Personal Finance

  • 25 Frugal Tips I’ve Learned From The Debt Free Community

    Being frugal isn’t my natural state but I’ve learned a lot of easy ways to be more frugal in life thanks to the debt free community (#debtfreecommunity) on YouTube and Instagram!

    I’ve learned so much and continue to stock up tips to implement in my life to make us spend less money and live a better feel with a strong financial future! Living more frugally allows us to hit our financial goals faster which improves our lives overall. Being frugal is a great tool to have in your financial toolkit.

    Here are the 25 frugal living tips I’ve learned that have helped save us money!

    1. Plan meals around what you have.

    Planning your meals around food you already have will help you save a lot of money in your food budget.

    You can save money from your grocery budget by first checking your pantry and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Make your weekly meal plan based on items you have for the base of your meals. This way you won’t be buying duplicates or items that don’t work with what you already have in stock.

    Shopping your pantry before you shop the grocery store will also help you save a ton of money by reducing food waste. You’ll be less likely to waste money by throwing away unused food if you regularly use your pantry to create meal plans.

    2. Learn to DIY things for free on YouTube.

    Even if you don’t consider yourself handy you are likely to be able to DIY many things you would otherwise spend money on hiring someone to do.

    You can learn how to fix almost anything thanks to YouTube and the content creators that share how-to videos. If you need to have something repaired, check to see if you can learn how to DIY the repair on YouTube.

    You’ll save a lot of money by using this technique and you will learn some new skills as well. We’ve managed to do small car repairs, fix plumbing issue, and more thanks to YouTube diy videos.

    3. Evaluate expenses based on hours worked.

    Many people fail to practice frugality on large purchases because they often have such emotional weight attached to them.

    When you are considering a large purchase, it helps to put it into perspective by dividing the price by your hourly wage. You’ll find out how many hours you have to work to pay for that item which will likely give you a better idea of whether the purchase is worth it or not. Do you really want to work all those hours to buy that item?

    We often don’t think about how long we must work to pay for the items we purchase and this exercise can stop you from buying a number of items.

    4. Consider consuming more frugal friendly content.

    Have you considered how much the content you consume affects your spending habits?

    If you are constantly watching hauls and commercials and shows that encourage spending then you will likely want to spend more. Continually watching or reading content that encourages spending will make you want to spend more money.

    I found this true in my own life and had to limit the amount of YouTube haul videos I watched because I found myself wanting to buy items I didn’t really need. Swap out more frugal friendly content and skip ads so you will be more likely to stick with your frugal living goals.

    5. Use appliances singularly at off peak hours.

    Sometimes going against the crowd is a great way to be frugal and save money. This is definitely true with your electric usage!

    When you are trying to cut back on your utility bill you can do a number of things to reduce it like only using major appliances one at a time. You can also use these appliances – like the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher – during off peak hours when the rates for electricity are cheaper.

    If you don’t know when your off peak hours are then you can check with your utilities provider to find out when you would get reduced rates.

    6. Buy a smaller home.

    Frugal people generally don’t live in mansions filled to the brim with stuff in every room.

    Buying a smaller home can be a conscious decision to stay frugal. You will have less space to fill so you will naturally spend less money furnishing and won’t be tempted to overfill the space with items you don’t need.

    Our first home was a smaller home and we chose it because we knew we didn’t (and probably never will) need a 4,000+ sq ft house. Buying a smaller home saves you money in many ways from less furniture spending to fill it up to cheaper electricity bills keeping it cool.

    7. Declutter your house so you don’t lose things.

    Disorder and clutter leads to financial mistakes and disorganization.

    Often living in cluttered spaces or letting items build up over time makes it hard to remember what you actually even own. Have you ever been unable to find an item you swear you already bought but couldn’t… only to find the item after you bought a replacement? That’s a frugality fail my friends.

    Keeping things decluttered and minimal will allow you to find the things you need instead of accidentally buying duplicates because you can’t find what you need.

    8. Sign up for birthday freebies and discounts.

    Everyone loves getting free stuff on their birthday! I definitely love all the perks and freebies available on my birthday each year.

    Even if you don’t get birthday gifts any more you can still get free things thanks to many companies that offer birthday freebies. Even more companies offer birthday discounts, so sign up for the mailing lists of the companies and products you love the most to get these when your birthday rolls around each year.

    9. Inflate your tires properly.

    It might seem like a small thing, but keeping your tires properly inflated will save you a lot of money on gas because it improves your car’s gas usage.

    You’ll get the best possible miles per gallon out of your car with properly inflated tires, so make sure they stay inflated and immediately air them up when the light comes on. This is something that only takes a small amount of change to do. You can also buy an air compressor tire inflator and do it at home. We bought one for under $40 and have kept our tires inflated for years with the DIY method.

    10. Learn to sew and care for your clothing.

    Basic clothing care doesn’t take a lot of skill so learn but can ultimately save you a lot of money by taking care of your items.

    Learning how to do basic clothing care like sewing on buttons can save you time and money. This will help extend the life of your clothing and allow you to get more use out of each piece. You won’t have to replace clothing as often if you are able to do basic maintenance.

    11. Close off rooms you don’t use regularly.

    If you’ve bought a house much bigger than you need you can close off rooms you don’t use. This will save you money on furniture and home decor and it will also keep your utility bill down.

    We did this when we first bought our home and it save us a ton of money that first year! All you do is leave rooms empty and unfurnished and then shut the doors and vents! You don’t have to heat or cool the space you aren’t using regularly.

