Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Effective Budgeting

Effective Budgeting.

For unmarried individuals, making a budget is not complicated. They usually have a good idea on how much income they are making, and able to figure out their expenses easily. But creating a family budget is much more complex. Most families have more than one source of income, and more than one spender in the family unit.

But having a budget and applying it, and sticking to your guns, can greatly enrich a family's financial situation.

Start by Calculating.

1. Make list of all income. If a certain source of income varies each month, use the lowest net amount or average out the net income.
2. Important. Keep close track of all expenditures for a month or so. Retain all of your receipts, and ask family members to do the same and give you the receipts each day.

3. Add together all of your expenses. Be sure that you have all bill statements, all debt payments, family groceries, car insurance, dry cleaning and everyday expenses such as lunch money and transportation costs, etc.

4. Sit down with the family and together discuss ways you can cut or trim down the family's budget. Getting information from other family members will greatly assist you in deciding which expenses are essential and which ones could be adjusted or perhaps removed. Maybe you or your spouse could start carrying a home prepared lunch to work instead of stopping by an eatery.

5. Also decide how each family member can help lower the electric bill, groceries and other important family expenses. Consider such things as riding with a friend to work or look into public transport, buying more store brand foods.

6. Examine how much you may be able save on normal expenses, and eliminate impulsive buying. Then refigure it and see how it can work for you.

Remember to rework the budget until it is saving you money without overdoing it, and readjust it in the future, if needed.

Be Wise.

It's great to cut down on some expenses, but don't go too far. For example, cutting entertainment from the budget completely might look good ' money wise', but we not survive without a little diversion every once in a while.

Instead, find ways to limit the cost. Maybe you've been going to dinner and a movie as a family two to three times a month. But eating in and renting a new movie release would be much cheaper.

Individual expenditures can also get out of control. A good solution can be limiting a certain amount of cash for each family member to spend each week. This help teach each family member how to live within their allotted amount.

A family budget can keep excessive spending in check, leaving you with more money to get out of debt and save for unforeseen evidents. But to achieve your goal, close and constant monitoring is a must.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How To Save Gas

Good Auto Care Means Savings

One important factor in economic management is the general care of the car. Here are some basics that can help you get the most out of your vehicle, while saving your wallet.  

1)  Maintaining the vehicle's battery by keeping it fully charged and the ignition system in top working order, this help the car to  use less gas to start.

2)  Dirty, "gapped" plugs can waste 10 percent of gasoline.

3)  Do not let brake linings drag, which not only ruins the brake shoes, but it needlessly wastes precious gas.

4)  Have your carburetor cleaned and properly adjusted. You see the different immediatedly in savings.

5)  Air filters should be cleaned frequently.

6)  Engine timing is also very important, this can weigh heavy on your gasoline usage or should i say waste.

7)  Check your tires, have the proper pounds of air that the manufactor requires, check for wear and tear and make sure they are properly aligned.  Not just for saving you gas but also to protect you and your family from unforeseens accidents, like blow outs.

Save Gas and Money While Driving

To save money, plan your trip in advance.

1)  Instead of taking several short trips to different stores, why not line up several stops to be taken and manage the whole thing in one trip?  And a bonus try carpooling. If only two people carpooled in the U.S  traffic congestion would be reduced by twenty percent and save over 500 million gallons of gasoline a year.  So get together with a friend or neighbor and plan a car trip, whether it is to the store to make groceries or a vacation.

2)  Driving the car aggressively can guzzle up a lot of gas, it can also speed up the need to get repairs on your car. That is one of the reason why a race tracks have auto repair personnel around to fix a car, because agressive speeds can cause wear and tear on your automobile, for example sudden stops and take offs. So drive with safely and your car in mind. Your wallet will be grateful.

 3)  If you plan a longer trip, gasoline will cost more often on the road than it does in the cities. So fill up before the trip. Prices vary from state to state because of taxes, so plan your trip well.

There are many other equally effective suggestions. But when all is said and done, the key to economic management is to plan ahead.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Herbs, Very Useful Frugal Gifts


Plants can be very thoughtful gifts.

It warms the heart of those who recieves them.  It cheers up those who are ill and hospitalized.  It even makes those who are lonely feel wanted by someone.

But how about practical ones too.  Not just the ones that are beautiful to behold, but the ones that are beautiful and useful also.

I am talking about herbs.  They can make excellent gifts for people who loves to be in the kitchen. Having fresh herbs can compliment any dish and bring a satisfied smile on the face of the giftee.

