A Glimpse At How A Frugal Family Spends Their Weekend

Last night, my wife and I sketched out a rough outline of the things we wanted to do this weekend. When we finished, we realized that most of the things on the list were, in some form or another, frugal. Here’s what I mean.

On Saturday, it’s my moring to get up early with Joseph, so the day will begin with my son and I playing while mom sleeps in a bit later. We’ll have oatmeal for breakfast, then after that, we’ll finish off our grocery list – the first real grocery trip in about two and a half weeks – and my wife and son will go to the grocery store while I stay at home and write. For lunch, we’ll eat leftovers.

After that, the afternoon will be spent making a giant batch of breakfast burritos (we’re completely out, and they’re wonderfully tasty). This will take about two hours or so. After that, I’ll mow the yard while my wife does some trimming of the bushes around the house.

For supper, we’ll have tuna noodle casserole. But wait – we’re going to actually prepare four of them at once. Three of them will be wrapped up and put into the deep freezer for later use (after the baby is born). This means that many of the ingredients can be purchased in bulk – and that’s actually what my wife did at the store!

Sunday will be very similar, except we’re going to eat leftover tuna noodle casserole for lunch and prepare four pans of lasagna for supper, eating one and putting the other three in the freezer. During the afternoon, we’re going to trim down our DVD collection severely (our target is 30% retention, 70% selling) to not only free up space by getting rid of stuff we don’t watch, but to put some extra money towards eliminating our student loan debt. We’ll also likely spend quite a bit of time outside, going to the park across the street from us. I’m going to attempt to teach my toddler how to throw a frisbee – it’s likely above his coordination level, but I think he’ll enjoy the time together. We’re also going to prepare the bassinet for the baby’s arrival – it’s curently in pieces – as well as wash a lot of clothes and rearrange the dresser in our son’s room to make space for the baby.

If I’m lucky, I’ll find some time somewhere to read a few chapters of Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, which I’ve just started again, and also finish a book that I will review on The Simple Dollar in a few weeks.

On an ordinary weekend, we might go somewhere else and do something interesting, like visit a state park or go to some sort of community event, but there’s not much really going on and my wife is nearing her due date, so this will be a pretty clear “take it easy” weekend.

If you read through that description, there’s a lot of frugality integrated into that routine: buying in bulk, cooking meals at home, looking at voluntary simplicity options and paring down our DVD collection, and enjoying free entertainment (playing in the park with my son and teaching him how to throw a frisbee).

What’s the cost of this weekend? Almost nothing. What’s the enjoyment of this weekend? Quite a bit. I’m spending time with people I care about and doing stuff that I enjoy – cooking, going to the park, writing, and so on. The end result? A weekend where not much money left my pocket, but I went to sleep very content and happy each night.

If you’ve wanted to start spending your time focused on frugality but keep thinking to yourself, “No one is doing this! Everyone else is doing other things!” rest assured that there are frugal families out there.

Trent Hamm
Trent Hamm
Founder of The Simple Dollar

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 after developing innovative financial strategies to get out of debt. Since then, he’s written three books (published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press), contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

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