Frugal Goals

I'm always looking for ways to save money. Frugal tips for simple living, etc. 



I don't think I can get my utilities lowered more. I have worked on that this past year. 

My Cox cable bill, a bundled package of home phone, unlimited US long distance, internet service, basic cable, and Cox Tech Support, which has been invaluable, costs me around $150 a month with taxes included. 

The biggest expense with Cox is the internet. Which of course I must have. Thankfully it is a tax deduction. 

My cell phone, which is rarely used, is $12 dollars a month (including taxes), and I paid $35 for the phone. I got this through a program at AARP and it's called Consumer Cellular.

I know bloggers are all over Instagram now. But I just can't see paying to have the kind of phone that would enable me to use it. And really, social media takes up enough time as is. I really don't want to add to it.

I've tried to get my car insurance reduced, but there doesn't seem to be any feasible way in which to do it. Oklahomans pay the highest car insurance in the country for some strange reason.  

I have much of what I need, aside from perishables, delivered to my door. Which saves my ankle, gasoline and having to carry it from the car to the apartment. I almost always get free shipping. 

Of course there are the occasional vet bills and shots. I try diligently to make sure this is done because I love my pupsters!

I've been extremely lucky with my 10 year old Nissan Pathfinder. I have not had to have anything done to it besides having the oil changed and the tires rotated. I did add two new tires when I first moved to Tulsa. A year ago I added two more tires. 

My apartment is all electric. My last bill was $85, and I have it averaged out over the year. I'm very good at turning off lights and watching my electric consumption.

I won't have to buy much come spring for my patio, as I got a lot of that taken care of the first two summers I've lived here. 

I don't buy magazines as I once did. I will often buy one special publication at the beginning of each season. Which is why I love Pinterest.





Blog Costs:

As my blogging platform is Google's Blogger (Blogspot), I have little to pay for. I think I have to pay Google $20 a year for extra space because I post most every day and I use lots of photos. 

I pay for Picmonkey, because I use it all the time, which is about $20 a year I think. 

I pay for Mad Mimi, which is currently $26 a month, to be sure my readers get their posts delivered. My readers are very important to me, so I want them taken care of. This is my biggest blog expense, as it is monthly.

I pay Inlinkz to supply link ups for my Tweak It Tuesday party, which is about $25 a year.

So my blog costs me less than $400 per year to run. Not bad. Plus it brings in money, so that is a very small investment. 




My 5 Goals For 2016: 

1. I try to keep my running around within a 5 mile parameter. Food shopping, hair cuts, pharmacy. This keeps gasoline consumption down. And doesn't put more mileage on my car, which has about 41,000 something miles on it.

2. I want to find more veggie-related frozen foods that are cheap and fast to fix. And use my crock pot more and freeze the leftovers. This feeds me for quite awhile.

3. Do a thorough examination of windows, doors, etc., in my apartment to see if there are places I am losing air/heat through them. Then find a way to fix them if possible. (Which is one reason I invested $335 to have the threshold of my door fixed. No more leaking air in and out.) 

4. Pay off the one credit bill I've had to use. Then pay off anything I charge each month to avoid interest being added.

5. Try to avoid take out food and eat at home.  

How about you? Do you have frugal goals for 2016?

Note: I won't be posting tomorrow because my weekly newsletter goes out on Saturday mornings. Sign up below if you'd like to receive it.

73 comments

  1. Yes, I did a similar post at the beginning of the year. I am trying to save extra this year for new floors, so I have really cut all my expenses way down.

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    1. I too have to scrimp and save for anything extra. I virtually never purchase clothing. I am in the boot for my ankle quite a few months out of the year, so I have to have something that will fit over it, so I wear loose athletic-type clothing. I sure don't look like a fashion statement! I don't go to movies and maybe eat out in a restaurant with my daughter a couple of times a year. I no longer buy Christmas presents except for the grands.

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  2. Brenda, I am so impressed with how frugally you live--you go, girl! Like you, I strive to keep my monthly costs down out of necessity and as a personal challenge. I find it really motivating and fun to see how I can lower costs each month. Right now I am trying to save/earn as much as possible for my big move this summer!