I find that basil is an easy herb to grow.   It can be use in many italian dishes and I love it on pizza because tomatoes and basil compliments each other.   Genovese basil if properly cared for can yield lots of leaves for many dishes. So why not make a gift of basil to a friend?

The way to do this inexpensively for a small gathering of friends, is to start the seeds early in your home.  Usually around the month of March to give them enough time to put on some growth.

Plant them in five inch pots filled with soil with a little perlite in it, and place at least twelve small seeds in each pot. Some seeds cost ten cents per pack and I have seen some at twenty cents per pack and some as high as one dollar or more.  I use the ten and twenty cent packs. Just make sure you check the dates on the seeds to be sure you are getting ones that are for planting for this year. Most can be found at Dollar General, Walmart etc.

Once you have planted the seeds keep them moist by watering them well.  You will soon see spouts around a week or so.  I usually use the liquid Miracle Grow on them. (Follow the direction on back of bottle) You will not need much at the early stages of growth.

As the seedlings grow, pinch off a little of the top to encourage them to branch out and get bushy. This will help to make lots of new leaves.  Use the leaves you pinched in some of your dishes. Don't waste them.

I usually wait until the plant is about five inches tall before I give them out as gifts. This helps to make sure you are giving out good strong plants.

If you want you can put three herb plants together in one pot, thus giving the giftee more than one plant as a gift.   One good combination is thyme, basil and oreganoe, all the great herbs for a good pizza or italian dish.

Now it is time to get some ribbons and some decorations and give them to your friends at a brunch or gathering at your home or at theirs.

Then sit back and watch the smiles and thank yous you recieve for giving such a frugal and thoughtful and practical gift that will last all spring, summer and fall and on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How To Plan A Childrens Party Without Feeling The Pinch

When my twin boys were in pre-k. I threw a party for the whole class. The teachers were amazed at the many gifts that each child will be taking home and how healthy the snacks were. Even though parent were not allowed to make meals that were prepared from home to bring to school, I was able to find a healthy substitute for the children. I did it all on a limited budget.

This is the method below:

The Rules
Inform the teacher that you wish to give a party for the little tikes, ask what guidelines must you follow and take notes. Make extra sure you ask about any allergies to foods, to be sure that you do not serve anything that can be harmful to the children. Schools should know this because it is required.

Head Count
Get a head count of all the children. Jot it down. Lets say it is a total of fifteen children. (Pre-k classes are usually small)

Make extra sure to write the first names and sex of the children. If there are identical names, write down the complete name, to avoid confusion. (ex; jane doe, jane jones) Or better yet, have the teacher make the list for you.
This is necessary as you may want to put names on the wrapped gifts.  If you do not wish to do this, then a simple head count of boys and girls should do the trick.

Choose a date
Be sure to plan the party months ahead, to allow time to buy gifts and other party items. I usually plan about three months ahead.

Clear your Spare closet
Make room in your closet to store party items. Get two large plastic storage containers or two large boxes to hold items that you will purchase.(It depends on how much you buy, you may need more or less)

Thirty From The Budget

Each month after you have paid all your bills, dedicate thirty dollars each month towards the party. If you have extra that is good. (That could mean more gifts for the children) But try to stick with the thirty dollar budget. But if you have extra you can put it towards the party in the end.

Month One. Go to the dollar stores and buy your matching paper or plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic spoons, napkins, paper cups (make sure they contain at least fifteen plates or more items each). In some cases you may not need spoons or forks. In this particular case no spoons are needed. And you may need to buy more cups or plastic or paper plates depending on how much is in the package.

You have spent six dollars and some change. Next go to the toy section and find fifteen practical gifts. Lets say, crayons.
(If you can, try to find the ones that have the coloring books included with the crayons. that will be much better, you are getting two items for a dollar) Buy fifteen.

You should have about eight dollars and some change left (or more). Bank it for the party. Put all of the items you have purchased carefully into the container and place in the closet.

Month two. Go to the dollar store and buy coloring books to go with the crayons you bought in month one.
(If you were able to get the crayon and coloring book combination set, then move on to another gift for this month, bubbles, toy banks) Buy fifteen.
Bank the fourteen dollars and change. You should have about twenty two and change totaled banked for the party.

Month three. Again to the Dollar Store buy wrapping paper, tape, bag of tiny bows. You should have around twenty two dollars left. Bank the rest for party. Wrap the gifts and tag each with a child's name, and bow.
Place back in box or container.

