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Being Frugal

Moving from a “cheap” area in Georgia to a “cheap” area in Maryland is expensive.  We bought the cheapest home in an affluent area and we’re working hard to tighten up our budget and restock the reserves.  To that end, I’ve been trolling Craigslist and various other local sales sites seeking the elusive deal for furnishing our house, replacing the crap appliances left behind by the previous owners, and loading up the toddler with new toys for play.  I came across a group on Facebook called the Non-Consumer Advocates and they share “Five Frugal Things” with each other and get advice for saving resources to minimize waste and save money.

Five Frugal Things is a really cool idea to me, so I came up with some great things we did last weekend to save money:

1. The backing of our IKEA bookcase was damaged by the movers, rendering it all tippy and useless. We’re waiting on our claim, but I didn’t want to just throw it away, so we bought a sturdy backing and now it’s solid.

2. That sturdy backing needed to be painted and the former owners of our house left behind several cans of paint. Most of them were dry, but ~8 cans have some usable paint in them, some of which are actually okay colors. I chose one of those and painted the backing with a lovely lavender color.

3. We also have five old rugs that I was ready to recycle (especially after the potty training toddler pooped on the shag in her bedroom!), but my husband convinced me to try a carpet cleaner. Amazingly, it actually worked, making all the rugs look a lot better. And they’re staying rolled up until the toddler is potty trained.

4. Craving Bahn mi and didn’t want to waste money, time, gas going to a restaurant, so I made them myself. I usually do, but we’ve been so busy I am regularly fighting the urge to order takeaway or go out, especially since we live in a new place.

5. Cancelled an order for a brand new washer so I can shop around for a used/open box/scratch and dent washer at a discount. We live in a huge metro area now so something will turn up and I can manage with the cruddy old washer we have for now (but it has to be replaced, plain and simple).

That was last weekend and I’ll have even more to share for this week, but my point is that buying used, shopping around, and using what you already have is essential to saving money and making it stretch.  I’m the queen of keeping it real about finances and I have never lived paycheck-to-paycheck or overdrawn my checking account or been flat broke, so this frugal stuff is awesome to me!  I’ll keep you posted on my sweet finds and all the bucks we save buying used.

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