Hi, I’m Holly, the wannabe blogger behind this new frugal living site.
I love me some good deals, side hustles, and hacks. Aaaaand, I love to share these finds with others.
is a passion I discovered was thrust upon me ten+ years ago when my I had my first baby. Constant diapers and formula can wreak havoc on a budget and we were struggling to keep up with the bills, mortgage, and baby expenses. To add fuel to the fire, the hubby was laid off from his electrical apprentice work–it was 2009 after all–and I was student teaching for zero money. We were young, freshly married, and had no savings, plus plenty of student loan debt. Good times.
Newlyweds needing a budget in 2006
The couponing craze of the recession started taking off, Extreme Couponing would be a show soon, and my mother-in-law had just shown me her binder of assorted coupons. The amount and types of items she’d get for free each week was mind boggling: toothpaste, shampoo, razors, groceries from double coupons, etc. These were the glory days of coupons when weekly visits to the drug store bore goldmines of freebies.
At the time, I dismissed the idea of saving money through couponing, thinking it’d take too much work. Spoiler: extreme couponing does take too much work, and I’m not an advocate for that at all. However, the level of value consciousness required to make a dent in your monthly spending outflow is minimal. The seeds of intrigue had been planted, and this idea of using pieces of paper (coupons) instead of cold, hard cash had merit. Better yet, the idea of saving money where you can, so you may spend money where you want sounded downright sexy.
If you can save…why not?
It started with coupons
Armed with my newly-discovered knowledge, but still skeptical of the “new” coupon thing, I made a trip to Walgreens after spotting a potential razor freebie in their ad one fateful day. I bought the razors, earned rewards back that were equivalent to what I spent, and proceeded to use those rewards to buy other on-sale items I needed anyway. Essentially, the razors were free. It. Was. Thrilling.
The following week, I went back for free floss and toothpaste. The couponing bug bit me, and I was hooked. While I didn’t dumpster dive or even use a couponing binder (way too much work), I began consistently scouring coupon sites and store ads before I did the weekly grocery shopping. The savings became addictive…why not save when you can?
After a few months of couponing, saving, and repeating, the difference in our monthly checking account was astounding–there was money there!
Couponing becomes frugal living
Couponing slowly morphed into an overarching passion for frugal living and minimalism. We started to buy less processed food and started picking more staples to make foods from scratch. Who knew you could make pancakes from scratch and forego the $4 Bisquick? You can make homemade cream of chicken soup! You can make your own Taco seasoning! Ranch dressing! Iced coffee! Waffles! Our overall spending dropped drastically and the amount of money leftover required a savings account and later, investment accounts, to store it.
Saving money on groceries doesn’t require coupons. It requires a simple strategy and a few steps that you just repeat each time you shop or spend money:
- Pay attention to weekly ads: wait for your items to go on sale. They go on the best sale in cycles, often every six weeks for a particular item.
- If you don’t mind a little extra strategy for a extra savings, pair the sales with Ibotta. Google “Your-store-here deal matchups,” and follow a frugal blogger to find the best Ibotta deals. My favorites are
- thekrazycouponlady.com for Walmart
- thecouponproject.com for Fred Meyer
- hip2save.com for online and drugstore deals
- slickdeals.net for online and gift deals
- Stock up what you can during the sale cycle so you don’t have to pay full price when the item is needed in the future.
- Take advantage of store loyalty apps and credit card cashback rewards.
- Read about more ways I save here.
The best things in life…
This early money lesson in our marriage forced us to figure out we didn’t need much stuff to be content in life. Caleb and I stopped shopping out of boredom and only shopped out of necessity. We found free ways to entertain ourselves, like walking, picnicking, and biking at nearby parks. We found weekend entertainment in card games and BBQs with friends. As for indoor entertainment, we were newlyweds…so…
Three kids later, frugality is still our jam. When we do spend money, we are strategic in utilizing sales and cash back. We buy clothes and housewares from thrift stores. We buy groceries on sale and use Ibotta. When we buy anything else, we make sure to get at least some money back from our cashback credit card.
Frugal hacks become a blog
If saving money and DIY hacks are a passion of yours, or you want it to become a passion, follow along!