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    1. I know you've mentioned moving, but where are you going? Out of town?

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    2. Yes, I'm moving 297 miles (not that I'm counting--ha!) to be closer to my kids. :-)

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  3. We are military so I am blessed to have our current rent and utilities mostly covered. My husband planted a vegetable garden last year and I froze many bags of vegetables to enjoy all winter. I think our Verizon bill is our big expense as well plus Pre-school for the Princess (I teach part time at her school and that really helps). If we stay in downtown Annapolis private school will be necessary, the public schools are not great. B

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    1. Most around here won't put their children in public schools, from what I've been told. I can't control rent, so that is my biggest expense three times over the next one down.

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    2. Just curious does your town or state offer senior housing. We have some in Illinois_my town where if you are low income they just charge you 30 percent of your income for rent. You have to be 62. There is a waiting list of about 1-2yrs.

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  4. Oh boy your bills sound like those when I was first married. You would shutter at some of ours and we keep things pretty bare bones but alas that is life with a house of kids and we scrimp in other ways. Our cars we drive are 12 and 13 years old and our teen drives a 7 year old car, we own them all and maintain them. You know I am pretty frugal buying very little that we don't need and mainly what we do. Calif. is very expensive to live in but Dean has a good job so I am very thankful. Still we have to watch every dollar.

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    1. Rent prices here are high compared to other places I've lived. Not much I can do about that. This will be my last car, so I'm taking care of it best I can. It is parked out in the open, and not much I can do about that. There are few apartments I could live in, because I can't walk up steps. I moved out of the rental house because it had two steps in front and back, and I could not handle that with groceries after the ankle injury. I try hard to save, because if my ex dies, I lose my share of the income from an annuity, which is roughly half of my income.

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  5. I'm also striving to reduce costs. Unfortunately, I have substantial credit card debt. One of my largest expenses is now health insurance as I'm no longer covered through an employer. I'm curious about how you manage that expense of you don't mind sharing

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    1. When I first came to OK over four years ago, I was still on my ex-husband's COBRA. Then that ran out and I was insured with Insure Oklahoma. This was for self-employed individuals who did not meet Medicaid criteria. Then the governor decided to take it from the single self-employed and give that to the employers with less than 40 employees. I checked local medical insurance prices, and the lowest I found was over $700, which was much of my income. I did not qualify for Medicaid, so the only option open to me, being disabled, was Obamacare. You qualify with your disabled status and/or income. I qualified for both. Obamacare makes sure you pay your taxes, or it is taken out of your insurance. So that is how I have health insurance. My generic meds each month would be over $1000 if not for health insurance, for which I am very grateful to have.

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  6. Eating out less has definitely saved us money. I cook more at home, even though I don't care for it all that much. I shop often at Goodwill even for clothes. I am pretty frugal overall, mostly because I enjoy the bargains, plus we have a kid in college so at this point there is no choice. Not complaining though, because like I said I actually enjoy being frugal.

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    1. I'm not complaining either. I enjoy saving money where I can. When I was married, my ex brought in $18,000 after taxes every month, yet my life was miserable. Rather be poor.

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  7. I've been frugal my entire life. I was raised that way. I think it's fun trying to see how much I can save. Very satisfying feeling! Thanks for sharing. It's very helpful to see how someone else is living a frugal lifestyle. Our biggest expense is food.

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    1. I enjoy veggie-based meals rather than meat-based meals for the most part. Veggie meals are cheaper than meat-based meals, and better for you. But I do like white meat occasionally. This week I bought a pork loin, on sale, at the grocery in the butcher department. I had him cut it down to 3 pounds, and he also cut what little fat was on it off. I browned it in my electric skillet, as I don't have a stove by choice. Total price $6 even. I then put it in my crock pot, and it almost didn't fit. So rather than the usual 1 can of rootbeer I typically pour over it, I used 2. Then I cooked it 10 hours. Then pour off the liquid and add barbecue sauce. Great pulled pork sandwiches. I freeze them in snack-size baggies and have individual meals for some time. I eat it with baked beans and veggie chips.

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    2. Wow! Thanks for the very helpful tip. Will definitely do this.

