Every Day

How We Stay Frugal Even When There Isn’t An Emergency

Do you remember back to the 2007 – 2008 mortgage crisis? All of a sudden, everyone turned to frugality because they couldn’t pay their mortgages, were in debt up to their eyeballs, lost their jobs, and had no savings. People were doing things frugally that they never did before. I remember thinking to myself perhaps people will learn from this situation and keep their frugality going and save for emergencies. I am sure some did but I would bet that most didn’t. The people I saw who were caught up in it returned to their unfrugal ways. 

I realize that this crisis was not of anyone’s making but it is another emergency situation. No one could have foretold that this virus would happen. However, if people had saved money for an emergency, they would be in a  much better situation than they are right now. 

So let’s learn from this and be much more careful how we use and spend our money.

So today and in the future, I will share more ways on how we are frugal all of the time so that in times like this, we are easily able to survive.

One of the things we have been doing for a while that saves us a bit of money over time is how we use plastic bags for repackaging meat. As you know, I buy our meat in bulk. If chicken is on a good sale price, I will sometimes buy 20-40 lbs. of it so that I never have to pay full price for it. The same goes for any kind of meat.

These pictured food saver bags are expensive to use. I do use them but only if I plan on keeping the meat in my freezer longer than 3 months.

If I plan on us eating the meat within three months, I use these but they are also very expensive.

And I use these or the ones with the flap that you tuck in. Usually the flap bags are much cheaper than the resealable but they weren’t the day I purchased these.

I will package the meat up into meal size portions and put it in any cheap sandwich bag that I can find. Walmart has a great price on these but so does Dollar Tree and Aldi’s. But in my area, Walmart has the best price. Then I stack them flat in a one gallon freezer bag which I buy when they are on sale. I can get many meals worth in one of those bags. When I need that meat, I just open the gallon bag, take a sandwich bag out and reseal the bag. 

The reason I do it this way is so that I can reuse the expensive freezer bags over and over again by washing them out. Anytime you put meat in a plastic bag you can’t reuse them. So I throw out the small cheap bags or reuse them to organize non food items in our household(after washing them really well)  and can still use the freezer bag over and over again. I have used some of them for years.

I only pay about a penny for the sandwich bags so we save a lot of money in the long run over buying freezer bags and using those. 

Sometimes, in order to get the freezer bags at a great price, I have to buy them at a warehouse store packaged with quart freezer bags. But I am also now using the quart bags the same way. 

Another way we save is on coffee. Hubby loves his Keurig and his K Cups. So I buy his brand of decaf on subscribe and save on Amazon to get the best price. However, I am trying to get him to let me buy the same coffee in a bagso he can use the reusable cup. But I am not that fussy, so I use a reusable K cup and any kind of coffee that is on sale.

We like flavored coffee but we use SF Skinny Syrups or Keto Syrups to get that flavor. We only use one squirt and that is perfect for us. I buy our syrups in bulk directly from Jordan’s when they have a 40-50% off sale and sometimes they send me a coupon to use too. We will buy cases when it goes on sale. It keeps for a long time unopened. We never pay full price for it.

Do you guys remember when I purchased the 4 gallons of hand soap from Amazon for a great price? Well, when this emergency happened we had plenty of cheap hand soap. We have just been refilling our pump containers at the sinks with this. It is the most economical way to buy it. 

We also had a box full of bar soap which we will use when the liquid is gone. After I took this picture, we donated more than half of the soap to a food bank. Most of it was purchased cheaply back when coupons were worth something.  

Another way we save is to cook from scratch at home every meal. We rarely did take out or went out to eat in a restaurant before this crisis. Thinking back, we haven’t been to a restaurant here since last August. If you don’t know how to cook, learn while you have so much time at home. It is healthier and cheaper. Here was my breakfast: scrambled eggs with onion and chive cream cheese mixed in and bacon.

Well that is it for today. If you like this kind of post, let me know in the comments and we will do a lot more of them. Also if you have a great tip on how to save money, please share it. We all learn from each other.

14 replies on “How We Stay Frugal Even When There Isn’t An Emergency”

Great post again today AD! I am always so surprised how few people put money aside for a rainy day. I am not being judgmental, but it amazes me how quickly so many people are in such trouble. No one could have thought that this virus would close down the US, but it has been less than 2 months and so many people have no way to support themselves. Our goal when we were both working was to have a 6 month emergency fund. Before I retired, we made sure our emergency fund would cover our family for a year. I really enjoy your frugal posts…it makes me really think about how we run our household and ways we can further improve our frugality while still living a really great life. I am off now to figure out a better way to freeze meat as I am trying to rebuild my freezer stockpile for what I believe will be phase 2 of this virus. I do not have a food saver system, but I do have sandwich bags that I can use to put in the freezer bags!

Hi Olga,

Thanks for your kindness. It always surprises me too. I guess it just takes people a while to realize they need to save for a rainy day. You did well having a 6 month to 1 year emergency fund. Enjoy freezing that meat!

I really enjoy your blog I am a senior citizen living on a very tight budget so being frugal is very important. On the freezer bags I have done the same thing and have found if I watch walgreens ads they have buy 1 get 2 free on there freezer bags any size.

I do deliberately save on purchases. Sometimes, the savings are serendipitous. I was given a sample of body wash. Tommy uses it for hand wash at the sink in his bathroom. I had shampoo I will not use, so I emptied it into a pump bottle for the kitchen sink. Yes, keep these posts coming.

Hi Practical Parsimony,

Thanks for letting me know your opinion on these kind of posts. All soaps seem to be interchangeable and so really can be used in a myriad of places.

Hi AD, this is Chris. Loved this post. I do a similar thing with the chicken I buy with the portions in sandwich bags and then a bunch in the expensive freezer ones. I also do this for granddaughter's pancakes that she wants every week for breakfast when she comes over. I also freeze rice if I make a portion that is too big for one meal. These things help to save time in the future.

I have been making more coffee in the morning since hubby is working from home a lot during this time. So going through it faster. I try to buy on a good deal, but down to 4 bags in the freezer so I will be searching again for one. I wonder if any of your readers have tried the Kirkland brand at Costco? I was thinking about getting a container to try the next time we are there.

Tomorrow our granddaughter will be 4. It is hard to believe the time is going so fast. I ordered pizza tonight after I had her all day so we could have a treat for supper. We also had salad and fruit, and I made a pan of brownies that we used to put candles in to sing happy birthday to her. Tomorrow we will do a Zoom meeting to sing to her at her house and from 4-4:30 they are asking people to drive by their house to have a parade for her with social distancing. I am looking forward to it.

Hi Chris,

Great idea on doing the pancakes the same way. I used Kirkland when we lived in Arizona and it was fine.

Congrats on your granddaughter's birthday. Time does go fast! How nice that you had a celebration for her. She must have loved it. So cool on the parade idea. People in this are have been doing those too. Enjoy!

Great post as usual. I have done the same with the expensive freezer bags for years. Small bags are perfect for 2 servings. Your ideas are always so helpful & sensible. Stay safe!

Great post! In relation to your statement of buying 20 or so lbs when the meat is cheap, do you have advice or experience on which deep freezers are best. We finally have a hand me down one and i find myself nervous to put a lot of anything in it because im afraid it will break or the power will shut off.

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