    12. Buy reusable food storage containers.

    Instead of using disposable food container products or even plastic tupperware that eventually gets thrown away, buy durable reusable food storage containers. This will likely cost more upfront but you will ultimately same more money in the long run.

    We purchased a set of glass food containers a while back and have been using them successfully since then. We haven’t had to buy new containers which has saved money!

    13. Order light ice or no ice in drinks.

    If you eat out and order drinks, ask for light ice or no ice at all. You’ll get more of the actual drink you want and it will still be cold enough to enjoy.

    Again, this might seem like a super small frugal tip, but that’s the beauty of all these tips. There is no item too small to save on!

    14. Use cashback apps on top of sales and coupons.

    Coupons are the bedrock of frugal living but cashback apps are the icing on the cask and my personal favorite way to shop frugally.

    The great thing about cashback apps is that you can stack them on top of store sales and regular coupons for additional savings. You can use as many money savings apps on one purchase as possible to make the products you buy as cheap as possible. I like to use Ibotta along with Fetch Rewards and others.

    15. Use reusable dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

    Instead of disposable dryer sheets you can buy dryer balls that are reusable. Both make your clothes fluffy soft but the dryer balls can be used over and over again. This saves you money in the long run by making a one time purchase versus buying dryer sheets over and over again.

    This worked out perfectly for us since the dryer balls I bought worked well and my husband hated dryer sheets in his laundry. We’ve actually tried two different types of dryer balls: spiky dryer balls and wool dryer balls. Both worked great!

    16. Save delivery packaging for future shipping.

    When you receive packages from places like Amazon, save the packaging! Find a safe place to store this packaging material for future shipping so you won’t have to buy it again.

    You can use the boxes or the padded envelopes for future shipments. This will save you from buying packing supplies at the post office. You could also use it as boxes to wrap for birthday gifts or frugal Christmas presents!

    17. Stock up on household items on sale.

    You’ve likely got a list of household items that you know you’ll eventually need to use. These things like furnace filters or laundry detergent are staples in running your household. Anything in your household that you need to use over and over again is a great candidate for buying in bulk when it goes on sale.

    When something you use often is on sale at a great price you can stock up and save yourself a lot of money for the future.

    18. Stretch laundry detergent with baking soda.

    This one was completely new to me entirely, but you can combine baking soda with your laundry detergent to stretch your detergent a bit further!

    It also makes your whites whiter and your brights brighter so you’ll save money and have nicer looking clothes! Baking soda is incredibly inexpensive and it will save you a lot of money.

    19. Buy used clothes on Ebay to update your wardrobe.

    Buying clothing second hand is an obvious frugal choice but buying clothes via Ebay in a lot can help you change out your whole wardrobe on a dime.I’ve bought used clothes often before but I love this tip for switching out your whole wardrobe by buying a “lot” on Ebay in a certain size!

    I’m actually planning to sell my own winter wardrobe this way. It’s a cheaper way to shake things up and get lots of new clothes in a frugal way.

    20. Use grocery story bags for dog poop.

    Let’s be honest: dog poop is gross and buying bags to pick it up is expensive.

    You can buy special bags with fragrances to pick up dog poop… or you can just reuse plastic grocery bags you get from the grocery store.

    (Let’s be honest, you can also skip both of these all together if you really love the earth).

    21. Dress for the weather to save on heat/air.

    If it’s cold outside, wear layers and keep the heat down. If it’s hot outside, wear less clothing and keep your temperature higher.

    Adjusting your clothing to the temperature rather than adjusting the temperature in your home will save you a lot of money. No matter the weather, dress for it and keep your house slightly off the “normal” temperature to save money on your utility bill.

    22. Eat less meat overall.

    Eating less meat each week can be very good for your body, your budget, and the earth. It’s a win, win, win.

    Buying less meat will lower your grocery bill so even a couple vegetarian plant-based meals each week will help you reduce your spending.

    23. Cut your own hair or go to a cosmetology school.

    Cutting your own hair can save a ton of money if you need it regularly. My husband learned how to cut his hair on YouTube and has been giving himself haircuts for years. He got so good he also gives his family haircuts!

    If you aren’t sure of your skills you can go to a cosmetology school where students will do the work and charge much less than a normal salon. I’ve done it and the savings is substantial over a high end salon.

    24. Shop based on unit price.

    Grocery stores design their stores to make you spend more money overall. This means you need to keep an eagle eye, and possibly a calculator, when you are shopping.

    Shop for everything based on the unit price instead of the item price. Often the smaller item with the lower price is a better deal than the large bulk buy based on the unit price.

    25. Use YouTube for workouts.

    You can use YouTube for almost anything, including getting fit! There are many different workouts on YouTube and there are channels dedicated to giving you free and ever-changing workouts, from yoga to HIIT to pilates.

    I love doing yoga videos from YouTube. My therapist actually recommended Yoga by Adrienne and I’ve loved doing her videos for free at home!

    Bonus: Have frugal friends around you!

    You tend to become like the people closest to you so surround yourself with budget conscious friends who want to support your frugality!

    Even if you aren’t planning to be frugal forever, it can truly help to put more frugal people in your life for a period of paying off debt for instance.

    I’m happy to be your frugal friend! I love thinking about ways to be more frugal in my own life and share posts about frugality like these:

    Enjoy more frugal living, friends!

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  • How To Get $100 of Baby Stuff FREE

    I love free stuff. Who doesn’t enjoy getting things for free? Getting free stuff is even more important once you have a new baby and many new baby expenses.