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  8. Our move was to get us ready for retirement. So we are still adjusting to fhe expenses here that are low. We have no morgage but have taxes and condo fees. We have Medicare now and supplementals.
    I avoid stores as much as I can to avoid impulsive buying.
    We have cut down on the adult birthdays. Grands get a little spoiled though.
    Great tips Brenda.

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    1. I don't go into stores much either. When my ankle is doing pretty good, I like to wander through Target sometimes. Mostly I order whatever I need online. Don't have to use your car or buy gas very often that way.

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  9. I have always been on a budget. We never had alot of money to spend and still do not. Hubby is the only one working because I have panic atttacks. I am thinking of a way to make money, but it is only in the thinking stages. I do alot like you do when it comes to budgets. I still wished there was a way to cut corners even more.

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    1. Yeah, me too. But some corners you just can't cut any more.

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  10. I expect that car insurance rates are so high in Oklahoma due to its storms...hail, tornadoes. I live in Wyoming, the most sparsely populated state in the country, and ours are high, too. Hail here, not so much tornadoes. It's the price we pay for living in hail alley!

    Enjoy all your posts. Have a great day!

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    1. Yeah, maybe that's it. But what about parts of the country that have earthquakes and flood a lot due to weather conditions?

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    2. Brenda, I always heard the car insurance was so high in Oklahoma because of the high number of uninsured drivers.

      I'm reading all of this today. Great input from everyone. :)

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    3. I don't doubt it. They don't even make you get your car inspected anymore here.

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  11. I have always lived frugally and was raised that way, too. I'm a Goodwill shopper - that's where most of our clothes and household decor comes from. The only thing I won't skimp on is food because I truly believe that what we put in our bodies has everything to do with our health. Therefore, I buy organic fruits and veggies (for those that matter...some fruits and veggies, such as bananas, avocados, etc aren't on the "dirty" list) and organic, grass-fed meat when at all possible. When I do buy meat though, I make it go as far as possible. For example, when buying organic chicken breasts, I always use it in a stir-fry or casserole. We've lived off a lot of soup this winter. One of my favorite and easiest soups to make is using a pound of organic, grass-fed ground beef. Brown it up with onions and celery, add broth (I use my own bone broth when I have it; otherwise I buy Pacific brand organic low-sodium) and a whole bunch of veggies...carrots, peas, corn, zucchini, green beans. Then I add either organic brown rice or diced organic potatoes. It keeps in the fridge for several days and serves us a lot of meals. Easy for my husband to take to work, too.

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    1. PS - I also meant to mention that here in IL, we have the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation. Every year for the past few years, I've filed a property assessment appeal with the County. It takes many hours of hard work and research, but it is worth it. I've "won" every year, which results in a decrease in our property taxes. There is no guarantee that you will "win" your appeal, but it's certainly worth a try. This also will not work in your favor if you're planning on moving soon, because you are decreasing your house's value (the assessment).

      We also drive old cars and drive them until they "die". I am still driving a 2001 Honda Accord with 143,000 miles on it. It is a very reliable car and all we've paid for is maintenance stuff. I combine my errands so that I'm not running all over the place every day. My hubby's Corolla is a 2008 and has 185,000 miles on it but that's because he has to drive far to and from work every day. Again, a very reliable car that we take good care of and hasn't had any problems except for the typical maintenance stuff. I would much rather drive an old, reliable car than to have a new one with car payments!

      Regarding utilities, most everything here runs on gas (dryer, water heater, stove/oven, furnace). AC of course, is run by electricity. One way to cut down on the electricity bill is to unplug anything unnecessary if you're not using it - computers, fans, TVs, microwave, coffee maker, etc. Those are all known as "energy vampires".

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    2. I've been unplugging the energy vampires more. It's a mindset. You just have to remember. Yeah, I can't afford any kind of a car payment, so I will have to make this car last. And I really don't want a new car with everything computerized. I've read that with smart phones, etc, easier to hack into a new car.

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  12. Hi Brenda,
    Just wondering why you can't go on disability and medicaid? You can't possibly go out and work in the main stream with that ankle of yours and I would think your autism would also make disability available to you. Just doesn't seem right. I've been told in the past by several people, one must keep applying and one gets denied
    around 3 times before they are accepted. Such a pain to have to go through so much crap to get what you deserve. Hope it works out for you eventually. Hope the pupsters are doing well...they are just so adorable.

