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Extreme Frugality: What would you give up?

Over at the wonderful blog, , Jeana is doing an incredible series of posts on Extreme Frugality this week. You must run, not walk, over there and read them , , and . Good stuff.

Jeana recently in order to simplify her life and I applaud her decision. While I doubt I would ever completely give up coupons, I’ve found that I’ve greatly simplified things in the past two years–especially since having two children. I’ve cut back considerably on the deals I’ll do, the time I spend planning and shopping, and I have learned that .

Many people often wonder why, if I’m such a minimalist, do I have a website which encourages people to buy stuff? It might seem like a contradiction on the surface, except you forgot one important point: by and large the deals I post here are for food and household products–stuff that 99% of most Americans buy at least a few times per year.

One of my goals in blogging here is to not only help everyday, average Americans find ways they can save money on items they would already be buying anyway, but I also aim to alter your mindset. (You mean you hadn’t figured that out? Maybe I shouldn’t have told you!)

You see, I would wager that the majority of Americans would never consider buying the bulk of their groceries on sale with a coupon or stocking up on a good deal to last them until the next good deal. Most people might buy a few items on sale, clip a few coupons, and save a few quarters each week, but the thought of buying almost everything on sale with a coupon is very foreign to a large percentage of the population. When people start grasping these sorts of concepts and applying them to shopping at the grocery store, it often not only saves them a few hundred dollars or more each month, it also often begins to completely change the way they think about life in general.

So while I’m glad to share deals and encourage you to save money at the grocery store, my hope is that what you glean here will not stop with the clipping of coupons. Instead, I hope the things shared here will cause you to consider making other much more substantial life changes: beginning to live below your means, getting on a budget, developing self-discipline, putting a financial plan in place, thinking long-term, and be willing to go against the flow to make sacrifices now to benefit you long-term.

Speaking of thinking and planning for the long-term, to kick off her series which I thought we would all do well to consider. She wrote:

Lately I’ve been thinking about how over the past few years we have
found new ways to save money as paycuts and higher costs have squeezed
on our budget. I’ve been asking myself, "What is the next thing I would give up or do differently if I had to lower costs?" and then trying to do that next thing now
to put us one step ahead of the next big squeeze. I’ll be writing about
some of the new things I’ve been trying soon. For now, why don’t you
tell me: What’s the next thing you would do to create some wiggle room
in your budget, if you had to?

What would you give up or do differently if you had to lower costs? Is this something you could go ahead and cut from your budget now in order to give you more wiggle room for later? In addition, I’d love to hear how using coupons at the grocery store may have affected your thinking on other areas of life. Tell us about it in the comments section.

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  • Rachel says:

    I gave up cable TV when I went back to nursing school. I can watch most of my favorite shows online for free now, and it’s drastically cut back the time I spent just vegetating. Most of the time I don’t even miss it and it saves about $50 a month.

    This may also seem minor, but I used to be a bottled water snob. Now I drink tap water – doesn’t taste as good but I felt bad spending money on water and the bottled water industry is not good for the environment.

  • says:

    Wow, that’s a hard question! We’ve cut down so much it feels like there’s not much of that wiggle room left.

    But, if we HAD to cut down more we could give up our 2nd car. That would save on gas, insurance and eliminate the 1 car payment we make (at 0% interest).

    We would also save money because I would not be making any trips out during the day. So, shopping would be cut to the minimal and only making the necessary trips. We will soon have a CVS we can walk or bike to so that would help.

    Boy, that would be a hard one to give up – but it would be better than running up credit card debt or using up the savings if times really got tough(er).


    [email protected]

  • says:

    Wow, thank you so much, Crystal! This reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do a post about how, even though I do very little couponing now, I’m really glad I did it for a while. I learned a lot from the experience that I still use now. Thanks for the links and the compliments!

  • MoCat says:

    I would further limit my Starbuck frappaccino purchases when I get super stressed at work.

    I’ll tell you, not hooking up the cable when we moved into our new house has been really working out. My husband and I are so busy with our remodeling, bulk cooking, chores, investments and work that we have not missed it. When we want to watch something, we watch it online or go to a movie (or rent and watch at home).