    Today I’m sharing exactly how I got $100 worth of baby stuff for free.

    Getting free baby stuff when it’s things I need? AMAZING. That’s why I loved the Amazon baby registry and it’s many, many perks – they give you $100 of free baby stuff for using it!

    If you’re expecting a baby then you need to be using the Amazon registry system to get as much free stuff as possible! Using the Amazon baby registry for most of your baby shower gifts is an easy strategy to use to maximize all the free baby stuff you can possibly get.

    In the video above I’m sharing my experience redeeming the $100 Baby Bucks bonus for the Amazon baby registry to buy wipes, diapers, diaper genie refills and even a high chair!

    This is all stuff that would have had to come out of my normal budget but instead I was able to get it all for free! All of the items I got for free from using the Amazon registry were useful and things I would have bought anyway so it really did save us a lot of money using this strategy when planning for our baby’s arrival.

    Because I used the Amazon baby registry and loved it so much, the links I’m sharing in this post are affiliate links, which means at no extra cost to you this site will make a commission. I only share links to actual items I’ve bought or used and recommend. I highly recommend this registry for getting free stuff!

    Why We Used The Amazon Baby Registry

    There are a lot of options for baby registries out there and many people use multiple. There is no real reason to exclusively use just one, but we focused on Amazon’s for a few reasons including the option to get $100 in free items.

    Other reasons why we used it:

    1. It’s easy. It’s super easy to setup, it’s easy to use, and it is easy for out of town friends and family to access. Since we had a lot of out of town family buying us gifts, Amazon was an easy choice.
    2. You get free stuff! Even if you don’t get the $100 you get a welcome box full of surprise items for parents and baby worth $35. You can see what came in my Amazon baby registry welcome box here.
    3. You get a registry completion discount. Every baby registry does this but it’s a nice perk nonetheless in case you didn’t get items you really need.
    4. You get $100 baby bucks which means you get $100 in free baby stuff! It’s an ever changing supply of items to choose from so you can’t buy anything you want, but we got a ton of great stuff we will use.

    Here’s a look at what our registry dashboard looked like after we had claimed our item. Once you are eligible for the baby bucks you’ll be able to choose the items you want to redeem for free via the baby bucks bonus page.

    What We Bought With The Free $100 Bonus

    The baby bucks bonus is a specific page where you can buy an assortment of diapers, wipes, and other baby products.

    There is no guarantee of what will be included there when you visit, but here’s what I got for free with my Amazon baby bucks:

    • Amazon elements baby wipes – One truth of baby life, you will use a lot of wipes! the 9 pack of baby wipes seemed like a great buy, especially when we have to supply wipes to daycare every so often.
    • Diaper genie refills  – The diaper genie has been great and we were just running out of refills from our first pack when this came up! Score!
    • Water wipes value pack – I loved the sample of these wipes I got so grabbing a few more packs of them was a great choice.
    • Fisher Price space save high chair – This high chair is a great example of the “other” baby items available through this bonus program. It was something we needed to buy anyway and we got it for free! It also saw the best baby rocker ever listed too!
    • Baby Aquafor:  This got left out of our video because we were already using it. I stocked up on a few tubes of baby aqaufor because it is amazing for any type of skin issue. We’ve used it for preventing diaper rash, cradle cap, and other little skin problems. I’ve also heard it’s good for sunburn for adults!

    All of these items were high quality and things we needed! We used everything up and the high chair has lasted for multiple years now.

    How To Sign Up For The Amazon Baby Registry

    Signing up an Amazon baby registry is very easy. To start a registry takes less than five minutes from start to finish.

    how to sign up for amazon baby registry fast

    Of course, adding products and deciding on which ones are perfect for your baby can take much longer!

    Luckily they give you a guide to the most popular and wished for baby items on Amazon which means you have a great start to highly rated products other moms and dads already trust. You can select these items quickly and create a fully stocked baby registry in less than ten minutes.

    free baby stuff from amazon

    Not only do you get $100 in free baby stuff with this registry when you purchase/receive $1,000 in items, but you also get a cute welcome box full of goodies for baby!

    How To Get The $100 Baby Bucks Bonus

    You can get $100 worth of baby stuff completely free with the Amazon baby registry. Free, free, FREE! Can you say free stuff?

    These baby bucks can be used for things like diapers, wipes, diaper creams, or anything in a certain section on the site. Sometimes there are bigger items included as well. We actually bought our high chair with it!

    However, there are a couple things you have to do to get this sweet deal of $100 in free baby stuff.

    1. Sign up for a baby registry on Amazon.
    2. Make sure your account is a prime membership account. Sign up for Prime if you haven’t already. You can also do a 30 day free trial of Prime.
    3. Complete $1,000 in purchases from your registry. Purchases can be made by you or others.
    4. Check to see your Baby Bucks completion is eligible in your account after you’ve hit the goal and had the baby.
    5. Use the link provided in the Baby Bucks section to complete your shopping.
    6. Do this within 90 days or you will lose out on the option!

    Some people have told me that they want to get the bonus items but would not hit the $1,000 spent. I understand we were blessed to have so many items gifted to us from the registry.

    However we still had a strategy in place to make sure we hit the amount to get $100 in free baby items. If you aren’t sure you’ll have a baby shower or have people purchase $1,000 in items then you can use the tips below to hit that number.

