When I was pregnant with K, Nick and I decided we needed to start living just off of his income, as practice for when she was born and I'd be staying home with her. At first, it was really tough. I was worried we weren't going to be able to do it. We were spending over $400/month on groceries and eating out. Our bills were outrageous. Although we didn't buy "extras" a lot, these fun purchases (movies, etc) really started to add up. I started reading articles, forums, and blogs on saving money and devised a plan.
First, we stopped eating out. This was hard for both of us. Nick really liked (and still does) getting to eat out at lunch with his coworkers. I liked not having to cook every night. We started slow and backed down to only eating out a few times a month. Now we eat out maybe one or two times a month and honestly, we don't miss it at all. In fact, we generally feel terrible after eating out. Fast food is addictive and once you break the habit of eating it, it's hard to eat it without feeling gross.
Second, we stopped buying movies. Nick used to buy at least a couple of movies a month. We got Netflix and he committed to only buying or asking for the "must-haves." This was a big sacrifice on his part and I'm still impressed with the fact that he hasn't bought a movie in almost 9 months. I also got a library card and stopped buying books. We still spend money on fun things sometimes, but not nearly as much as before.
Third, I decided to tackle our grocery bill. I have really gotten the hang of shopping sales and using coupons and I've brought our grocery bill down by about $100/month so far. My goal is to get it down to $200/month.
Fourth, I started finding ways to save money around the house. We use a lot of reusable products and try to conserve water and electricity.
I'll share my tips and tricks on these last two in separate posts. It's too much to put into one post. Being frugal isn't the easiest thing, but it's not as hard, boring, or as embarrassing as I thought it would be. I tackled this like I do any other project or job, with determination to make it work and to make it fun. Now, I get a thrill from getting good deals and saving money. Like this week, when I spent $7.78 at Kroger on 4 bottles of Old Spice body wash, a bottle of Herbal Essences shampoo, a 12 pack of Charmin toilet paper, a bag of Cascade dishwasher tabs, and a deodorant. Yeah, you read that right...$7.78. It's been a good week for me :)