In 2012 I Resolve to be Frugal

By ERIN TURNER

Happy New Year, Everyone!  If you’re like me, I take the New Year seriously and try to make realistic resolutions which will improve my well-being, my house and my family.  In our family, we actually do New Year’s resolutions.  My mom had started this tradition in our family over 40 years ago and to this day we take time out of our festive New Years’ Eve celebration to sit down and read goals we made last year and dream of things we want to accomplish in the New Year.

I love looking back over my resolutions from the years.  When I was 6 yrs old, my only resolution was to not fight with my older brothers.  Now days, I love hearing my kids’ own resolutions.  Things like:  winning Hog Showmanship at the fair, “graduating” to the 1st grade, stop cracking knuckles and score 5 goals in a soccer game are ambitions and hopes for which the boys are aiming.

New Years Resolution: to be FrugalFor me, it seems the constant theme of my resolutions always include organization, efficiency and simplicity.   I don’t just write these and forget them.  I may forget the exact words, but I keep the over all premise in my mind year round.  Am I successful in my resolutions?  Well, sometimes and sometimes not.  But the principle of setting goals is what is important and giving myself something to strive for provides me purpose andfocus.

Saving money or being frugal is usually the #3 resolution on most people’s list.  Can you guess #1 and #2?  Well, after eating holiday food for the last couple of weeks I can tell you from experience that #1 is to eat more healthy and #2 is to exercise more! Ha!  But usually after those two, some resolution about money ends up on the list.  Did you resolve to save more money this year?  If so, that’s a great resolution and one which can be easily accomplished.

Here are some ways to help you get started accomplishing your resolution:

1)      Establish a budget.  By honestly looking at what you spend, you can better judge where you can save.  Watch next month for an entire blog about budgeting.

2)      Clipping Coupons.  This was where I started.  It was the first thing I did to effectively and significantly impact our budget in a healthy way.

3)      Research and learn about being thrifty and frugal.  Again, this is how I got started.  I wasn’t about to dive right into this frugal lifestyle without being educated and knowing what resources were available.  Read books, search the internet and ask questions.

4)      Communicate with your spouse/family.  It’s a tough task to go about frugality alone.  Get everyone on the same page and you’ll be surprised at what your household can accomplish together.

5)      Eliminate unnecessary purchases.  You’ve heard it before: reduce eating out at restaurants, abolish the daily latte habit, dump cable, try walking more instead of driving everywhere, etc.  Little changes in your daily routine will affect your overall budget.

New Years Resolution: to be Frugal6)      Set a goal.  This is probably the most helpful thing you can do to help your budget.  Figure out WHY you are saving money.  Do you want to pay off loans, buy a house, retire, be a stay-at-home mom, save for your kids’ college or buy a new car?  When you have a purpose of saving money and are motivated by it, then you’re more likely to be successful.  I wanted to stay at home with my boys and that motivation was enough for me to become successful in couponing and ultimately saving money!  Figure out what you want in life and then make a plan to getthere.

It’s a New Year and if you want, it can be the year when you actually accomplish your resolution of overhauling your budget and saving money.  Resolutions don’t need to be empty promises of things completely unattainable.  Make your frugal resolutions simple and clear.  Instead of resolving to “Save Money” which is daunting and overwhelming, commit to “reduce power bill by turning lights off and lowering heat”.

Your resolutions need to be measurable if you are to be successful.  Take some time this week to write out some measureable and attainable frugal resolutions which will make 2012 the year you will remember forever!

Stay tuned the next couple of weeks as I will explore some helpful ways for you to accomplish your resolutions.  Be sure to check out some of my older blogs for inspiration and resources.

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Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, and sticking to a budget in her previous posts: Holiday Entertaining on a Budget, Learn How to Save with a Couponing Class, andTeaching Money to Kids and Teens. Be sure to check out the Missoula Save it Club.

   Visit the Coupon Queen’s “Save It”archive.

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Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.