Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Friday, October 20, 2006

On doing without (and making do!)

What are some things that you have learned to do without in order to be able to stay home? More importantly, how have you made up for the lack of them?

Here are just a few things of the things I've done to help our budget:

Haircuts: Ever since we married I have cut my husband's hair...and it looks professional if I do say so:o) I grew up watching my mom cut my dad's hair, so I guess I picked it up. If your husband is brave enough to let you try this, you could learn by paying very close attention the next couple of times your husband goes to the barber.

More difficult (and I don't necessarily recommend this!), I have actually cut my own hair for the past few years. I was disatisfied with the haircuts I was receiving from the $12-13 place, and I didn't want to pay $40+ to go somewhere nicer. Cutting my own hair takes an hour or two (but then so does visiting a typical salon), however I have somehow managed without too much disaster and have been able to keep my money! I very much need a haircut right now and am trying to decide whether to go to a stylist or not. Guess it depends on how adventuresome I want to continue to be:o)

Doing without a large clothing budget: For many years, I hardly bought any new clothes and shoes. We just didn't have the money! During the past couple of months I have finally been restocking our closets a bit due to necessity (there comes a point where buying clothes actually becomes a NEED rather than a desire if you want to look presentable in society!). But I have been trying to find creative ways to use the least amount of money for the largest impact. Here are a few ideas that have been working for me:

Buy well-made Basics!!! Focus on finding a few good neutral-type bottom pieces that can be worn with all types of tops. I am willing to spend a little bit more on some good bottom pieces that will be worn over and over again. For instance, I recently bought this denim skirt at Ross (originally $90) for $35. Generally, I wouldn't pay $35 at Ross for a skirt! But I loved this one, it was well-made, and I knew I would be wearing it over and over and over again with just about any top. This is the kind of item it makes sense to spend a little more on to get true quality.

Salvage old stuff: I just bought some extra-long tank tops on sale to layer under other tops and sweaters. I am now able to wear some tops again that I had stopped wearing either because they shrunk up a bit too short, or they were too short to begin with. (Remember about five years ago when it was hard to find a top that was long enough? I hate those can't sit down or bend over in them! I really love these super-long shirts available now!:o)

Trendiness: I don't often buy trendy clothes...I don't have the money to blow on items that will look hopelessly outdated by next year! However, to update a classic basic wardrobe a bit and throw in just a bit of fun, I've bought a few pieces of inexpensive beaded jewelry, colorful headscarfs, etc. at sales/discount stores that look more "up-to-date". I have fun wearing them...and combined with classic pieces, they don't look cheapy or trashy.

Doing without a car: Our second car broke and wasn't worth the money to fix it, so we are currently doing with one vehicle. I won't say it doesn't bother me. I really do miss having a car always at my disposal! However I have learned that I can survive without one. I'm learning to adjust and be flexible. My husband uses his car during the day, so I don't have the option of dropping him off at the office and using the car while he's at work. However, he is able to set his own schedule to some extent, so I am usually able to get the car for grocery shopping and errands early in the morning if I need it (in that case he will just leave a little later). Also, he is sometimes home for various lengths of time in the afternoon filling out reports or doing computer work, and I am sometimes able to run out then. Creativity and willingness to adjust makes doing without bearable!

Please share!

Also, see more "Frugal Friday" ideas at Biblical Womanhood


Blogger Mrs.B. said...

Very cute skirt!

And we've done the one car thing before too. It's an adjustment but I just thought to myself "In the 1950's it was quite common for the family to only have 1 car and if they can do it I can too!"

Great tips!

2:52 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger Sarah Ellsworth said...

I have cut my husband's hair ever since we have been married, 9 years now. It has saved us a bunch of money because he needs it cut every 2 weeks and now I'm cutting my sons. I figured the money that I save on his hair cuts I could use to get my hair cut (which I don't do often). I have lived in several different cities and I've found that it really pays for me to find a decent stylist instead of going to the very cheap places. No, I don't spend 40 but I think 20-30 every few months is worth the input I get from them.

