For Poor, For Poorer: My Life as a Frugal, Fun Newlywed

March 24, 2011 § 5 Comments

The following post on what it’s like to be a thrifty newlywed is posted by Christine at Bottles Forever.

Money doesn’t buy happiness. But having enough of it to make ends meet sure is nice! Since my dear, sweet husband and I were married eight months ago, I’ve learned a lot about budgeting, being poor, pinching pennies, and, yes, even being happy while doing it. I can honestly say that because of these seven tidbits I’m about to impart on you, I’m a cheerful frugal newlywed.

1) Thrifts stores are your friends. They have more than clothes, you know! Randy got our dresser from a thrift store for pretty cheap. If you decide to buy furniture or plates or anything else from a thrift store, always check the items very carefully for defects before purchasing. Also, ask the store how they clean the furniture they sell. Our local thrift store is GREAT about deep-cleaning furniture, but yours might not be.

2) Don’t be afraid of generic brands!People seem to think generic brands are always lower quality, or they’re just scared to try generic. I always buy generic canned goods, dry goods (like baking soda, salt, baking powder), and over-the-counter medicines (they have the same active ingredients, people). You can save a TON of money by buying generic instead of name brands. And if you discover that you don’t like generic something, you can always switch back.

3) Never grocery shop when you’re hungry. You’ll come home with extra bags of chips, your favorite frozen pizza, and other random things that you’d never normally buy. If you absolutely don’t have time to eat a meal before you shop, at least try to eat a spoonful of peanut butter or drink a glass of water so your tummy isn’t as grumbly.

4) Always shop with a list, and stick to it. Impulse buys kill a budget!If there’s simply an irresistible deal that ambushes you while you’re shopping, consider cutting down on something else on your list (like only buying two cans of soup instead of three) to make up for the extra money you spend. Sticking to your list will help you stick to your budget, too.

5) Do cheap things for fun. You don’t have to go to the movies or go bowling to have a good time. Stay in and play cards. Watch free TV shows on Hulu.com. Rent a movie from Redbox for a dollar. Go to the library for FREE books and movies (I recommend anything with Gene Kelly).

6) Get some exercise. Get out and go for a walk, hike, or run. Go shoot hoops at a local park or throw a football around. Not only will you be able to enjoy some time with your spouse, but you’ll burn some calories while you’re at it!

7) Check your local newspaper for free events. We live in a college town, and there are ALWAYS free concerts, movies, art shows, and other cool events to check out. Broaden your horizons and try something you think you won’t like.

Finally, my random words of advice:

Be content with what you have and live within your means.

Don’t buy fancy toys (new phones, computers, cars) just because everyone else can “afford” them.

Don’t live on future money (expected raises, future tax returns, etc.).

Do be willing to do odd jobs (cleaning, tutoring, and substitute teaching are my recommendations) to supplement your income.

Do pay off your credit card and student loans every month.Look into Income Based Repayment www.ibrinfo.org for your loans.

Do make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to finances. You might have to compromise on some things, but you should try to prioritize your expenses together and come to an understanding.

Give to those in need. Do volunteer work. It’ll help you keep perspective.

And finally? Don’t be ashamed of being a thrifty newlywed. Ever. Own it and enjoy it.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Do you have creative ways you make ends meet but still maintain a happy and fun lifestyle?
Post a comment here or on the facebook page.
Funniest/Most Creative/Most thrifty comment will win a prize.

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§ 5 Responses to For Poor, For Poorer: My Life as a Frugal, Fun Newlywed

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