
Tips for Saving Money on Food and Household Supplies
Maybe you are like me, you are a homemaker and you cook most of your meals, you rarely eat out. Saving money on food seems like an impossibility. However, there are ways to cut back on the amount of money you spend on groceries.
Change Where You Shop
This might be one of the best ways to save money on groceries. We are blessed to live in an area with a lot of bulk food stores and discount groceries. However, when we lived in the city there were also places like that, we just had to search to find them. Search for places that sell overstock or damaged freight.
I had sticker shock the last time I was in the city. We went shopping for my daughter’s birthday, as we wandered around Target I could not believe the prices on food and cleaning supplies! It was far more than what I paid at our local discount stores! If you are shopping at a place like that, look around for an alternative.
Aldi, while not glamorous has really good prices on most everything. If you can’t find bulk stores in your area, give Aldi a chance. Honestly, the first time I shopped there, I hated it. However, that was about 15 years ago, back then they mostly carried canned goods and unappealing generic boxed goods. If you haven’t checked them out in a while, give them another chance and you might be pleasantly surprised.
The main thing you might miss is the selection. For me, that’s kind of a blessing, I don’t waste time trying to decide between two brands because there is only one choice. It helps you to avoid decision overload as well!
Buy generic as well, most times the generic brand is just fine. There are exceptions to this (like graham crackers, they just are not as good). However, it’s worth trying to see if you can save a couple of bucks by buying the off-brand.
If you live near Sam’s Club or Costco, you can probably save money on some items there. This takes a lot of evaluating to make sure you are actually saving money!
This is one of the best ways to spend less. It’s much tougher to let go of that $20 bill than it is to swipe a card. One thing I used to do when we were saving for something specific was to keep a jar in the kitchen. Every time we chose to come home and eat rather than driving through somewhere, or every time I chose not to buy something, I would bring that money home and put it in the jar. This was so helpful in motivating us to save.
Invest in a Large Freezer
This upfront investment will pay for itself and help you to save money every month on groceries. Here are a few ways that a freezer will help you to save money.
- Will allow you to buy 1/2 a beef or pig locally and save money on meat
- You can stock up when you see a sale on meat at the grocery store
- Buy things like flour, cornmeal and oats in bulk and store them in the freezer
- You can make larger meals and freeze half of it so that you can have a quick dinner in a pinch.
- This will give you the space to freeze extra produce from your garden. Things like tomatoes, green beans, peas and carrots all freeze well and can be there for you all winter
- You can buy seasonal fruit and freeze it when the prices are really good
Buy in Bulk
What? Buy more in order to save? Yes! There is typically a good discount if you buy more of something. At a bulk food store, it is cheaper to buy 50 lbs of flour than it is to buy 10 lbs. We just store our flour in the freezer to keep it from getting bugs.
Also, if you see cleaning supplies, toothpaste, or personal care items on sale, stocking up ahead of time can save money in the long run.
Eat What You Have
Try to always use up your leftovers. Eat them for lunches or have one night a week where you eat all the leftovers in the fridge from the week. Clear glass containers like these are super helpful for identifying what’s in there. Avoid waste at all costs.
If you find that you are throwing out unused produce, buy frozen instead. It’s better to have frozen broccoli that you will eventually use than to keep throwing out fresh broccoli because you don’t eat it.
Ways to Save Money on Clothing
If you have children, clothing can be one of the areas where it feels like you are just constantly spending. With a plan-ahead attitude and a little bit of effort, you can save loads of money when shopping for clothing!
Online Second-Hand Stores
Below are my favorite online second-hand stores. Now, typically the prices will not be as cheap as at a thrift store, however, you can more easily search exactly what you are looking for. The higher price is worth it to me because I can shop from home and I don’t have to wade through rack after rack of dated clothing.
- Swap.com– This used to be my absolute favorite online place to shop. The last time I ordered from them, shipping was very slow. Kind of frustrating. However, I got some really great winter coats and sweaters for super cheap. Usually shipping is quick, I think they are just short staffed like everyone else.