    Here are a few tips for how to hit the $1,000 spent on your baby registry:

    1. Start the registry early in the pregnancy. It’s a lot easier to accumulate $1,000 in purchases over many months than all at once at the end! You can also add items you need during pregnancy and buy them as needed from the registry.
    2. Use the registry to stock up on items you will need. You can add things like diapers and wipes that you will use for baby, but you can also add household items you will use and then buy those as well. There are many household items you will need stocked up once the baby arrives.
    3. Use Amazon as your only registry option. Most people have 2-3 baby registry options in order to give people options for their purchases. However, if you want to strategize in order to get the $100 in free items, then you should consolidate and only use Amazon so you will likely have higher spend amounts there.
    4. Tell people about your goal. If people are considering buying you a baby gift to help you out they will be likely to purchase it from Amazon if you tell them it will give you extra benefits. Being open and honest about the ability to get a $100 baby bucks bonus from your Amazon registry will motivate others to help you get to your goal.

    Those are just a few of the ways you can work with the baby registry to get the minimum spending amount you need for the extra bonus.

    Amazon Baby Registry Welcome Box

    One of the first perks and free items I received when I signed up for an Amazon baby registry early on was the welcome box of free baby stuff!

    Some of the items mentioned that I received in the box (affiliate links):

    Note on the video: it was missing the Avent bottle! I forgot I took it out before the video to research it and then completely forgot I set it down elsewhere. Even more great stuff in the box than the video even covers!

    The registry box you receive will differ in items depending on when you start your Amazon baby registry and the time of year it is. They include a variety of items and the value is much much higher than I expected. Each season the items in the box differ slightly which means if you have multiple babies then you’ll have the opportunity to get many different ones.

    If you haven’t signed up for an Amazon baby registry yet, what are you waiting for? Get started and enjoy your free stuff!

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  • Where To Buy Budget Planner Stickers

    Since I’ve been budgeting on paper my methods have evolved to include budget sticker kits made for planners. Stickers allows pen and paper budgeting to be more organized, beautiful and fun!

    There are many different Etsy sticker shops creating and selling budgeting planner stickers and I’ve tried many of them! Here I’m sharing the ones I’ve tried and found to be the best budget sticker kits you can buy.

    If you’re wondering where to buy budgeting stickers for your planner, then check out any of the shops below!

    Where To Buy Budget Planner Stickers

    The best source for unique monthly budget sticker kits is Etsy. Many budget planners have opened shops where they sell budget sticker kits for each month designed to help you track your budget and make it look good.

    Below are some of my absolute favorite budget sticker shops! Since it’s hard to pick a favorite I’ve shared them in alphabetical order and included videos where I used the stickers for my monthly budget in my planner. This will give you a good idea of what the stickers look like in action.

    Best Monthly Budget Sticker Kits

    Below are all the awesome shops I’ve used monthly budget sticker kits from. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does include some of the best budget stickers out there!

    Caffeinated Cait

    caffeinate cait budget stickers

    Caffeinated Cait’s budget stickers are one the very first sets I used! Each set she comes out with has beautiful layers of rich colors and her style of creating a budget fits very well in most planners. She also offers printable budget sticker kits now that you can print and cut at home to save money.

    Check out Caffeinated Cait’s budgeting sticker shop here!

    Callie Pie

    callie pie budget stickers

    Callie Pie Stickers reached out to me to try a budget sticker kit one month and I was thrilled with the result! One of my favorite floral monthly budget kits ever came from Callie Pie stickers.

    Check out Callie Pie’s budget sticker shop!

    Erika LifeVlogs

    erika life vlogs stickers

    ErikaLifeVlogs sticker shop offers a variety of budget kits and stand alone stickers. Her bill due and monthly kits are some of the most vibrant ones I’ve ever used and the colors are always so fun. Erika not only makes beautiful budget sticker kits but she’s very supportive of fellow YouTubers which makes me personally love her even more!

    Check out Erika LifeVlogs budget sticker shop here!

    LaTruce Paperie

    Cindy is a fellow YouTuber who opened a sticker shop and it’s as incredible as her channel. She offers beautiful floral stickers, monthly budget kits, and useful transparent budget related stickers.

    Check out LaTruce Paperie’s budget sticker shop here!

    Plan Heal & Be Mary

    plan heal and be mary stickers

    Plan Heal & Be Mary’s sticker shop on Etsy offers monthly budget kits perfect for an Ericn Condren or Happy Planner. You can see examples on her channel every month when she shares her budget.

    Check out Plan Heal & Be Mary’s budgeting sticker shop here!

    Shays Budget Shop

    Shay’s one of the first budget YouTubers I saw start an Etsy store and she’s always produced amazing monthly budget kits. She’s also got lots of budgeting sticker extras and savings chart sticks too!

    Check out ShayBudgets sticker shop here!

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  • 12 Frugal Beauty Tips | Beauty On A Budget

    Do you love beauty products and makeup but don’t want it to destroy your budget? Welcome to the beauty on a budget club! Today I’m sharing my frugal beauty tips and my own personal favorite budget beauty products as a collaboration with Cents and Purpose and Kate Kaden!

    Makeup and beauty is one area where I don’t spend much honestly and get very, very frugal. That’s honestly because this is not an area where I put a lot of my focus or care much about it. Most days I don’t even wear makeup, but I do love to have a quick easy makeup look and get dolled up for events.

    Favorite Frugal Beauty Products

    Below I’ve listed some of my favorite budget beauty products and my personal favorite makeup splurge item!

