Frugal Tips – 7 Practical Ways to Help You Save Time and Money

Living frugally seems to be all the rage these days, the hip thing to do. But for many of us, including my family, living frugally is not so much a choice as a necessity.

But while we are called to be wise stewards of our finances and time, I firmly believe we are also called to abundance.

Because God is a God of abundance. He owns a thousand cattle on the hills, He is the King of Kings, wealthy beyond imagining and we are His heirs. He is also the creator and master of time itself and stands outside of time.

So I hope you find the following ideas useful and inspiring!

1) Give everything you have to Jesus. It belongs to Him anyway. As I mentioned above, God owns everything in this universe. Instead of clutching possessions, assets, or even debts tightly, we need to open our hands to Him. He can take what we have and multiply it so much better than we can. And when we learn to let go of those assets, possessions, or debts that hold us back from fully experiencing God and His callings for us, we experience a new-found freedom and peace.

Over the last few years, my husband and I have experienced a great deal of stress as a result of a failed rental property. This has resulted in a spiral of debt that is dizzying to say the least. Through it all, I have continually given my properties, bank accounts, and debts to Him. Well, it turns out the rental property foreclosed and truth to tell I am relieved that it’s gone. It belongs to Him anyway so letting it go has been the best decision we ever made. I just wish we had let it go sooner!

Now we’re facing bankruptcy and I am still in the practice of giving everything into His hands, especially the debt. He has been holding my hand every step of the way and every step of the way He has taken care of us in many surprising ways.

Giving everything to Him includes an attitude of generous giving, prompted by His Spirit. Sometimes for us this has not been strictly a monetary amount, but a willingness to give in other ways. Like being a host family for our exchange student, Jana. We have made some financial sacrifices but what we have gained is so worth it! We have been blessed beyond belief!

Above all us, it is not about following man-made rules about money, but putting everything you have in His hands, and trusting God as your provider.

2) Change your mindset about money. What emotions do you have about money? Do you believe money is scarce or abundant? What are your childhood beliefs about money?

Your attitude about money can affect your receiving of it. Money is a tool, a vehicle. Nothing more. As Jesus said, the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, not money itself.

Is money an idol in your life?

My husband is very emotional about money, stemming from his father’s attitude about it. His father modeled the belief that no amount of money is enough, and my husband caught that belief!

He has faced his fears, though, like a true champion. But it is still hard for him to talk to banks or deal with the finances, so I have been put in charge of these areas.

I see money more as a tool, although it is not my strength to keep track of it. I am continually working on better ways to “know my herds,” as the Bible says, to know what we have and what we spend.

But ultimately, God IS a God of abundance. Jesus brought money out of a fish to pay the taxes, He fed the five thousand with only a few loaves and fishes, and He caused Peter to catch so many fish that the boat started sinking!

Is God powerful enough to provide for you things you need, even want and desire? Instead of saying, “I can’t afford it,” change your thinking. Think instead, “What can we do to afford it?” Sometimes you will find that you don’t even want that thing in the first place!

3) Make your own home products. Part of living in abundance is being a wise steward of our finances and time. Making your own home products could be a way to do this.

My favorite home product is to make my own cleaning solution, with vinegar, water, and Dawn grease dishwashing liquid. This keeps the purchasing of cleaning solutions to a minimum and it doesn’t take much time. But unless I am using anti-bacterial soap, I am not getting rid of germs, so that is a huge disadvantage of home cleaning products.

Other products you can make, as I’m sure you have heard about, is making your own laundry soap, your own shampoo and conditioner, your own bread, yogurt, or condiments. You can make anything you set your mind to, especially with tools like the Internet.

4) Remember that time is money. All these solutions are great and many times provide non-toxic, safe alternatives to the plethora of harmful chemicals out there.

But if you endeavor to do everything homemade, start slowly and realize that often you are trading money for time. I have come to the conclusion that I am not called to make many homemade products. I have a hard enough time getting everything done in the first place. When I invest my time, I would rather invest it in homeschooling my son and working on my business.

But each person is called to use different talents, so if this is your passion, go for it. Who knows, maybe you could sell your homemade products to someone like me!

5) Organize your home so you save time, money, and frustration. This is a huge one for me. Taming the paper tiger, especially! It feels like I never get this one down, but am chipping away at it bit by bit.

Having a filing system that works for you is essential. I can’t tell you how many bills I’ve lost or important notices I’ve never seen or the time I’ve spent digging for paperwork.

Spend the time NOW dealing with paperwork. I have made some progress, but need to make more.

Since organizing paper is such a boring project to me, I will often watch a movie on Netflix or listen to an audio program while I am sorting. This gives me incentive to finish the job at hand and passes the time pleasantly. And when I listen to instructional videos or audios, I am also learning!

Another important area of organization is your closet. I used to spend nearly a half hour looking for shoes each day before I got simple shoe organizers from Home Depot.

One thing I have learned about organizing is to organize from the inside out. To sort all the stuff FIRST that needs to be organized, dividing them into categories, then finding places for each individual category.

Using vertical wall space is very useful. I like to cover vertical file bins with fabric and hang them on my walls. It’s a handy yet attractive way to store paper, ink, project files, or schoolwork.

Buying organizers can be very cost prohibitive. My favorite source for organizers is DollarTree or the thrift store. Just be creative and you will find all sorts of ideas!

6) Use a meal plan to save on groceries. Meal planning and grocery shopping used to be a very troubling aspect of homemaking for me. It would get to be five o’clock and I would have no idea what to fix for dinner. I would call my husband in a panic to bring some food home, which would cost us dearly!

Then I found a service called E-Mealz. This service does the meal planning for me and even has a grocery list. The plan is tied for the most part to grocery sales, so that alone is worth the subscription price! I always have a plan now. We have very few last-minute runs to fast-food restaurants for an emergency meal.

7) Consolidate your errands. Gas is a huge expense these days. Rather than randomly doing errands, carefully plan them, according to the area of town they are in and operating hours. Limit your errands to one or two days a week or only on your way to a destination you would be driving to anyway.

Weigh the benefits of ordering online versus driving. Sometimes you save more by having an item delivered to your door. The shipping charges more than make up for what you would pay for in taxes, gas, and time.

I hope you have found these ideas insightful. I am thankful for friends (some of whom are readers!) who have a passion in this area and have inspired much thought. Each day is a new opportunity to learn and I am looking forward to them!