  • Laura says:

    We’d give up cable TV. We’ve been married 18 years and just got cable TV, high speed internet and digital unlmiited phone in 8 months ago for the first time ever. It is a splurge. But we can go back to rabbit ears and save a lot.

  • says:

    My husband and I don’t have children so we have a little more freedom to spend money than many larger families do. However, I have always been frugal and have always tried to use coupons where I can. It is only recently that I have started using internet coupons and playing the CVS game. Saving money is sort of a hobby and I like to look for deals on our food and incidentals.

    One thing I could give up if necessary is our cable tv package. Watching tv is very unimportant to me and currently we pay for a premium package in High Def with dvr/cable boxes in two rooms. If we had to cut back seriously on expenses I would definitely sacrifice the cable.

  • says:

    My husband and I are giving up our second car. We own our very old van, but we owe a lot on our 2 year old Saturn Vue. I love my car, but it is just a car. We can use the money we save each month toward paying down our student loans. My family thinks I am crazy for even considering this plan.
    We have also started only going to the grocery store once a week unless there is something that can not wait. That means if we run out of milk on Friday we have to wait until Monday to get more. If I went to the store for just milk I would likely buy something else and blow the budget. It is not that we can not afford to buy milk on Friday, it is just a mind set that we do not have to have it right now.

  • Janice says:

    This is a really good question, because just a couple months ago I had to cut costs. First, we took another look at our car insurance (lowered it by $50/month), cut back to basic cable (saved $60/month), and cut our newspaper delivery to weekends only (saved $14/month). After 2-3 days we realized that we didn’t miss anything we had given up, and I said to myself–if I hadn’t wasted $120 each month I would have savings now instead of playing catchup.
    I guess the next step would involve getting rid of Netflix ($10/mo.), weekend newspaper delivery ($10/mo.), maybe there are some other small things. It’s hard to get rid of cable b/c that is connected to internet and phone. I guess in a real squeeze that’s what we’d have to do–rely on cell phones, DVDs, and neighbors’ wifi.

  • says:

    Do you have advice for getting started on a realistic budget?

    I have tracked our expenses for years, but I am always evaluating on the back end instead of before the purchases….

    Thanks for your wonderful blog!

    Andrea U.

  • says:

    What a timely question! My husband and I just decided this month to go without A/C during the day. It kicks on around 7pm when the kids go to bed so that sleeping is still mildly comfortable, but is set at a much higher temperature … 76, I think. We live in SWFL so this has been a pretty radical sacrifice. We open the windows and turn on the ceiling fans and wear less clothes 🙂 Can’t wait to get this month’s electric bill and see what a difference it makes!

  • says:

    Great topic!

    I’ve been a major coupon user and deal buyer since I first began shopping. It affects every area of my life for the better! We’ve been able to reach many goals that people think are unattainable due to our frugal attitude.

    Crystal, you stated that for the vast majority of people it is unthinkable to buy enough of everything on a great deal until it lasts till the next great deal. Well, it is simply unthinkable to me that most people don’t do this!

    While we are pretty frugal at our house be we could always be more frugal if we had to. Some areas we would cut back on if forced to would be the following:

    –satellite television
    –individually bottled drinks
    –eating out

    Of course whenever people are in a forced cut back situation the immediate thought ” what can I stop spending money on?” And, rightfully so. However, lots of people may never think “what can I do to earn some more money?”

    We always look for little extra ways to generate cash to increase our savings and to allow for us to splurge on treats.

    Here are a few ways you could earn just a bit extra to help with finances during a tight time.

    –bake cookies and sell them to workers at offices downtown

    –if you are good at scrabooking or stamping you could sell handmade cards in batchs of 5 or 10 and use of some of your overstocks of paper to boot

    –if you like to sew, you could sell hand made tote bags

    –have a blog? Sign up with Logical Media to make a few dollars off advertising. Plus you get $25 just for signing up. Here’s a link:

    –You could also requote your home and auto insurance to make sure you have the most favorable rate. We did this last year and saved exactly $400.

    –Like to do stuff online? You could sign up for Cash Crate, complete free offers and surveys and bring home a small check each month.

    –If you still really want to keep cable or satellite tv call your provider and say you are considering canceling the service and ask for their best customer retention price. I just did this last month and got our bill cut by 30%!

