How to Save Money on Utilities

Are you paying WAY too much for your electricity/gas/water? Here are some unique tips, tricks and ideas for how to save money on utilities. You CAN save money on these important necessities. Read this post to learn how! save on utilities


Pretty much everyone is aware that our natural resources are quickly getting depleted worldwide.

Along with this comes regular increases on our utilities and energy bills. This extra cost comes at a time in history where more people are struggling than ever before and are looking for ways to find relief in their budgets.

Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce your energy bills that will make a significant difference.

Be selective about what you are heating and cooling

Many people simply blanket their entire home in heat or air conditioning. If you spend time constantly in all the rooms in your home this is understandable.

If you are like most families, however, you probably have areas of your home that you rarely go to. Be it a guest room or whatever, there is no need to waste energy costs in those areas. Close off the vents in these rooms and shut the doors!

In addition, make sure all exterior doors stay CLOSED! In my house, we have two doors that enter into the (uninsulated) garage. When these doors are left open (common!), we are losing valuable AC or heat!

Use the power of rainwater

Creating a system that utilizes rainwater can do wonders for your water bill.

Rainwater is ideal for watering your plants, garden and yard. Getting out the water hose and spraying your greenery costs far more over time than you realize. This is especially true during a water shortage.

Consider capturing rainwater for these types of needs and save a few bucks too.

Power down when things are not being used

Computers, televisions and various other household electronics are power drains that keep on pulling out of your wallet. Put them all on power strips and you can easily turn them off when not in use.

You would be shocked at the difference in your power bill after doing this for a year.

Put lights on a motion sensor

Motion detection is a beautiful thing. Set up your lights to be on when you are in the room and off when you are not. If you plan to be in a room and being still, there is a setting for this as well.

This small step can do wonders for your electric bill. Lights and energy are being wasted with regularity and it is an easy fix. Why not solve this easy problem and make it automated?

Commit to a change

All the changes in the world will never stick if you don’t make a commitment to see it through. Even more so, you will need to get that same promise from the entire family.

One person ignoring energy costs can undo the efforts of many. Make certain that you all turn over a new leaf and commit to the changes you implement.

If you do, you will see a marked difference in your energy bill.

5 Toys for Educational and Creative Play On A Budget

This post contains sponsored content, all opinions are my own.

We all know that children (especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers) learn best through play!

It can be overwhelming to select from the many many educational toys out there. Parents want toys that will facilitate the correct balance of education and fun.

Of course, since this is Family Friendly FRUGALITY…we also have our budgets to consider!

Does your child need a giant playroom filled with every educational toy available at your local learning store? No way.

Here are 5 toys that provide fun and help children learn through play on a budget:


Find a set of blocks that come in different shapes and colors (this set is good!). A good set of blocks can help a toddler with their fine motor skills, allow for creative play and can also help with shape and color identification!

Crayons and Paper

You don’t need anything fancy! Crayons and paper can be found at your local dollar store. Color with your child. Write the alphabet and go over sounds. Draw shapes and numbers. Draw a barn with animals. Enjoy getting creative and make room for the artwork you are surely going to want to save.

Dolls and/or Stuffed Animals

Great for role playing, something all toddlers love to do! Let her be the mommy or him be the daddy for once. Dolls and stuffed animals are great for imaginative play, but a well selected stuffed animal (like Violet here…my daughter loves her Violet!) can also be educational. Stuffed animals/dolls can also serve as comfort objects.


You might argue that a book isn’t a toy. You are right, but being read to is so essential in those early years! Books are wonderful. They can be toy like as well. Look for pop up books, books with 4D concepts and books with sound buttons (like these).


Shape sorting puzzles are great for learning shapes and great for motor skills. Regular puzzles are excellent for problem solving skills and motor skills as well. Here is a shape sorter we had and really enjoyed!

They grow so fast. They don’t need expensive toys to learn. With a bit of creativity and these old standby toys, you can educate, entertain and enrich your little one’s playtime on a budget!

Do you have anything to add to this list? Comment below! 

Make A Change Monday: Acknowledge Your Weakness & Turn it Into Strength

© Gorilla -

When I first started Family Friendly Frugality, I knew I wanted to approach frugal living from a very relaxed and welcoming mindset. I wanted to create a blog about frugal living that didn’t leave people  feeling overwhelmed or less than when they walked away.

