March 25, 2013

3 Tips For Fun And Thrifty Living

I am so excited about what we get to talk about today! Because the truth is, there is a lot of talk out there about saving money. There is a […]

I am so excited about what we get to talk about today! Because the truth is, there is a lot of talk out there about saving money. There is a lot of advice and a lot of "experts" who are quick to offer ideas and systems to help you save mountains of money. But a lot of those ideas are missing one key element. This one key element is crucial if you want to save money and really be in it for the long haul.

What is that key element? FUN!

See, my family and I live a very simple life. We are multimillionaires, but we don’t live in a big, fancy house. In fact, we have the smallest house in our neighborhood! We don’t go out to eat at 5-star restaurants every day. I cook gourmet meals for my family every day on an average of $100/week. We don’t buy a new car, new computers, new cell phones, or even new clothes every year. Could we, if we wanted to? Yes! But I believe in living a very simple life.

But simple does not mean boring! You would be amazed by the comments I hear all the time from people who hear the truth about how we live, and they accuse us of being boring. HA! In reality, we have a very exciting, very fulfilling life!

You may be forced to be "thrifty" now because of a limited income or other circumstances. But living frugally has huge benefits, no matter what your income is. You may have heard me talk about the Law of Promotion before. It’s simple: If you can be trusted with what you have been given, you will be made ruler over much.

So here are 3 ways you can be faithful with what you have now, so that you can be made ruler over more:

  1. Get creative!

    There is a phrase I use quite often, and it really causes me to think outside the box and find creative solutions. It’s "Improvise in imperfection."

    For example, say you’re cooking dinner, and you are missing an ingredient. Most people would run to the store to grab that one ingredient (and probably pick up a few other things that were not on the list). I say NO WAY! I go to the grocery store once a week, and if I don’t have something I need, that’s just too bad, so sad! It’s time to get creative and improvise in imperfection.

  2. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
  3. There are lots of things you probably use on a regular basis that have multiple uses around your house, or even things that can be used over and over again that you may not have thought about reusing.

    For example, I have
    a big bottle of botanical soap that I use for everything! Seriously, it can be used to wash your hands and clean the counters. You can brush your teeth and the toilet with it. I buy it a couple times a year, and we use it for everything!

    Hand-me-downs is another big one. All of my kids wear hand-me-downs. I even wear hand-me-downs. We don’t buy new school clothes or new clothes for every season. And if you are doing that, you’ve been duped by advertisers who have led you to believe that kids need new clothes and shoes several times a year.

  4. Fun doesn’t have to be expensive!
  5. There are tons of cheap or free things to do for fun! All you have to do is Google it.
    Just search for free things to do in your city, and let the fun begin! Take the kids to the park, rediscover the joys of the great outdoors, go to museums, community movie nights. There are probably things to do in your city that you never even knew about.

    This goes for date night, as well! Being on a tight budget is no excuse for not having a date night with your spouse! If you look for free ways to have fun,
    you will surely find them!

Here’s the bottom line: Thrifty living does not mean boring living! It doesn’t mean deprived. Take it from me! If frugal living meant boring or deprived, do you think this multimillionaire would choose to live that way? No way! I believe in accumulating wealth without sacrificing your marriage, kids, health, or fun.

I would love to know YOUR best tips for thrifty living! What are some simple ways you have found to save money WITHOUT sacrificing the truly important things in life? Please share your comments below!

And then please go ahead hit the "like" button and share this post with your friends, family, and co-workers.


In great faith,


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First Steps to Success
First Steps to Success

Join the conversation

  1. Fifi Matos March 25, 2013

    Hi Dani, Wow, and I thought I lived frugally. Though our income is at its all-time low, even when we were both working and earning good salaries back home in NYC, I have always done exactly what you talk about in your article. I improvise to the max in the kitchen, hence, I end up creating dishes no one has ever tasted before and my husband and son love my cooking better than anyone else’. I too take items and use them for other things; I don’t purchase clothes for my son; he gets his new clothes on his birthday from family; I don’t purchase anything new unless I see a really pretty $6 blouse that has been reduced from about $25 regular price. On, and on, I tell you; the best way that my husband and I have been able to have fun and yet not spend a dime is the fact that we and our son are home bodies; we just LOVE to stay home and we enjoy each other, all while others are going out for a night of fun and just end up spending tons of money they really didn’t plan to spend and most likely did not enjoy whatever it was they went out for. So, I’m so glad you and I are on the same page. Now all I have to do is work on my home business using your training to increase my income. Thank you and thank God for you. You are a blessing to so many.