    If anybody’s interested I have several blog posts dedicated to ways to earn some extra money from home. Here’s the link:

    Take Care,


  • says:

    Since reading your blog and using coupons as well as refusing to buy something unless it is on sale (besides certain staples), I have saved a few hundred dollars in the past month. And, you are so very right, my mindset is changing. I used to like to browse stores and just look which more often than not would turn into buying something. Now, that whole pastime really doesn’t appeal to me. And, it has taken no effort on my part to make it that way. It has happened naturally. I’m learning that frugality is truly a mindset and a way of life. The best part is I’m more excited to give, both back to God and to others. It is a benefit I didn’t expect to happen so quickly, but it has and I love it.

    Thanks for what you do on the this website. I’m certain I’m one of many who have learned from you.

  • hobby:savingmoney says:

    If I had to, I’d give up cable tv, tivo, our blockbuster total access (notice a theme here?) and a percentage of our eating out. These do currently fit in our budget (although we could be paying off student loans faster).

    I do firmly believe, though, that my marriage is much more important than saving a few dollars, and at the moment these are not things my husband is willing to give up. I’m learning to submit!

  • Robin says:

    If necessary, we would have to find a way to cut out (our discounted) sports practice and (our discounted) private school for the highschooler, which would make me sad because she is a great student and athlete. That is our biggest non-food-non-house cost and the only thing that would make a big dent in the expenses. But the kids were so cheap when they were younger, and paying for school & activity now probably gets them more scholarship $ for college, so it’s reasonable IMO. (We are paying for four years of high school for each daughter if neccesary but they will have to pay their own college.)
    Cellphones could go, they are $100/month for four phones.
    But really? It would be easier for us to get more income than to cut expenses at this point.

  • a.k. says:

    we have recently switched to only using one car, that was by default…anyhow, it ends up working well, we pay only one car’s worth of gas and try to run errands in one trip, making stops along the way…if we continued owning 2 cars, the gas bill would be double. I love going out, but with only one car, i need to realize that hubby needs his share too…and honestly, not going out has cut back on a lot of unnecessary shopping and eating out.
    Also, if we HAD to lower costs, i think keeping the AC off would and be next. we’d have to survive with open windows and ceiling fans..despite allergy sufferers.

  • says:

    I have been at the point where I didn’t know *what* else I could cut! LOL–Thankfully, I am not there now!

    Hmm, I could cut out our weekly church meal. It is $10 for our family meal there. We all enjoy it, though, so I hate to cut that. I could cut out orange juice. Sounds silly, but I love, love, love orange juice. It’s always the first thing to go when I need to really cut back! The hub’s ocassional Powerbars would have to go, and probably DD’s chocolate milk.

  • michele says:

    What would I give up if the budget got tighter? I’ve already given up the first thing I could thing of: Every spring/summer/fall, my hubby and 2 kids go civil war reenacting, which leaves me home by myself. I used to go splurge on myself at the mall – try on clothes in peace and quiet, buy what I considered good deals to update my wardrobe, etc. Now I don’t do that. I now ONLY go to one resale shop and will ONLY go IF I have a load to drop off too. This way: not only do I make a little money by bringing in things none of us will wear/the kids outgrew, I save a lot of money by buying resale. I’m also only allowing myself the time to shop that it takes them to screen the things I brought in. In addition, I only allow myself to go once per month, instead of every weekend like I used to shop at the mall. We have saved a TON of money.
    The other thing I gave up was spending so much on my scrappy supplies. I used to buy what I wanted at the craft stores, with a coupon, and feel good about getting a “deal.” But now I find my supplies at yardsales, trade with friends, or make do without it. A HUGE budget saver!
    Between these 2 saving ideas, I’ve managed to shave at least $200 off our monthly credit card bills for the months of March through September! Yay for me! 🙂

  • says:

    We already live WELL below our means- only buy new underwear and shoes- 99% of our other clothes are used. No cable/internet. 1 car, 10 years old. I cut his hair, my hair, dd’s hair. We eat out maybe 1 time a month, and it’s Panera or a Chinese buffet. We don’t get each other fancy gifts. We don’t go to movies or spend much on entertainment. We’re basically living on one of our incomes and using the other to pay down the mortgage so that I can hopefully quit working when we have a second child.