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    1. I agree. ^ One of my sisters-in-law is on disability for bipolar and adult ADHD. She had to "fight" for several years, but she finally got it.

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    2. I've gone to two attorneys. They said a judge would throw it out because I can lie in bed and blog if I have to. So I can still work at my livelihood. I can't make enough money to pay all the bills, but they don't care about that.

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  13. I like shopping at second hand stores. I can find 4 skirts for the price of one, compared to department stores. (I have to dress professionally for work, otherwise I would be in shorts and a t-shirt!) I hope to pay off a couple of credit cards this year. I will be happy if one is paid off. I have been using my crock pot a lot and freezing single serving meals. I rarely ever have a frozen TV dinner, not even a Smart One. Those are almost $3.00 each now! I will not scrimp on Television, it is my entertainment, I have a bundle and I also have DVR, I never watch live television except the news, I record all my favorite shows. I consider my rent pretty cheap at 700.00 a month for a two bedroom house with a fully fenced backyard. I no longer pay for a yard service at 100.00 a month, my lovely neighbor mows my grass and will not take money, but I give him gift cards every once in a while. I no longer have an alarm system at 25.00 a month. My neighbors are home all day and they watch over everything.

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    1. My rent is $625 a month, plus water. But because I am considered senior here, I get it for $605. Yes, you are lucky to have found a house at that price with a fenced yard and 2 bedrooms. I looked here before I moved to this one bedroom apartment, and for that here the price is well over $1000. Usually more like $1400 for a house with 2 bedrooms.

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  14. I am definitely frugal. I have to be. I cut up all my credit cards 8 years ago. So I don't have that worry. The cable bill here is a lot lower than yours. I have internet, expanded cable with a recorder box, and a landline with unlimited calling to the US and Canada. It is around $110 s month including taxes and fees. My car is 17 years old with 83,000 miles on it. Still humming along. Thank goodness. I never eat fast food or processed foods. I am lucky to have several organic food markets close by, so I always eat healthy. That is something I won't give up. Simple, frugal living is the best. xo Laura

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    1. I had to fight and fight to get my cable bill down to what it is, and had to sign a 2 year contract to boot! I have 1-20 in channels. For a 17 year old car, you don't have much mileage, like me. I have one credit card bill I am paying down at 0% interest, and it's now under $1000. And one that I pay off every month if I use it.

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  15. I thought you were on disability, too. That's unbelievable that you don't qualify for disability. We have a friend who is drawing quite a bit on disability because he's overweight. He has a gland problem which prevents him from losing weight, so he gets short-winded, heart pounds, etc. Here, I have problems with my right knee where the cap dislocates. I've had surgery on it, I have to wear this robot type knee brace all the time that reaches from mid-thigh to mid-calf. I feel like the Tin Man when I wear it, but my husband always keeps an oil can nearby. Anyway, I went to apply for disability, applied three times. Even had a lawyer, and I couldn't get it either.

    I love all the frugal tips I've been reading here. I wish I had known of some of these earlier, but we managed. My husband and I are now empty nesters. Our children are grown, through school, and making their own way in life. Our monthly income now consists of paying 10% to our church, 30% into savings, then the utilities, which isn't much, food, which a lot of it I've canned or frozen, and our animals, which we don't even consider in our finances. They're family. Our house is finally paid for. We have other incidentals that we need to buy from time to time. The rest, well, we pretty much have all we want/need. We rarely eat out. We don't shop that much anymore. We haven't been to a movie in years. My husband always says as he's pointing towards the den, "We have a movie right in there." I take very good care of what we have, especially our clothes. Right now, I'm wearing a pair of jeans I've had for over 20 years. They're a bit outdated, but who cares, right? Otherwise, we're just homebodies, who works in the yard and garden during the warm weather months and hibernate in the winter months. You know, I've found that the older I get, the less I want.