    Frugal Beauty Products I Love:

    Splurge Beauty Products I Love:

    Frugal Beauty Tips

    Some of these frugal beauty tips you have probably heard and others may be new. Take what you can use from this list and leave the rest. Finding what works for you and your preferences is the beauty of frugality and personal finance.

    You can find ways to be frugal and cut costs in areas that don’t matter as much so you can spend in other areas.

    My favorite frugal beauty tips:

    1. Drink lots of water. Drinking a lot of water will lead to better looking skin. You look better when you are well hydrated, I promise. The better you take care of your body overall with drinking water and eating healthy foods, the better your skin looks.
    2. Use a makeup primer! It makes your makeup look so much better in most cases and is a frugal way to make the makeup you do actually use look better. 
    3. Figure out what works for you and stick with it. You don’t have to try every new trend and product that comes out. People overspend and waste the most when constantly buying new products that end up not working for them. When you find a product you like, you can find ways to get it on sale.
    4. Shop sales and deals and use drugstore reward points. Makeup is always going on sale and many brands offer coupons. Only buy things when it’s a good price.
    5. Choose one splurge item, instead of spending heavy on everything. Pick one thing that is most important to you and buy the higher end item. For me this is a higher end foundation that works well with my skin type.
    6. Find ways to use one item in multiple ways. Can you also use a shimmer item for cheeks, lips and eyes? Can you use a brown eyeshadow for your eyeshadow and you’re eyebrows?  
    7. Always take care of your skin! Most of the basic skincare stuff doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to make it a habit. Use a moisturizer during the day. Use retinol for anti aging at night. Again, give your skin what it needs. Always remove your makeup at night.
    8. Spend time improving your technique instead of buying more stuff. If you don’t know how to apply makeup well then the expensive items you buy still won’t look as good as the drugstore makeup another girl uses who has worked on applying it perfectly. 
    9. Remove advertising for beauty items where you can. Unfollow brands and send those newsletters to the trash or unsubscribe.
    10. Set a budget for your beauty spending. Figure out what your beauty budget includes: makeup, hair products, skin care and set a budget. This make be a separate category or it may be within your personal spending money like mine, but set a limit for yourself.
    11. Create a beauty sinking fund. You know I love sinking funds and for good reason – there is no guilt when spending on items it you have saved up for them. If you want that fancy foundation, start a beauty sinking fund and save up over a couple months and then buy it.
    12. Find bonus money to spend on beauty. Finding extra money for your budget makes things like beauty feel less budget busting. In my description box I share things like Rakuten, which sends me checks that I can use on beauty items outside of my budget! I also always use gift cards from birthdays or bonuses from work on beauty items! ➝  Try Rakuten for earning cash back on purchases to spend and get a $10 bonus.  

    Those are just some of my favorite ways to be frugal with makeup and beauty products! There are tons of other ways as well!

    Frugal Beauty Strategies To Save Money

    There are many other strategies for saving money on your beauty routines and skincare regime. Some of the strategies actually involve your mindset and approve to beauty.

    Take care of your whole body.

    Beauty begins with things that don’t cost any money at all and that’s taking care of your whole body. This includes doing things like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and eating healthy foods. These things make your skin look better and your overall beauty will shine!

    Spend where it matters.

    For an example: have the mindset to prioritize what matters. Decide what you really care about most in your beauty routine and splurge there. Then choose to spend less in other areas or cut them out all together.

    Use less product.

    If you want to get very frugal, you can water down things like shampoo or otherwise dilute beauty items to make them go further. This makes items last longer and gives you much more bang for your buck. Another option to use less is to actually use less products. You likely don’t need as many items as you think.

    Find ways to do it yourself.

    You might not be able to DIY every beauty or personal care item in your budget but there are many ways to diy personal care expenses to save money. Take a look at what you currently spend and decide where you might be able to DIY: could you do your nails at home? could you trim your own hair instead of going to the salon? could you make beauty products at home with less ingredients for less money?

    Learn what makes you feel beautiful.

    Sometimes what makes us feel beautiful matters more than anything we spend money on. Find the things that make you feel beautiful, whether that is fake eyelashes or facials or simply a lovely outfit that fits well. Prioritize those in your budget and day because when you feel beautiful you will also look beautiful!

    If you enjoy being frugal, check out some of these other posts about living a frugal life:

    Being beautiful and living a full life is possible while being frugal and staying on a budget.

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  • 50 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

    When you’re trying to live on a budget and save or pay down debt then it’s essential to cut spending in certain areas. Unfortunately cutting expenses generally gets a bad rap of not being fun.

    Since I still like to enjoy life and have fun, I’m created a list of 50 fun things to do instead of spending money.

    It’s great to have a list you can refer to when feeling bored, so you have something fun to do instead of thinking there is “nothing to do” without spending money.

    Today I’m sharing this list of things to do instead of spending money so those of you looking to cut down on spending can do the same.

    There are tons of fun things to do without spending money!

    Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

    1. Invite friends over. The best way to spend time and not money? Invite friends over just to hang out and talk with each other! It’s great to catch up with friends and chat about your lives, futures, and fun topics too.
    2. Attend a free event. If you live in a major city or near a college there are probably free events happening all the time. Look online for community calendars and check at the local library for listings of free events. Check the local blogs or newspapers in your area for listings of free things to do during the weekends.
    3. Write a letter to a friend. Getting real mail is rare these days so it has become extra special because it is so rare. Make someone’s day by writing and mailing a letter. Sure the stamp will cost a minimal amount of money but writing the letter is a fun, free activity.
    4. Call your mom. No matter how old you are your mom (or other special person in your life) will always love to hear from you. Give her a call and tell her about your life or reminisce about good times. Just remember to say I love you!
    5. Write a letter to your representative. Ok so this might not be the most “fun” item on the list, but making a difference in the world makes you feel good. We all have causes we care about. Take the time to write a letter to your representative to voice your opinion on an issue. Plus it’s election time so this stuff matters!
    6. Read a blog. Want tons of free entertainment? Browse new posts and dig through the archives of a good blog for a few hours. There are thousands of blogs online with archives of free content on any topic you could possible imagine. Go find one you like and read through posts for a while.
    7. Write a blog post. Creating content can be fun! Write something for your own blog or another existing blog about a topic you are passionate about. You likely have something you can share about a topic that other people need to hear! Don’t have a blog yet? Start a blog NOW.
    8. Organize your things.  Go through a room and organize the items in it. Throw away old things you don’t need, straighten up things that are staying, and make things look nice and tidy.
    9. Organize your photos. Spend a little bit of time looking through your digital photos! Go through your iphoto library and organize everything. You probably have some photos you need to delete. You can take the opportunity to select photos for ordering prints the next time you are spending money.
    10. De-clutter your house. Work room through to get rid of extra clutter and errant items. Decluttering might sound like a chore, but a clean space can be life-changing and the process can be fun too.
    11. Sell your stuff on Craigslist. All that stuff you found during organizing and decluttering? Put it up on Craigslist for sale! This is a great free activity because it will actually earn you money that you can use for doing things later!
    12. Host a yard sale. Anything that doesn’t sell on Craigslist or is too small to be sold there can be offered up in a yard sale. You can advertise for free on sites like Craigslist and Facebook neighborhood groups. You can get rid of clutter and potentially make a few hundred dollars on the venture.
    13. Find free stuff. If you happen to need items rather than getting rid of them, sign up for curb alert groups and browse Craigslist and Freecycle for free items. You can also check Facebook neighborhood groups where people are trying to get rid of things and doing curb alerts of items they want to give away.
    14. Rearrange your furniture. Change up your living room by moving furniture around and trying new furniture configurations. Try something new in your space and see if you like it. This can be super fun and invigorating.
    15. Clean your house. Cleaning your house can make your environment better and save you money. Scrub the bathroom, floors, windows, everything. Make the house the cleanest it’s ever been, or at least in a while.
    16. Clean your car. Clean out all the junk that accumulates in a car and give it a nice wash inside and out. Make it look like a million bucks and you’ll feel like you have a brand new car without spending any money.
    17. Do some yard work. Getting outside can improve your mood and doing yard work can make your home more appealing. Cut your grass, trim the shrubs, rake the leaves. Manual labor is free and productive. You’ll be able to enjoy the landscaping for many months or years after!
    18. Make a to-do list. Making lists is free and useful! Make a list of all the things you need to do and have been putting off or make a list of all the things you want to do in the future. The things you want to do might cost money but making the list doesn’t!
    19. Tackle a nagging task. Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) suggests this super tip for happiness. Tackle one of the pesky lingering tasks always on your to-do list and cross it off forever. Doing something you’ve been avoiding might sound boring or painful but it will lead to a boost in happiness.
    20. Go for a walk or run. Explore your neighborhood or a new part of town by foot. See things from a new perspective and get exercise. Running in different cities can be a fun and free way to see a new place.
    21. Go for a bike ride. Check out the trails or popular bike routes in your city. Ride your bike in a new area of along your favorite route for some exercise and fresh air.
    22. Go for a hike. Explore the nature near you by hiking in the woods. Hiking is a fun, free activity and every area has hiking trails even if it’s relatively flat. Look at your nearby parks and national forests for hiking locations.
    23. Try an at home exercise challenge. Look up an exercise challenge on Pinterest or another site and get to moving! Do the 100 pushups or 100 situps challenge. Or try to do a ton of burpees in a row. It’s free, fun, and challenging!
    24. Test out a new gym for free. Almost every gym out there offers a free trial period where you can go to the gym without spending any money or signing up for a contract. Test out a new gym and change up your work-out for the week. There are also lots of free workouts available in most communities that you can find and join in.
    25. Enjoy the sun. One of the nicest things to do on a sunny day is to spend time outside walking or laying out and enjoying the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen while you gloriously bask in the sun for free. This free activity will boost your vitamin D levels and improve your mood and health.
    26. Gaze at the stars. This free night time activity involves a blanket, no lights, and your eyes. Go for a drive out in the country away from city lights and find a secluded place where you can just lay down and watch the big beautiful universe spin by you.
    27. Take a nap. Relax for a bit and let your body rest and recover from the daily grind it goes through. Naps as an adult can be glorious! They are also a free activity that your body likely needs as much as anything you could buy.
    28. Take a bath. Sure water isn’t truly 100% free, but you have to get clean anyway! Take a relaxing warm bath at home, play some music and enjoy the little luxuries.
    29. Try a new hairstyle. Create a list of hairstyles you would like to try out and attempt one. You can create a Pinterest board of ideas you’d like to try recreating and then test one out for free. It might take a few tries to get right so your time will be well spent creating a new look for yourself.
    30. Try a new outfit. Chances are you only wear a percentage of your closet and even that is worn in the same way. Try out some new looks with the clothes you already in your close. Take what you have and try new combinations and accessories for a different look. Shop your closet for free!
    31. Mend your clothes. You most likely have a pile of clothes to mend or hem that you’ll get to “sometime” in the future or things that don’t fit perfectly. Tackle the clothes that need a little TLC and restore your wardrobe to it’s glory days without going out and buying new things.
    32. Host a clothing swap. Host a party where friends come over and bring items they want to give up to get other items. You’ll all walk away with new clothes and accessories without spending any money. You all save money and get free new items to wear. It’s also super fun to try on new clothes with friends!
    33. Read a book. Curl up with a good book and you’ll have a free adventure that lasts for hour or days. Hit up your library or Amazon’s free ebooks list. Here’s the top 100 free ebooks on Amazon, and there are plenty of free ebooks out there that you can spend hours enjoying for free.
    34. Write something. Writing can be fun, creative, cathartic, and best of all it is free. Use your imagination and create a story or draft a blog post or jot down old memories. If you don’t like to write things other people can see, just journal!
    35. Write a list of reasons not to spend money. Write a list of reasons why you want to save rather and spend and put your future goals in writing. It will motivate you to do all the things on this list rather than spend money!
    36. Babysit. Sure teens use babysitting as a way to make money, but it’s also a nice gift you can give new parents. If you have a couple in your life with kids, offer to watch their kids for free as a sweet thing to do. It’s a great gift, kind thing to do, and also can be very fun!
    37. Make a card. Get crafty and use the materials around your house to make a card for an upcoming holiday or just because. You can even stockpile these and use them throughout the year and have a collection of handmade cards to give away during the holidays.
    38. Make gifts. Christmas is coming and birthdays go year round so there is almost always an occasion for gift giving. Check out easy DIY gift guides for ideas and use what you already have to make cute gifts for friends and family.
    39. Make a Pinterest pin. Most of us have a Pinterest account with hundreds of pinned ideas on it. Take the time to make one of those pins with the supplies you already own. You can search Pinterest based on things you already have so you don’t have to spend money.
    40. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. Take your camera or just your phone and complete a photo scavenger hunt around your area. You can make up your own list of items to find or borrow one from an existing website.
    41. Take a pantry recipe challenge. Challenge yourself to use what is in your pantry to create a new and exciting dinner for your family. There are many ways to use the items in your pantry that you might not have considered before.
    42. Create a meal plan. Write out your meals for the next week or month. Getting organized is free and will also save you money on groceries and eating out in the long run. Consider combining the meal plan with your pantry recipe challenge.
    43. Host a potluck. Make that new pantry dish or another that you have ingredients for and have others come over to provide the rest of the meal. Potlucks are always a fun and inexpensive way to get together with people.
    44. Watch a new show. You can check out the free shows on Hulu or most network channel websites. There are even shows and movies on YouTube you can watch as well. Pick a show and watch a new episode or two.
    45. Host a TV or movie marathon. Invite friends over and collectively pull together a marathon based on shows and movies you already own. Try to base it around a theme or genre for a more cohesive evening.
    46. Check your finances. Take a few hours and do a thorough review of your finances. Look at your spending levels, adjust your budget, and review your investment choices. Use Personal Capital or Mint.com to get an overview of your finances and make adjustments as necessary.
    47. Write out your future goals. Nothing is more motivating than dreaming. Take some time to dream about your life and write down the major things you want to achieve. Give yourself the free time to decide what you really want out of life. Figuring out your life goals might just inspire you to make a big change.
    48. Write a gratitude list. One thing I love to do when I’m feeling restless and wanting to spend/buy/consume is to make a list of what I already have. Listing out what you have and what you are grateful for reminds you that life is wonderful and you already have a lot. It also gives you something to do without spending money!
    49. Volunteer. Volunteering is free except for your time and it’s extremely rewarding. You can find volunteer positions online and select a nonprofit you really want to support in the long term.
    50. Leave positivity where you go. It’s free to offer a smile or leave a positive note in a library book. It’s free to help someone complete a task or get something they need. Look for ways during your day to impart kindness and happiness among those your cross.