    That said, I could see a situation where, living on one income without the second as a cushion, a need to cut even further. So what would I do without?
    1. I would cut back on air conditioning in summer/ heat in winter as much as possible. we live in Ohio so we do get hot, humid summers and cold winters.
    2. Drive even less. We already use public transportation and walk/bike a lot. But we’d have to give up any trips to family, which is a 250+ mile round trip for his, and 600 mile round trip for mine.
    3. Postage and photos- due to family out of state I send cards and photos every month or so. I probably spend $100 on postage and photo prints in a year. I also like to send handmade gifts to my cousin’s daughters, so I’d have to cut out the postage on that as well. That probably runs $25/year.
    4. Cooking costs- use the oven less, gril/microwave more. We do not have natural gas.
    5. No more disposable diapers, period.
    6. Cell phone would be one of the last things- we don’t have long distance service on our landline, so it’s the only way we can call our families. And with an old car, I feel the importance of having the lifeline in case of car problems. 8 years ago, our transmission broke down on the turnpike in a remote area on Christmas day while it was snowing. The phone could only dial 911. So I’ve been there, done that.
    7. Other gifts- we are already pretty minimalist on birthdays/Christmas, but I would probably eliminate what I do spend, including the mailing of Christmas cards. I’d email instead.
    8. If I had to, I would sell some things to consignment stores.

    As for couponing at grocery stores, it has given me a new perspective. I enjoy a multitude of crafts- sewing, crochet, cross stitch, candle making, latch hook, scrapbook, card making/stamping… you get the idea. I don’t go to the craft store nearly as much and when I do I do not spend as much, because I now see it in terms of food. Do I need that $5 skein of yarn, when that $5 could get me a load of stuff at CVS or Meijer? So instead I have received supplies from freecycle and gotten some at yard sales and rummage sales and coworkers. While not “the best” it keeps my hands busy on the bus!

  • Cassie J. says:

    I only get my hair cut every other month. I use that little bit of cash to have “fun” with the family. Sometimes, I will get my coupon money back in cash and use it for something fun. That feels like I’ve paid myself for bargain hunting!

  • BB says:

    Thanks to this site and several PF blogs I’ve been reading, I’ve learned to save considerable money on my weekly grocery and household bills. I’ve started to match savings and coupons – and I even hold on to coupons until the next great sale rather than just using them right away. I’ve also purchased coupons from The Coupon Clippers for things like cat food and the only shampoo brand I use – things I know I either buy weekly or at least regularly.

    I’ve also started CVSing and stocking up. In just a month or two, we’re mostly stocked up on our regular household goods so we have no need to ever buy at regular price. I’ve learned to even bypass sales that “aren’t good enough” or if I know I could do better with a coupon.

    I’ve saved $50-75 off some of my recent grocery bills and 80% off or so at CVS. It feels GREAT. We used to spend $100 at the grocery store at the drop of a hat, whether it was for a week or a dinner Friday night… Now we spend less than that per week and it’s really food pantry items that don’t just disappear overnight.

    Just last week I saved us $107 by stopping by the post office to pick up a new move package of coupons. We were having cable installed, and that 5 minute trip netted me a coupon for one free month of service. Time well spent! (We also waited for 2 months before signing up until there was a deal for free installation – another $100 saved.)

  • Hannelore says:

    I am planning to try the laundry detergent another reader posted recently. I was very surprised at the cost difference between buying and making your own. And pleasantly surprised it did not seem to be very time-consuming. Right now I’m well stocked on bargain detergent, but I’m going to try it soon to know whether or not I need to keep bargain hunting for it in the future or just make my own. With 7 people at our house, I do lots of laundry!

  • ModestforHim says:

    My goal is to eventually be completely self-sufficient. For me I have been frugal most of my married life. We have always bought used, looked for good deals, etc. Coupon shopping is new to me. I have been doing it for about 9 months.
    Where I live right now I don’t have the opportunity to be self-suffficent, so we use coupons. But, like the lady said in the guest post she is looking ahead to the future.
    We don’t know if we will always have these great deals available to us. Also, things seem to be getting worse not better, so I agree with the guest post that it is probably better to teach our children more basic skills like food preparation, etc.

