My life has changed a lot since I started writing BeingFrugal.net. At the time I started, my oldest child was in full day public school, and my youngest child was in preschool three mornings a week. My husband was at work from 8 to 5 each day, and I had a lot of free time on my hands.
How my life has changed in the last couple of years! Between homeschooling and running the kids to different activities, I barely find time to clean the house, much less employ some of my own frugal strategies. I’ll admit that at times I’ve been frustrated that I’m too busy to follow my own advice. While it’s true that frugality is often a time/money tradeoff, is it really impossible for busy people to be frugal?
I don’t think so. Busy people sometimes have to employ different strategies in their frugality, but it is possible to be busy and still be frugal. Here are a few changes I’ve made along the way.
Buy Simple Foods
The easiest place to save money is on groceries. Though clipping coupons is a great way to save money, you need some time to dedicate to coupon clipping. If you don’t have time to coupon clip, focus on buying from the perimeter of your grocery store: fresh vegetables, meat, dairy products, and simple grains.
Whole foods are cheaper than full priced processed foods, and they’re healthier, too! And if you glance through the sales flyer before you shop, you can make sure you’re getting the best price on the things you buy.
Use Your Crockpot
Many budgets are blown when there’s no time to cook dinner. McDonald’s on the way to soccer practice, pizza on the way home from choir practice, Chinese takeout after church…you get the picture.
To avoid this dilemma, make judicious use of your crockpot! It doesn’t take much time to throw a roast or ingredients for soup in the crockpot as you start your day. Then when you get home from bringing your child to choir practice, you have dinner ready to go…a dinner that’s less expensive and much healthier than McDonald’s.
I used to plan a lot of “no drive” days during the week. Unfortunately those days are in the past. At the moment someone in the family has something going every single day of the week, so we spend a lot of time in the car.
If you absolutely have to drive a lot, try to find someone with whom you can share a ride. In our case, my children have friends in their various activities, and at times we moms will take turns driving the kids to karate or American Heritage Girls.
Besides saving gas, carpooling is a great way to keep tabs on who your children are hanging out with and what is going on in their lives. That’s a win-win situation in my book!
Though my life has changed a lot in the last couple of years, at the core, I’m still a frugal person. My methods may have changed, but my outlook on life has not.