 The Day Before The Party


Small packets of Raisins, enough for fifteen or more people
Three large bags of Sun Chips, very healthy for the kids,
Two gallons of orange juice. Bag of ice, and sterofoam cooler.  Do not open any of the items.  You may wish to do a different menu than the one above.  Just chose something you know will stay fresh for one day and do not open it until the party.

Day Of The Party
Grab all your containers or boxes put it in your car.
Thirty minutes before party, Order three to four large pizzas to arrive at the school, cheese or with one topping. Less toppings, cheaper the pizza.(You should have a least fifty-three dollars or more bank for the party for the pizzas)
Grab the Orange Juice and raisins from the refrigerator and the Sun Chips just before you walk out of the door.

If you are allowed to prepare the foods yourself, then of course this would be a lot cheaper to do.

I have done this also with a hawaiian luau. I set the date a year away and fix a budget for it. Then I would shop around for bargains. Each guess would have a nice party gift to take home afterwards. People will wonder how did you do it on a low income.

There are more ways to plan a party for children that won't break your wallet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let Me Tell You What Happened To Me Last Summer

Let Me Tell You What Happened To Me Last Summer.

Well I had ran into a good deal while traveling on the road of being frugal. I had gotten the best deal of my entire life of shopping. I purchased 11 heads of broccoli. Guess for how much? $3 dollars and change. Yes! Why so low you may ask?

I don't know if you have ever experience this, but the broccoli was a nice green and no yellowing anywhere but it was flexible and rubbery and limp. The manager lowered the price because of the condition of the broccoli, thinking it will not sale at the regular price. The broccoli only needed a quick pick me up and that is all.

I took that heavy bag home, and got started. First I washed the broccoli with the veggie wash and rinse it.(Sometimes with vegetables, I would let them sit in the rinse water for a while, to be sure all the vegetable wash is removed)

Then I cut off the bottom of the stalks to enable the broccoli to absorb water. Then I filled a large bowl with cold water from the tap and place the broccoli stem down in the water. I then place the broccoli, bowl and all into the refrigerator and waited for an hour.

And you guess it! Fresh crispy, crunchy broccoli for only $3 dollars and change. I cooked some, blanched then froze some. Hows that for a nice frugal living tip?

You would think that store manager would know that cutting the bottom off broccoli and placing it in water can help most wilting plants.

This can also be done with limp celery, and wilting lettuce.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Look What I Did!

While driving home several days ago, I just happened to see four worned out chairs sitting outside, waiting to be picked up by the trash man. These were steady strong chairs with welded steel frames. I just couldn't believe the ex-owner was throwing them out.

So I picked up all the chairs and took them home with me. I washed the chairs with one of those miniature machines that deep cleans. I allow them to dry for a whole day. I had an old yellow rusty colored upholster material so, I decided to use that. I took a good look at the chairs to see if I could find a way to repair them with out bringing out the big guns, like clamps, glue etc. Well all I needed was the sewing machine and staple gun.

The chairs had screws to hold in the back rest, the arm and the seat. So all of the parts can be taken off and repaired and then screwed back on. It seems that these chairs will be very easy to repair.

I measured the seat, arm and back of the chairs and stapled the material to the underside of the chair seat, the same for the arm of the chair. The back was easy, I measured and sewed something like a pillow case and just slipped it over the back seat.

Well I have completed one chair, (above)and set into motion to complete the rest. I have always wanted strong chairs such as these. Now I have. It did not cost me a thing. All the materials I needed, I already had. This was a good deal. Well as they say "one man's trash".

To do the same as I have. Look for chairs with removeable seats and/or backs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Make Comforters Out Of Bed Sheets

Make Comforters Out Of Bed Sheets

My mom surprised me with this one. If you sew, this would be a easy task for you.  Knowing that sheets come in the size of the bed, you don't have to sew sheets together to make the comforter fit the bed.
Purchase three inexpensive flat sheets and get enough batting to put between them. Or use your own sheets from your hallway closet. Make sure the sheets match the color scheme of your bedroom and the size of your bed.

Put both sheets together, right sides in and wrong sides out, and lay the sheets on the floor, make sure you keep it even.

Now place the thick batting on top of the sheets, and pin the edges, as well as the middle it will keep it from buckling while sewing.