  • says:

    Since I started couponing hardcore about 6 months ago I have noticed huge changes in our family. We are saving lots of money, planning ahead more often, we are less wasteful, we eat better, we are much less stressed over finances and oddly enough we seem to have more time to spend together enjoying the simple things in life. It seems I find new ways to save or simplify on a daily basis. I love being able to help out family & friends with my extra freebies the most. It also helps that basically every one I know is feeling the financial pinch these days. We tend to be more open now and share our frugal ideas.

    We have already agreed that the DirecTv will be the next to go if we need to cut more costs.

  • says:

    I would give up using my car. Right now I fill up on the 1st of every month and see how far I can go without having to fill up again. It’s sort of a game. But I could probably give up going anwhere (except to buy groceries once a week)and really stretch that gasoline.

  • says:

    How about the things we are NOT going to be doing? Dh is getting a pretty big increase come Sept. Oh I have had plans for this all summer. I wanted to sign my younger 2 up for gymnastics $104 a month for both, I wanted to get a new cell phone, right now I have a tracphone that is awful to say the least, I wanted to increase my grocery and gasoline budgets, etc. The list goes on. I have been slowly changing all of these plans to not doing any of them come the new raise and putting it all in savings. I will not be signing up the kids for gymnastics, I will not get a new cell phone, I will not raise my grocery budget but try harder to keep my costs low, etc. So instead of cutting things out, I am refusing the add new things to take up the increase. Does that count?

  • Cynthia says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience, but the biggest challenge is finding things that both my husband and I agree on to cut out. 🙂 We have different comfort levels, mine being much more… sparse than his. We have cut back on so many things – cable, home phone line, utilities usage, entertainment (free or none!), groceries & household spending, commuting by bicycle – that sometimes it takes a little creativity to see where there is even potential to cut back more. We have agreed that if we need to, we will sell our second car and save the gas, maintenance and insurance that goes there (about $175-200/month.) Right now we have a bit more wiggle room, but once our next baby arrives (5 weeks) there will be less, so we are using whatever extra we have to stock up on consumables (shampoo, diapers, canned goods, etc.)

    I have only been couponing for 5 months, but it is a refreshing and diverting hobby for me, I feel like I make a valuable contribution to the family’s income in my role as a SAHM. I am careful though to keep it in perspective – and to take a break when I feel like it. My attitude about money has always been frugal, but it has been interesting to see how my view of a dollar has changed. LOL – I look at some things now and think, ‘Three dollars??!! Do you know what I could get for three dollars? Why would anyone pay that price?’ 🙂

    Life is good!

  • says:

    Great post…certainly thought provoking. I’m glad you’ve made me to think about this; it will certainly put me ahead of the game.

  • says:

    We are a one car family and the one car we own is one that I can’t get the hang of driving (sticky, really tricky manual)so that really cuts down our trips anywhere. We fill up with gas about once a month since hubby’s work is right down the street and so is church. We also don’t have a drier so I hang dry all of our clothes which has reduced our electric bill quite a bit.

  • Jennie W. says:

    Wow! At first I didn’t think we had anything left to give up. We have learned to give up so much, but we could definitely give up eating out. We try to keep it to once every other week but we could cut it out completely if we needed to. One thing that we have recently given up is too many children’s activities. It makes things less hectic for us all and it saves money. 1 thing I don’t know if I could live without-air conditioning! This is my 1 luxury item. If the house is cool I tend to get more done and be less cranky- the rest of the family as well.

  • says:

    It seems that I have been focusing all my energy on saving money so that my budget balances. The article you pointed to gave me so much more to think about. What I’ve been thinking about lately, and what I was sparked into thinking more about today is this:

    What is true frugality? Can I make personal changes beyond just saving a buck? You and I are all consumers, and consumerism has an impact on the world economy and on world resources. When we start looking at the bigger picture and start identifying “needs” versus “wants”, maybe we will start to understand what true frugality really means…

    I am going to start to focus on this big question and identify my habits as a consumer. But for now, I will continue to clip my little coupons and plan my menu.