    I'm so glad I found your blog, Brenda. You seem so warm and caring. You're tough as nails, but you're just so nice. That's refreshing. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Since the ankle accident, and the fact that I have vaginal eczema, there's not much I can wear anyway. All those clothes in the closet I can't seem to part with that I brought from TX, and yet I can't ever wear them or the nice shoes. It's a sentimental thing, I suppose. Wish I lived in a place that was paid for, but don't think that is in my future. Lawyers won't even take my case in terms of disability, because they know it isn't worth their time. Don't feel like the tin man alone, as I'm wearing the boot from knee to toes!

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    2. Oh, yeah, the days of wearing pretty shoes are long behind me, too. I used to love wearing heels, stiletto heels, but I can't anymore. I still have mine, too. Like you, I just can't give them up. Since I have to wear the brace all the time, I wear maxi dresses or skirts to church to cover it. My jeans and pants have to be baggy. Then, having to deal with vaginal eczema on top of of my knee problems, in a word, sucks!! Which also means no pretty undies to wear either. I have to wear 100% cotton granny drawers and I use this cream my doctor recommended. It's some nasty stuff, but it's been the only thing that has come close to helping relieve the itching and clawing. By the way, I was wondering how did you hurt your ankle? I've been reading your blog posts, but I hadn't come across it yet. By the way, my knee dislocation is hereditary. Anyway, I suppose we can limp along together in our braces, but look at it this way: hopefully, we won't ever have to visit the wizard to ask for brains.

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    3. Since I have worked since I was fourteen, staying home, cutting expenses, and enjoying all has become my challenge since October. I developed Bradycardia and Tachycardia. That means a heartbeat that is irregular and at one time was 41 to 151 beats in the same hour. I drink glasses of Gatorade for my electrolytes, freeze meals, and order most things for my home on line. Thanks for sharing your cost cutters. My hobbies are cooking and cleaning. Once a month I attend a group meeting with a meal where I worship. Most of my clothing is bought on sale. For three or four years before I retired from my full time job in 2003, I did not buy clothing. My aunt told me to wear what I had and wear it out as much as I could because clothing needs change when you are not working outside the home. By the time I retired I needed clothing and shoes. My shoe size is 8 n. There are usually two pair in each shipment so I have to buy shoes when I find them. Shoebuy.com has my size and great prices. Soup, casseroles, and bread are my favorites.

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  16. For some reason it wouldn't let me reply underneath Shannon's post. Anyway, I had not been in Tulsa but 7-8 months. I was living in a little blue house. I happened to look out the kitchen window while I was making lunch, and saw that the first morning glory had bloomed. I grabbed my camera and headed right out. I tripped over a piece of landscaping steel about 2 inches high. I had my camera around my neck. I fell one way, but probably because my hand went to my chest to keep the camera safe, I lost my balance and fell the other way, breaking both sides of my right ankle instantly. I had to crawl across the yard, up the steps, through the kitchen, dining and hall to get to the bedroom where there was a phone. I called my daughter, who is a realtor, but it was Sunday and she was holding an open house, so she called her husband. They lived in a nearby town. So I laid on the floor for about an hour until he could get to me. Then I hopped through the house, down the back steps with him helping me, then up into his Hummer. We went to an Urgent Care Clinic, who immediately called an ambulance. I could have saved myself a lot of grief if I'd just dialed 911. So I've had two surgeries and one stress fracture. And will be wearing the brace at least some of the time from here on out. Guess I should have let the camera get broken.

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    1. Oh, bless your heart, Brenda! I had no idea you suffered such an injury. I completely understand wanting to save your camera and not thinking about calling 911. You were in excruciating pain, I'm sure, and not thinking clearly. I'm just glad it's better now for the most part.

      I had a bad fall the day I finished physical therapy that I had to do after my knee surgery. Dummy me wanted to stop by the Christian book store on the way home. My husband wanted to take me on home, but I insisted. As soon as I got out of the truck, I turned towards a couple of people arguing while I was walking, tripped over the curb block of the parking space, and fell flat on my face. My knee seemed okay, but my husband took me back to the hospital to get checked out. Everything was fine, but my face was pretty banged up. Needless to say, we left there and went straight home.

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  17. This is for JustMe. I wear clothes until they have to be trashed. I hate buying clothes, so every year or so I will order some T-shirts and athletic shorts from JCPenney, who have good sales. I buy my shoes from Zappos. I wear 7N and they always have them. Course that is maybe once per year.

