Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Tid Bits

I thought that today I would share my frugal living practices with you all.

All of these ideas did not come at once, it took the loss of a job, the living from pay cheque to pay cheque to wake both Harvey and I.

Since I have control of the cash and pay all the bills it was up to me to begin our change to a new and wonderful opportunity.

1.    Stay out of stores.

At one point of our married life it seemed like the only fun we had was heading out to the stores. Spending money on credit and buying things that we would never use. Now we find that it is easier to stay out of stores than go shopping. The crowded aisles, the noise and the never ending line ups seem to get on our nerves. We just want to get in and out as fast as we possibly can.

2.    Make a list.

Make your shopping list and stick to it. The only time I deviate from my list is if there is an unadvertised item that I know would be a good addition to my pantry stock up. Sticking to my list saves me time and money.

3.    Be honest about needs vs wants.

This took us a very long time to understand. When a couple is first starting out there always seems to be more needs then wants, but looking back most of them were things we could have done without (at least for awhile). Really all a person needs is a roof over their head, food on the table, a way of cooking the food, and clothing on their backs.

4.    Go cash only for a month.

This one was pretty easy for us. When we were first married we lived in a small village about 30 miles from this city. The city was also where our bank was. I only came into the city once a month or so (sometimes twice) so cash was taken out at that time and used to buy everything from clothing to food. It is very hard to watch your money slowly disappear as the month advances.

5.    Keep track of your spending.

Watching your money disappear on coffee or snacks makes a person sit up and take notice quickly. Back when I first started doing this coffee was only twenty-five cents a cup, I can't imagine paying well over a dollar a cup now. Just think that would be $30.00 a month on coffee. I bring mine from home, or do without. The same goes for bottled water, I just fill my water bottle at home and save all that cash (bottled water here is almost $2.00).

6.    Become addicted to saving rather than spending.

Spending is a habit that can be replaced by a better habit. As I watched our savings grow it made me realize a dollar here and a dollar there really adds up. Pay yourself first, even if it is only a couple of dollars going into a savings account to begin with. Empty your purse and wallets of change, it is amazing how fast it adds up.

7.    Shop at home first.

Whenever I think I might need something I shop at home first. It is amazing how the simplest things can result in saving. I use toilet and paper towel rolls to start seeds in. This idea came to me as I was heading out the door to buy some starter pots thinking that it was an expenditure I did not want. Now I either reuse pots I bought years ago or the cardboard tubes cut and filled with soil. Heck they are even biodegradable.

I have also substituted ingredients in recipes with great results by shopping at home first.

8.    Eat your meals at home and pack your lunches.

Can't stress this enough. Buying fast food or eating out just eats up your cash. Making a person save even less.

9.    Cook from scratch more often.

While packaged foods are quicker to use, nothing beats the taste of scratch cooking. Over the past couple of years I have started baking my own bread a bit more often. The loaves of bread we buy are usually $2.00 each (and never seem to go on sale) so by baking three loaves of bread I save about $4.00 every week and I know what is in my bread.

10.   Buy good quality, classic clothing and mend your clothing.

By buying good quality classic clothing your wardrobe will always look good. You can buy one or two items to freshen it up each season, but your basic wardrobe will last a very long time. I have pants and skirts that are 10 years old and still look as good as the day I bought them. They are still in style as well.

Sewing on a button or fixing a hem takes no time at all (well very little time really) and keeps your clothes in tip top condition. Keeping clothing in good condition makes them last longer and you can perhaps refrain from having to replace items as often.

The best bit of advice I can give everyone is to be content with what you have. Really once a person is content they no longer want to keep up with the neighbour, or family members.

Everybody have a wonderful evening.

God bless.