- Poshmark– This app takes a bit of getting used to. Just make sure to like any item that you are interested in. Often the seller will make you a special offer on items that you have liked. You can also bundle items from a particular seller and get price an shipping disounts. (Use Code Jenndynys to save $10 off your first order)
- Mercari– Very similar to Poshmark, they also carry other things besides clothing. Just search what you are looking for and you might be surprised! (Get $10 off when you sign up through my link)
- Thred-UP-Next to Swap.com this used to be my very favorite. Their prices have increased some, however they are very organized and you can consign your own items there as well. Also, they often have discount codes and there will be 30-50% off. My last order had great disounts!
- Ebay-Of course nothing new here, ebay has been around for a long time. I reserve ebay for when I am looking for something specific, like JCrew Jeans or something that I know the exact brand, style and size. Typically you are going to pay a bit more on Ebay than you would at other second-hand shops.
Seasonal Clearance-Think Ahead
I am always thinking ahead to the next season. I keep my eyes peeled for clearance racks no matter where I am. If I see a winter coat for $5 you better believe I am snatching that up and holding onto it for the next season.
Pay attention to end-of-season sales and also after Christmas sales. This includes online stores, try to never pay full price for anything…make it a goal of yours!
Thrift Stores or Consignment Shops
If you live near in or near a city, Thrift stores and Consignment shops can be a great way to save money on clothing. You do need to weed through the trash so to speak, but it can be fun if you have the time. When we lived in the city, I shopped at Thrift stores near ritzy neighborhoods. I almost always found great items at low prices.
I recently learned about Goodwill Outlet. If you live near one of those and if you can tolerate crowds and digging through bins of clothing, you can walk away with a new wardrobe for under $30!
This one can be tough. I have some amazing friends who have given us really nice clothes for our kids. Sometimes it is such a blessing to get a bag of clothing in just the size you need for your child. However, I have also been dumped on and felt like I was used as a place for someone to get rid of their trash.
Always be kind, sometimes it is worth digging through bags of cast-off clothing if you can come out of it with a couple of coats or maybe some snow boots!
And remember if you are the donor, don’t dump your kid’s worn-out play clothes and shoes on your friends!
Ways to Save Money if Traveling
Food in the Car
This may seem like a lot of trouble, but you can eat better and much cheaper if you fill a cooler and a few boxes with food for your trip. We travel to Pennsylvania from Missouri at least once a year. I make enough food for all three meals plus snacks. If you need a few ideas on food that travels well in the car, I have a post here.
I also pack food for any short trips like out-of-town basketball or soccer games. We save money by not buying things at the concession stands or dinner out.
Plan your stops ahead of time. If you have to stay at a hotel, don’t wait until you can’t drive another mile and then try to find something. Plan your stop and book the hotel with the best price.
We try to just push through, it’s 13-15 hours for us to drive to Pennsylvania. We have learned to drive it straight through. Then we save a few hundred dollars on hotel rooms.
Learn Some Old-Fashioned Homemaking Skills
This is one of the best ways to save money. Think of Little House on the Prairie, Ma made everything! I have purposed to learn every homesteading and homemaking skill that I can. I love the thought of being less dependent on stores and more self-sufficient. The #handmadehomechallenge has been a great way for me to push myself to learn new skills.
Making things like cleaning supplies, soap, bread, home decor and your own food from scratch is fulfilling and exciting! This post 17 Old Fashioned Homemaking Skills might inspire you!
Work on Contentment
Being content is really at the heart of frugal homemaking. Working on our hearts through the Word of God is the first place to start. You might need to get off of social media if you find yourself comparing your life to the apparently beautiful lives of others. Comparison is the thief of joy and it can make contentment nearly impossible.
I wrote a whole series on Contentment, you can find that here.
I Hope This Helps You in Your Frugal Homemaking Journey!
Please leave any ideas in the comments! Share places that you shop to save money, or online services that help you find the best deals! We would all love to hear!