I liked retire@50's "Perfect Frugal Day" post.
I figured I'd chime in and post about a Frugal Day. I don't have the time or effort to think about the *perfect* day, for one. Secondly, I get this a lot with my friends where I don't think they can fathom how we save as much money as we do. I am always telling them it's not just one thing - it is the sum of MANY things. & it's hard to communicate the sum of many things - we may have 100+ frugal habits that they do not have, know what I mean? So I think compiling a typical day for us would be interesting. Hopefully more people will chime in, in their blogs. & I am not looking for an award for *the most frugal* - I am all about the balance. So, if anything doesn't seem overly frugal, well, I am not saying it is. I will try to be as detailed as possible though, to share some frugal habits.
I wake up anywhere from 5:30 to 7:30. Usually on the earlier side, unless I stayed up way too late! I don't remember the last time I used an alarm clock. (Yes, I am a chipper type who jumps out of bed the second I wake up, wide awake and ready to start the day).
If I wake up at 5:30 I might update my Quicken, read the blogs, etc. Or I read, or I spend some time with my kids (they generally wake up at 6). If I wake up at 7:30 I shower, slap on my clothes, and go to work. I am pretty low maintenance - I can be ready for work in 20 minutes - most of that time being in the shower (which is why I don't bother with an alarm!). My hair is "wash and go" ready (cut it a couple of times a year) and I generally don't wear any make up or use any beauty products.
During tax season I try to get to work between 7-8. The rest of the year I drive the kids to school 2-3 days a week (@ 8:30).
Saturdays are the BEST. Because my workout class is in the a.m. I wish it was every day! I leave the house at 7am for my one-hour aerobics/yoga class. It always puts me in the most awesome mood. The rest of the week it's at night where it's more rush-rush to get there and I probably mostly sleep while all those yummy endorphins run through my body. I sometimes go to the gym (is a discount gym) in the mornings before work, but it is never the same. Oh, my aerobics class is $2.50 per class at the community center. Gym is $15/month. At some point we will buy a nice elliptical and kill the gym membership. (I don't run, and so kind of need that piece of equipment for my sanity - much easier on the body though - I love to *run* on the elliptical).
On a perfect day I would go to work. Yes, you read that right. I like to keep busy and I like to work with numbers. On a good day I don't have to talk to anyone else and I can account other people's money to my heart's content. They PAY me to do this?
Of course, just because I go to work doesn't mean I am stuck in the office all day. What do I do for lunch? Generally I just grab some leftovers from the fridge on the way out the door (hardly a time consuming thing - I use reusable tupperware versus anything disposable to carry lunch - same for the kids - they have never lost one piece of tupperware - I share because people are always amazed. well, we never taught them to throw away their food containers? That's the long and the short of it?). On Mondays I often buy Togo's sandwich on special ($4) - it buys me lunch for two days. Of course, lunch is my primary social time. So, dh and I often do a lunch date. When we go out is not the most frugal, but it kind of is because we skip the whole babysitter thing, and lunch prices are cheaper. We often meet up at home for lunch but it's never quite the same. I like the "date" aspect of meeting up for lunch, out, and really talking. Lunch at home with no kids is never a bad thing though. I try to meet friends or dh once a week, out. I used to eat lunch at home every day, but gas prices have gotten too crazy for that, over the years. But when it's slow at work I still come home often. Just depends on the insanity of gas prices and how much money I Can spare for the luxury.
After work I usually go to aerobics or gym, about half the week. As an early bird, the thing is I am usually spent by about 5:00. So, a pretty normal day is sit on the couch and do nothing after that point. I'd probably go to bed at 8 every night if I Were single and childless. (The kids and dh protest. The kids like to stay up late and wake up early - I wonder when/if they ever grow out of that!)
On a lazy day we eat dh's wonderful meals together, maybe play some board games or video games as a family, or I ignore everyone and watch some TV or read.
When the weather is nicer I do try to make an effort to go on a walk to the park, a bike ride, to walk to the tennis courts, and in the summer we walk to the swimming pool fairly often. After dinner. (The kids are of the age I can lounge by the pool while they frolic - so this has been REALLY nice). OF course, I am more concerned about sun damage in general, and our HOT summer days, but we don't buy a lot of sunblock if we avoid the pool from 10-3 most days. In the winter it is generally TV or a (library) book. The lack of sunlight completely zaps my energy.
OF course, none of the above costs any money.
8:00 every night we brush our teeth and do family TV time. It's always been the best way to unwind the kids before bed. Watching TV as a family is not the same as watching it alone. We usually watch documentaries, stuff like that. NO *Kid TV* at bedtime, is the rule. IF someone does not like the majority choice, we usually just read instead (though LM likes to draw). Last night I read while snuggling with the kids for an hour - they wanted to watch Wipeout. (It's not always wonderful and educational! )
The kids go to bed at 9, and I do too (if I am still awake). I generally watch most my TV at bedtime. But it sometimes takes me all week to watch a 30-minute show (I keep falling asleep). I generally only watch TV when I would otherwise be asleep, personally. (But clearly not in any way that affects my sleep - I need 8-9 hours a night to function, and that is definitely a priority for me).
OF course, when I can keep my eyes open I usually spend some time with dh, call my family or skype my longer distance friends. (Free free free).
On the weekends we tend to take advantage of our local memberships (museums, parks), or drive 1-2 hours for some good hikes or beach time. Last weekend we drove to visit our family - went to a birthday party for my nephew, a superbowl party at a cousin's house (all the cousins played; we ate well) and had dinner with my folks one night and dh's folks the next. Though we had to shell out the gas, it was a pretty frugal/no-spend weekend. That said, we generally have at least one day a week where we stay home and DO NOTHING. Which is always DIVINE. I think our society is so focused on *doing things* that people don't realize it's okay to slow down and just do nothing once in a while. For us, that's at least one whole day a week. I think we have been very activity focused in recent years because our eldest is an extreme extrovert compared to us and thrives on the activity and needed to get out of the house more than the rest of us. AND because I would feel kind of bored and stir crazy at home with the kids, anyway. BUT, they are getting to an age where we can all kind of do our own quiet things on the weekend. & that is DIVINE. Extrovert BM has his own social life - plays with his friend, invites them over, whatever. I can still hide in the bedroom with a book and read/sleep all day. IF that was every day, I'd be bored too. But once a week, it's pretty nice. BM actually spends hours skyping friends and family, too. We LOVE it because he gets his social time, but can completely bypass us. Dh and I are not interested in talking to everyone every day, but BM might talk to his aunt in China, his Great Grandma, and my dad in one day, and MIL will skype and do his math homework with him. He's in heaven and the rest of us can be anti-social. (Not that we never talk to anyone, but all the time/every day like BM? The rest of us are not up to that...)
Of course, dh hits the grocery stores pretty regularly, but frankly I could go months without going into a store or buying anything. Pretty easily. We may enjoy some splurges, but we don't get caught up in the little every-day purchases and we clearly aren't focused on consumption. We have an aresenal of free and low-cost activities at our disposal.
A Frugal Day
I liked retire@50's "Perfect Frugal Day" post.