{NOTE: Usually I would sew three seamlines down the middle and on both side of the batting and the sheet before I join the two sides together, so that I would not have to do the tacking at the end, to finish the comforter, as seen in the picture above}

Now being careful not to puncture yourself from the pins, carry it the machine and sew only three sides of the sheets. (You will be sewing through both sheets and the batting.) Leave one side completely open. (the bottom of the comforter)

Now take it back to the floor and place batting side up. (Note: If you had to use two sections of batting, whipped stitch the two batting together before removing the pins.)

Take out the straight pins. Turn the comforter so that the right side is out. You will notice this would put the batting inside the comforter. Flatten out the comforter on the floor. Make sure batting isn't bulking under the sheets. If you want you can press the comforter at this stage. Don't forget to work on the corners. Now the open end of the comforter, cut any excess batting that is sticking out, then turn in the sheets to make a clean finish and sew together.

Now to be sure the batting stays in place, we need to tack the comforter, my mom's word. You can use thread or yarn, be sure to use a color that compliments your comforter. Thread your needle, you do not have to knot the ends. If you are using yarn, purchase a needle with larger eye. (You could do this next part free hand or you can pin the spots where you wish to tack). Decide what is the top of your comforter, then push needle through all layers of the comforter(from the top) and carefully without sewing yourself to the comforter, bring the needle back through from the bottom near where you begin, back to the top and double knot it. You did your first tack.:). Cut the thread. Now continue this same process with the rest of your comforter. Then go back and trim off all threads, leave about 1/8 of an inch. Once you have clipped the threads consider yourself finished with the comforter.

Now the pillow cases, measure your pillow and add 2 inches all around, take those measurement to your third sheet, and cut it out. (If you need to you may want to make a pattern out of notebook paper. Tape notebook paper together and cut out the measurements). Using the same principle as above, place right sides together pin and sew. Turn so that the right side is out, then iron. You can hem the pillow case or use bias tape to finish the edges. Press again. Remember to make two for a full bed.
Done! A comforter set with out the expensive price.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rescue Recipe Saver

Many of us love to purchase books on many subjects but found it may clutter your home. I am a lover of Recipe Books, sewing books, home decor books. If you are like me, you hate it when you go to a book store, and find a book that has only one recipe in it of interest to you. You cannot purchase the book because of that ONE recipe, it would be a waste of money and library space.

What To Do?

This is what I did to solve that problem. I call it my Rescue Recipe Saver.

First do not forget to write down the recipe. Go buy a 3 inch binder with the plastic cover sleeve. (To give book an identity). Also purchase page protectors, you do not need to get the really expensive ones. Try to find the ones that have twenty protectors for a dollar. Some dollar stores have them.

You rewrite or type the recipe onto computer paper or notebook paper, if you wish and place it inside the protector and then transfer to binder. WA LA! You have rescued your recipe without having to buy the whole book. You can keep this collection going if you chose, and you can make up your own recipes to add into your book.


But do to copyright legal issues you cannot copy a recipe and claim it as your own or use it in a blog or any publish articles, books, etc. I use My Rescue Recipe Saver for home use only.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Living Below Your Income?

Living beneath your means or within your means simply means to spend a lot less than what you earn. In order to live frugally you really have to get control of your spending habits. At first it will be hard but when you maintain a steadfast determination to control your spending habits you will reap good rewards.

I remember when I was a little girl, things was more simple than they are today. Back then a 16oz soda used to cost $.25 not like today when a 16 oz soda cost about $1.25 to $1.79. But even today you can use your money wisely. For instance why spend $1.79 when you can spend $.99 to a $1.39 for a 64 ounce soda. For a 16 ounce soda you have spent $1.79, when you could have saved yourself $.80 by purchasing the larger 64 ounce bottle and gain a lot more soda for a much lower price. Now, I know you not stupid, but I am just saying it's the smart thing to do, it may not be a convenient thing to do at the time. But you have saved $.80 and you received 48 ounces more of soda. So now you have more drink to give others in your family or household. See how simple that is, and all you need to do is purchase a thermal cup to use anytime you get thirsty.

That applies with everything you do in life. Car repairs, house payments, or rent, cable bills, water bills, electric bills, they can all be reduced if you learned to use less than what you earn.

How? Let's take the water bill for instance. You know how we all feel when it comes to the water bill. Its hard to believe that we use so much water. "Why it so high" you say? Well let's look at it this way, many of us brush our teeth while the water is running, gallons of clean water is escaping down that drain. Instead of using a little water to get the brush wet before we applied the toothpaste, we allow the water to run on and on. And while we are brushing our teeth the water is still running. Then while rinsing out the brush more water is wasting down the drain.