  2. Lesley March 25, 2013

    The public library is a great resource. A free membership has access to all the movies and books you care to use. Plus they have programs for every member of the family. Lots of things to see and do without spending a cent.

  3. eric allen March 25, 2013

    I have a moral dilemma. I have been divorced for about 3 yrs. My ex wife got the house in the divorce. I moved out of state and came back. The house got forclosed on . I had rented a house for myself. I ended up letting her and my son move in to the house I rented and continued paying the rent for them . I am a truck driver so I pretty much started living in my truck so my son woud have a home. It has been almost a year now. I have told her to get a job for months because I dont want to live this way anymore. I gave her a deadline when I was going to stop paying for the rent. That time is here and I stopped. She has still not found a way to pay or found a place to live. What should I do? I cant continue like this I am miserable and worn out from everything I pay and I feel like I keep getting deeper and deeper in the whole. I paid her rent , car insurance, utilities, and child support. I am at the end of my rope. Oh ya and she told me I wasnt doing enough for our son. Please give me some encouragement and wisdom . GOD BLESS YOU

    • Swetlana Klatt March 26, 2013

      You should keep a journal and write the date and what she or you did. Then you should go to court n maybe get custody of ur son n get her out of your life. You doing so much for her and she doesn’t appreciate it. Its not fair to you. Also keep on looking for personal development and positive things, read the Bible and pray. I hope that helps you to make the right choice and move forward. God bless you!

    • Rose March 26, 2013

      it’s great what you are doing for the sake of your son, but really you are not HEPING the situation. She is clearly taking advantage of you.
      If you have given her a set date for when you will stop paying then follow thru and don’t pay. Now I am not sure how old your son is, but I hope you are paying child support.

      You need to take care of yourself and find a home where you can live in. What is happening is not fair.

  4. Jezreel Magbanua March 25, 2013

    Hi Dani! I was born in a poor family. We get our drinking water from our own artesian well, and most people who get to drink from it says it tastes sweet, unlike the bottled ones. We also use it in every home chore. But now it has dried up, so what we did is look for another artesian well for public use, and thank GOD it’s not too far from our location. Since childhood until I graduated in college, all my clothes came from gifts by our relatives and friends in various occasions, none was bought by money from my pocket (because not even coins are in it). My mom is a public school teacher, so my dad brings us all to school with a tricycle, that’s why I’m not used to commuting. I walk almost 3 kilometers daily, that’s why I have thin built. I go to my cousin’s house in order to access encyclopedias. My dad loves planting and raising chickens, so we get veggies in the backyard, including meat and eggs. Hunger is no big deal once I climb the mango trees in our area. That’s where we also play during childhood. I entered the nearest university in our place and met many friends. During college, I applied in every scholarship available in our location, so my tuition is free, until I graduated and took the licensure exam. Even my review sessions were free as a privilege in winning inter-university quiz bees. Everything was just so fun, being thrifty is almost effortless. To GOD be all the honor and glory.

  5. Julie Fleeman March 25, 2013

    Hey Dani! Great advice and God Bless You! We are following your concepts and I love how they are fitting right along with how we live! We moved to where we are now back in August for my husband to start in as his first year teaching! Boy was it an eye opener for us being fresh out of college. Our house is 10 miles from where he works and 12 miles from the closest Wal-Mart in the opposite direction. Talk about Rural, we are no longer are able to run to the store down the street for things. So along with your rule of eating everything in the house before we grocery shop we the Envelope budget system and excluding fresh produce we only grocery shop ONCE a month! In this last month we have seen a HUGE difference! What a MONEY SAVER implementing those three things into our lives have made! We are a family of 3 and I’m currently not working a day job. Although we are living on one steady income we make it stretch lol! As for date night my husband and I fellowship and read to each other lots of books including your book First Steps to Wealth. We just love you! But it has helped our marriage grow by encouraging each other to grow and learn about finances, history, everything together. It’s helped us to make sure nothing is a one sides burden and that we are always on the same page, I think everyone here has stated what I would already give as advice. Except I didn’t see compost pile and if someone posted already my apology for repeating lol. A compost pile for your garden is an amazing way to cut down on trash. I’m now getting mine started and I am excited to also have a chicken coop here soon. It was scary for us at first but these are all investments worth making! If we can do it, anyone can do it! Have a great day!