    That’s a long list of free things to do instead of spending money!

    If you’re ever wondering what you can do with your time for free, then make sure you refer back to this list! Life is not all about the money and this list proves there are plenty of things you can do without spending any money.

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  • How To Get Money For Unexpected Expenses When You’re Broke

    If you live paycheck to paycheck with piles of bills waiting on your payment, then an emergency expense could send you spiraling.

    Many people without savings live in fear of “Murphy”, which is based on Murphy’s law of “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. They know that one unexpected financial burden could send them into a money tailspin. The next thing to go wrong could start a chain reaction of financial mistakes.

    So if you’re living in that fearful place, you might be wondering: How does one get money when they don’t have an emergency fund?

    Where do they find funds when they have an unexpected expense they need to pay for? How can you pay for something unexpected if you are broke to begin with? Are there ways to get money when you have none?

    How Would You Get Money When You Need It?

    MSNBC summarized a study that asked respondents the following question:

    “How confident are you that you could come up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month?”

    The results of that study showed how many people have trouble coming up with just $2,000 in an emergency situation.

    Half of all U.S. households say they “certainly” or “probably” could not come up the funds to cope with such an ordinary financial emergency, according to a new study on financial fragility. Of households making between $100,000 and $150,000 annually, nearly one-quarter said they “certainly” or “probably” would be unable to come up with the $2,000. The amount was meant to suggest a major car repair, a co-pay on a medical expense or a home repair. It is far lower than the three to six months’ worth of expenses that financial planners typically recommend people have in savings. Yet 28 percent of respondents said they could be “certainly” unable to cope with the $2,000 expense, while 22 percent said they “probably” would not. The survey was conducted in 2009 near the depths of the Great Recession, but the findings were broadly consistent with other data about Americans’ financial resources.