    Leslie, aka The Menu Maker Mom

  • says:

    We’ve cut down quite a bit lately and I’ve been trying to watch our spending; however, there are a few things that could be cut out or down.
    1. Have only 1 vehicle.
    2. Basic cable package.
    3. Pay for minutes for the cell phone instead of package.

    This in itself would probably cut out $250 or more a month, I think, which would be $3000 a year. WOW! Dh is becoming more frugal, but there are a few things he feels that he shouldn’t have to give up. I think I could talk him into #3 though.

  • Cole & Lia's mom says:

    Like many of your readers, I’ve always been frugal and lived below my means. But in this tough economy, and without my second income as I’m now at home with our kids, it has become difficult to continue living that way. A few things that I’ve been doing are very basic — I had dh run a clothesline outside the basement door, and I now hang most of our clothes instead of running the dryer; I wash dishes by hand instead of running the dishwasher (and wit the free Dawn form CVS, it’s even less expensive!); I drive more slowly and only when I have to; turn the air conditioner on only when everyone is home and it’s really necessary.

    It is important, though, to have fun. Let’s not lose sight of that in our zeal to be frugal. I found myself saying “no” to many things and finally realized I needed to replace them with different things.

    Thanks, Crystal, for such wonderful and inspirational information!

  • Trinity says:

    We have made alot of cut backs over the past year or so.
    Basic cable only
    Sold large tv and all game systems and invested in some outdoor activities which will save on energy bills as well as help get us healthy.
    I cut our car insurance cost down by taking collision of our older car.
    I have a pay as you go phone instead of monthly fees.
    My husband takes his lunch every day and also just recently got a bike that he will be starting to ride at least twice a week and more in the future as he is able to handle more.

    The few luxuries that we have are high-speed cable internet, online game subscriptions and as hard as i try I still manage to spend every bit + of our $500/mth food budget.
    I wish I could spend less and make that last longer so that is one of things we are still working on as well as getting our credit cards paid for.

    Oh how i long for the day when I will be at least credit card debt free!!!!

  • says:

    This took me SO long to figure something out. We don’t eat out, pack our lunches, share one car, pay nothing for groceries aftet coupons/rebates/cvs, drink water out of our reusable water bottles, are pretty energy efficient, don’t have cable, grow some veggies, rent movies free with redbox promo codes, and have pretty basic cell phones plans (no house phone).

    I finally decided that if we HAD to, I would give up AC. I think this is a beautiful plan but can’t convince my fiance and sister to go along with it. Our bill is pretty low (130ish at the highest), but it would lower it quite a bit. Not enough to be worth it though.

  • Marsha says:

    I think it’s good to regularly examine your budget to determine what is the least amount of money you need to get by every month. I sometimes turn it into a game to challenge myself not to spend more than X dollars this month. I’ve done it for real when we’ve had an unexpected car repair or other expensive emergency, and didn’t want to take money out of savings to pay for it. By putting a moratorium on spending, we’ve been able to pay those things out of our regular budget. Right now, I know that if I had to, I could get by with spending just $10 a week on groceries and household supplies, for at least 3 months, because I’ve been stockpiling these items at bargain prices. I have an overflowing pantry and bulging freezer. It’s a good feeling to know that you have the immediate and near-future needs of your family taken care of. It’s like money in the bank (which of course you need, too).

  • says:

    This blog has really affected the way I look at shopping. I’m currently looking for a part or even full time job (I currently freelance about 10 hours a week) to pay down our credit cards and pay off our mortgage. I think if I were to work full time, we’d be 100% debt free in 5 years. That said, I’m not sure I want to spend this part of my daughter’s life working that much (she’s 1) so I don’t know.
    If we cut back more, we’ll drop:
    cable tv–we’ve lived without it fine before
    disposable diapers
    organic milk

  • says:

    I am not frugal by nature, and have been slowly working to get myself there over the last year or so. While we have cut back, we still have lots of “fat” that we could trim. We could drop our gym membership, reduce our cable package, drop our home phone line, start cutting DH’s hair again, find somewhere cheaper for me to get my hair done, etc… etc…

    We too struggle with coming to an agreement on what to cut back on. For example, I could live with less cable, my husband claims that is his one “splurge”. I suppose if there ever comes a time where we have to cut back even more, we would find a way to compromise.