The main complaint I hear about saving money nowadays is that it is too darn overwhelming to know where to begin. If you have $20,000 in credit card debt, is clipping a few coupons realistically going to make much of an impact to your bottom line? If you are drowning in student loans and house payments, is living within your means even possible?

The answer to all of the above is  yes. While the small things you do might not add up to financial freedom, they do make a big difference. Some of them will chip away at your debt or create more wiggle room in a tight budget. Some of them will simply give you more confidence and a self esteem boost, proving to yourself that you can save money!

So I am starting a Make a Change Monday series where I will simply give you one task to work on for the week. You might already be doing it…so you get to skip that week! If not though, try it out and see if it makes a difference! I’ll keep them small manageable changes that don’t require a lot of effort or learning the drugstore game .

This week’s Make A Change Task:

Acknowledge your weaknesses and turn them into strengths

This is actually pretty good advice for any area of your life, but specifically for budgeting and managing your money!

Scenario #1

Let’s say you have a big weakness for shoes. You know that purchasing a pair of shoes each week is a big part of your budgeting problem, so you cut them out…cold turkey.

Buh Bye Shoes...

Except, now you are obsessed with shoes. You are so upset over those shoes that you can’t buy, that you make concessions elsewhere. Maybe you spend a bit more on entertainment instead because well, you aren’t buying shoes this week!

Scenario #2

Maybe you really enjoy eating out, but you look at your spending habits and you know you are eating out too often.

No more queso!

So you cut it out and start spending more at the grocery store to compensate for not going to your favorite restaurants. Eventually, not eating out isn’t really saving you much money because you’ve just started spending more at the grocery store!

Your shoe buying and dining out were things that you greatly enjoyed, and cutting them out cold turkey isn’t actually going to solve any problems long term. In fact, if they are things that you truly love to do, getting rid of them entirely might make things worse!

Acknowledge you have a problem spending too much money on shoes or dining out (or whatever else you might overspend on) and decide how much it means to you to do those things. If it really means something to you, see if you can’t cut back in other areas! No need to deprive yourself of what you love and enjoy if there are other areas where it won’t hurt as much to cut back!

Empower yourself by acknowledging where you need to dial back, but also find strength in allowing yourself the things that make you happy by making concessions and compromises elsewhere. Take those weaknesses in your budget and use them as a good indicator of what kind of things matter to you. Be willing to compromise and you’ll see that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! There’s a lot of strength in learning restraint and prioritization.

Previous Make a Change Monday Tasks.

Five Disadvantages of Budgeting

Disadvantages of Budgeting

Are there any disadvantages to having a budget? Do you currently have a monthly budget? Budgeting has its advantages, but there are also many disadvantages, or are there?

Do you currently have a budget? Do you spend your money with care and purpose? Or do you throw caution (and quarters) to the wind and spend freely wherever and however you wish? Budgeting has its advantages, but there are also many disadvantages, or are there? Read the post to find out!

Here are five disadvantages of budgeting:

1. Delayed Gratification-sometimes you won’t have the money for what you want right now. There won’t be room in the budget for it. This means you have to wait for it! What if the price drops! Oh wait… (Did you know that the ability to delay gratification is actually an early marker for future success? Read the Marshmallow study!)

2. A Scrooge Reputation-when you pinch your pennies, your friends and family will laugh at how cheap you are.  As opposed to them laughing at how broke you are?

3. Research-with a budget, you always need to make sure you are getting the best possible deal. This means you have to research. This can be time consuming and frustrating. Although the invention of the internet actually does make this incredibly easy…

4. Jealousy-a budget might cause you to feel jealous of those around you that spend with wild abandon.  On the other hand, the generous padding in your bank account might make you the envy of your social circle

5. Entrapment-your budget might make you feel like you are trapped in a death grip of responsibility. Spontaneity and impulsiveness will cease to exist. Think about how many times some really awesome deal has come along and you couldn’t take advantage of it. If you had only had some money in the bank at that time…

Clearly, this is a tongue in cheek list. I can’t think of any actual disadvantages of budgeting that aren’t heavily outweighed by the positives.

Life can be so much more fulfilling when you handle your income responsibly and within the parameters of a budget.

A budget need not be overly restrictive. In fact, it can be incredibly freeing.

Factor in entertainment and shopping and you’ll never again feel guilty for spending on fun. If it’s budgeted for, you can rest easy that it is not going to put you in the poor house!

There really aren’t many disadvantages to budgeting!

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