You know, at first I was feeling like I didn’t have a lot to say about frugality this week. After all, we just got back from a week at the beach where we stayed in a lovely house right on the water. Bliss, but not the most frugal of adventures. Except– and I think this is such an important thing to remember in the discussions about frugality— that’s exactly why live carefully the rest of the year. Trips with our children are important to us, something we want to be part of our family’s collective memory.
Other people’s reasons for frugality may be different. Maybe you’re working to afford gymnastics for your daughter, or you want to be home with your kids, or you are saving for a new car, or you’re paying off credit cards. Whatever your goals are, it helps to keep them high in your mind. They are what gives you the oomph to keep making wise money choices day after day, especially in those moments when frankly it would be a lot easier to order take-out than to cook dinner.
So for us, last week was our least frugal week of the year. But you can’t take the frugal out of us that easily– we still kept an eye on expenses. Here are some of the ways we did it.
- During our week of vacation we ate all but three meals at the house, to keep our food costs down. We ate sandwiches for several meals while driving places, and at the house served affordable things like clam chowder, chili, tacos, and potato soup. Everyone took turns cooking and doing dishes. My mom was a huge help in the kitchen, and it was really fun to cook together. My grown daughters also helped for several meals, and various kids helped with smaller cooking tasks all week long. Many hands make light work.
- We walked to the store multiple times during that week. It was only a mile away, and we all enjoyed being close enough to the store that a drive wasn’t required. It ALMOST makes me wish we didn’t live so far out in the country in ‘real’ life.
- The very last day of our trip we made a conscious effort to serve ALL of the leftovers from the week. We did such a good job that that fridge was practically bare the morning we headed home. And yet we fed people well all week. That last night we had meatloaf, salad, fried rice, and chicken enchiladas to choose from, topped off by fresh brownies for dessert. (Never underestimate the ability of fresh brownies to make a meal of leftovers still feel like something wonderful.)
- We went thrifting at Goodwill one of the days on the coast to help satisfy kids’ wish to shop. We went to a farmer’s market and a roadside farm stand where we got good prices on fresh green beans, tomatoes, and avocados. The farmer’s market is where I found these sweet glass-bead necklaces that I got as souvenirs for the girls in our group. They were $4 each when bought in groups of 5, which I thought was a very reasonably-priced little memento of our trip. (Erika, the orange one is yours )
Less-frugal happenings that week: my daughter forgot to pack her tennis shoes and my son forgot his soccer ball, so both items were re-bought on the trip. But my daughter was outgrowing her old shoes anyway and we found her a nice pair for 40% off. And my son bought the soccer ball himself. So it was all good in the end.
How did your week go? What were some of your frugal victories? Did you have any fails?