6 Tips for Frugal Living

Several weeks ago, I wrote this guest post for Romance on a Dime.  I thought I would share it with you today.

Hi!  I’m Sharon, and I blog at mrshinesclass.com

I really enjoy following Romance on a Dime and soI  jumped at the opportunity to guest post for Betsy.   Romance on a Dime is chock full of great tips, tutorials and ideas, and I really admire her ability to stretch her dollars and make their hard earned money count. She even makes living on a budget look fun! Betsy’s going to be a tough act to follow, but I’ll try. 😉

When my husband and I first got married, he was still in school working on his master’s degree, and I was teaching.  The budget was very tight.  Then, it grew even tighter when I quit teaching to stay home with our daughter.  By this time, Mr. Hines had earned his Master’s Degree and had three months to find a job.  Thankfully, he did find one before time was up.


 Our small budget was divided up into cash envelopes for each category.  Going out to movies, eating at restaurants and shopping were luxuries we really couldn’t afford.  We had a clothes budget of $30 a month for our family of three.  It was a treat to scrounge up our change and go to McDonalds for .99 cheeseburgers on date night.  Most of my home decor purchases were made with gift cards.  But, we never went without.

When our only car broke down for the last time, there was no way we could afford to get another car; even used.  So, we were down on our knees praying.  Lo and behold, someone from the church we attended at the time  heard about our need and GAVE us the Ford Explorer that had been sitting idly in their driveway.


We lived on a strict budget for several years.  After we paid our bills with my husbands paychecks, we would only have about $10 left til next payday.  We were getting by with the money that trickled in from guitar lessons, tutoring and anonymous monetary gifts that would arrive in the mail.   It wasn’t until I returned to teaching full-time that we felt some financial relief.  More than that, I felt like we had struck oil!  We hadn’t come anywhere near, of course, but our double income was a lot of money to us.


I remember that it took me awhile to get used to having discretionary money, but I eventually got used to being able buy something just because I wanted it.  I loved not thinking about our checkbook balance dwindling every time I made a purchase.  BUT, I resigned at the end of that school year.  Our financial freedom was in danger.

Ever since then, we’ve been through financial ups and downs.  We are currently a single income family, and I’m learning how to be frugal again, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll take a tight budget over extra money any day.  I actually enjoy the challenge of living frugally.

Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way on making your budget work:

1) cut unnecessary expenses- In my experience, I haven’t even missed those extras

2) shop sales and use coupons

3) live within your means

4) repurpose, reuse and upcycle

5) cut the credit cards and work on eliminating debt

6) pay with cash

We’ve reduced our monthly expenses by several hundred dollars just by following these steps!   How do you cut costs and save money?

Thanks so much for letting me share my story and these tips with you today!

Until next time,



  1. Great tips. Enjoyed reading this.


  2. Here’s to living with less – and liking it! Great tips!

  3. Sharon, I’m touched to hear you share with us your struggles. I’m sorry you guys had to go through all of that but your testimony is proof to the rest of us that you really don’t need a lot to live. All that junk cluttering our spare bedrooms and basements just weighs us down. We have to spend our free time cleaning it, organizing it, managing it, when really, it would be so liberating if we just spent our free time DOING things with our loved ones and creating memories. Even if its jus a walk in the park, swinging on the swings at the playground, or feeding the ducks on a lazy afternoon, THOSE speical times are what makes a fulfilling life. Not the ability to go blow $450 at Williams Sonoma or Pottery Barn. That is not a fulfilling life and often times living like that leaves people feeling empty inside which leads to more spending and poor financial behavior, then the next thing you know they are depressed and in a financial crisis!

    I grew up in a family where money was tight and we shopped garage sales, thrift stores, and what not, and to me that was just a way of life. Its what you did and to us, blowing $250 bucks at a high end retail store was unheard of! We just didn’t live like that so I didn’t even know what that was like thus I never missed it.

    I got just as much enjoyment out of a used pair of jeans just as a person who paid $65 for their jeans, and most times I took better care of mine because I appreciated them more and knew how hard it would be to replace them!!!! LOL

    I will quit rambling on but it was very important that I send you this email and let you know that my heart goes out to your family and I know that you guys have a strategy to doing what youre doing so as a fellow blogger I support you in your decisions and I highly enjoy reading your blog. I also wanted you to know I was very touched by your post about your college experience and the loss of your grandparent. (i think it was your grandparent), and to let you know that I enjoy reading your posts.


  4. Cheers!!
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  5. I’m so moved by your words and really appreciate what you had to say. Its very encouraging to have someone support and validate my choices and decisions. Thank you for taking the time to write.
    Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

  6. Sharon,
    This is a timely and thought provoking post. You points ave valid and hold great truth.
    Bob and I have been married for 54 years. We have been through cycles of plenty and not so much. I can tell you, when we were struggling we drew closer to one another. Our bond increased and the hard times made the good times sweeter. We were more appreciative of the blessings that had been bestowed upon us.
    Thanks for the reminder of what is real.
    Blessings, Ginger

  7. It is so encouraging to hear from others who have been down this road and share their testimony. As you have blessed me with your story, I hope to bless others with ours. To me, this is what it means to share one another’s burdens. xo

  8. Sharon, I am so impressed with you! I knew you had some serious creative juices years ago….Good for you! Your story is very inspiring and I need to follow your tips, it would make my like much easier… Best Wishes. Lots of love.

  9. Lynn! What a wonderful compliment. I’m so encourage by your words. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope all is well.
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