I have a new obsession: being a Frugal Franny. Ever since Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s show Till Debt Do Us Part started airing I have been incredibly interested in budgeting, saving, debt repayment and investing. (if you have never seen this show, watch it. It’s awesome!)

Since I have been off work and transitioning onto maternity leave benefits I have become extra obsessed with balancing our budget, living off of “money jars” and getting started on saving reasonable amounts of money for certain things. In theory my plans always look great on paper. In practice we have an incredibly hard time sticking to them. Things always come up that eat into our budget and we are used to buying what we want/need, when we want to, and getting by without a problem.

Now that my income is reduced I am realizing we need to tighten the reigns and take this seriously. Especially since I have the goal of staying home with my child(ren) and having zero income in the future. As I stressed to my husband, we cannot just go through life without setting goals and making plans (financially, and otherwise) and expect everything to just be kosher in the end.  This is where being a Frugal Franny comes in.

Introducing Mrs. January.  It is clear to me that any dollar I can shave from our monthly expenses is a dollar we can spend elsewhere. I came across her website only two days ago, and I am hooked. I have already ordered over $25.00 worth of coupons from free online coupon companies. These coupons are not just any coupons that I ordered for the sake of having them. No, these are coupons for items that we NEED and USE. (One of the rules of couponing.)  I also have a free netti pot coming to me (with two packages of solution) and a free book written by Mrs. January herself about how to do all of this. Score! All of this in only two days.

In addition to finding and using coupons, another concept that Mrs. January presents on her site is stockpiling. Some of you might find this amusing, imagining a scene from the TLC show Extreme Couponing.  I have no desire to go this far, but it certainly makes sense to stock up on items that your family regularly uses (soups, tomato sauce, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, cereal, etc) when they are on sale (or, even better, when they are on sale and you have coupons to boot).

I would go further into detail about what I have learned over the past few days about couponing, stockpiling, budgeting, and the fire that has started within me, but I won’t bother because you can read all about the basics here (for stockpiling, couponing, etc) and here (for personal finance and budgeting).

So what other ways am/do I plan to be a Frugal Franny?
  • I will be making my own re-usable baby wipes made from flannel and a homemade solution (blog to follow when I start this adventure).
  • I just bought used (insert gasp here) cloth diapers to use for the baby.
  • I plan on making my own laundry detergent (again, blog to follow).
  • No matter what it takes, I WILL have Blair install the clothes line we bought two summers ago before summer fades. And I WILL use it.
  • I will not be buying cleaning products anymore. Baking soda and vinegar for this Frugal Franny
I hope to expand this list as I learn more and more about other ways I can save our family money.

I encourage every one of you to take a look at both Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s and Mrs. Janauary’s websites. Taking small steps to take control of your finances and your life, and working towards your goals, can be an incredibly empowering experience.

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