The practical course would be to wet the toothbrush, turn off the water apply toothpaste,  brush your teeth, use 1 cup with water to rinse your mouth out well. Then put some water in your cup to rinse your toothbrush. Wa-La!! You brush your teeth with less than two cups and a half of water, instead of 2 to 3 gallons. Now let's calculate the fact that this is a daily thing, can you amagine how much money you are losing? It is somewhat the same with taking a shower.

My son's best friend came up to me and ask what does it mean to live beneath your income.
I guess it is kind of confusing for a 10 year old. So I tried to tell him in a way that he will understand.

Let say you were given fifty dollars, and you purchased a video game. After which, you have nothing left. That is considered living above your means.
But lets say you ventured into a discount video game store instead. Wow, you walk out with the game you wanted, but with a bonus of thirty dollars left over. You are living below your income.
Now, that thirty dollars that you skillfully save, can be used for another day. You put that in your money jar at home. You are now living below your means." Then he said "But what if they don't have the game?" Then I told him," Then you just banked yourself a fifty dollar bill." The end.

Be highly conscious of what you are doing. Think of ways you can still get the item you want without spending too much, then bank the rest.

Thank Positively

Do not view it in a negative way, look to see how it benefits you. Managing your money doesnt have to be tedious. It can be very enjoyable.

Instead, consider it a challenge for yourself. Numerous financial consultants have stated that when individuals gain control of their funds, they gain power over their own lives.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Smaller income

When You Have To Skimp And Save

Sometimes life will do a total shift on you. Forcing you to change your life style cold turkey. You may be the one who bring home the bacon, but now you are bringing home crumbs. This situation can lead to negative thinking and you may become bitter and feel helpless.

Don't Panic
Keep a calm head. Because you can handle this. Be strong. A new day is coming. The smart thing to do is count your blessings. If you have good health and your body is strong, be thankful for these things. Surrounded by your loving family, it is more you can appreciate.

Examine Your Situation
Gather your income from your job. Write down and total your income. You will need this information to decide what you may need to do without. Because of the change in your income, you have to make changes in how you and your family live. Remember to do this as a family. Hold a family meeting to explain what is going on. Let the family give their opinions also. It will help the family to grow together and support you in whatever descision you make.

Decide What You Can Do Without
Now you have a big decision to make. Sometimes you must live beneath your means to make it. Write down all your liabilities. List the important bills that MUST be paid. Your rent or mortgage is one, you need a roof over your head. Water bill, you NEED water for many important things. Food is a must have. The Internet service, can you do with out that for a while? Do you have a cell phone and home phone? You can get rid of one to save around 60 or more dollars.

Make The Changes
Once you have decided what you could do without, make the changes. Let your housekeeper go and clean your house yourself. Let the dry cleaners go and choose clothes with washable fabrics. The quicker you start the sooner you situation will level out. Also remember, there are places where you could go for help too. Ask your local Chamber of Commerce, they should have a list of places that can offer help. Some of those places may be Social Services, or an organization that helps those in need, until they can get back on their feet.

Change Your Shopping Habits
You may have to pass up a juicy hunk of t-bone steak to settle for a less expensive cut of meat. Just because it cost less, does not mean it cannot make a tasty meal.

Check newspaper ads on a weekly basis for sales. You also may have to zero in on reduced price merchandise. This can help toward keeping your family budget.  Sometimes store brand items can lower how much you spend on food.

Coupons, don't just cut them out, use them too. You will be surprised what coupons can do for your wallet.  It does take a deal of patiences to handle coupons, but the reward is worth it.  To make it easier shop early to avoid crowds.

Perhaps you want fresh vegetables too. Well it can be done inexpensively by cultivating your own garden.  You know the the high cost of vegetables is murder on many purses. Squash is now around $1.79 a pound. that is about three small squash. Thank of the savings when you start your own garden.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Planning Your Meals

Plan Well
Do you wonder how you can save money for meals when you are at work? or at school?

Plan Your Brunches/Lunches

Make your own bag lunches every day. As a parent, you should know your children's favorite foods and add these to their lunch boxes. A small family of four can save around fifty dollars a week or around $2,450 a year.

To pack a lunch for work or school never put the mayonaise on the bread, but instead smear it between the meat and cheese to helps to keep your sandwich from becoming soggy and spongey.

Plan Delicious Homemade Meals - Weekly
Meals made at home fills you up far more better than the food you could get at most eateries. You can even omit or control how much sugar, fats and salts are added to your homemade meals, making your family healthier.