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    1. Is a 7n as hard to find as an 8n? As you know we cannot wear shoes sold in most places so ours cost more. Rotating shoes really makes them last longer.

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  18. Great ways to be frugal everyone! Another way to save Brenda, is have no TV service! We have no cable at all of any type. We figure that saves us about $80 a month at least. We use a store-bought TV antenna that you put on your wall. It cost from $14.95 to $29.95. I think ours was $29.95 at most big box stores. With it, we get most of our local TV channels, though live 100 miles away from Portland, OR in the sticks, plus get a few others, depending on the weather. If there is a storm in the mountains, some of the channels don't come in or are spotty. But we love the savings and can't afford the cable TV. also, no cell phones except the cheap track phones that are about $10 a month when you buy your minutes. We pay for the minute we use, so are both very careful about not being on the phone that much. The one thing we do pay for, and which is our entertainment, is internet, which is $49 a month. We can watch movies on it, browse all the good sites, and hook it up to our big TV to stream movies through our library system for free!

    One other luxury is paying $7.99 a month for Netflix. We can watch thousands of movies through streaming and many many TV series. We paid for a little Roku stick that you plug into the back of your TV and it gets you many other free movie channels, plus some games, news stations, weather, and several of the rental movies such as VuDu and Hulu Plus.. so ocassionaly we rent a movie for $2.99 and it is streamed to our TV. I love TV but these are ways to keep the cost very low.

    We save about $50 a month on our elec. bill by shutting our baseboard heaters off at the breaker! yes... we learned that even with the therostat turned off, they still draw electricity! So we just shut them all off in all rooms (at the breaker box) and now only use an electric fireplace and one little wall heater for our heat. That has worked to about 14 degrees outside. I figure if it does get to zero and under, we'll have to turn on the living room heaters for at least the night. But boy has this saved us money. There are some good YouTube videos to watch on saving electricity. Just search for "saving money on your electric bill". I found a few done by appliance repairmen and they give ways to make sure your appliances are efficient. I never knew that there are areas of your refrigerator you need to clean every few months, or else they will suck up the electricity like crazy! They always have good tips on saving.

    As others do, we do try to eat organic mostly, same with our meat. So our food bill is highest, but we have low enough income so that we go to a church food bank twice a month for some staples which really helps us. We don't buy luxury foods anymore, don't eat out except maybe once a month, if even that, and it's usually dairy queen! pretty much only shop at thrift stores and the Habitat for Humanity store as we feel by shopping there, we are also giving to them. Some of the luxury foods that I don't buy anymore, and which I loved, were raisins, crackers, cheese, bread, soups, canned foods, boxed foods (except for gluten free mac and cheese!), orange juice, soda pop, chips.

    Brenda, go online and check out which veggies are high in protein, to replace your meat. My husband found that broccoli is very high in protein, so we eat alot of it when we don't eat meat, which is not that often. We only eat organic chicken or turkey and very seldom do we eat red meat anymore, except for an occasional lb. of grass fed organic beef grown locally in our area. Just not eating red meat saves a ton on the grocery bill!

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  19. I don't understand "streaming" TV and all that stuff. I'm behind the times. In terms of my TV, it is bundled into my Cox cable bill, and I have the cheapest TV service they have, which is under $30 a month. So they get you on that bundling. I don't watch movies. I can't keep my attention on something for 2 hours. One hour shows and reruns are what I really prefer. I don't care how many times I've seen them. Mostly I read at night anyway. And though I have 2 TVs, I have the big one in the closet (probably 25 inch) and a little one on a dresser in the bedroom. I don't turn it on until after dark because I'm always working online or outside. I don't know what Hulu and the other thing is. Like I said, I don't talk to people much and keep up. My cell phone never gets used. I just have it for an emergency. I don't care to have a phone really. Just one at home, and it's rarely used either except to call the pharmacy or another blogger.

