Each week here at Frugal Family, we find the best bargains in all of Brookline and Jamaica Plain. We hunt down the deals and bring them to your attention. Today, we’re going to refresh our budget knowledge and take a look at some exciting and helpful hints.
Know Thyself: Before you can be a truly effective Frugal Family member, you need to take an in-depth look at your financial life. Make a date with yourself, order a coffee from , and create a detailed spreadsheet of how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out each month. Don’t cheat! Be specific! If you have five student loans, list them all! If the Frugal Fam kids are involved in ten afterschool activities, document the cost of all of them! Know what to expect financially so that in months ahead you can become a budget warrior.
Lists, Lists, and More Lists: As my own Frugal Mother used to say, “Never leave home without a list.” Whether you sketch your list on the back of an envelope, or type it on your Android, bring a list before you go shopping and think of it as a goal-reaching-budget weapon. We can spend the most money when we have no idea what we’re looking for. Before you head to in Jamaica Plain for a beautiful gift or in Brookline, quickly decide what you’re looking for and how much you intend to spend and write it down. When you come prepared with a goal, it’s trickier to go hog wild with the wallet It’s also beneficial to have loose guidelines set in place for yourself as well: “I will spend X money on a family member and good friend, but I will spend half of that amount on a co-worker.”
Loyalty Wins the Budget War: Once you note all of your expenses, see where you can realistically pare back, but don’t throw any activities or frivolities out the window just yet! One Frugal Family reader recently considered giving up his cable package as a way to save. But before doing so, he called up his cable carrier and discussed his pending decision. The cable company actually worked with the Frugal Family reader to find a great deal that was totally affordable –all because they did not want to lose a loyal customer! The same can happen with your cell phone service. Even discuss the concept of lowering your rent with your longtime landlord. Call up, explain your situation, ask questions and stick to your Frugal guns!
And Have Fun, Always: No matter how passionately you’re scrimping and saving, you must budget for a little bit of relaxation. Just like when you’re on a diet, you need to plan a cheat meal every so often so that you’re won’t throw up your hands in frustration after weeks of strict discipline and eat a box of eat the entire stock at in Brookline or in JP. Think low-cost or free outings that can be found each week at Frugal Family and drag friends or loved ones along. There’s no sense in fighting the frugal fight alone. Head to the library, seek out free movies, and never rest until you have experienced all the two-for-one deals Brookline and Jamaica Plain have to offer!
What are some of your Frugal Family tips? Write us and let us know where and how you find your own bargains!