STEP #2 — Planning Your Family’s Meals

Filed under :#2 - MEAL PLANNING

Mealing planning is so important – every family has to eat.  If meals are not eaten at home, then you have to go out to a restaurant.   And eating out is one of the largest wastes of a family’s money.   It is one of the most UNfrugal things you can do.   Planning and preparing your meals at  home is a way that not only will save your family a lot of money, but your family can eat much more healthy meals.

I have written about STEP #2 on my How To Be Frugal With Food blog.  It’s a great post with tons of information and steps to get you started with meal planning.  So take a visit!


Filed under :#1 - SLEEP, STEPS

The first change that you need to make in your life (and everyone in your household) is SLEEP and REST.   It seems like we are sleeping less time because we have so much to do.  Well, the number one rule is that without proper rest, you are never going to be able to give any task 100%.  That means that anything you have to do is going to take you longer to accomplish.  So STEP #1 is SLEEP and REST.  Plan for you and your household to be home in time to unwind, take baths, etc and get into bed at 9 PM or 10 PM.  You’ll hear that the necessary amount of sleep that your body needs is 8 hours per night.  So, let’s start with that….   For example, if you need to wake up in the morning at 5 AM, make sure that you are in bed by 8:30 PM (you’ll need at least 30 minutes to fall asleep if you are not used to going to bed this early).

If you have children, make sure that their time to go to bed is at least 30 minutes before the adults in the house go to bed.  Not only do they have additional sleep requirements, it will make your life easier and less stressful if you can make sure that they are in their bed and asleep before you go to bed.  The last thing you need is to be awakened by the sound of a cabinet closing just as you’ve drifted off to sleep – to find that one of your children is up getting a glass of water.  AND, a child without enough sleep is grumpy and hard to wake up in the morning!   Children who do not get enough sleep perform below their classmates at school too.  So, if you want your child to be the best they can be, make sure that they get the amount of sleep they need every night.

You need to have UNINTERRUPTED sleep to effectively rest.

If you have to wake up at 2 AM to let the dog out or at 4 AM to go to the bathroom, your body is not getting the required rest that it needs.  In this way,  you need to plan and prepare before hand.  What is going to be required to make sure that the dog does NOT need to go out to pee at 2 AM?  Maybe it is something as simple as removing his water bowl at 7 PM and taking him out for the final time that night at 8:15 PM.    Are there always going to be circumstances that come up?  Sure there is.  But, what I am talking about is YOU taking control and doing what you can to make sure that those “circumstances” do not take over your life.   Of course everyone is going to experience something like a wrong phone number at 1:30 AM, a child with a bad dream waking up at 3 AM, or a host of other “unplanned” and “unavoidable” circumstances.  Those things are going to happen – it’s life.   But for the majority part of the time, you should be in control and you should plan and schedule your family’s sleep time.

What can you expect when your body is getting the amount of sleep it needs on a daily basis?  After just a night or  two, you’ll notice that you are not as tired in the middle of the day or late afternoon.  You’ll have more energy and stamina.  Focusing will not be such a problem.   Sleep deprivation leads to anxiety and depression.    My mother always warned me about “burning the candle at both ends.”   Well, she was right!   Foregoing sleep will not get  you ahead – it will just bury you in stress and anxiety.  You’ll accomplish less and feel even worse.

Your first STEP is to determine your family’s sleep schedule based on

  • work schedule
  • time you need to wake up in the morning

Now, you need to determine any factors that take away your ability to get a full-night of uninterrupted sleep — research what you can do to help improve or eliminate the problems.   Work those solutions into  your plan.

Please email me with your “circumstances” – what keeps you from getting uninterrupted sleep at night?    My email is information (at) simplefrugallife (dot) com.

First ‘STEPS’….

Filed under :STEPS

How do you even begin to be frugal with your family?   It begins with planning and organization.  If you can get your family’s mindset modified and your day-to-day scheduling PLANNED and ORGANIZED, you’ll find that it will make your family’s life less stressful.  General “living” on a day-to-day basis will become easier and, you and your family will be able to lead a much happier, frugal lifestyle!

What I have found within families is that without planning and organization, there is no “defined” schedule, set goals or expectations.   Most everything that happens is in a “re-active” mode instead of a “pro-active” mode.  You always feel as though you are putting out fires.  How does this have anything to do with your family being frugal, you might ask?  Well, let me give you some examples (first hand accounts, I might add!):

Problem — Dinner has not been “planned” :  Reaction — Go out to eat : DISCUSSION – Because your family does not take a few minutes to plan your meal for this particular day, now, instead of preparing your meal at home with store bought ingredients, your family has to go out to eat which is going to cost as much as five to ten times the cost of preparing the meal at home.  I might add, it’s even more dis-heartening when  you think that you probably already have all of the ingredients for the meal purchased and sitting in your pantry and freezer at home!

Problem — Your vehicle has left you stranded on the side of the road : Reaction — call the tow truck, the mechanic and the rental car company : DISCUSSION – You’ve been putting off having maintenance on your vehicle for quite some time now…. you knew this was going to happen….. but now, instead of being pro-active and having the vehicle fixed before hand, you are being re-active and it’s going to cost you even MORE!   Tow trucks are not cheap – neither are rental cars – and now, you could have made matters worse with your vehicle and damaged something else.   Wow, just to think, if I would have taken care of this problem last week when I wasn’t on the way to a job interview, a family birthday gathering, or the birth of my baby niece (as examples) and, this could have cost me $500 to $1000 less!

It’s better to be prepared and to have planned — it will just about always cost you less money and definitely less stress and heartache.  But you’re probably thinking, “my family’s life is so out-of-hand – how do I even begin to pull things together?”  The “family lifestyle” here in the U.S. has drastically changed in the last 50 years.   Moms didn’t work full-time jobs back then to the extent that they do today.  Dads didn’t have to put in 60 to 80 hours per week in their jobs either.  AND, there weren’t nearly as many single-parent families either!  In today’s world, the economy is bad, unemployment is through the roof and prices for everyday items just keep going up and up!  It seems that no one has the time to do what they need to do – how many times have you heard someone say, “if I just could add another 8 hours to my day maybe I could get everything completed that I need to do”….   It seems like we are always just putting out fires!  And let me address the STRESS issue – stress can kill you.  PERIOD…. Not only does stress lead to problems like anxiety and depression, but it can lead to ulcers and a host of other medical problems.  Bottom line – stress can kill you.  And I know that a few of you reading this post right now, completely understand exactly what I’m talking about because you are at the end of your rope as well.

I do have some good news for you – your first STEPS to accomplish a change in your life is easy… We’re not talking rocket science here either.  You’d be surprised how just a few changes in how you do things can make your life and your family’s day-to-day schedule and activities less stressful.  And, everyone will be happier.  It begins with planning and organization.  It begins with being frugal – not only with your money, but with your time.  Let’s face it, most people are not just limited with the number of dollars they have to spend, but also with the number of hours they have available in the day to accomplish everything they need to do.  FRUGAL = HAPPY….    LESS STRESS = HEALTHY….

I’d love to hear from you – what are some of the problems that you are facing as a family — what are you having to be RE-ACTIVE to instead of PRO-ACTIVE?   Your problems and examples can help me to better address your situations.  Email me at information (at) simplefrugallife (dot) com.