Frugal Family Spring Fun

After a long, wet winter, we are thankful it is finally spring! It is just so nice to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors.

I’ve been doing my best to brainstorm both free and low cost activities for my family to enjoy this season. While working to become mortgage free, I want every cent possible to go towards our home debt! As I’m writing this, debt free screams from Dave Ramsey’s YouTube channel is playing in the background. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is!

Without further ado, here are a few frugal spring fun ideas for you!

  • Utilize your memberships. If your family owns a membership to a zoo or museum, use it often. Be sure to return whenever a new exhibit is unveiled. If your family gets tired going to the same places over and over again, try to switch up the order you look at things, or only visit half of the exhibits on each visit to change up the experience. Be sure to see if your membership is reciprocal to other venues in the area. A lot of times, they are.
  • Visit local State Parks and Historic Sites. State Parks and Historic Sites are usually free or low cost. My children love to visit nature centers at State Parks, and they usually are all unique. Hiking trails are also a fun way to spend your day.
  • Check out the events scheduled in your community. Spring is a hoppin’ time for fairs and festivals. These are usually free!
  • Look for ways to integrate frugal fun into your home. Our family has been growing a vegetable garden from seed this year. It has been super economical, and several of our children have loved planting our garden and watching it grow.
  • Take nature walks and bike rides around your neighborhood. Spring is bursting with new life to observe!
  • Utilize your local library. Not only will you be able to check out books for free, many libraries offer free programs for children.

Family time can be full of fun without breaking the bank! Fill your calendar with frugal activities and meeting your financial goals will not seem painful, but fun!

Reasons to Downsize to a Smaller Home

We have recently downsized. And let me tell ya, it has been really hard for me to do.

I had no idea just how attached I was to stuff. And space. Without even realizing it, I had attached myself to items that don’t even matter. Downsizing is sanctifying. It really is. Every time I ignore my flesh and continue to purge, a small victory is won.

To be perfectly honest, downsizing was not my first choice. But the idea of debt freedom is so sweet, I knew this is what we needed to do. We are a family of ten, y’all. It has been hard. We no longer have that $800 utility bill though, and so many other things have been much cheaper, too. It really has propelled us forward in our debt free journey.

There are many, many benefits to downsizing homes. I thought I would share a small list of ways taking the plunge and moving into a smaller home is good for our family life. This has helped me to see hidden blessings in this season that we are in. So here are my top ten reasons why downsizing has been a good thing for us!

  1. Living in close quarters hones our patience.
  2. Our children will be better equipped to share, get along with, and even live with others once they enter adulthood.
  3. It is easier to monitor what type of material enters our homes when they are smaller.
  4. There are naturally more conversations when living in tight quarters, and relationships blossom.
  5. Much less time is spent cleaning, and more time is spent with our families.
  6. Finances are freed up, and more of our resources can go towards meaningful goals. Utility bills are cheaper as well,
  7. Financial and debt freedom is more easily attainable.
  8. Bad attitudes are seen more plainly, and we can address heart issues faster.
  9. Our children will learn that stuff isn’t as important as they once thought it was.
  10. Hopefully, one day we will see a shift from the materialistic culture we live in now.

I try my best to be quick to remind myself of the hidden “downsize blessings” that naturally occur whenever I miss our old home. Besides that, our finances look totally different now, which is huge.

What about you? Please feel free to share your favorite thing about downsizing with us!

Things I Learned During My No Spend Clothing Year

Clothing. Oh, how I always loved clothing!

But in the beginning of 2018, I decided that I was going to aim to spend zero dollars on my clothing budget that year. With the exception of one black skirt from Ross, I succeeded.

It was tough at times. But after realizing just how much money I was spending on depreciating items during our debt free journey, I really felt sick to my stomach. I felt like I needed to make some changes to redeem my self going forward.

Clothing was a fairly easy thing for me to give up, simply because I had so much of it. I’m continuing on with my no spend trajectory this year as well. I’m not holding myself quite as hard and fast to this rule as I did last year though.

I learned so much last year. For example:

  • Needs are different than wants. All of the clothing I had accumulated? I wanted it, and didn’t need it. The fashion industry is very good at telling us that we must wear all of the latest trends each season. But in the end I believe this cheats us out of time and money spent on more important things. Is it wrong to look nice or “cute” while wearing clothing? Absolutely not! At the same time, we shouldn’t let the fashion industry dictate where we are spending our money.
  • Consumerism seems to be a never ending cycle, but it can be stopped. When I reassessed my wardrobe, I realized that all of my clothing needs were already met. It made much more sense to start redirecting our money towards items that retain their value. Clothing values drop super fast once they are used.
  • All it takes is a little bit of resourcefulness to style an item in a new and fresh way. Trying to find different ways to wear your clothing is resourceful and fun!

I’m very thankful for this experiment, and going forward, I will spend my money differently when it comes to clothing for myself. For sure, it will be a more thoughtful process. When looking for an item to meet a specific need, it is helpful to shop around to find a quality item that will last more than a month or two.