    It’s not surprising that most people can’t come up with that amount of money. Before I got my financial act together I know I couldn’t. Honestly even when I was working for many years I wasn’t able to get far enough ahead to save $2,000 for emergencies.

    I knew that if something happened, I’d have to get creative with money to cover an unexpected expense.

    How To Get Money When You Have None

    There are several ways to get money when you have none in the bank, but they might not all be ones you want to use depending on your situation.

    These are ways to get money in an unexpected emergency that you probably wouldn’t resort to unless you are facing an emergency situation . If you need money but have no other options this list might help you brainstorm ways to pull together the money you need for an unexpected expense of $2,000.

    They are the ways to get money as a last resort.

    • Beg and borrow from family and friends
    • Use a credit card
    • Start a GoFundMe page
    • Get a short term loan
    • Get a payday loan alternative
    • Take a loan from yourself via a 401k

    Believe me, I don’t recommend many of these products on a normal basis. In fact, I know that these options are not the best options. Each one brings about another problem.

    Many of these options can cause relationship problems or get you into debt. But if it’s life or death and you need money? They exist for a reason.

    How To Make Money When You Have None

    A much better option to come up with money quickly is to work as hard and fast as possible and earn all the money you can quickly.

    When you are broke and don’t know how to afford something, the best place to go is to work.

    There are many ways to earn a little bit of extra money quickly in case of an emergency. In fact I love learning about side hustles for moms and ways to earn income on the side.

    • Have a yard sell
    • Sell as much of your stuff as you can
    • Raid your piggy bank
    • Pawn your valuable items
    • Sell your gold and jewelry for cash
    • Sell blood or plasma
    • Sell used books on Amazon
    • Bake and sell cookies or cupcakes
    • Check Craigslist for a weekend gig
    • Offer up babysitting skills
    • Sell handyman or lawn care services to neighbors
    • Start driving for Uber or delivering pizzas tonight
    • Rake yards, mow grass, and do yard work for neighbors
    • Sign up for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and complete tasks
    • Rent out extra space in your house or garage

    There are tons of other ways to make money quickly when you really need it. All you have to do is be creative, be willing to ask, and be willing to work.

    For longer term side hustles you can continue making money through things like blogging for money or making YouTube videos.

    My Experience Getting Money For Emergencies

    Unfortunately my family has a lot of experience in this area where money is tight during an emergency. Various family members in the last few years have hit financial hardships and found themselves without the money they needed for everyday expenses… myself included.

    Unfortunately family has turned to things like payday loans, short term cash loans, credit cards and borrowing from family & friends. In a pinch things like these are not a bad thing but they can spiral out of control quickly and lead you to overwhelming debt.

    They can help you get through one situation quickly but if you are not careful these short term loan options can drag you into a revolving door of debt that is hard to get out of easily.

    Payday loans and credit cards can give someone the chance they need to get through a tough situation.

    While I have never used a payday loan, I don’t ever judge anyone negatively for utilizing these short term financing options. Even if some people don’t consider them the best because of the tricky terms attached, I understand why people turn to them.

    I have used credit cards in the past to float me through tough times like when I lost my job unexpectedly. I wouldn’t recommend this method to most people but it did get me through until I had a steady stream of income and then paid off the credit card balance.

    My family and I have almost always fallen into the “probably would not” category, meaning we would probably not be able to cover an unexpected expense. Unfortunately that is why various family members have resorted to the short term options I’ve mentioned earlier. Thankfully those options existed because otherwise, what would we have done?

    The Best Plan To Get Money When Needed

    Looking at my own life and finances these days, I realize I want to have a plan in place before a situation like this arises. It’s always more comfortable to have an emergency fund and sinking funds before a need for money arises.

    Luckily I’ve gotten past what I assume to be the most tricky financial transitions, but I’m always one huge medical bill or job loss away from needed emergency savings.

    So what do I personally consider the best plan to get money if I needed it for an emergency?

    Here are the steps I would take in order to gather up $2,000 right this instant:

    • Raid my emergency fund to get the amount needed.
    • Hustle, hustle, hustle! Do as much side work as quickly as possible to fill the gap and replenish the emergency fund.

    In the past before I was financially responsible, I would have turned to a credit card to cover the expense without a plan to pay it back. Of even if I had a plan for repayment, I wouldn’t have had a plan to pay for the expense before it happened.

    Luckily after years of hard work I am in the position where if a $2,000 expense unexpectedly arose, I would be able to cover it from my emergency fund. We would pay for the expenses and move on to replenishing that amount in our emergency fund.

    If it was a slightly bigger expense? Or multiple months of $2,000 expenses? That might actually lead us into a tricky situation.

    If a very large expense arose that went beyond our minimal emergency fund, then I would work as many side jobs as possible to pay for the expense.

    I never again want the stress, overwhelm, and anxiety of a credit card balance that I can’t pay back. The stress and worry debt causes is one of the main reasons I paid off debt to begin with. So instead of turning to that option now I would definitely do as much as humanly possible to cover unexpected expenses.

    I know I can work enough hours to cover the expense quickly even if it’s not fun. I never want to go into debt again just to cover an emergency. It’s just not worth all the stress that the debt brings.

    Whatever your plan is, it is important to have a plan in place to cover emergencies and get money you need!

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