    While I feel blessed that we have been able to cut back enough for me to stay at home full time, I know that we can do better. Baby steps…that is what I keep telling myself. Otherwise I’m afraid we’ll burn out.

  • says:

    What a great question. There are times that I feel as though I’ve already given up so much so that I can stay home and raise our children. My husband gave up a truck to have a car with better gas mileage. I think we are truly one of the last people on the planet that uses rabbit ears (no cable). We never eat out, use a clothes line and get hand-me-down clothes for the kids. Then, I realize that how much we have. Cell phone, internet, new house, and a mini van (used). I guess the next thing to give up would be our weekly playdates. With gas prices going up, that would be the next logical thing.

    Your Coupon Buddy

  • says:

    I was inspired to post an entire entry about this topic. I was shocked to see the numbers add up. YIKES!

  • says:

    Thank you, Crystal, for this post. I’m going to be chewing on it for a while. While we don’t have a lot of extras like housekeeping and pest control, I know that we are going to be making some hard decisions here in the near future if I want to continue to stay home. Probably the first to go will be my diet pepsi habit. The internet is our only “media” type thing, and I’ve thought about getting rid of it, but right now it’s actually generating a little money, and it’s a great source of entertainment for my kids during the long, hot, boring summer. I need to look drastically at things that she mentioned like cleaning products and paper products, though I’ve cut down a lot. Good thinking.

  • Lisa S says:

    I would go back to living like I did as a child. No cable TV, no cellphone, use the internet at the library, no movie rentals. Its pretty easy to cut hundreds a month if we need to. I am sad when I see cable TV in the homes of my students who get free lunch and wear clothes that don’t fit.

  • says:

    We gave up cable TV and all the extras on our home phone. We use our answering machine to screen our calls and wait until the evenings to make any long distance phone calls on our cell phone (prepaid).

  • says:

    We use to spend lot of money on eating out when I use to work but since I quite my job I’ve been learning how to cook and we eat at home most of the time. Since I quite my job I also started using coupons and it has drastically decrease our spendings. It has made such a big difference in our budget that it seems like we still have the same amount of money even though I don’t work.

  • says:

    If I had to cut down more, it would be hard as we do not have much extra stuff.
    I would cancel Netflix- $11 a month
    Walk or ride bike- except for things that I had to do that were more than a few miles away. (I am already doing this some, so it would not be too hard, except in the winter)
    Rent out a room and give up privacy, having a house to myself etc, but we could live without a room and it would make us some money.
    Give up free time and babysit more
    Otherwise, we pretty much never go out to eat, we use the library, we buy things used, we drive as little as possible. We own our van clear and free and insurance is minimum, etc. I guess we would also give up any extra lessons that i cannot trade for and trade more for things like hair cuts, food etc.

  • says:

    I absolutely love this blog.

    Couponing has completely changed my outlook. I never knew that there was such an amazing way to save money.

    My husband and I are always looking at ways to cut down on expenses. We’ve already done things like cut our grocery budget in half, cut our cable, and I stay at home much more.
    This mindset has made me extremely creative, and I’m always finding ways to either cut down on things or earn money, while I’m at home with my baby girl. 🙂


  • says:

    My husband and I recently had “the talk” and we have decided to give up cable completely. We cut it out for the summer, and we decided to keep it our permanently. We also decided to let the sidewalk be our gym and run instead of paying $53/month to work out. Cutting these two things out will save us about $110/mo. I like the sound of that!

  • says:

    I too was inspired to do a post. I took at look at the changes we made the past few months (wow has it been 7 already?!) as well as changes we COULD do. I was a GREAT exercise! THANKS CRYSTAL!!

  • Robin says:


    When you guys say you cut back to one car and use less gas, how does that happen? We have only one car but it means we use more gas…When I go to work, DH has to drive me there and go back home, so that he has the car to take the kids to school, then he comes to get me and we go back, everything is doubled because we have one car. If we had two, I could drive to work, and the car would stay there, cutting miles out of the driving. We have always driven less when we had two cars…So how are you driving LESS with one car?

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