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    1. I bought a "roku" streaming device 4 years ago. It cost a one time cost of 89. I subscribe to Hulu for only 7.99 a month! That is my only tv cost. Hulu has all TV shows I don't need anything else. We already pay for Internet and that is all you need. My internet is 45 a month. You would love Hulu. It has a full selection of all TV the best part is you watch whenever you want , no restriction of time.

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  20. I was raised by two depression era babies. We always had lovely things, but they were thoughtfully purchased and kept for a long time. I am the queen of coupons, think before I buy and save, save, save. My kids on the other hand...well, now that's a different story...they try, but their kids in a very entitled world. I hope that some day, once they grow out of their teens, they will put into practice everything we have been trying to teach them.

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    1. And Kim, you are so good at making something out of pretty much nothing!

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  21. Brenda you certainly do have it covered! :) I was so happy to have paid off my car a few months ago and school loans are almost there. Credit card debt from dental work will go on and on for quite awhile yet, though I have managed to have that interest free between this or that plan.

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    1. Lord, the dental bills have kicked my butt the past two years. Now for the dogs dental bills...

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  22. You have certainly done a great job with all your savings efforts, Brenda. I applaud you- you are a lot better at it than I am. xo Diana

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  23. I grew up in the early 40s and 50s, and we didn't have a lot of money, but then again, our neighbors and friends didn't have a lot of money either. It was just how it was back then. What ever we kids received gifts, we cherished what we got, we took care of our toys, because we knew our toys could not(or would not) be replaced, unless we waited till the next birthday or Christmas. For that reason, I still have a few of those precious toys,from my child hood, several"Nancy Ann" dolls, and a Steiff teddy bear, that I received from a favorite "well to do" Aunt at birthday time, and also a few pieces of doll house furniture I loved, several of my favorite books, and believe it or not, even some paper dolls. (gasp) What would young girls today, say about paper dolls?? But those days taught me to spend wisely, and appreciate what I have now, and I do have more now of course, and am thankful for that. I have everything I want, probably more than I need, but I still shop once a month at Good Will and St. Vincents, because I love doing that, finding good books,old or new, fun decor and sometimes even antiques for holidays, and if it fits, and the price is right, I am not ashamed to buy clothes there. I don't believe a person should spend and spend, just because they can. I remember the saying, make do with what you have....I am to that age,77 years old,and would not change anything about my life....(I do spend a lot on art supplies, and rubber stamping...but that is my weakness, and hobby) Anyway....





    christmas.

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    1. You have to treat yourself. I have a white robe I bought at a garage sale twenty years ago!

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  24. It sounds like you've done a good job keeping your expenses down. My husband handles our finances. I know he would like to lower our cable costs and cell phones. We recently paid off all of our debt except my car and our house. So, that has helped our budget a lot!

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    1. I know everyone wants the smart phones. But I remember when we didn't have cell phones of any variety, and we managed to get along just fine. Which I why I rarely even charge the cheap phone I have (and because I forget!) If one has the money and wants those things, then there's nothing wrong with that. But if you don't, and everyone I see on the street, regardless of rich or poor, seems to have one, then it shouldn't be one of your expenses in my book.

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  25. I learned frugality from a depression raised Mom who was left a widow without life insurance 3 kids to raise and a mortgage. We grew up without a car and no washing machine. Times we knew as only very hard and today for me being so glad, disabled and also unable to get SS after 4 trys, life is exceedingly difficult. I have no money for food so I just eat what the food bank has every week. I gave up two years ago buying groceries. I have no cable and do not ego out. My car is 12 years old and works fine. Here in CA our insurance is everyone less then 50 a month . I rent so I have no utility cost. However my rent is 1350! (For a studio) and that is low for here. I rarely drive so one tank of gas a month does it and I have one pet that is low cost. I never would be able to shop online, have zero credit cards and never step foot in a store as all my funds go to rent and bills. My illness causes high medical expenses. I only buy thrift if needed. My clothes last me for years. My happiness is my books, home, friends and garden. I live near the beach so lots to do for free. The library provides me free movies and books. I have adjusted to the reality of not being able to afford any food. If I go to bed hungry I remind myself so many have less and I have gratitude for my frugality that allows me the luxury of a roof o over my head.

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    1. No one should have to go to bed hungry. I guess you've already tried to get food stamps? How about Meals On Wheels? I used to drive for them.