If you have a Kohl's or Belk store you ought to take advantage of their sales right now. This time of year they have really nice things marked down to 1.00, 2.00, or 5.00! I just can't pass that stuff up. I bought a $50 dress last week for 5.00 and today I went to Belk where they had their clearance buy one get one free so I got 2 shirts for 1.98! It really pays off to pay attention to the seasonal sale times of the stores nearest you.

3:12 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger joyfuljourney said...

We have saved hundreds on haircuts this year because my friend (who is a trained stylist) cuts my family's hair for free. I do things for her as a thank you - since she won't let me pay her. It has been a huge blessing!

We also went from 2 cars to one, but it's working. Hubby is pastor, we live in the parsonage, so he doesn't always need the car. Living in a small town - it just works. School is only a few blocks away - so walking is an option all over this small town!

I agree with the last comment about Kohl's. I don't know what we'd do without it! Clothing the boys is much easier with Kohl's than at WM or Target. Good prices, good brands!

One thing that allows me to stay home is cutting food costs. Using a pricebook, buying only what's on sale, meal planning, using coupons wisely - these techniques have saved us lots of money!

3:36 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Great thoughts!

I LOVE Kohls!!! I have been finding good stuff there lately too...what's with all of their sales lately? Not complaining! Anybody with a Kohls in their area should definitely check it out. They currently have clearance on all their summer stuff (or at least they did a week or two ago).

3:56 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger Amy said...

We've always had one vehicle and we've always bought used vehicles (carefully researched first through the "Consumer Reports" used vehicle book put out each year. So, our vehicle doesn't go down in value so much and we own it outright.

We've never taken a big, fancy vacation - not even on our honeymoon! But we do have fun travelling withing our province and used to camp quite a bit in order to save money.

My husband and I have a monthly clothing allowance.

We don't eat out often.

I avoid buying convenience foods and make most things from scratch.

I buy second-hand whenever possible.

I'm sure there's more but it's not coming to mind just now......

10:33 PM, October 20, 2006  
Blogger zan said...

What do you mean it takes an hour to get your hair styled? My stylist is done in 30 min! ; )

I am teaching myself to cut my son's hair. He is only two and it is dumb (I think)to spend $15 on a haircut for a two yr old. I haven't tried to cut my husband's hair because I am not that good enough. My toddler's hair is curly so the curls hid the mistakes. : )

4:15 PM, October 21, 2006  
Blogger Wendy WaterBirde said...

I really appreciated this post Erin : )

I think the biggest way to save is probably by your food/cooking. Unfortunately for me its become the weakest, and I'm hoping to remedy it. Been poring over sites like Hillbilly Housewife and such.

More and more I think this whole area of frugality is VERY core stuff

2:48 AM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Great thoughts!

My husband has been cutting his own hair since our boys were old enough to sit still for him to do theirs. The neighbors find it quite amusing to see him leaning over the garbage can with the clippers. lol

3:09 PM, October 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like reading your site, because it seems like you're always pondering over the same issues as I. It's inspiring!
I had been cutting my husbands hard to cut hair, for a few years, when he went to a pricey barber right before a big job interview (he got the job :). The barber asked him who cut his hair before because he was impressed with the cut. Not only did it make me feel great, (that someone who cut executives hair said that) but it made me realize that, after cutting someone's hair for a few years, you learn how their hair behaves, and learn to cut it the best way possible. That creates a much better cut than the $12 cheapies where they just buzz guys hair. You can also spend more time on doing a good job.
I hope that proves that if you keep trying, you can give great cuts without any formal training. I've cut my own hair too, but I'm not as great with that.
Your skirt is really cute. I also wanted to pass along, re: your cleaners, that if you use a couple drops of orange or lemon essential oil in with your vinegar cleaner, it really helps out with the strength of the vingear smell. Thanks for all for frugal musings!

4:00 PM, October 23, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for sharing, everybody! I, too, think that frugality is core. Especially right now when we're trying to get out of debt, it's one of the biggest ways I can help us do that.

Zan, when I said it takes an hour or two at the stylist, I was thinking about the time it takes to drive there and wait for an appointment! Oops...should've been more specific:op

Anon, ooh...I would love to try some of those other scents you mentioned!

12:42 PM, October 24, 2006  

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