Plan For Traveling
When you go to the recreational park, or visiting family and friends, going to the movies or just getting away from home - Pack your own sandwiches and snacks, cooler with drinks. You will be pleased that you did, and think of the money you have saved.

Plan Dining Out
When eating out, plan ahead. Pick a place where you know your children will enjoy and warn them of their limits. Maybe you can tell them how much you will spend per person. You will able to enjoy yourself more and worry less. Remember eating out is fun, but it can add up. Try to limit how often you can take you and your family to dinner, and stick with it. Some restaurants offer a family night special where you can feed you family on a set amount of money.

Plan For Shopping

Create your list. You do so by planning your meals for the week, and make a list of the ingredients and seasonings. Now there is your list. Stick with you list do not stray. You save yourself from spending more than you intend.

Shop alone. I find the less distractions the better and quicker I shop. Control the impulse to deviate from your shopping list.

Coupons. Use them. You will be surprised how a name brand product can become cheaper than the store brand, when using a coupon.

Avoid pre package convience foods. They cost more. Find the ingredients to make that item yourself and save money.

Compare prices. Sometimes that store brand may cost cheaper, but there maybe a sale on a similar item. Check the sales ads in the newspaper.

Never, Never go shopping on an empty stomach, or if you are depressed. You tend to buy more junk foods than healthy foods. You also end up spending more than you wanted in the beginning. I found myself having to leave check out and go back and place potatoes chips and candies back on the shelves.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beginning A Frugal Life.

On The Road to Frugality

It will take some practice and it is not difficult. Anyone can be frugal.
But first you must ask yourself "Am I willing to live on less?"  Why would
you want to be frugal?

  • Is it because you want to save money for something special?

  • Or is it because you need to stretch what you already have because you are barely making it from paycheck to paycheck?

  • Or maybe it is because you wish to be prepared for whatever may come in the future due to the recession? Inflation?

  • All of the above are very good reasons.
    Decide what you feel you need to improve upon. Find out what must change in your daily habits.

  • Do you wish to learn to shop more thrifty because your usual groceries do not last past a week?

  • Or you want to learn how to stretch your clothing life because you wish to slow down on    purchasing too many clothing?
  • Or maybe you want to recycle, because you see the landfills are bulging from excess waste.

  • Or maybe you wish to cut back on your use of electricity, to save some extra money?

  • Maybe you feel that you are eating out too much and wish to make adjustments in that area?

  • There are many reasons to begin a frugal life. There are many areas of frugality to explore.

    Don't Take On Too Much At One Time.

    You will soon find that trying to follow every thrifty path that you come upon, will drive you insane. It is impossible to take on but so much, and all at once. Always remember this, what works for one person may not work for you. It depends on where you are at this moment in your life and how much you think you can handle.

    So try a few things first and see if it works for you, gradually work up to where you want to be, and add on to that later if that is your wish.

    Start By Finding Out What You Are Spending.

    You have to know where you are spending your hard earned income. Try to keep track of every penny that you spend. Don't leave out anything. Even those tiny expenditures really add up. This, you will find out quickly once you sit down with your notes and see what changes is necessary and what isn't.

    Write down how much you spent for lunch this week or month. Write down the amount of your electric bill for this month, your cable bill, your phone bill. Don't forget your rent or mortgage, water, groceries, gas, insurance, etc. But most importantly keep receipts of everything you buy so that you can get an accurate account of how much you are spending each month. And don't forgot to count the things that you do not get a receipt for, like giving money to friends and/or family.

    Once you have done the above. Try to find ways to cut the cost of each item on your list.

    Example: You may have cable in all of the bedrooms in your house including the living room. To save on electricity and cable and help bring the family closer together, eliminate the televisions in the bedrooms. Everyone can come together in the living room to watch a movie or TV program together. You will accomplish four things by doing this.

    First, The family is together in one room using the lights and TV. Instead of spreading out through out the house with lights burning in all bedrooms, including the living room. This will lower your electric bill.

    Second, Cable bill will now become lower because you have cable in only one room in the house instead of several.

    Third, You can now take the money you saved and put it in the bank.

    Fourth, The family is spending quality time together, which strenghtens the family bond, and draw the family closer together.

    Stick With It

    Once you have fulfilled all of your self imposed frugal assignments, stick with it. Try not to go backwards and allow things to return to the way it once was. Once you and your family have grown accustomed to the new way of things, you will find that you are more happier and feel less burden on your shoulders.