  6. Kris Q March 25, 2013

    My husband and I have learned to go out to the movies for about half what we used to pay. 1) Buy tickets at Costco. A pair of movie tickets at costco is $16. 2) We bring our own snacks and water. Water is free. Popcorn and candy comes from the dollar store. We spend about $2-3 on snacks for the two of us. Our total cost is roughly $20. Regular ticket prices are $11.25. Buying popcorn, candy, and water used to be at least $20.

    • Lisa B. March 25, 2013

      I use only 1/8 of laundry that the detergent calls for, my clothes don’t need all the extra soap in them to get clean. That saves a whole lot on soap!

  7. DeAna A. March 25, 2013

    Hey Dani! Thanks for these dailey e-mails.
    Some ways out family has learned to cut down is to get the biggest thing soap or whatever for the cheapest price – skipping out of the rediculous price for a name brand and getting more oz. for less dollars. and then afterward make it stretch…making some things last almost a month rather than just one week. We spend less than $20/person/week for our family of 7 and instead of going out for a family celibration we pull out a card game, or do other family activities at home and make gourmet meals we enjoy eating. Also, my parents have been smart and instead of hiring a housecleaner to get work done each of my 4 siblings and I have domains that we are being intrusted with and get rewards with tickets which have money value. Instead of going to someone else’s pocket the money is saved and some of the saved money goes to reward us kids and we get to tithe, have fun and build wealth!

  8. Amanda March 26, 2013

    First, a big thank you to Dani and her team for these emails. They are all common sense and easy to do, really. Some of these things I grew up doing and plan to teach my son to do (and any future children if we have any). Like wearing hand-me-downs. I am a big proponent of hand-me-downs and thrift shopping. Why should I spend $100 for a single pair of jeans at the mall when I can go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and spend the same amount for 10 jeans? And I need nowhere close to 10 jeans. I may have to spend more time sorting through the racks to find something that matches my style, but it makes “the find” more enjoyable.

    If I feel like I need a “girl’s time out” shopping trip, then I’ll go to Ross or someplace similar and hit the clearance racks. I never fail to find the styles I like that are well within my budget.

    And I’ll admit, I do transfer $10 every paycheck to my reloadable Starbucks card, which is primarily used for coffee while I do grocery shopping, but that’s only twice a week, three times if I have a forwarding balance. It’s a “nice-ety”, not a necessity.

    The one thing I am looking into that I did not know about, or I knew about it but didn’t really consider it, was the soap. I did a quick google search and found a concentrated soap for about $90 for one gallon (I can’t remember the brand) and I would like to try it and see how much we actually save. I think I might have to make a Dollar store run for some containers though.

  9. Debora Herman March 26, 2013

    I shop Salvation army, Good Will, or Garage sales, if you have a list of things you want or need you can get some good deals and save lots of money. You also can have a great day out with friends and family. If you can’t find exactly what you want you just let your imagination go and come up with a one of a kind piece for your home.

  10. Sarah Shepherd March 26, 2013

    My mom is a master at improvising when she doesn’t have the right ingredients now! Thanks Dani! Some of our favorite dishes have come out of this! And I am going to look for more community events now. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Laurie G Lee March 29, 2013

    My sister and I are both single, so we take turns every other week having dinner at each others homes. We always cook more than enough allowing us to take home leftovers for later in the week. We have a great time together and save time and money by sharing food. Peace and Blessings. Laurie

  12. Gena March 31, 2013

    Barter and trade. You can be super creative here. Trade your time, those amazing cookies/jam you make, a skill set, items, services such as detailing a car, hair cuts, cleaning a house, fixing a computer and even information…the list is endless. Barter and trade for items you need or services you want. I make some excellent energy bars that people are willing to buy. I have traded them for hair cuts. Keep your trading a win win for both parties involved.

  13. Andrea Runyon July 2, 2013

    You use the same soap for everything? What is the name of this soap that does so much?

  14. Tamela November 18, 2013

    where do you get your botanical soap from Dani?

    • Jodi March 25, 2015

      OH, I’d love to know that too!