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  26. I took a defensive driving course online that lowered my car insurance. And I switched all my light bulbs to fluorescents....now I'm updating to LEDs as the flourescents need to be replaced. Insulated drapes help a ton with helping to keep heating and cooling costs down - I had them in a home in the past and the initial expense was well worth it.

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  27. My husband decided to retire from the corporate world at age 62, he is now 65. In order to retire at that age we did the following: Cancelled all cable TV which was very expensive, and we signed up for Netflix instead. It's only $8 per month. We did keep our landline phone and we have one flip phone that we buy minutes on.... it keeps cell phone cost down to a minimum. We also kept our older cars that we paid for years ago, and we have only had oil changes to deal with on them... we carry liability only on my husband's car. We watch our electricity by turning lights off and only using them when it is necessary. My health insurance is expensive, but he is on Medicare as of this year when he turned 65 so that cut down on insurance cost. If that should ever become a burden, then he can use his military insurance which is free. I do over-spend on clothing, but a don't buy anything expensive for decorating the house unless necessary.... We do need new mattresses for both beds on the main floor of the house and will most likely buy this year.... right now it's like sleeping in a trench because they sag so badly. We have insulated curtains which completely help with heat and/or cooling loss, and like Mountain Mama, we switched over the LED lights this past year. So much less at hogging energy. It costs a lot up front to make some of these changes, but over time the savings is a LOT. Oh, and we also have a garden.

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    1. My mattress is 10 years old, but there's no way I can afford another. If it weren't for all the bills you don't count on but have to count in, maybe at some point. But I either have to have a crown on my teeth because otherwise I'll have to have an additional root canal. Or the dogs are ill and need help, or something. You have to just figure these in if you can. I just manage to accommodate them if at all possible by sheer will sometimes.

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  28. Someone may have mentioned this already, but some electric companies will do a study of your apartment and tell you where it's leaking energy, and some have programs to help fix it.

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  29. If you live in a 2-person household, maybe considering downsizing to 1 car. My son moved back home and we now share a car. It simply takes some organization. We list our NEED times (work, appointments) and our want times. We have been doing this for 2 years and there have only been a very few times when I wanted the car but it was always for something I could do another time. This has saved us a bundle and as a bonus there is so much more room in the garage!

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    1. I agree. I live alone, so wouldn't apply to me.

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    2. I agree. I live alone, so wouldn't apply to me.

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  30. Since I despairingly need a new(used) car...I am trying to refrain from spending anything that is not really needed...very hard to scrape up enough money for anything when living on disability...

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  31. I was just saying to my husband yesterday that it is time to make my annual calls to the cable company, car insurance company and cell phone company to get the rates down. I hate that I have to do that every year but, that's what it takes. We are trying to save for a house so, we have been trying to keep costs down and stash away every saved penny!

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  32. Me and my hubby both had unplanned for early retirements in our late 50's due to health problems. First thing we did is sell our house, our second car, and everything else in the house that we didn't want or need. Then we paid off all of our debt and bought a little 600 square foot cottage that we paid cash for. No cable TV for us or smart phones. Rarely buy clothes or shoes except when desperately needed and then we buy second hand or on sale. A tank of gas lasts us well over a month. We plan all of our errands to coincide with doctor appointments so we're not driving too much. We are vegetarians and eat very healthily from our large garden year round, thanks to canning our excess summer bounty. We have 3 little elderly dogs that we adore, but they are expensive! In the future after they have passed we will only have one dog, as that is all we can really afford... We do enjoy our frugal life together and are always looking for a way to save a buck. I enjoy reading your blog everyday, Brenda. Love seeing all of your decor - you inspire me!

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  33. My goodness, there are advantages to being behind on blog visits! This way I got to read your post and all the wonderful ideas in the comments, needing to very much as we will soon be retiring, mostly. So many good ideas here, thanks to all!

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I always enjoy reading your comments and having you join the conversation here at Cozy Little House. It is like having a gathering of friends sitting in my cozy apartment. Enjoying coffee and dessert, chatting and having a good time. I appreciate each and every one of you! However, if you are a no-reply commenter, I cannot reply via email to your questions or comments.

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